Just thought I'd share my shopping strategy...not that I think it's good or efficient by any means, but from the Team Picking Challenge, I find it interesting all the different ways people shop. So I thought it would be interesting for people to elaborate more about how they like to shop for clothes.
I tend to be a full-price, online, and return a lot kind of shopper. I wish I could be a good thrift/bargain shopper but I don't seem to have a knack for finding the treasures...no luck or patience, I guess. So instead I try to save money when I can by buying sale or Rack items, and (this may be kinda weird) by stalking and getting price adjustments if/when the things I buy go on sale. And by doing most of my shopping at places with generous return policies.
Before I joined YLF, I rarely shopped for myself because every time I would go into a store I would feel a little overwhelmed at all the choices, didn't know what I wanted, didn't know where to find what I needed, hated trying stuff on and leaving empty-handed, and plus I never had time to myself without the kids to shop. That's why it took me so long to start buying new clothes, and why it looks like I'm such a crazy shopper, because I've managed to compress five years worth of clothes shopping into just three months!
My current strategy (which I began with Angie's list of her Anniversary sale picks) is to browse online, pick out items I want, and order them online unless I think I'm going to have time to go to the store AND they have the item in stock to try on (Nordstrom allows you to search in-store availability). I tend to buy a lot things online, try them on at home and then return them if they don't work out. I end up ordering multiple sizes and multiple styles, etc. This gets expensive though and I have to run around returning things (or go to the post office to drop off returns). I do try to shop in-store when I can, but if I can go I don't always have a lot of time to try a bunch of stuff on. I think I only keep about 10-20% of the items I buy online, either because it doesn't fit right or doesn't look good on me. I need to get better at picking things that will look good on me before I order them...that's one of my new goals.
So today was another big unshopping day...I had stuff to return at Nordstrom, Anthropologie, Neiman Marcus, and Macy's. And today is Tuesday which is the day that new stuff goes on sale every week at Anthro. Each of the last few weeks, I have discovered that things I bought before (like the red corset trench or mustard blazer) have gone on sale, so when I'm at the store returning things, I ask the SA for adjustments on my prior purchases. Today I found three skirts marked down--one was my beloved navy/teal/olive pencil skirt, and two were skirts I had bought on sale but they had been marked down a second time. The sale skirts were within two weeks (their policy is to do price adjustments if you bought it within two weeks) but the pencil skirt wasn't...I had bought it earlier. But they had my size in stock so I was prepared to buy the skirt and come return it later with the original receipt. But the SA was really nice and just did the price adjustment on that skirt right then. She said, "You shop here so much that we want to keep you happy!" (I don't know whether to be embarrassed or flattered by that).
I have done that at Nordstrom too, searched for and gotten price adjustments on things I bought a month or two ago at full price that then later went on sale. I figure it doesn't hurt to ask for things, the worst that can happen is they say no. (I even returned a "final sale" handbag to Kate Spade once and they took it back...I didn't think they would, but they were really nice about it!) I've saved so much money with price adjustments...the red corset trench I ended up getting two price adjustments on because it was marked down twice, and it ended up being only half of what I paid! I never would have known to do something like this before, and I agree it sounds a tiny bit like cheating to do it that way, but it seems they don't have a problem giving me the adjustments and in return I tend to spend a lot more of my money there.
I love shopping at places like Nordstrom and Anthro with great customer service & generous return policies, as opposed to places like H&M and Gap where you only have a limited return window and can't take the tags off (plus I can never find my receipts), or especially Forever 21 where you can only return things for store credit and the jewelry is non-returnable. I'm more hesitant to spend my money at those places because I don't want to make costly mistakes. Anyways, that's my current strategy. I probably won't be doing this much longer since I'm almost done shopping for my wardrobe, but I thought I'd share the strategy that's worked for me so far.
How about you? What's your shopping strategy and how do you save money? And I'd love to hear how you bargainistas find great deals and treasures, because even though I've gotten better and not so anxious about going shopping, looking at jumbled clearance racks and shopping at thrift stores still makes me break out in a cold sweat! Like Suz said, it's a lot of visual noise!
Oh and PS I don't like the opposite extreme either...I went to Neiman Marcus to return a dress I had bought online and boy did I feel out of place there too! I looked at the tag on a jacket by Alexander McQueen...$15,000. Sheesh!