Thursday, September 19, 2013

3 Ways to Avoid & Reduce Buyer's Remorse

As a bargain-lover and overall frugal person, I often used to become enamored with cheap products, without much thought about the quality (or even sometimes fit!). There is such a joy in finding something for sale and having a brand new purchase that I often don't realize it's a mistake until it's too late.

Even worse, I often get a strong sense of "buyer's remorse" from making purchases that I don't absolutely love, but cannot return. This is partly because I'm so darn indecisive. This can lead to a lot of returned purchases and a few nonreturnable, mediocre pieces in my closet.

When shopping, I find it helpful to:

1. Keep a focused checklist in mind. 
This is where my wishlist comes into play. If you have a specific product in mind, even better! This is useful for two reasons. Looking for products actively can make for more useful purchases. You know what you want it for and how it can expand your wardrobe. Also, this will justify your purchase and let you more easily compare options and prices!

What I've been using lately: Hukkster (referral link, no benefits)
With the press of a button, I can save an item and get emails every time it goes on sale at my desired price point. This lets me "stalk" the items that I want, so that I don't have to compulsively buy online when I find great discounts. I just started using Hukkster this month, so I've mostly used it on new items and have only gotten a few emails. However, it actually looks for a lot of promo codes too, which may help save you time and money when shopping.
2. Take a friend that is critical and honest.
For me, my family has been the best sounding board for ideas and criticism. This extends to clothing choices as well. My mom is the prime shopper in my family, and has bought me some of my favorite clothes. She knows trends and is very open-minded about younger styles such as ripped jean shorts and sheer clothing, so I know when she says a piece looks "cheap" or is "drowning me alive", I should definitely reconsider buying it. Close friends work as well; just make sure you like their sense of style.

3. Be mindful of return policies.
This is easy enough with most stores. The thing you have to watch out for is final sale items. "Final sale" means no returns! If I'm borderline about a purchase (which is often, since I'm so indecisive), I'll make sure I'm not buying anything final sale. That way, when I ask for the opinion of my family or friends later, I can have the option of returning.

4. If you are iffy about some details of the item, just let it go!
Because of how retail stores are now set up, there will likely be many different versions of the same product and worst thing, you can consider it for a while and pick it up later. For instance, I recently let go of the Ann Taylor black perfect patent pumps, because they fit a little big on me and kept sliding off my foot. They were made so nicely that I could hardly bear to part with them, but I was convinced that I could always look for a new pair.

Here is one example of tip #2, recently in play. I purchased this Charter Club print button-up at Macy's a few days ago with a friend. It was on steep sale and I liked the print, so I bought it in Petite S/M. When I brought it home and showed it to my mom, she told me the back was way too loose for me, and the fabric looked flimsy and cheap- something similar to Forever 21 quality. This criticism verified my doubts about the purchase.

Readers: Do you have any stories of buyer's remorse to share?

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