Enough Time Moms: Tips For Becoming a Black Friday Shopping Pro

Image Credit: Matt Banks

 

‘Tis the season, yes? Well, according to every store I’ve been in since November 1st it is! And that shopping ritual we know as Black Friday is mere weeks away.

Join me over at Enough Time Moms today and learn how to tackle Black Friday and Cyber Monday like a pro. With a little prep, you can shop with focus and leave the others in your dust.

 

Disclosure: I am a compensated blogger for Enough Time Moms. This post reflects my views and opinions and was not reviewed or edited by a third party. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sara

Mamavation Monday: Size Lies

You know that if Barbie was real she’d be like 8 feet tall and have a waist the size of your wrist, right? And bewbies the size of a small Hawaiian island. Yes? I know that’s not totally true, but it’s close. But we’re on the same page, correct?

When you last went shopping did you have to try on 5 different sizes, depending on the store, designer, piece of clothing? I went shopping this past weekend – I know, it was a miracle – and got so frustrated. I’m no skinny-minnie and I’m working on being more comfortable in my skin. But, seriously, nothing is more dejecting than grabbing the same size I’ve been wearing for 3 years only to have to wriggle and squirm to end up looking like a kielbasa gone wrong.

Spanks couldn’t save this experience. I’d have to wear something more akin to a spanks-atard from my neck to my knees. Talk about wanting to cry. And I won’t even discuss those fun-house mirrors they put in women’s dressing rooms. It was terrible. I tried on a dress that I knew should be too big because I have a hard time fitting my hips so it doesn’t look like it’s pulling. Instead, it was horrible! The cut was huge on top and could barely fit the bottom half of me.

What’s wrong with designers? I’m not sure what kind of fit models they’re using, but I’m not sure if they’re real women. I know we all come in different shapes, but this fit model must not have hips or a butt or thighs.

So I put the dress back on the hanger knowing I won’t be buying it, despite it being pretty, purple – my favorite color after black – and on super amazing 65% off clearance. It was going to be great! Until it wasn’t.

Next up was a casual dress from a designer I already have one dress from. In the same size. So imagine my surprise when I put on what I had hoped to be another dress which would kept me off ‘What Not To Wear’ for at least another month only to be disappointed and left wondering if maybe I grabbed the smaller size. But I didn’t and I’m left feeling down. I’m trying to lose weight. I’m seeing result and then I’m left feeling dejected by a letter or number on a tag.

Who are these people making clothes? Why can’t a size be a size be a size? Why do I have to play ‘Fit or No Fit’ in the dressing room?

This is why I buy shoes!


Image: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sara

Quality vs. Cheap Clothing – When Spending Money Is Worth It

Classic Trousers from Nordstrom

Classic Trousers – Nordstrom

 


I recently read an article about the 5 things you should never buy from Old Navy. I wasn’t surprised to see the article. And none of the items mentioned were things I would consider buying at Old Navy anyway – sweaters, t-shirts, shoes. Junk! If you’ve been in to a discount store lately you know what I’m talking about. No hems, just a surged edge. Ultra thin fabric that is almost sheer. To me it screams CHEAP! Cheap clothes may have a purposes, but for most things they’re more a waste of money.

Really, though, what kind of clothing should I expect for $5? I look at it as disposable clothes. And it saddens and frustrates me that the garment industry has come to this. That we, the consuming public, have been so loud about our demand for low cost clothing that we’re now given craptastic things and we’re joyously stocking up.

Disposable clothing has its place, like when you’re painting or scrubbing the grill. You just have to be willing to part with the clothes if they get ruined. On a daily basis, though, I don’t see my clothes as disposable. It’s not how I grew up. I know times were different ‘back them’ – yah, I’m talking about the 70s and 80s. Clothes were more expensive (well, from my perspective as the kid begging my mom for money to shop) and I was expected to take care of them so they would last.

There was no shopping at Old Navy, H&M, Target or Walmart. We had JC Penney and Sears for the most part, until I moved to southern California and the world of the mall opened up and all those specialty stores came to life. Wet Seal was ‘the store’. And everything was. so. expensive! But it was well made and it lasted. Well, at least for the school year.

