Since it’s a holiday three-day weekend, I thought a fitting subject would be “how to do your homework before buying an item.”
Wait just one tiny minute. You mean that there’s HOMEWORK involved for shopping? Here’s the easy answer. If you want to save money, HECK YES there’s homework to be done! Yesterday, I was doing a little online shopping, and I realized that I have a total process in which I make shopping decisions. I didn’t even realize I was doing this until then. I thought since today’s a holiday, why not have a little homework to do right? I mean, it’s a day when lots of stuff is on SALE so shopping is definitely happening, so let’s talk about how to do your “due diligence” before you commit to buy!
Now for sure, there are a couple of things to consider when you’re shopping. One of them is this: is the item you’re looking for very specific…like maybe you found it online or you saw it in a store and you know exactly what brand it is…if this is the case, there’s still homework to be done, but it might change the end result. There have been times that I’ve done all my homework, and not saved a dime because it turns out I really just had found the best deal to begin with! But more often than not, if I don’t do my homework before buying, I end up overpaying. Plain and simple. You want to get an A+ on your shopping skills? Yeah me too!
Here’s my usual disclaimer…this is just MY process, you may have your own AND you may have some hot tips I don’t know about, so PLEASE share with me if you do! I’m always looking for extra credit! :)
HOW TO DO YOUR SHOPPING HOMEWORK:
- Google the item you want. This may seem simple, but how many times have I happened upon something I want, and not taken the two seconds it takes to just google it before buying it from the first place I found it?? OR maybe you are looking for a Free People dress and you just go straight to the Free People site without checking other retailers. Here’s something I’ve found. Often, places you don’t even suspect may carry a brand or an item that you want. Once I desperately wanted a Novella Royale jumpsuit and I googled it, only to find it had gone on sale half price on freepeople.com. Boy I was glad I googled it! When you find what you’re looking for, google the exact name of the item, and who knows? You may even get lucky and find it listed on hautelook.com or gilt.com! Wouldn’t that be amazing? It kind of surprises me how simple this is, and yet how few people actually do it. I have purchased things for a fraction of the normal price that it’s listed for AT THE SAME TIME as it’s listed for more…simply because I googled it. This is also SUPER helpful if the thing you want is sold out in your size. Sites like swell.com, revolve.com, shopbop.com, zappos.com, lordandtaylor.com, asos.com, as well as all the standards like Nordstrom and Macy’s, ALL carry a variety of brands and sometimes they will have a sale specific to their store that applies to that item! Did you know that Minnetonka is also carried by American Eagle Outfitters and Urban Outfitters? Yep. Google will be your best friend!
- Do a search for the item…in different ways. Sometimes things go by different names. There’s really nothing new under the sun, we just often call things by different terms than they did in say, the 1960s. I’ve often run into people who were teenagers during the original time a clothing item was popular and they always say: “in MY day, we called those dungarees” or something like that. So, say you’re looking for a kimono. Search for “kimono” of course, but don’t forget to use the term “robe” because often they are synonyms for each other. This is VERY useful if you are looking at vintage items because people from different generations will call things by different names, so depending on the person selling it, you may need to use different key words.
- Check other sites for knock offs or similar items. I have a few places that are my “go-tos” for this. I’ve learned that as much as I love Free People, not all of their stuff is unique. Not only do people knock them off very quickly, but some of their stock is not really unique to their store. So, I check a few places first. I check second hand retailers like thredup.com and poshmark.com…this is a great way to find what you are looking for, for less…and sometimes it’s even new with the tags! I always check zara.com too, because yes, they can be just as expensive, but they often have similar items or sometimes things I like more for less money. vicicollection.com has had items IDENTICAL to Free People for under $20! I do a quick scan of their site to check.
- Search for a coupon code. This actually works a lot of the time. When I find something I’m looking for, I do a quick search for the name of the retailer and “coupon code” and I’ve gotten codes that save me money. If it’s a smaller retailer or seller, check their instagram or Facebook feed for sales. Get on their email list to save off your first order AND to get deals. Once I was ordering something from England and was just about to click the magic “place order” button…when I thought I’d better check my email first. I did, and since I had subscribed to her emails, I saw that she had sent out a code for free international shipping. Yep, I just saved myself like $30 just by checking my email first.
- Look for the item that inspired the piece you want. This is kind of interesting to do. Sometimes I will be obsessed with something…and then I actually find a vintage piece that is virtually identical to what I want. Um, I’d rather have the original thanks! Sometimes it’s expensive yes. But SOMETIMES it’s a fraction of the price. Here’s a great example. I bought this dress from Spell Byron Bay that is gorgeous. I literally had not seen many things like it, so I went for it, shelled out the big bucks, and of course it’s beautiful. Then I went down to Venice Beach and walked into a vintage store and they had four dresses on the wall that were virtually identical to my dress. The owner of the store informed me that the Spell girls had just been in their shop to get inspiration! The dresses were the same price as the Spell one I purchased. Do you get my drift? This is the reason I chose this kimono for today’s post. I have been in LOVE with a Spell kimono that is quite similar to this one, but haven’t been ready to shell out the money for it. I was on poshmark.com a week ago, and I could not click BUY fast enough when I saw this. It is almost the same thing, at 1/4 of the price. And it’s vintage, so it’s the original! Yep. Homework pays off you guys.
Okay so this kimono. I’m freaking in LOVE. And again, having a little patience and persistence really saved me some money in the long run! These necklaces are BOTH handmade by amazing women, please support them if you need some new jewelry in your life that really wows people! The choker is from Desert Mermaid on Etsy (it comes in white too and it is really the most comfortable choker I have ever worn) and the leather fringe one is a BRAND NEW creation by my DEAR friend Jessica of Hillbillygypsy Boots. She’s selling them on Poshmark too! The boots are Sam Edelman (they’re like almost completely sold out, so if you want them, I’d shop NOW for them), and even though I own so many fringe boots, boy am I glad I bought these babies.
Argh. It is most definitely a Monday. Will someone please tell my kids it’s a holiday?!?