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By Anouk Mathern, Prise en Flagrant Délire

Christmas is still around the corner but discounts and sales boards are already popping up all over Geneva. Low prices are of course great for saving money on items we need. Unfortunately, the psychology of sales shopping can quickly take over and drive normally sane human beings out of spending control. Whether you really need the latest hit bag or those great shoes, the lure of a bargain and the money you spend are justified by a seemingly sound reasoning — "I'm not spending money. I'm saving it because I've got what I want at a cheap rate!" Here are a few golden rules to consider before you hit the shops.

  1. What do you want?
    It’s easy to mindlessly wander around the shops, returning home with something you didn’t even know you wanted. Create a 'to buy' list before you leave the house and don't veer off into the makeup department no matter how much that new Chanel lipstick is calling your name.

    Remember a true bargain is about saving money on something you actually want or need. Just because an item is half price, doesn’t mean you’ll ever use or wear it. A good test is to ask yourself if you would pay full price for it. If the answer’s yes, then you’ve got yourself a good deal.

  2. Set a budget
    We often hit the sales without a set budget in mind, assuming anything we buy that’s not full price will be a good deal. However, it’s important to keep in mind how much you can afford to spend – and then try to stick to it. If you’re considering whether to buy an item, try to avoid looking at the reduction and calculate the saving based on the current price and what you can afford.

  3. Calculate the cost-per-use to find out whether you are really getting a good deal. If you’ll be wearing a certain pair of shoes every single day to work, it pays off to spend more money on them than a flashy pair of sandals that you could probably wear to the next garden party you’re invited.

  4. Focus on shopping smart, not cheap. Think how any items you buy will work with what you already have and complement your wardrobe.

  5. Try before you buy. Make sure any clothes you are buying are the right size and aren’t damaged.

  6. Only buy clothes that flatter your figure and are comfortable, no matter how cute they are or how much they are marked down. Ill-fitting clothes are no bargain, EVER!

  7. Follow your Intuition - if you have to talk yourself into it, something’s wrong, so leave the item behind.

  8. Never, ever shop when you are hungry and tired. Bad decisions are made on an empty stomach !

  9. Summer in January… Why not ? Don’t be afraid to buy off-season if an item is of great quality, is classically styled and you can wear it for years to come.  

  10. As soon as you buy something new, get rid of an old item you’re not wearing anymore by giving it away to charity or selling it in a second hand shop. This way you’ll avoid cluttering up your closet.

Author's bio

Photo Anouk Mathern webAnouk Mathern  worked 10 years marketing luxury department stores and outlet centres in Paris before moving to Geneva 5 years ago. The fashion shop she co-founded in les Eaux-Vives showcases fashion collections for women and children at budget-friendly prices. Find out more on www.priseenflagrantdelire.ch