How to Shop Sales 2.0

Having a blog focused on personal finance AND fashion, I wanted to take a different approach to my coverage of the famed Nordstrom Semi-Annual Sale or lovingly called #NSale. I’ve already shared which pieces I’ve purchased from past sales and love and I plan on sharing a recap of the items I’ve ordered this year once they come in but I want to also just review some helpful tips to help you stay financially responsible when shopping this sale or any type of sale.

If you were around this time last year, much of this will be a review. With a growing audience (thank you!) I want to make sure I am sharing my favorite tips for staying financially responsible when shopping sales. The same tips, slightly tweaked, could be applied when going to the grocery store, Target or even Home Goods.

Review Your Wardrobe

Before adding anything to an overly packed closet and/or dresser, its important to first review your current wardrobe and take inventory. This is a great opportunity to get rid of items of clothing that you “promised” yourself you’d wear and never did. Check out my other blog post with tips on de-cluttering your wardrobe.

Don’t forget to take the time and pull your fall and winter clothing out of storage, to make sure you are taking inventory of every last item of clothing. Going through this process will help you do away with the old but also give you the opportunity to make note of the holes in your wardrobe. For example, if you need to add more white blouses to your wardrobe (you can never have enough!) be sure to mark that down.

Given the Nordstrom sale is focused on fall and winter fashion, be sure to spend some time trying on your denim, jackets, sweaters and shoes to make sure things still fit and are in good condition. For example, if you’ve been putting off a new pair black boots because your current ones are marked up and old (me!) take them to your local shoe repair and have them give you a quote on repairs. If this number is in the ballpark of a new pair of boots, it might be time to pull the trigger on a new pair.

Make a List

I’ve mentioned in previous post, I have a list on my phone of the pieces of clothing I’m looking for. Things are added to the list on an on-going basis as I get rid of clothes or decided to add a new element or trend to my wardrobe. Some of the items I’ll be shopping for in the sale are:

  • High Waisted Blue Jeans
  • Black Jeans (need more pairs!)
  • Grey Suede Pumps
  • Casual Black Booties
  • Long-Sleeve Blouses for Work
  • Basic Tops (turtlenecks, camisoles, etc.)
  • Updated Leather Jacket
  • Wool Blazer (Camel or Black)
  • Plaid or Tweed Blazers
  • Running Shoes
  • Duster length cardigans (Pink or beige)

If you are comparing this sales post to last sales post, my list has gotten longer! For this particular sale, I have to remind myself that I don’t need anymore sweaters. Last year I packed up over 40 sweaters in varying shades of black, grey and cream. I repeat, I will not buy anymore sweaters!

Set a Budget

Once you have your list created, i.e. your marching orders, the next step is to create a budget. I don’t like to create one overarching budget, instead I set price parameters on different items and will buy something if falls within this range.

  • Heels/Flats $50-$100
  • Booties – $80-$150
  • Leather Jacket (Faux) $100 – $200
  • Sweaters $30-$60
  • Work Blouses $25-$50
  • Jeans $100-$150
  • Blazers $50-$100
  • Work Skirts $30-$50

Nordstrom is a high-end and high-quality retailer which means there is a good chance that I won’t be able to find all the items I’m looking for in my price point. If that is the case, the item stays on my list and I look for it at another store. I don’t feel pressure to buy at Nordstrom just because they are having a sale.

Stay True to Personal (Life)Style

When shopping sales is to stay true not only to your personal style but to your lifestyle. I already shared that last year I purchased a suede skirt from the Nordstrom sale that I had major heart eyes over. Seeing that skirt styled so perfectly on my fairy blogmothers persuaded (pun intended) me to make the purchase and I was sure I’d have multiple occasions to wear the skirt. Turns out those events never happened and I’m not surprised.

Given what we have all experienced this year, I think it’s even more important to make purchases with your “new normal” in mind. If it’s working from home consider skipping the work pants (that no one will see in a Zoom meeting) and opt for another pair of leggings. If your “new normal” is going back to the office but with a more relaxed dress code then maybe your focus is on a new pair of jeans. You work hard for your money so don’t buy something that doesn’t leave you feeling 100% confident wearing or doesn’t work well with your day to day lifestyle.

Track Your Expenses

This is a new tip for staying financially responsible with shopping but not a new concept when it comes to being financially responsible in general. You all should know by know that I am a huge advocate of tracking your expenses whether it’s by hand or using an online app. While I always track my shopping expenses to make sure I stay in budget, this tip is more specific to tracking the individual items being purchases.

This past year I have gotten into the habit of creating an Excel spreadsheet that lists out the clothing item, price point and a hyperlink to that item of clothing. While yes, this is overkill, I’ve started taking this extra steps for a few reasons. First, it helps me keep track of all my purchases so I can share them with you all more easily on to share with you all on The Financial Fashion Planner and LikeToKnowIt page. Second, it’s another visual reminder of what I’ve already purchased and how quickly the little trips to Target and TJ Maxx for a “few” items can really add up and keep me accountable to my monthly clothing budget.

Hope you all find these tips helpful as you begin navigating the Nordstrom sale and fall shopping to come!

Happy Shopping!

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