Wants vs. Needs
I think one of the most frustrating things about shopping is knowing you want something but don't necessarily need it. Of course, sometimes we give into these impulses and buy the item anyway (hence the term impulse buy), but eventually we realize buying something completely impractical is really useless because we rarely end up using the item and then might not have funds to buy what we actually need (example a- buying a vintage sequin jacket versus a new winter coat). Having faced this dilemma more than once myself, I've come up with some rules I try to follow while shopping: 1. Can I wear it more than once or is the item occasion specific? I try not to spend too much on things I know I will only wear once (i.e. gowns of any kind), unless the occasion is really special. I think getting the most out of everything you buy should definitely be a goal. For winter, boots, scarves, and a great coat are all really practical purchases that definitely deserve your money since you'll wear them all season long.
2. Does it even match anything? By "match" I don't necessarily mean is it the same exact color as those pants you bought a week ago, but does it "match" the rest of your wardrobe? Or will it eventually be pushed to the back of your closet with all the rest of the clothes you will "someday" wear? Chances are, if it doesn't align with what you usually buy, you probably won't end up wearing it.
3. Is it worth the money? I'm all for investing in pieces that will last a few seasons (still wearing my cashmere Equipment sweater from two years ago, and consider it one of my best buys), but if it's a random item (read: sequin shorts, pink blazer) then think twice about the price point and compare it the the cost of a piece you might actually need.
4. Do I need this? If you've been looking for a quality pair of boots and finally found them, then don't think twice. However, if you've been looking for a quality pair of boots and stumble across a pair of metallic green wedges, then reconsider before buying.
5. Have I been considering this purchase for awhile? Personally, I love discount shopping and searching through consignment stores for last season's designer pieces. It's an affordable way to buy high quality items for a fraction of the price. If I go into one of my usual shops and find something is still priced higher than I'd like, I wait for it to go on sale and ask the clerks if and when they plan to mark the item down. Just this week I got a Marc Jacobs top at T.J. Maxx that I'd been eyeing for a while because it went on clearance, and now I'm so happy I didn't pay full price.