Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Cheap Thrills - The Plan of Attack

This is the second post of a series on cheap fashion, Cheap Thrills- The Plan of Attack.  The following posts will continue in showing you how I find good deals-- it's a long read so I split it up over a few posts.  I'll also later detail some of my most triumphant steals.

I consider myself pretty good at shopping.  I really enjoy it-- I'm not one of those people who finds it hard to shop because I can't find anything that fits, I can't find what I'm looking for, everything I like is too expensive, etc.  I think this is because I've figured out how to shop in a way that fits my personal style, budget and lifestyle.  I'm young and fairly adventurous with my style, and I have little money.  This has resulted in my closet being mostly composed of a larger quantity of less expensive and more trendy clothing.  It's a personal style thing, further detailed in the first post in this series.  One of the things I've gotten really good at is getting items at prices I think are rather fabulous-- these days, I generally do not spend more than $20 on an item, and I do not thrift (often).  I've learned a few tricks about how to get awesome deals on things-- read on, dear reader to find out what I think is important to scoring (on fashion, that is).  First thing's first-- create a plan of action (and then maybe don't follow it).

Most of the time, before you go shopping, you want to have a plan.  What do I mean by plan?  I'll show you using a few real-life examples below:

First, figure out what you want/need to buy.  Here was my spring 2012 shopping list:
  • Coloured denim/pants
  • Plain metal cuffs (x2)
  • An item in mint
  • Lace shorts
  • An item in neon yellow
  • A floral print clothing item
You can see that the items I listed vary in specificity.  Some things, such as the cuffs and the lace shorts are very specific; I wanted shiny, absolutely plain metal bands with no curving inwards or outwards at the edges-- just straight across.  I also wanted two of them.  

For the lace shorts, I had seen some on a blog in the past, and had a very specific picture of what I wanted in my mind-- white or cream, with overlapping layers of lace.  Other things I listed are very vague; for example, I just wanted something in mint and something in neon yellow, be it a top, pants, earrings, a scarf, shoes, a headband, etc.

Next, solidify your criteria.  What does an item need to be for you to buy it?  For example, as I said above, for my cuffs, I needed them to be totally plain and straight across.  I was not going to buy cuffs with any kind of embellishment or curving to the metal.  However, I was willing to be flexible with the colour-- gold or silver would do.

The next step is to determine a budget.  This is a complicated one, because some of it should be determined now, and some later.  Figure out your absolute budget, the one you will not in any circumstance go over.  My absolute budget for the cuffs was $15 each.  Next, think of an ideal budget-- for the cuffs, I wanted to pay around $5 each.  Later, after shopping, you will refine this budget (it will make sense, I promise).

It's good to have a plan so you don't buy things you don't need, but to get the best deals, you need to be open to anything.  I wasn't really looking for a trench coat when I was in Palm Springs this March (or ever), but I found one that was gorgeous and 80% off and I'm really glad I bought it.  Often if you're not too specific, you can find some amazing deals.  A word of caution-- don't attempt this if you're prone to overspending or really watching your budget!  Make sure you have some shopping discipline before you allow yourself to just buy whatever you want-- trust me, you'll know when you're there.  Another tip is to ensure that the item you're looking at isn't something you’re just buying because its on sale-- make sure its something you really want regardless!

In the next part of this series, I will tell you to shop lots.  How does this help you save money?  The answer to this and more is coming!

2.  The Plan of Attack - You Are Here!

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