As I was growing up I learned about ‘investment’ clothing. My Auntie Emma would take me shopping at Bullocks, Buffums, and Nordstrom. Shoes and clothes there were considerably more than the Sears or even Dillard’s prices I was familiar with. But, oh, the difference was so noticeable. I’m not talking about the service. I’m just talking about how the clothes were made. Not itchy fabrics, no bulky seams.

Auntie Emma dressed impeccably. She didn’t have a closet overflowing with clothes but she had plenty. She knew her basic style and built up on that. Start with the basics and buy the best! I can’t tell you how many times I heard that. She gladly paid $50 for a pair of shoes for me when cheaper ones could be had. But not only did I take good care of those shoes, my feet didn’t hurt and they lasted much longer than my less expensive and more cheaply made ones.

My closet is a mish mash of things. As you know, I am not good at shopping. I get overwhelmed and confused. Do I go for the more expensive well-made piece or do I just plunk down what already seems like a lot of money for something that won’t last very long? And why would I pay $12 for a blouse that is ‘Dry Clean Only’ which would end up costing me more to care for it? Sure, if that $12 is the sale price for a $90 blouse I can see it. But if I’m buying BabyGirl a dress at Costco, does it really make sense to then pay more to care for it than the dress costs? Confusion!

I know that there really is no such thing as ‘investment clothing’. That it’s a misnomer to get people to spend a ton of money on designer names. What I’m really focusing on is classic, well-made, clothing. Clothing that will remain stylish over the years because it’s well-made and will actually last more than a few months.

Old Navy never has been a store I shop at frequently, but the article was more of a sign about how clothing stores have been lowering the bar. Overall, I feel clothing quality is going down. But prices keep going up. What to do?

How do you shop? What are your ‘go to’ pieces? Does anyone else seem to think clothing quality is going downhill?

Sara

Yes, I’m Saying It – I Suck At Shopping

I’m not a clothes horse. Never have been, probably never will be. I know the adage that clothes can make the (wo)man, and to a certain degree I believe that. But when it comes to getting dressed I’m a uniform kinda gal. Probably that military influence from growing up.

CycleGuy gets on me to go shopping even. How many women would love a husband that say “Buy it for yourself!” and never complain when you walked in the door with shopping bags from the mall or have boxes from online stores? All my friends!

But being the frugal, budget conscious girl I am shopping is difficult for me. And it always has been. Even when I was working full time I would agonize over buying a new outfit. But this agony only applies to shopping for myself. I can easily buy stuff for BabyGirl and CycleGuy. In buying for them I often have to step back and say ‘no’ because I get this crazy high finding bargain and cool stuff for them.

One look in my closet and you’d wonder how I get dressed every day. You’ll see a sprinkling of color, but most of what a wear is black or dark. Uniform much?

I know experts say buy classic pieces in neutral colors and accessorize with colors that suit you. Timeless styles and quality made clothing is always a better investment. I get that. And I do have some amazing pieces that have been staples for years. I totally get all this, but still I’m so stuck. Stuck on not wanting to step out of my little uniform box.

I know I could easily be a candidate for What Not To Wear or have Tim Gunn look down his nose at my collection of capri pants and ‘mom clothes’. But fashion is a learned skill. One I’ve obviously don’t have even a BA in much less the Masters or PhD. If anything I need to see a fashion doctor!

But shopping and fear of spending don’t mix well. And, really, that is what it is for me. A huge fear of spending money on myself. No, it’s not a sickness, but yes, it requires mindfulness and a constant reminder that I am worth of nice things and that I deserve to dress nicely.

Whenever I get a crazy streak and feel I should head to the mall to see what’s out there I try to remember

5 things to manage stressful shopping:

1. Focus on one piece of clothing. And no, it can’t be another pair of shoes! Buying an entire wardrobe is not going to happen. I get overwhelmed thinking I need to buy all kinds of things.

2. Black is not an option. If I walk in the house with another item of black clothing I’m not sure CycleGuy will be supportive of my shopping.

3. Set a realistic budget. Sure, I may think $15 for a top is reasonable but it is really? If I know what I can comfortably spend I’m less stressed about seeing price tags and I’ll stay away from brands that will surely be outside my limit. Also, if a sales associate asks I can be upfront and get more appropriate options.

4. Don’t buy for anyone else. When I’m shopping for myself I have a rule that I can not buy anything for anyone else. I’m too easily distracted. And then it becomes an excuse for not looking for what I need.

