How To Be A Savvy Shopper and Make a Bad Purchase Work!

While enjoying the many photos of those I follow on Instagram earlier this morning, I was struck by an ad.  Yeah. The most annoying thing about Instagram is the never-ending parade of sponsored ads.  I hide them all.

My emoji twin and I are quite annoyed over the Instagram Ads. Is everything on this earth sponsored these days?

Anyway, I stopped to look at an ad from RueLaLa.  Are you familiar with this site?  The site has some great deals but the ad this morning was a click and bait for me.  The photo in the ad was a pair of Stuart Weitzman boots.  Stuart makes some beautiful boots—I’ll tell you that.  And the ad contained wording that boots were up to 50 percent off.  Naturally, I thought all the Weitzman boots were 50% off. Then I saw two words “Up to”.  And I knew…..

See–this is where I’m an ass.  The ad doesn’t say  Stuart Wetzman “BOOTS”. I assumed that it was for all boots being 50% off.  Look at the pictures. They aren’t 50 percent off.  And that boot on the left-hand side is on RueLaLa for 599.99

They weren’t.  50 percent off, that is.

Other brands could be found for a very good discount but the pricing of the Stuart Weitzman boots was, pretty much what most stores and sites have the same boots on sale for.

Ain’t gonna lie. The Catherine Malandrino boots are a very good buy–but I would still price them at other sites and stores before clicking.  The price on the Frye boots is very good too. But when it comes to an item like that, I would rather buy in-store because it is more convenient to return if it doesn’t work out.

Prices for Weitzman boots ranged from $497 at Nordstrom Rack up to $800 at Net-A-Porter. Note: the various pricing was for different models but they were all the Over-the-Knee boots. The shoes with the largest discount are the flat 50/50 boots which have been a constant in popularity over the past few years.

These Weitzman’s were at Nordstrom Rack for $497.

This model was $800 on Net-A-Porter’s site.

And this is an example of how to be a savvy shopper.  We all need boots. Right?  Most of us have the obligatory “snow-and-bad-weather” boots which are the ones that keep our feet warm while we are shoveling snow, at a winter’s tailgate or outside during very bad weather conditions.

My Hunter boots. Delegated for only the worst of weather.  These are not the most comfortable boots I own. And yes, I purchased them on sale!

I’m not talking about those boots.  I’m talking about the fashionable boots that we love to wear to work or out on date night or a night out with the girls or when we just want a dressier or more polished look.

Would I enjoy owning a pair of Stuart Weitzman boots?  Of could I would.  But, as I am not of the one percent, I cannot afford to spend upwards to $800 on a pair of boots.  Don’t get me wrong—if you can afford them, that’s great, and I harbor no ill feelings at all. It’s just for me and the average woman, that’s a lot of dough to spend on a pair of boots.

Pretty much the face I make when items are out of my price range!

And considering the cost-per-wear, the price escalates.

Presently in my closet are 12 pairs of boots.  I’ve had most of them for over 5 years. The average cost per pair, as I purchased them all on sale is about a hundred bucks—some a bit higher, some lower in price. I’ve purchased three pairs of these boots at Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

I’ve also purchased a couple of pairs of Stuart Weitzman knock-offs—or dupes.  Here they are and both pairs were considerably less money than the higher end.  The cost-per-wear is great because I don’t wear these boots every day—even in season, I don’t wear them that often.

This is my faux suede pair of boots similar to the Stuart Weitzman ones.  I paid about $79 for these last year at DSW. They are by Charles David, are comfortable as all get out and..

They look great and fit very well up above the knee!

These are my faux leather (pleather)–or rather VEGAN boots from Unisa. These cost me $39.99 almost three years ago and they remain in great shape. 

These are similar to one of the Weitzman 50/50 models.  Extremely comfortable and for the price, they have done very well!

J. Crew and J. Crew Factory have great sales. I don’t think I’ve ever made a purchase that wasn’t a sale item from J. Crew. When the new roll-outs arrive, I check online to see what I like. Then I take a trip to the mall and stop by the store to check the items out to see how they are made, if they fit well, and then I sit and wait.  Because within a few weeks’ time, every item will go on sale. And that’s when I go in for the kill!

J. Crew.  No wonder it’s my favorite store!!!

In fact, today, J. Crew Factory is having a BOGO on sweaters.

