Shopping Tip of the Week: Do Your Research

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Many things irk me about how people buy things nowadays. With many tools, tips, and various places of information ready for consumers to use, we as consumers should be savvier, more knowledgeable, calculated, and better spenders in our “consumption” of goods. Nevertheless, we often buy things that we end up being frustrated about, returning, or otherwise because we don’t take the time to do what we should do before we buy: and that is to do our due diligence in researching what we want to buy before we buy it. Continue reading

Shopping Tip of the Week: The Price Is Right

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In buying clothes, there is no shame in comparing prices all across the board.  In this unforgiving economy, you most certainly have to price shop for what you want.   No need to be keeping up with the Joneses when those cats are selling off their yachts and mansions.

So, to get a good price for whatever it is you want to get, do yourself a favor and shop around for sales.  Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Find out what you want first and prioritize your list.  If jeans matter more to you than tops, then use that first.  NOTE: This is only to get you started.  Once you start shopping, you may find great sales for a few of the items in your list.
  • Make a list of places where you know you can find your stuff.  For example, if you’re looking for jeans at affordable prices, you may want to visit Macy’s, Kohl’s, Dillard’s, Mervyn’s, Ross, Urban Outfitters, Old Navy/Gap, etc. Continue reading

Shopping Tip Of The Day – Take Note

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With the economy as it is, it’s not unusual to be more selective on what you buy.  Retailers are pushing sales right and left to boost their revenue and to get you to buy something, even to the point of lowering their prices for some sweet deals.  This kind of buyers market makes it easier to shop.

With a list of clothes and accessories handy, take note of retailers’ sales, both online and offline.  Subscribe to RSS feeds, emails or other engagements from retailers to get their sale notices.  When you’re out and about, wandering around the mall, take note of which stores are having their sales and when they end.  Typically, you can find better deals at the tail end of their sale, but at the cost of finding the right size (especially for the average person).

** NOTE ** Don’t just give out your email address or any contact information just because.  Be aware that, even in submitting your email address to other companies, it can be sold or given to their associate companies to do more targeted marketing of their products.

Shopping Tip of the Day: Know What You Have

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So you want to buy more stuff?  Maybe a gadget for your bachelor pad, or some sweet kicks for that football game?  Or maybe even something nice to wear for a date?  Best thing to do first is to analyze and assess what you have and what you don’t have.  Go through your closet and figure out:

  1. What fits loosely – To keep or not to keep?
  2. What fits tightly – To keep or not to keep?
  3. What needs to go – DEFINITELY to go.

If you can’t fathom throwing away your nice Armani suit that hasn’t been worn in 3 years because you’ve gained 50 lbs., donate it to your local charity or put it on consignment.  Knowing what you have to work with is much easier in the long run to buy pieces that will match your current outfits and style personality.  It will help you assess what you NEED to buy to complete your outfits, and hopefully won’t distract you from spending too much on things that you don’t really NEED when you’re out shopping for those pieces.

Shoes galore

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Haha, yeah… so my latest shopittome.com salemail email is full of shoes – I mean racks full of them. Thanks to Onlineshoes.com and Piperlime.com, I have a plethora of shoes to choose from. And yes, I said plethora. Reminds me of that bit on The Three Amigos…

So check this out. I’ll share what shoes to wear on different styles and outfits, in different settings, based on the salemail email.

  • Adidas Gazelle in Black, paired with dark or semi-dark jeans (baggy or bootcut, depends on preferences, situations, and where you’re going that night), light-colored hoodie or funky stripe/pattern button down, Von Dutch trucker hat (HA!) and Reaction watch. Adidas Gazelle shoes are $54.99 at onlineshoes.com
  • Rockport Colrain in Black, paired with dark bootcut jeans or flat-front khakis, plain white button down shirt and chrome buckle belt courtesy of Armani Exchange. Add aviators, Kenneth Cole watch, and fancy rings at your leisure. Rockport Colrain shoes are $46.99 at onlineshoes.com
  • Adidas O-Type Driving with dark denim (either non-destroyed, or semi-destroyed), and with added patterns to suit your style. Pair with a funky tee from Armani and glasses from Steve Madden and your set for a very casual look. $69.99 at onlineshoes.com
  • Kenneth Cole Biggest Fan paired with dark bootcut denim jeans, chrome studded belt, colored pattern shirt (with at least white as the base color), and a Movado watch will get you noticed, and that’s being real. Kenneth Cole shoes courtesy of onlineshoes.com for $97.98.
  • Guess Donte with either white or khaki linen pants, or even (take a guess) a dark denim jeans with a solid (or striped, depending on your flavor) pique polo from Ralph Lauren, Nautica, or Express for a more comfortable, stylish, and fashionable look that says something nice about you and not calling you a slob. Guess footwear from piperlime.com at $54.97
  • Sketchers Footloose paired with denim jeans (either dark, distressed, or combinations), mixed with a white button down shirt with light horizontal or cross-pattern shirt, folded sleeves, and a nice dragon buckle belt from Buckle. Piperlime presents Sketchers Footloose shoes for $51.99.
  • Kenneth Cole New York Clean Slate boots (my fave) paired with a dark denim bootcut jeans followed with black pinstripe button down shirt from Armani Exchange, Macy’s, Nordstroms, or Express (or wherever you can find one), sleek black leather belt, black classic Movado watch, and, if you can afford it, diamond earrings for your pierced ears. :):) Kenneth Cole New York Clean Slate boots from piperlime.com are $91.97.

