Your guide to guilt-free shopping

Your guide to guilt-free shopping

Author: Canadian Living


Your guide to guilt-free shopping

With every changing season comes the urge to fill our closets with shiny, new things – perhaps a new pair of jeans or ankle boots are on your wish list right now as you read this. But before you get credit-card happy and spiral into unnecessary debt, we've got some expert tips to keep your shopping habits in check.

David Clemmer, a Toronto-based stylist and CEO of artist management agency Judy Inc., makes a living helping people shop smarter. "Shopping should always be a fun experience and never a cause of stress or despair," he says. "Guilt-free shopping is the only shopping one should indulge in." With the right planning, you can feel satisfied and not stretched beyond your means. Here's how.

1. Stick to your budget
Budget slipups are the number 1 cause of feeling guilty after a shopping spree. To avoid this, only bring cash with you to the mall – leave your credit cards at home, says Clemmer. That way, the temptation to buy big-ticket items on a whim is minimized. People are a lot less inclined to part with their money if it's cash.

2. Practise patience
If you must have that pair of designer shoes, keep your eye on them and buy them at an end of season sale.

The savviest shoppers know that stores have to unload their inventory to make room for the next season's supply, notes Clemmer. You'll see slashed prices on winter clothes at the end of January, and the end of June is the best time to shop for summer wares. And if you do buy something, check back with the store to see if they've marked the item down. Many stores offer price adjustments within 14 days of purchase.

3. Get familiar with retail return policies

Double-check a store's return policy before you impulsively buy something. "When you get home, you might realize it's not right for you and you need to have the flexibility to return it," says Clemmer. If you've got buyer's remorse and know deep down that what you bought isn't your style, Clemmer maintains that it's time to head back to the shop.

Page 1 of 2 -- Discover more great tips, including how to invest in your wardrobe, on page 2

4. Make wardrobe investments
Clemmer urges clients to invest in pieces that last – not ones bought last minute out of convenience.

"(Investment pieces) are items that you need, such as blazers or black trouser pants. These purchases should be well thought out and bought without the least bit of remorse," he says. And don't get caught up in the hype of a one-season-wonder, warns Clemmer. "The ‘it' bag today is definitely not the ‘it' bag of tomorrow."

5. Unsubscribe from tempting retail newsletters

These days, it's not uncommon to be asked for your email address at the checkout counter. Retailers know that the lure of online shopping is very tempting, especially for busy people.

Whenever possible, do not give out your email address – and if you do, unsubscribe from these retail newsletters. After all, who can resist an email subject line that says: "Flash Sale! 3 Hours Only!" These are just clever marketing ploys to catch you off-guard.

Chances are the promotions they're offering aren't that much of a steal, anyway.

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Your guide to guilt-free shopping