J. Crew Factory and I have a special relationship.  I receive emails.

Is this really a good deal?  Yeah. And I’ll explain.  We are getting closer and closer to the Holiday Season.  Let’s face it.  In October the stores will start to bring out the Christmas artillery and the seed to start our Holiday shopping will be planted.

I’ve got my eye on that cute navy sweater with the lovebirds. It’s adorable!

This sweater BOGO is great for those who want to begin their Christmas shopping.  In fact, I know a young lady who would love the little Frenchie dog sweater!   Now is the time to start searching for good buys. And with a bit of research, you can find them!

And I know a certain someone named Oona who would LOVE this little Frenchie dog on a sweater.  See what I mean?  I could start stocking up on gifts for Christmas with a BOGO like this one!

If you are thinking of purchasing more expensive items for your winter wardrobe, wait till summer’s end when the Nordstrom Anniversary sale rolls around.  For coats, boots, shoes, and bags, this sale is fantastic. While I realize it is a bit late to mention this, it is a reminder for next year!

And you don’t have to go high end to find an excellent value.   When it comes to basics, like white tee shirts, besides my beloved white tees from Old Navy, check out the boy’s department for XL or Large packages of white tees or the men’s department for XS or small white tees.  Sometimes you have to think outside the box—or the gift box!!

Same goes for jewelry.  I don’t have much “good” jewelry.  All the good stuff has been from Bonaparte. My engagement and wedding rings, pearl earrings, another pearl ring are just about the most precious jewelry that I own.  Everything else is strictly costume.  I’ve purchased faux pearls at dollar stores.  And my hoop earrings only come from one place—Walmart!

And this is another reason I stick to costume, and cheap, costume jewelry. If you have to hock the good stuff, you’ll get what he gives!

Even my wigs are purchased at a discount price.

My hairs.  All at a cost of less than a wash and blow dry at the salon!  Although I admit, I do miss Adam but I don’t have enough hair worth spending the money!

The thing is, I research before purchase.  Yes. I still make the occasional impulse buy and I’ve made some bad purchase choices—everyone does.  But at least I got them on sale!

And who hasn’t made an impulse buy???

And I think as we get older, our spending priorities change.  These days, I would rather spend the money on travel.  Many of us are on fixed incomes so budgeting is paramount.  But it still doesn’t mean you can’t spend.  We just should be savvier when it comes to doing so.

Speaking of bad purchase choices, a while back I purchased a contour palette by NYX. It was an impulse buy at Target.  For some bizarre reason, the palette was $12 and I’ve seen this palette sold for as much as $24.  When I got around to using it as a contour I realized that the powders were too drying on my skin and just didn’t work for me.

Definitely, an impulse buy!

Then I turned things around and started to use the contents of the palette as eye shadow.  Is it a go-to or “must use” palette?  No. It isn’t. But some of the colors are a desirable choice if I want a very natural look.  I used this today because I wanted a more natural look.

The three colors I used on my eyes….

This works much better as an eyeshadow than contour and highlighter for me!

The natural look was because today I applied for a Social Security card with my new last name. I also went to have my driver’s license changed and thought that I would need a new photograph.  Hence, I wanted a more natural look.

See–the eyes look nice and not overdone!

Suffice it to say, I was a savvy shopper when it came to changing my license.  It would have cost me $47 to have a new driver’s license issued with a new photo.  The other choice was a little yellow card with my name change that I can keep with my driver’s license.  Ever the discount shopper, there was no way I was spending $47 so for $18, I took the license discount!

I wore a lot of discounted clothing this week.  Here’s a look at what I wore on the days I bothered to get dressed!

This is today’s look. I took my plaid J. Crew Lady Jacket out of hibernation. Wore an Old Navy Tee, The torn jeans by Jolt and my Repetto ballet flats.

Yesterday’s look was the ten dollar LBD and patent Repettos.

A repeat on the Repettos and another ten dollar dress–and a wig that cost $11.99!

Tuesday it was stripes, jeans and the black Repetto flats again! I didn’t get dressed on Monday.  

Are you a discount shopper?  Has the way you spend changed as you got older?  Store—or online?  Let’s talk about this!

Enjoy your Friday—it’s almost aperitif time!  XOXOXOXOXO!!!!

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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25 Responses to How To Be A Savvy Shopper and Make a Bad Purchase Work!

