Poppy Mom’s Guide to Simple Shopping

I love to live simply but it’s impossible to completely avoid the need to shop for clothing and the like. Here are the tips I use to stop the shopping experience from driving me crazy.

1. Only go into two stores in a single trip.

If I go to a giant mall, I only visit two stores. I keep this rule even when I’m visiting an outlet mall or somewhere I’m only going once and that will have potentially amazing deals. Two stores and I’m done in terms of my patience for shopping.

2. Scan the barcode by throwing away the box or tag.

I tend to stick to the same products e.g., I just buy the same sneakers over and over. Before throwing the box away I scan the barcode into my Red Laser and Amazon Price Checker apps so that I can easily reorder the same item when I need to replace it. Often I get last year’s model to save even more.

3. Know your criteria for buying an item.

For example, I love hoodies. When I look for a hoodie, I want it to meet the following criteria

– 100% cotton
– full zip
– Women’s XL or Men’s Medium. I buy oversize so that I can throw it in the wash and not be bothered by shrinkage.
– Not grey.
– Under $50.

Once it meets this criteria, I buy it. If you know your criteria, you will know to say yes to a particular item rather than continuing to look around to see if you can find something better.

4. Have a replacement schedule.

For example, I replace sneakers every 6 months. I like summer style sneakers, even in winter – they’re more breathable and I like summer colors better than winter. Therefore I know to shop when summer items are going on sale. Flip flips are another items where I know I regularly wear out an replace these.

5. Buy the cheapest.

I will usually always buy the cheapest for things like microwaves or other small appliances, and basic items like band aids. If I find out the brand isn’t any good, I’ll just avoid that brand next time. The vast majority of the the time, the cheapest brand is just fine. I’m not brand loyal or particular about brands that pay celebrities or sports people to advertise for them.

6. Shop online where possible.

Where I live, stores are option out of the item that I want. It’s very frustrating to go to the store to find that they don’t have the item I went for. Shopping online solves this problem because you’ll now instantly whether they have the item or not.

7. Don’t stock up.

There’s little to no reason to stock up, unless you think you’re going to need to replace a seasonal item before it becomes in-season again.

8. If I only need the item for one thing, don’t buy it e.g., one occasion or an ingredient I’ll only use in one recipe.

If I only need a fancy dress or something like that for one occasional or less than once a year, I’ll just do without it and find another solution. That might involve being slightly underdressed for the once a year I need some type of fancier clothing.

If I need to buy an ingredient for a recipe and don’t think I’ll use that ingredient in any other recipe, I won’t generally make the recipe.

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