7 Smart Things to do before You Go Shopping ...

Before you go shopping, there are a few smart things to do, especially if you expect your shopping spree to break the bank. Most women can’t hold their excitement when they think of shopping and before you know it, they have grabbed their bag and started the engine of the car to hit the mall. If you have money burning in your pockets, this approach might work just fine, but for those who shop on a budget, some tips may help you to stay in control of what you're spending. These are 7 smart things to do before you go shopping.

1. Check Your Wardrobe

You think that you know what you have, but in reality, you tend to forget half of the clothes and accessories in your wardrobe. So before you go shopping, open up that walk-in closet of yours and see what you've got. Check out the basics (jeans and t-shirts) and your business wardrobe, as well as those pieces for your nights out in town. Do some of them need to be replaced or are they still good for another season? Anything with faded colors and holes can be donated to charity.

2. Mix 'n Match

After you checked your wardrobe on pieces that need replacement, you know what you have. Now it’s time to mix and match outfits. Lay out your clothes on the bed and match your tops with different bottoms and your dresses with different shoes. By doing this, you will know how many different outfits you really have. You may suddenly realize that your top for the office perfectly goes with your dark jeans for a dinner date. Sometimes you’ll find combinations that you never thought of, and mixing and matching makes you look at your wardrobe differently.

3. Know What’s Missing

Did you just realize you don’t have a black basic long sleeve? Or did you just throw out your ballet flats because they were worn out? Knowing what’s missing in your wardrobe allows you to shop for those items specifically. But you see, it’s sometimes difficult to know from the top of your head, which is why the previous two steps are crucial. Also, knowing that you have eight pairs of boots (hopefully) means that you don’t need new boots.

4. Check Your Balance

Right. So now you know what to look for (all items you found under step 3), it’s time to check your balance. There is nothing worse than spending more than you can afford, or having to take back items because you forgot about that bill lying in your desk drawer. So apart from checking your current balance, try to think of bills that need to be paid until your next paycheck comes in. This is an easy way to calculate what your maximum spending is for your shopping spree. Are you using a credit card? Take into account the purchases you've already made this month, so you don’t have a huge bill coming up next month.

5. Make a Shopping List

This doesn’t sound fun at all. In fact, the majority of these tips will probably ruin your spontaneous shopping spree. But it works for me and it can work for you as well. Now that you know your balance, you can set priorities on what you’re going to look for. If you have $150 to spend, a black leather jacket may be out of reach, as these are often costlier. But basic tees are perfectly doable with a budget like that. So make a shopping list of what you’d like to shop for and, more importantly, what you can shop for. You will shop much more efficiently and it’s fun to scratch things off the list once you've found them.

6. Decide Who to Take

Do you have a friend whom you always go shopping with? Great! However, if you've noticed that you tend to spend more money while shopping with her, it might be time to re-think whom to take with you. Going shopping with a friend who has a lot more to spend than you could make you feel rather depressed about shopping altogether. It’s the same the other way around. So wouldn’t it be a good idea to ask your friend about what she’s planning to buy? You can ask her in a casual way, just to get a feel for it. Shopping by yourself can also be very efficient, because you won't be spending time waiting for anyone; however, if you have difficulties controlling yourself, this might not be for you.

7. Plan Your Shopping Spree

Going shopping spontaneously just doesn’t always work out. You might buy things you don’t need, or pieces that don’t fit perfectly. So if you’ve taken the time to follow all the previous steps, it’s best to plan a shopping spree. We all get a little greedy and impatient sometimes, but our busy lifestyles don’t always allow us to shop whenever we want. If you have a few things to purchase, it’s best to plan a shopping spree on a free afternoon. You'll have plenty of time to walk around, to shop and to rest your feet in between. Planning a shopping spree could also help you re-think your shopping list. Maybe you realized that you don’t really need that black leather jacket and that you’d rather spend your money on several other pieces that have a higher priority.

We’re women. We all love to shop ‘til we drop every now and then. But sometimes we tend to go overboard as well. If you’re one of these women, whose wardrobe is bursting with clothes, shoes, bags and other accessories, this approach might be fun to try for once. You may think these steps will ruin the fun of shopping, but you might just find that once you get the hang of it, it’s actually pretty efficient. Not to mention that it can de-clutter your wardrobe tremendously. Do you have an approach for when you go shopping?