Musings & Miscellany

Save $$$ This Holiday Season!

Do a Double-Take…

Happy day, reader dear!

The Ho Ho Holiday season is bearing down upon us with all the grace of a freight train, and oodles of bloggers out there are sharing their shopping guides. Since I don’t think we need any more of those, it seems time for a shop-not guide!

If you’ve been reading for any time at all, you will know that I’m a finance geek, which seems to be the exception in the style blogging world. I’ve always been cost conscious, and budget minded. Mostly because I needed to be. Buying the best quality you can find at a price point that works for your budget is smart spending. Not buying lots of tat for little cash. That isn’t the way to sustain a wardrobe.

During the really lean years, Christmas shopping was challenging. I often found myself overspending. Not on the gifts themselves, but on all the “great deals” out there! It took many years, and a lot of uncomfortable Januarys (Januaries?), but the discipline is improving. Some people will suggest that you only shop on-line, or take a list and only shop with cash. These can be good strategies and might be great for your shopping style. Here’s another that works both on-line, and in the heat of the mall moment: When you see that “great deal” or “bargain” that seems to good to pass up, do a Double-Take!

(1) Take a Picture

Pull out your phone and Take a Picture of that irresistible shirt, sweater, pair of booties, or what-have-you. There are two reasons to take that picture. First, looking at a photo of the item gives a more objectified view of it, and allows you (and me!) to put distance between ourselves and the object of your affection. Second, sometimes we want things just because they are lovely. There’s nothing wrong with that desire, but not everything lovely belongs in our home, or in our wardrobe. I think The Venus de Milo is lovely, but I’m not taking it from the Louvre for my living room. And I don’t even need a miniature of it. I can see it in my mind’s eye, or in any of a million places on the web. I could make it my screen saver. Having the picture on my phone may be enough “having”!

I took this picture of a red bootie back in September.

(2) Take a Break

Take a time-out! No, you don’t need to put yourself in the corner, but walk away from the temptation for a good 24 hours. Jill Chivers of My Year Without Clothes Shopping calls this a Power Pause. I LOVE that thought. It is powerful! If you forget about said item, you have your answer. It wasn’t that important or irresistible! My brain says Take Time Tomorrow to look at that irresistible item and ask yourself these questions:

Do I still love it? Is it on my wardrobe plan? Does it play well with what I already own? Can I see myself wearing it at LEAST 30 times? (The 30 question kills a lot of my sartorial crushes.) Will I be buying it with cash on hand? (For other shopping questions to ask, see this post.)

For household items, the questions shift: Do I have a place for it? Am I willing to move, clean, and store it? Is it a replacement for a regularly used Does the thought of buying it bring me peace? Will it bring peace to the others in my family? (I love the questions inspired by Dawn of The Minimal Mom!)

If the answers to any of these is NO, thank yourself for not buying it yesterday, and give yourself (and your bank account) a big hug! If the answers are YES all around, then that bargain may well be a bargain. If it’s worth the purchase, it’s worth the trip back!

So how about you? My favorite saving strategy is the Double Take. What are your best tips for saving money and resisting shopping temptation? Do share! I love to hear from you…

Stylishly (and budget consciously) yours,

PS: About those red booties: I sat on those questions for almost two months. And I answered them all YES. So I went back and bought them. With cash. AND no regrets. They’ll be a centerpiece of my Winter Capsule Wardrobe!



    Liz, How my husband and I deal with finaces is that we stay out of debt.. We do shop with credit cards but if it can’t be paid off by the end of the month we don’t purchase. I have an allownace per month that I don’t exceed!! We’re the kind od couple that find debt makes us not able to sleep. Now, we have had medical debt but we just cut expenxes as low as possible and paid every cent towadrs the amount and paid it off as fast as we could!!! You have to work as a couple!!

    • Liz K

      You’re not odd! Debt makes everyone uncomfortable! I see an entire generation of young people terrified of any debt, “good” or “bad”.

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