Sale Shopping a.k.a. Successful Stalking

I read a lot about avoiding sale shopping.  Sales goggles, quantity over quality, throwaway wardrobe.  Negative connotations.  I have a different viewpoint.  I don’t think sales are bad at all, if you have a plan.  If there is intent behind your shopping, you are using the sales to your advantage, not the other way around.

Yesterday before heading out to meet a friend, I browsed on the computer quickly before leaving the house.  Lo and behold, a wool coat I’d had bookmarked was on sale.  I did not hesitate to snap it up. This coat was bookmarked for weeks.  There was no impulse purchase or sales goggles factor.  I fully intended on buying exactly this coat – when I could afford it.  That meant either a) next year when my budget refreshed, b) as a gift with Christmas money or c) if it went on further sale.  I’ll admit I did not expect it to go down in price.  I was fully willing to wait it out until my budget or funds caught up with its cost.

red coat

Now, sometimes in waiting you risk it selling out.  I used to think I was just lucky, but now I realize what I am is persistent.  And patient.  And willing to balance the risk of missing out with the possibility of getting a good deal.  It also helps to remind ourselves that there will be another fabulous coat to find next year.  This is not THE only coat out there for me.

It’s worth noting that yesterday I got this for $62 and today it is back up to the $119 I would have had to wait on to afford.  This is part of the luck/persistence factor.  Just keep checking!!  deal!

Although I decided on this particular coat several weeks ago, I’d planned on a bright colored wool coat months and months ago.  It was part of the plan all along.  Sitting in the sweltering heat in FL I was imagining coming home to Tahoe snow this fall and knew my coat wardrobe lacked color.  Heck, I’d looked for a purple one the year before, but struck out.  It had been on the list a loooong time.  Bottom line, this was as far from an impulse buy as you could get.

Sale shopping is not bad.  Shopping without a plan, and letting the sales influence you to buy something you don’t want or need, is!

How do you approach sales?  Are they off-limits to you or do you use them to your advantage?  Do you stalk like I do?

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12 thoughts on “Sale Shopping a.k.a. Successful Stalking

  1. I do this all the time Mo!
    When you do the homework you usually know when an item might be on sale, and can just wait.
    I find that often the full-price cost is inflated- the brand are relying on the FOMO shoppers to buy early.
    I love this coat for you- especially the colour 🙂

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  2. Whenever I see something in the berry colors, I think of you. 😀 You don’t wear a whole lot of color and it’s such a signature for you. I admire how you know your preferred palette, silhouettes…

    I don’t stalk things. In a way, I’m too much of a perfectionist and think everything is just all right (hopefully, at least that) until proven otherwise. Color and feel mean a lot to me and those are the great unknowns online. I also try to buy only in season and succeed at that except for maybe an item or two here or there that turns up for a coming season. I don’t shop end of season sales any more since I can’t know what direction I am wanting to go almost a year later and I go up and down in weight a bit and I can’t know how it will fit then. I don’t shop pre-season because I can’t get myself in the mindframe plus I shop retail very little.

    I do look online a lot, just as much google image and ipinterest to try to turn up alternate ideas for what I think I’m interested in that I will find my own version of at thrift. I don’t really like shopping. I just like clothes and putting outfits together. I do all my own alterations, whether minor or extensive. I don’t sew things from scratch anymore, or rarely, because there are just too many decisions involved all along the way. I also don’t go to yard sales and only shop at a couple of thrifts. Part of it is the idea that if it isn’t this things then it’ll be the next other thing. So I don’t worry about what I’m missing.

    I have an arbitrary budget of abut fifty dollars a month. Some months I am under and occasionally a bit over. This month was an anomaly in well over a couple of years in that I did do some retail shopping and bought some things at a higher priced thrift. So I spent $150. But I feel I got a number of things I had been needing to complete outfits and a large proportion of items was in adding to my accessories. . Pretty soon I expect to be at a point where I want to be wearing what I have and maybe even taking a shopping hiatus the way I did a couple of times last year. I purge regularly, which I guess is wasteful but I seem to learn best through the clothes themselves. By now, I have whole categories where I don’t want to add anything else: pants, black items. I’ve also been trying out the idea of One And Done. I want to try out or add a color and if I find one top, that’s enough. I am still struggling to try and train myself to think it through first before I find something to try out. For instance, for several years I have wanted wheat colored jeans but would I really wear them that much? I am having trouble picturing the reality.
    I want some black or black patent low or mid heel booties but is it just because it seems like something easy to wear and something I used to wear or would they be really useful?

    Also, to the question of stalking something, I do much better having a gut reaction to something and it is the Useful, Sensible items that tend to get rejected.and purged.

