it’s that time of year

November 20, 2012

shoppingshoppingWe went to the farmer’s market again this past week, which is held at a local outdoor mall, but the farmer’s market won’t be happening this week due to the Black Friday shopping frenzy that will ensue. I don’t really venture out for the crazy Black Friday shopping, but did order a few things online last year, but other than that, I’m not brave enough to go through crowds and craziness for shopping. I am perfectly content doing all my shopping online.

I recently shared my holiday shopping guide for kids over at the Etsy blog. Check it out here. It’s a pretty little list full of wonderful handmade and vintage goods with a variety for different budgets. I did get a few things from that list and I’m happy to say that I am pretty much done with my Christmas shopping. Woot! Woot! I have about 3 things left to order, and then get some little stocking stuffers for the girls (and Ben), Ben and I are doing another handmade gift for each other, and the girls and I have to do a little bit of baking and making for our friends. For our girls, we typically give them two smaller gifts each, and then one community one from “Santa.” Honestly though, Glow will just get one because she is still little and she has 3 older sisters who already have a lot of stuff, so she has plenty of stuff to choose from for wear and play!

I have some shopping rules that I try to stick by that definitely help me in evaluating a purchase…

1. I only buy something that makes me wanna dance. I think I read that on an article on A Cup of Jo eons ago. It’s true though, if something just makes you go “eh,” well, don’t get it.

2. Along with #1, I only buy something on sale that I loved enough to buy it full price. I think store sales are a mental game retailers play with our minds, but I try not to let them win. Before, I use to see something on sale, think it was cute, and since it was on sale, it felt like it was a deal I couldn’t pass up and the fact that it was on sale made it cuter, and I would buy it. I’d have the “it’s on sale, why not mentality.” Then, I started realizing the sale items I got were kind of unnecessary items that I didn’t love and only bought because it was on sale. I don’t know if this makes sense or if I’m clearly explaining this rule I made for myself correctly, but it has worked for me and has eliminated some impulse purchases.

3. Be careful when looking Fab, Gilt, and other sites that work in a similar fashion. I subscribe to all their emails (and have made purchases in the past), but I won’t click on it unless they have a brand that I have been waiting for. For example, Fab had Monchichi dolls recently and that’s on the wish list of two of my girls, so I checked it out. Other than that, I never click on them because those sites are so smart and know how to get us where it hurts… our wallet. If you peruse regularly, chances are you see something nice and then with a place like Gilt, they time you from the time you put the item in your cart, then you feel like you need to make a decision right then and there or someone else will snatch it, and heaven forbid they run out because then you’ll want it even more. Am I right?! Those sites have great deals, but they’re also dangerous.

4. I have a list and I stick with it. I make sure I know what I want, so I don’t come out with a lot of things I don’t really need. When I go to the mall, I don’t just wander from shop to shop (for me, that takes too much time and it’s too stressful with kids). I know where I want to go, and I go in and get out. When I have wandered from shop to shop, I find lots of things I like and all of sudden start really wanting those things and fooling myself to think I need those things, but reality is I don’t need them.

5. What I don’t know, won’t hurt me. I use this when I go to the flea markets. I used to like to go really early, but these days with the 4, it just isn’t as realistic, so I figure if I don’t know what I missed, I won’t feel so bad and end up with more cash in my pocket. Also, steering clear of the flea market (or thrift shops) helps in the savings department too. I try to stay away from my fave online shops too, but that’s a little harder to do.

I love shopping! It’s fun, but also dangerous, so I made rules for myself. We budget, so that helps keep me grounded, but it also involves working on contentment, which can be tough. It’s definitely a heart issue. There will always be something I’m wanting, but I’ve got to check where I am really placing my joy. I love my friend Frances’s motto, “appreciated, but not coveted.” I think it’s good to appreciate things because it’s fun and we should always have fun in life, but be careful of not coveting it.

How do you handle holiday shopping or shopping in general? I know some of you do the three gift rule… want, wear, and read, which I think is a great rule. Do you have a set budget each year? Do you have lists or just enjoy walking from shop to shop to see what you may find?

11 comments on “it’s that time of year”

  • such great tips..! i’m still working on my self control 🙁

  • Annie (NJ) says:

    I shop throughout the year (I don’t like last minute shopping for anything). I also set a budget for individuals (either by family or individually). They give me 5 choices and I choose 1 or…depending. Also I just don’t shop for Christmas. I also include Birthdays, baby gifts, and Lunar New Year’s gifts. I also mail gifts a month ahead…I hate long lines!!
    Once I see what they like I cross them out and go on to the next…Not many of my friends/family like handmade (long long story) also some are very weary of “used” so either gift or money. Less headache. The ones who like handmade they are my first priority!

  • Jen says:

    I’m very similar with my shopping… we have a rule that everything we buy is either something that we actually, really need (and thought of before we were out shopping!) or something that we super love and will improve the quality of our lives. I do a lot of online shopping too because it’s so much easier, especially if you wait for the things you want to go on sale! For Christmas we do 2 gifts each kid and one is always a book too!

  • Megan Lane says:

    This is extremely helpful. I have been cleaning out my closet lately and realizing that I need to consider purchases more.. I like what you said abut it making you want to dance 🙂 I know what you mean about the heart check thing.. I’m working on that right now.. Sick of always wanting/thinking I need something more. And yes, it is so hard avoiding checking my fave websites. And blogs can make the struggle harder too.

  • richelle jean says:

    omg! i have a story to tell you about #1! call me!!

  • Rima @ Bolu says:

    omg, this looks like Victoria Garden. like, by the Macy’s Men.

    and I agree with rule #3. I usually browse quickly, and if i don’t see a brand that I’m aiming for, I leave the site immediately! hahaha…

  • anne says:

    Time for some cloth totes! Easy for me to judge. Plastic bags are banned in my town, so I don’t have a choice 🙂

    • mycakies says:

      I agree. I need to get some, but I don’t feel as bad because we also make sure to recycle all our plastics. Have you tried the baggu ones. Are those any good?

  • anne says:

    I have not tried Baggu, but they look cute. Whenever we travel to a different city (it’s rare), I buy a reusable cloth grocery bag as a souvenir. It’s fun to use a bag from the Co-op in Italy, Zabars, B-Rite, etc. People do double-takes when they see certain shops from their hometown! In case of unplanned purchases, I keep a nylon Gap bag that folds up so small or a Flip and Tumble in my purse.

  • Kai Chan says:

    Well, I used to be that person who everywhere and must buy at least something. Now I just look around and try to go to expensiver stores because I know I can’t afford it. And since I really like it, I love it when they get in sales! By expensiver stores, I mean like Urban Outfitters, anthropologie, Free People type of expensive (something that fits my taste!) And I allow myself to splurge only under 50$ once a month and that’s it. And it helps being a college student to be watchout of my money 🙂

  • Alaina Guido says:

    This post is SO great! I am a friend if Crystal Lewis. She introduced me to your blog a few years ago and I have loved it ever since. I don’t think I have ever commented before but I want you to know that your creativity and honesty have been so inspiring to me as a wife and mom. I LOVE your blog. This post was so timely for me and so full of wisdom. I really like that “don’t buy it unless it makes you want to dance” rule cause I get sucked into buying things on sale way too often. Also, wandering around just to look and convincing myself I need things that I don’t. Thanks so much for this post! 🙂

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