Buying on a Budget

Say you were given $50 to buy whatever you want for a certain occasion, would you go for quality or quantity? That is something that I have to consider when planning out my wardrobe for my vacations. This year, I am traveling for two weeks and have some strategic shopping and packing to do. During the first week of April, I'm going to be tanning it up in Barbados. Then I am home for a week until my next trip to Amsterdam - two completely different places and wardrobes to plan! This post is all the debate that I, along with so many other people, have on whether to go quality or quantity.

It first starts off with the stores that you think of when your searching for a specific item. When I look for bathing suits, I'm definitely looking for more of a quantity than quality.   I typically lounge in my swimsuits and focus on a variety of styles.  What I mean by that is there's a likely chance that a bathing suit being sold at Target or Forever 21 is going to be much more affordable, and maybe even have less of a "clothing life", than a suit from Billabong or Nordstroms. Therefore, you are able to purchase a variety of different kinds of suits and mix or match.


If you are looking for more of a quality swimsuit, one that has a more durable, long lasting fabric, you would probably start by looking at stores that you know are more expensive. The brand Triangl has some of the most cutest bathing suit trends, and some of the most long lasting (and expensive) material out there. All of their suits are made from Neoprene (the same material used in bodysuits for surfing). Another retailer that has more quality bathing suits is ASOS. ASOS has a variety of different styles, ranging from $15 dollar suits to $315! The more you think about your priorities, the better chances you already know the answer to the question!


The next step is the process of conscious consumption. Do you really want to spend a large amount of money on something similar to what you already have? It's definitely hard to not buy something that is similar, since the reason that you like it so much is because you already have something like it! As I'm getting ready for my two vacations, I have to keep in mind what I already have. During the month of January, I did the conscious consumption challenge, where I didn't buy anything for the entire month. This forced me to look at what I already have when deciding what to wear (because I try my best not to duplicate outfits). I've learned that although it's very, very fun buying new clothes, most of the styles I buy are similar to what I already own! 


The final step in choosing to go for either quality or quantity is whether or not you are shopping online or in store. When you are in a retail store, there's a better chance that you will be making a spontaneous purchase. It happens to everyone! When your in store, you can touch and feel the physical item, and are more likely to purchase an accessory or more clothes to go with that one item (aka spontaneous purchasing). This happens a lot to me when I'm in a store, especially a store like Forever 21, where I can feel less guilty about buying something because it's not completely emptying my wallet, only partially. I'll go for a certain item, usually a top, and then I'll find a bottom to go with it just to try on with the top, and then I end up liking them together so much that I just get both!


When you are online shopping, you are more conscious on what you are spending because you have somewhat of a motive of what you are buying. There's also less of a temptation to spontaneously buy something because a picture isn't the same thing as seeing it in person. The way that an online store is displayed can also sway you to either buy something or not. Personally, when there's more than 4 pages of something, I get bored, which decreases the chance that I will buy something. When online shopping, I tend to visit the better priced retailers like Free People and Lucky Brand because I know they will have higher quality clothes.  


So always do a little mental check before purchasing.  Do you already own something similar?  How often will you wear it or what is the cost per use?  Should you wait for a sale?