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How to mindfully shop clothing sales and REALLY save money

2014 Mindful spending reminder on post-it.
2014 Mindful spending reminder on post-it.
Lori Rochino

With the holidays over and the start of a new year, now is a good time to think about better ways to save money. There were many times when I bought things that I did not need but bought anyway because it was either on sale or an impulse purchase. This was particularly frequent when it came to clothing.

Let's face it, it's easier to overshop than undershop these days - especially with all those fabulous after-holiday sale promotions popping up in your email inbox. I've gotten ads to save 20% on handbags at the Kate Spade outlet, Groupon offers for leggings and maxistirts under $20, Zulily sale for 75% off, 25% off Tory Burch apparel and more.

Before I would also find ways to justify my purchases by saying to myself, "Oh I really need this / Someday I could use this / It looks great on model it has to look great on me!" That's advertisers for you. They want to show product at its best. Online shopping is the worst since product photographs are airbrushed to complete perfection so you'll spend money. How else will someone drop money on the fly? That $14.99 maxiskirt and leggings has to look really hot and sizzling! But then you get the product in the mail and it looks more lackluster than what's in the photo. Wah-wah.

It's our fault too. We as buyers don't always take some time and consideration to see what's really going to fit well for our body shape and overall lifestyle, or have anything to do with our career or any type of life aspiration.

Some shopping blunders I made which resulted in either a return or charity donation include:
• A hot pink pink corset two sizes bigger than me that I might have worn ONCE to a club
• Blouses with attached neck ties - I have a short neck, what was I thinking?
• Boatneck shirts - didn't work for my bulky arm and chest
• Cowlneck sweaters - not for me, again, I have a short neck and they're made for longer neck women

While it's great to know about a sale, lately I've learned to look at sales ads with more jaundiced eyes. I've also started choosing to be more mindful in doing my research way in advance before spending money. What really helps you save is a) not spending at all if you don't have to and b) if you do spend make sure it's quality, something you need and could use 80% of the time.

Here are some steps for saving money and spending more mindfully.
1) Research the web to see what clothing colors and styles appeal to you.
2) Set up a Pinterest board for inspiration of looks you absolutely love.
3) Try on at a retail store for body fit, product quality and overall lifestyle fit.
4) Ask yourself if you will use this 80% of the time, then make your purchase.

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