There you go… That should give you some ideas on how to wear different types of shoes for your day.  Be creative, and always be yourself.  Have fun shopping!

The Ultimate Guide to Black Friday Deals

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This is a sweet post from the techies in Yahoo! that will help all the Black Friday shoppers get their act together in terms of preparing for the shopping and the sweet deals that are coming.

1. Find the ads: This is FIRST AND FOREMOST.  There are sweet deals on sites everywhere, and I’ve already listed some in my previous blog for you.  However, SlickDeals.net is also worth putting on your list of places to check out.  They have pages that is constantly updated with all major Black Friday ads and the website also has a comprehensive Excel spreadsheet that organizes all Black Friday items into one sweet place, making it easy to view all of your potential shopping at once. Next is…

2. Prioritize your list:  Have you ever been grocery shopping without a list and expect to spend only a small chunk of change, only to stand in the self-check aisle and see your grocery bill rise?  You’ll need to write a list and prioritize them in the order that you want them and where you’re getting them.  You can break this list down into geographical, categorical, or topical sections to make it easy for you to plan your days.  You can even write sticky notes on your car or fridge to help you remember.  Put your organizational genius into use and make it easy for yourself at this time of season.  Trust me, that tactic is much better than going shopping without a plan.  You’ll find yourself needing to be bailed out like this financial crisis.

3. Learn the rules:  Know the store hours for each place you want to go (my personal favorite is Best Buy opening at 5:00 am).  Grab any vouchers or coupons that stores give out when they open (as long as it is within reason of your budget).  If you can, try to find out how much stock of your items are on each store, which will save you from going from store to store to find out they’ve run out of the Wii.  

4. Coordinate with others: A partner in crime is helpful.  REALLY helpful, especially if you have to wait in line for the stores to open.  Bring a friend or two.  They’ll help you fight for that last Wii console from a screaming lady and her 2 kids.  The bigger and faster the friends, the better! 

5.  Pack accordingly: Don’t forget to bring warm clothes, sleeping bags, wood/kindling/matches for a campfire, marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers for smores.  No, seriously.

Tricks and traits for shopping great deals, volume 1

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Every now and then, I’ll share some tricks and techniques on how to get great deals for clothes and accessories. Finding great deals take some detective work and memory, especially if you are shopping in person versus online. I’ve come up with a handful of online sites where you can find quality clothes for all budget levels, and then we’ll discuss a few tricks to get you started.

  1. Shopittome.com — one of my favorite places to shop. It is a free site that functions as “your own personal shopper” (as they mentioned in their web site), where you can sign up to receive deals online for a lot of brands, including Banana Republic, Nordstrom, Tom Ford, Bulgari, Cole Haan, Christian Dior, Burberry, and more. You check which brands and retailers you want to receive emails from, in which this site will email you deals that they have scoured based on your preferences. You can also choose the frequencies of your emails as well, which is fantastic. 2 THUMBS UP!
  2. Bluefly.com — I also like this site for it’s overall quality value. Similar to shopittome.com, Bluefly is an online discount retailer of designer brands at discount prices.
  3. Zappos — A great shoe site.
  4. Shoes.com — Another great shoe site.
  5. Armani Exchange — Enough said!
  6. Saks Fifth Avenue
  7. Kenneth Cole
  8. Kenneth Cole – Reaction
  9. Endless.com
  10. Banana Republic
  11. Shoebuy.com
  12. Nordstrom
  13. Brooks Brothers
  14. Macy’s

One trick that I have found helpful in finding great deals is to conduct comparison shopping. This means exactly what it says, but in this case, you are not just comparing for prices; rather, you are comparing for prices in relation to quality, value, style, cut, and so forth. You are conducting your own research on what you think is best for you based on these elements, with the underlying concept that your research is going to result in the best possible long-term value and investment for you money. You want the BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK.

Here’s a scenario: you are looking for a pair of brown cap-toe oxfords for work, and you found them in multiple places: Old Navy, Macy’s, Kenneth Cole, and so on. Which one would you choose and why? Do you pick the shoe from Old Navy, or the selections from Macy’s or Kenneth Cole? Are you always going to take the lowest price possible, or are you going to compare the actual value of the shoe based on the quality and investment value of that product? While the answers really depend on your shopping habits, budget, and personality (to name a few), again you should always think about the long-term value and investment of anything you buy.

Another “trick” that I have used that has helped me tremendously is consistently paying attention to which stores have the best sales and which stores have them consistently. Using comparison shopping as a model, you can find the stores and products that have sales and compare them to other products and stores that have the same, if not similar, product. Try visiting one of your favorite stores for a few months and see what products you find are on sale most often and which ones do not. I remember visiting the downtown Seattle Banana Republic store quite frequently after work, checking out which products are displayed, which ones would be on clearance, what sizes are more likely to be on clearance, and how often such products go on clearance. And oh, the many outfits I have bought for very cheap. The things you see and the knowledge you gain by paying attention in one store will pay off in another, and after that it’s a snowball effect from there. Your eyes are going to open to new things. Kind of like the Matrix, but less freaky LOL.

Trust me, it pays off quite well.