When is a bargain not a bargain?

LogoIn anticipation of spring (I saw my first robin earlier this week!) I’ve been looking through my winter closet and thinking about which items to keep for another season and which to get rid of. In the process, I’ve stopped to ponder a few pieces that I’ve rarely ever worn. Why did I buy them in the first place, I’ve asked myself, and why don’t I wear them? That led to the topic for today’s post. When is a bargain not a bargain?

As a frugal fashionista, I’m always drawn to the sales racks and I love thrift store shopping. Much of my wardrobe was purchased at a fraction of it’s original price. I’ve learned, however, that a bargain isn’t a bargain unless it’s something you’re actually going to wear!

When considering whether a bargain is actually a bargain, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

Does it fit properly? Shop for the body you have right now, not the one you wish you had or the one you hope to have someday in the future. If you can’t wear it today, put it back on the rack unless you intend to have it altered. If you do, unless you have the ability to do it yourself, you also need to factor in the cost of tailoring.

Does it fit your lifestyle? Do you actually have somewhere to wear it?

Does the colour flatter your complexion? This is especially important to consider if it’s something that will be worn close to your face.

Does it work with your existing wardrobe?  Know what’s already in your closet and where the gaps are. If you have to buy several other items to make something work, it’s no longer a bargain.

Does it say what you want it to say? Choose 3 to 5 adjectives that describe what you want your wardrobe to say about you and keep them in mind when you’re shopping. When I look in the mirror I want my outfit to say classy, confident, and comfortable. I also look for pieces that might add a bit of creative flair.

Do you love it? My shopping mantra has become “If you don’t love it, don’t buy it!”

When deciding whether or not something will be a bargain, another factor to consider is cost per wear. Let’s look at a couple of examples from my closet. One of the first pieces of cabi that I bought was the Shirttail Cardigan from the Fall 2016 Collection. I still love it and I wear it frequently during the winter months. The original price was $149 CAD, but as a party hostess, I was able to purchase it at 50% off. I have no idea how often I’ve worn it, but I’m guessing maybe 100 times. If we do the math ($74.50 ÷ 100) that works out to 75¢ per wear. The following year, I bought the cabi Silk Blouse, also at 50% off. It originally sold for $159 CAD, but I paid $79.50. I’ve probably worn it half a dozen times. That works out to $13.25 per wear! It’s easy to see which of these items was a bargain and which wasn’t! That doesn’t mean that the blouse wouldn’t have been a bargain for someone else, just not for me.

I’m sure I’ll still make some shopping mistakes, but I’m hoping that there will be less of them in the future!

4 thoughts on “When is a bargain not a bargain?

  1. I heard a family member say something the other day that made me think of this same concept. She was getting some items from the thrift store and going in on a bag sale with a friend. “We may as well fill up the bag,” she said. I thought to myself, a bargain is not a bargain if you are just filling up a bag with items that you wouldn’t otherwise purchase. I would rather have an almost empty bag with things I really want than a full bag of “may as well, it’s free.”

    • So true, Kari! I’ve become much pickier about what I bring home from the thrift stores. There are wonderful bargains to be had, but if I’m only buying something because the price is right and don’t end up using it, I might as well have left it in the shop for someone else.

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