Monday, 25 March 2013

creative shopping on a budget

photo by Nicole Tattersall
It's fair to say that I'm a bargain hunter. I love the thrill of a good hunt. Knowing that I've gotten a bargain makes my day. Not because I'm a cheapskate, but because I like to make our current single-income dollar stretch as far as possible. 

Once you reach "family" status, you are no longer free to just spend your hard-earned dollars on yourself. There's not much treating oneself to little luxuries and indulgences anymore. Not often anyway. There's more (picky) mouths to feed, bums to clothe and entertainment which would have never registered on your radar were it not for the addition of children in your life.

So I direct you back to the point of this story... Creative Shopping. Yes. We all need a little of this in our lives to help us balance our books AND so that we too can have some little luxuries from time to time. So here are three methods of shopping to get you thinking (and spending) more creatively.

There's online shopping. There are definite and obvious benefits to spending your dollars online. Online retailers overheads are marginal in comparison to brick-and-mortar stores, hence they pass on the savings to you, the shopper.  But with online shopping comes to daunting questions - will it fit when it arrives? Sure, you can return it. Most online retailers have fair return policies. But could you really be bothered with all of that?  That one completely depends on your patience and urgency.

Thrifting, Op-shopping, second hand store scavenging, flea market fossicking (whatever you prefer to call it) is a personal favourite of mine. Again, for me it's all about the hunt.  However, not knowing what you're going to find is both a pro and a con. One day you could visit 3 stores and not find a thing and the next day you find 3 things in one store. But the second-hand prices are worth the hunt unless you are looking for something very specific.

Factory Outlets are a treasure-hunters delight. They are full of current and recent trends, styles and overstocks. You can find things for a fraction of the recommended retail price within a retail environment which allows you to try things on, pick them up, touch, feel and smell them. You can find out if your favourite retailers have stand-alone outlets, or you can head to an outlet centre which houses many clothing, footwear, homewares and various other retail outlet.

I was recently invited to visit Uni Hill Factory Outlets to experience what they have on offer.  As part of a morning of events we were challenged to pull together a complete outfit with a time frame of 30 minutes.  Firstly, let me tell you how much fun it is to spend imaginary money.  No financial restraints, not that you need to concern yourself with that when you're outlet shopping, and all style inhibitions go out the window. You have a clear head and you don't second-guess yourself.  Plus there's no buyers-remorse!

I had such a fun time pulling together an outfit with my shopping challenge partner Nicole that I'm going to return to the centre to purchase a couple of the pieces we found including shoes from Tony Bianco and scarf and jeans from Jeanswest

Inspiration comes from all places, so hopefully I've inspired you to be a little more creative with your next shopping expedition and maybe even venture outside of your routine shopping destinations. 

Do you have a creative shopping tip?

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