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  3. Thanks for sharing some of your strategies. Next year I hope to allow for more visceral reaction purchases. Not off plan, impulse, per se, but the “I must have it!” version rather than the ‘this fills the hole nicely’ version. That’s why I switched to a more open ending shopping plan. So, for 2015 I just have a line under the category COAT that I can fill how and when I see fit. Or not. I don’t feel compelled to get x, y, and z each and every year.
    As for the booties being theoretically useful vs actually worn, that’s a tricky one. I suppose we never really know until it’s bought and we reach for it, or not. We can hazard some good guesses by reviewing past buying patterns, wear and mistakes, but it’s a crap shoot in the end, isn’t it??

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  4. 99% of my wardrobe was bought on sale or thrift. I occasionally will stalk something if I’m only finding what I’m looking for in one place (and haven’t seen anything similar in B&M and thrift stores), but still won’t usually pull the trigger unless the price drops into my comfort zone. My goal prices are roughly based on wear calculations with a medium large wardrobe. I estimate the number of wears per year based on past tracking, and want to be at a dollar per wear or less within the year. So for example 10 wears per year would be about average for a top for me, and 10$ what I’d aim to spend, going higher if it’s pretty unique or a wardrobe keystone.

    Buying considerably over what is wearable within the year in this way, unless it’s for a very special occasion, reduces my happiness factor with the item a lot. Since this is the way I was raised to shop, I expect I would run into far more pitfalls trying to stick with just retail pricing, which can vary widely for the same basic item of similar quality.

    Looking forward to reading back through your posts!

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    • I don’t thrift but a large portion of my closet was purchased at some sort of discount. I don’t quite go into exact CPW but I have a ballpark range I’m comfortable spending for items. It’s if/when the item I desire is out of this normal range the stalking really goes into effect. It’s no exaggeration to say I’ve scooped up an item a year and a half later when it finally became affordable for me. I am hoping that moving into slightly higher price ranges, and hopefully corresponding quality, while simultaneously reducing the amount of new coming in each year, I will get my money’s worth wearing the ‘good’ stuff. Hopefully a couple of well chosen $50 tops will get worn as much as five $20 tops would have in the past. 😉

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      • It’s a good strategy, now that I have a stocked wardrobe, I’m a lot more careful about the ‘fewer, better’ and that sometimes means higher individual item prices as you say. Hoping to do more of that next year, upgrading essentials that way.

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      • One thing that happens to me consistently is that I thrift an item and find it superlative for my needs and decide that I would actually pay full price retail for a 2d color option or a replacement when needed and then see that a company no longer offers anything like it. And this can be rather staid non-fashiony companies. I would really love to pursue the strategy that traditional men use to shop: find what suits and then just replace the identical item as needed. Women’s clothes seem to change the styles faster and also just for the sake of change. There’s far too much “updating” that just seems arbitrary to me. At the same time, I realize that the heel and toe of a shoe is what signals current and keeps style fresh and elevates the outfit. Possibly women who wear white shirts can keep repeat buying through the years but I don’t wear those. And maybe there are other items that do stay the same but aren’t anything I wanted in the first place.

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  5. I find a disconnect in the logic of shopping. If the objective is to buy higher quality items, which usually translates into higher priced items, to get greater longevity then why would one not wait until the items were a lower price if it only takes a few months? Does the pair of boots that I bought in December for $150 not last as long as the person’s boots if she bought them in September for $250? Are they not also equally current next year or the year after? I see the advantage of buying quickly if the item has a short shelf life but not if the goal is to get quality items that will last and not date readily.

    I have the same shopping philosophy for electronics. I wouldn’t pay a premium for a TV that I plan to keep for 5-10 years to get the newest version if I can buy the second newest model for significantly less money.

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    • I completely agree, Cheryle. Maybe if one is interested in being on the very cutting edge of new trends, it matters. But heck, I just finally bought a new to me 2012 smart phone so you can see I’m on the same page 😉 I do want to be current, but I’m not so trend oriented that I could nail this coat as 2013 or 2014. No idea. Nor do I care! lol It’s obviously a current trend with the asymmetry and nod to moto-like details. Not a moment too soon; I awoke to 6 inches of snow this morning 🙂

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  6. I’m sad to update that this came and the zippers and hardware were gold. I don’t do gold. I hemmed and hawed for a minute (such a good deal, would I really notice, etc) and then realized, yes! I would notice, and it would bug me. I’ve gotten rid of shoes for having gold grommets for the laces, I mean, how could I not see a big gold zipper down my front??
    I instead have a bright berry purple coat to try on the way. It is $40 more, but if the color is right, it’s a home run for my color palette.

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