5. Shop alone or with a trusted friend. My daughter is a terrific shopper and had a great fashion sense. But shopping with her is stressful for me because I worry she’s bored or hungry or tired. It’s the perfect excuse not to focus on my needs. Also, because her choices aren’t always mine I don’t want to squash that sense of excitement when she loves something but I dont, or vice versa. If I do feel I want to hang out with someone, I have a few friends I know will gladly help me and not put themselves ahead of my need to buy something right for me.

So there it is. I suck at shopping for myself. Now chime in with your therapeutic tips on how to make shopping for me less stressful. Please?! Pretty Please!

Sara

Shop HauteLook for Fashion on a Budget

Yes, another deal site! This time it’s higher-end things I think you’ll really like. I’ve been shopping at HauteLook for quite awhile, checking it out. And I have to say I’ve been impressed not only with the brand names but also their customer service.

 

 

Today they have one of the cutest lip balms you’ll ever buy! Twist & Pout lip balm is made in the USA and are little fashionable globes that will be more fashion accessory than bottom of your purse necessity.

 

 

 

Who wouldn’t want travel discounts on top hotels? Currently they’re running deals on luxury hotels in Vegas, Maui, Los Cabos, DC, Orlando and more. And it’s constantly changing. What a great way to save on a vacation!

 

 

 

 

 

HauteLook also offer clothing and accessories as well as the occasional haircare or sunscreen product. Usually on the higher end of quality but always at a more budget friendly price. So don’t wait, check out HauteLook today. I’m sure you’ll find lots of great things. And if there isn’t something there today, they’re adding new things often so you’ll want to get on their email list.

 

 

Happy (discount) shopping!

 

Disclosure: by clicking on the links you will be taken to HauteLook and they’ll know I sent you. If you purchase something I’ll get a small commission, which will help run my website. Thank you!

Sara

What If You Are Overcharged ….. Or Undercharged

Money_Tree

It’s happened to all of us.  We’re shopping and have a mental note of how much things should cost and we diligently watch the scanner.  Eggs. beep. Cereal. beep. Honey. beep. Wait!  And all of a sudden we’re in full on battle-mom mode.  Having worked in retail, I know that humans program these machines and mistakes do happen.

Nonetheless, the voice gets higher and out comes ‘Excuse me, maam, but I think I was overcharged for the honey, it’s on sale.’  Crackers. beep.  Cheese.  beep.  ‘Excuse me, maam.’  ‘I heard you, I’ll get to it in a minute.’  Meanwhile I could have been charged $86 for the cheese and I would never know because I’m trying to right a wrong here.  This is my money!  The tension is building and I try to keep calm so as not to come off like a crazy woman.

A few exchanges and the error is corrected.  War averted!  Now, I wasn’t rude or crass or nasty or anything like that.  I’m not like that and I truly feel empathy for those who work retail because I’ve been there and I know that it’s a thankless  job.  But, it’s a job and most try to do it as best they can.  But when it comes to my money, I want to make sure I spend it wisely.

So, what happens if I am undercharged?  Should I pretend the item was really on sale?  Do I let the cashier know and pay ‘more’ (er, the correct price)?  The circumstance is quite different from being overcharged, and so is the response.  I’m too honest and I always let the cashier know.  I don’t mess with Karma!  I’d say that 99% of the time the cashier just gives me the ‘Oh, honey, it’s OK’ look and keeps going.  There have been a few occasions where the correction has been made.

I’m  not here to debate whether it’s stealing or not or who is right or wrong.  I just wanted to point out that in both instances someone is unjustly enriched and it’s not fair — either way.  You decide what you want to do.  But, in any case, be pleasant and remember that the cashier didn’t do this to you.  Don’t take it personally if you are overcharged (unless, of course, you know it was personal), it’s human error somewhere but not usually the cashier you’re dealing with.  Similarly, if you are undercharged and it’s a great deal don’t take advantage of the situation.

Being a good customer means that you can politely request to be charged the printed/advertised price.  It also means being respectful of the business you patronize.  My general rule is to mention any incorrect price.  Most of the time I get the best of everything since many stores have written policies that address this matter and give the benefit to the customer.

What do you think should be done?  Has this ever happened to you?  If so, what did you do?  Please share your experiences.