To Buy or Not To Buy?

designer-sale-picNow that we are *officially* in a recession, shopaholics everywhere must search deep within their souls and answer a pressing question: to buy, or not to buy? Do we buy because all of the best designers have slashed their prices by 70%? Or perhaps because it’s practically our civic duty to jump start the flailing economy?

Do we not buy at all? Should we wisely close our clutches and pinch pennies to safeguard our savings account? I’d approach this question with a multi-pronged answer, since, though it may seem superficial, is actually rather complex. I think the answer depends on two main issues: your current financial situation and the item in question.

No Money, No Problem (or at least, no problem making a decision)

For those of us who have received paycuts, less hours, or the pink slip, the answer is clear: hold onto your money and leave the credit cards at home. No matter how fabulous that coat is, or how far it has been discounted, or the fact that you can pass it down to your nonexistant potential future daughter at some point in the future, you need to put the credit card down, and slowly back away. And stay away. The best way to avoid temptation and potential slip ups is to steer clear of the stores. The deals will still be there when you have a job again, and you’ll be back in the dressing room before you know it.

Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems

First off, if you are gainfully employed with no forseeable job cuts – rejoice! Secondly, you have a decision to make that boils down to the item in question. Here’s my guide on when to buy and when to hold back:

Buy When At Least 2 of the Below Conditions Are Met:

The Andrew Marc Wool 'Katie' Coat is a good investment piece.

The Andrew Marc Wool 'Katie' Coat is a good investment piece.

– The item is 70% off or more

– The item is something you are absolutely in love with, and you would have gladly paid full price at the beginning of the season

– It’s a classic style, cut, or design that could have been worn ten years ago and that will likely still look stylish ten years in the future

– It looks absolutely fantastic on you, and you know it will be in heavy wardrobe rotation for at least two years

Do NOT Buy If the Item Meets ANY of the Below Criteria:

– The item was an ‘It’ bag, shoe, dress of the season. If you do, three months from now you’ll already look dated.

– It’s not marked down past 60% – trust me, it will go further by the time January rolls around

Though cute & super trendy, the Dolce Gabanna psychedelic dress isn't a smart recession purchase.

Though cute & super trendy, the Dolce Gabanna psychedelic dress isn't a smart recession purchase.

– It’s a great deal, but it doesn’t fit and flatter your body fabulously. When you add another $100 of alterations to the price tag and still can’t guarantee a great fit, it’s just not worth the time, money or hassle.

– The color isn’t one of your favorites. Two years ago I snatched up a pale pink Narciso Rodriguez gown for what I thought was a steal – $800, down from it’s original $4,500 price tag. The color makes me look completely washed out, and I have never worn the dress. I am currently trying to sell it on eBay for $375… any takers? 🙂

So while I wouldn’t tell anyone to avoid shopping, I will say that ‘Tis the Season to Shop with Caution.”  If you absolutely love it, you look great in it, and you have the money – go for it. But if not, there is always another day, another deal, and another gorgeous dress.

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Filed under savvy shopping, Shop Til I Drop

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