This sweater. I bought it three times to save money. I wish I were kidding.
Here’s how it started: I purchased several new outfits for a photo shoot scheduled for this coaching website. I wanted the colors I wore in the outfits to be “on brand” with my yoga studio, Bee Yoga Fusion. Many of my yoga students become coaching clients and vice versa. So I want the two places that I show up on the internet to reflect each other in the same color scheme.
I paid full price for this sweater (#1) in the store. I rarely do that, but when I saw it, I had to have it because it is the same color as one of the walls in my yoga studio. So, it’s obviously on-brand. Then online, a week later, I saw that the sweater was on sale. I called the company, and they wouldn’t make a price adjustment even though I hadn’t worn the sweater yet or taken the tags off because I hadn’t had the photoshoot.
So I purchased the sweater online (#2) for $20 cheaper and returned the original full-price sweater in person at the store. Then, I kid you not, two days later the sweater has a lower price tag! I hadn’t even gotten sweater #2 in the mail, but yes, I purchased #3 to get the lower price. When this was all said and done, I saved $50. But did I really? I spent time traveling to and from the store to make the returns and then so much of my time scouring the website, looking for something else to purchase for myself or to give as a gift so that I could get free shipping. And then the time it took to check credit card statements to be positively sure that I was, in fact, refunded for the previous purchases.
Yes, I’m frugal and I love to save a buck. But at what cost to my mental energy? This isn’t the first time I found myself in this situation, repurchasing items and returning items to save money, but not to the extent I have done with this sweater. Instead, it became an obsession to get the lowest price possible. I’m so glad that this behavior is behind me in 2022 as I am participating in a No Buy Year, a personal challenge that is allowing me to investigate my relationship with consuming clothes.
Ironically, as I write this post, the sweater is still sold at Chico’s and for even less than what I paid after purchasing it three times. Seeing this change in pricing on one piece of clothing in a two-month time frame was a huge wake-up call for me in stopping my consumption of fast fashion because of the time and money I have wasted on the hunt for the best deal. I love the color and style of this sweater, and I will wear it for a long time, but every time I pull it out of my closet, I think about the amount of time I spent shopping for this one piece of clothing. And that seems ridiculous to me now.
How have you wasted time hunting for the best deal only to realize that you don’t actually like the item or barely wear it? Let’s try to change our perception of a great clothing deal, and instead of looking for a bargain, first, think about the purchase. How many different environments or events will you possibly wear it to? Then look to see if it coordinates with several items already in your closet rather than having to purchase shoes or additional tops or pants to match. The money saved needs to outweigh the amount of time you spend searching, driving, and repurchasing for your mental health to remain intact.