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10 Questions to Ask Yourself at Fast Fashion Stores

10 Questions to Ask Yourself at Fast Fashion Stores

Shopping at fast fashion stores is fun—it’s affordable, trendy, and feels like a reasonable splurge. Make it a habit though, and you’ve got fast fashion problems on your hands (and in your closet, under your bed, all over your floor—not to mention on your credit card statement). Before you hit the mall, here’s what you need to ask yourself to avoid a shopping hangover.

1. Why am I here in the first place?

Gossip Girl Blair Waldorf

    Do you actually need something, or are you just looking? And if you’re just looking, what led you there in the first place? Sure, maybe you’re just killing time on your lunch break, but if you find that your default activity is hitting the stores, think about what makes you go there. Are you bored, stressed out, or unhappy? Shopping, especially when you feel like you’re getting a deal, gives you a quick mood boost. That said, it doesn’t last—and it definitely doesn’t solve your actual problem (plus spend too much money, and you’ve created a new one). Next time you find yourself wanting to go wander through Forever 21, try to get in touch with what you’re really feeling first, and think about what you need to do to actually tackle the issue.

    2. Do I already have something just like this?

    Rachel Zoe self restraint

      We all have certain styles that we absolutely love, or everyday basics that we can’t get enough of. But if the main reason you like a fast fashion item is because you already own something just like it, you probably don’t need two of them! (Or ten, or twelve.) If the answer to your question is yes, but it’s ripped-stained-pilled-etc. and you actually need a replacement, fine. But if the answer’s yes, I can add it to my pile, skip it. Clothes aren’t Pokémon—you don’t need to catch ’em all.

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      3. Do I need something else to go with it?

      Clueless Cher Horowitz Closet

        You found a silky asymmetrical jacket you absolutely love. Okay, great—what are you going to wear it with? If the answer can’t already be found in your closet, you’re going to need to buy something else to make it work. That mean your inexpensive fast fashion find just cost you more money. This isn’t always an easy question to answer (though there are definitely apps that claim to be like the closet computer from Clueless), but if you’re really scratching your head, you’re probably better off leaving it on the rack.

        4. Does it actually fit?

        blind-side-wear-this

          Especially when clothes are inexpensive (getting a deal!), it can be really tempting to buy something that doesn’t quite fit. After all, it’s not like you’re going to flag down one of the H&M salespeople and ask them to find that skirt in your size—if it’s not there, it’s not there. But if it doesn’t fit you, it’s not worth it. If you’re looking for a bargain in the first place, you’re probably not going to pay to have a too-big piece tailored down to your size. If it’s too small, don’t tell yourself you’re buying it for after your diet or workout plan, or as motivation to lose weight or get in shape. Only buy clothes for the life (and body!) you have now.

          5. Am I going to be able to wear this more than once?

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          Mean Girls Regina George

             

            Fast fashion can feel like a wedding season savior: if you can’t repeat the dress, you don’t want to drop a wad of cash on it. That said, if it’s just going to wind up at the Salvation Army, maybe you shouldn’t be spending money on it in the first place. If it’s a one-time item—whether for a formal event or for a costume party—why not see what your friends have first? Shopping each other’s closets is a fun excuse to hang out, and you get all the gratification of a trip to the mall without spending money.

            6. Do I just want this because it’s on sale?

            Honey Boo Boo Coupon Queen

              Fast fashion stores are already inexpensive, but once stuff goes on sale, it’s easy to get into the “I can’t afford not to buy this” mentality. Here’s the thing: You can. It’s one thing if something you actually need, or one piece you’ve been ogling for a month, goes on sale. It’s another thing if the sale rack is just stuff that’s marked down. Ignore the price tag and ask yourself: Is this in season? Is it in style? Do I even look good in yellow? It’s hard to resist the siren song of the sale rack, but if you do you’ll avoid drawers that are stuffed with “amazing deals” you never actually wear.

              7. Is this trend going to last?

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              Beverly Hills 90210 uggs

                There’s a reason fast fashion is called fast. These stores are able to jump on any trend and get it into stores virtually immediately, as opposed to the old six-months-ahead fashion show cycle (which does, strangely, still persist). Just because an item’s trendy right now doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for you. If you aren’t going to love that lace crop top in six weeks or six months—let alone six years—it’s probably not worth it. The exception: If something you’ve always loved becomes an “in” thing, go for it. Then it’s more about your personal style than about what’s hot at the moment.

                8. Can I afford this?

                Confessions of a Shopaholic Isla Fisher

                  Remember: cheap isn’t free. Even buy-one, get-ones add up, because after all, you’re still buying one. If you’re even remotely close to owing money on your credit card, put that pencil skirt down! Paying interest on lots of little purchases means that for each of those mini-splurges, you’re paying more. Don’t have the cash? Then it’s not coming home with you. That kind of discipline doesn’t always come easy, but having a healthy bottom line is more important than a fashionably-clad bottom.

                  9. Do I actually like this or am I just paying for the name?

                  Ex-Porn Stars Manolo Blahnik

                    Ever since Target and H&M started doing designer collaborations nearly a decade ago, high fashion names regularly cycle through the fast fashion world. The premise is that it’s exciting (and come on, it is), and that it makes these designers styles more accessible and affordable to everyday people. That said, these collections tend to be much lower quality than the designer’s actual pieces, and they’re highly recognizable—no one’s going to mistake your Rodarte for Target for legit Rodarte. The sense of scarcity and getting a designer deal means these collaborations regularly sell out, but they tend to hit the Goodwill just as fast as they leave the store racks—in the calm, clear world where you haven’t just waited in line to get Kate Moss for TopShop, you may find you’re just not that into it. If you really love a particular designer, why not save up so that you can have a real splurge? Being able to choose something that’s better quality and that you’ll wear way more is worth the price.

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                    10. Am I really going to regret not buying this?

                    Parks and Recreation Donna Treat Yo' Self

                      It’s not like every piece you pick up at a fast fashion retailer is going to be a no-go. Some stuff you just plain love, and you know what? If you absolutely adore it and you can say with certainty that you’ll regret leaving it in the store much more than you would buying it, go ahead. Every once in a while, it’s okay to treat yo’ self.

                      Featured photo credit: Paramount Pictures via mashable.com

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                      Last Updated on March 4, 2019

                      How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

                      How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

                      Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

                      I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

                      Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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                      Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

                      Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

                      Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

                      I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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                      I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

                      If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

                      Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

                      The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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                      Using Credit Cards with Rewards

                      Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

                      You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

                      I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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                      So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

                      What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

                      Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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