  1. Judy says:

    I have just caught up with so many of your posts Catherine, my life has been somewhat hectic and erratic lately. First, huge congratulations on your marriage to wonderful Bonaparte, such a lovely thing to happen. And good luck in your search for a new job, the shortsightedness of companies never fails to amaze, they don’t deserve you if they can’t appreciate you!
    I too have many pairs of boots, and wonder why I only wear two of them, I think the answer is “comfort”. And yes, the older we get, the more we prioritise our spending. I think we find we need fewer “things” and more “experiences” which is why travel is so important. This year we have been to Antigua, Majorca, Italy and Morocco, and visited parts of England for the first time. Every visit has brought new joys and we are making new memories all the time.
    Thank you for all your superb posts!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Judy! OMG! Morocco. Morocco is on my bucket list. That and India. I have the shortest bucket list ever. But it’s so good to hear from you and boy, have you been busy! It’s true–right? Aw we get older we do prioritize our spending and the tangible stuff isn’t as important. I’m glad all is well and you have enjoyed your travels. Great to have you back!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  2. Nancy says:

    Hi Catherine- I also am a big bargain shopper…I can understand the value of i.e. a well made, great fabric, black jacket and yet I don’t know if I could spend for example $350.00 on one item of clothing. Honestly I think part of it is I am always hoping I will lose weight so don’t want to spend much money on my current size…but I have been this same size for a long time so its prob. isn’t going to change…ever hopeful I guess. I wish I could bargain shop for shoes but with lots of foot issues that is not an option…end up spending a lot for shoes and boots that I really don’t even like. Comfort and style do not go together in the world of shoes. I have splurged on a Tory Burch bag 5 years ago and LOVE was hard to hand over the $$ but its wonderful and makes me happy to use it.

    Love all your posts…makes my day when I see there is a new one.

    • Catherine says:

      Hey Nancy–but if you keep on using that TB bag that you spend the money on, it was worth it. It isn’t sitting in a closet and it keeps on giving you happy. How can you go wrong with that!! I’ll tell you–bargain shopping may take a bit more time but in the end–it’s so much better..right???? XOXOXOXO!!!!

  3. Hello Catherine 🤗. My favourite places are second hand shops. Oh my! I have had such wonderful “luck”. It does take patience & perseverance. Fortunately, I can walk to the three 2H shops and two boutiques in town.

    Most of my clothes misty, moisty, watercolors in abstract patterns & solids. Dresses with kimono cardigans or pencil skirts with tunics are my personal style. All soft, fluid, comfy. Long gone are the pressed & starched blouses, structured suits, hosiery, and heels 😎.

    Amazon has been stellar for decorative lanyards! I wear a Leaf fitness tracker, and prefer it on a unique “necklace”. AhHa, you gave me an idea for a postie 😊. Costume jewelry is so much fun to scout. I’m learning _that_ fine art of our ForeMothers, LoL.

    Hope you & your Beloved have a beautiful weekend!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Beverly!! You have a great weekend too. Oh boy. When I lived in New Jersey, I had THE best thrift store of all time just a few miles away from my home. The Red White and Blue Store was the Salvation Army thrift store in Hamilton NJ–it’s still there. This place was freaking amazeballs!! My son Jake, ever the frugal guy, used to get his button down collar shirts there because the selection was incredible. I used to find TONS of stuff that the Princeton ladies would donate–still with pricetags. OMG. I miss that store so much. I still have a complete set of china that I purchased there for like forty bucks!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!!

  4. I’m another Stuart Weitzman boot fan and will probably never have any because of the price. I bought some cheap boots from eBay last year and will need to do something to make them work. Now, there are times that I do spend money on items but they are usually from my Kansas City designers-but those things have a real meaning for me.

    As far as shopping in general, I have changed my shopping a tad. I am a big thrifter. I would rather buy a high quality item that didn’t work out for someone else and I don’t care if it has been on someone others body.

    I also do a lot of online because of where I live and outside TJ Maxx, I just don’t like to shop in any new stores. Once in a while, when Michael thinks he needs a new dress shirt, we go to Macy’s. That’s about it. So, I guess summing it up, mostly I am cheap but I have no problem putting down big bucks if I think it’s worth while. Ramble done……..take care

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Terri! Agreed on all you said. I will buy sale items all year but when I get to France, I will spend on my beloved Rondini Sandals!! What I find in the area where I live (Main line Philly) is that the many of the “thrift” or “consignment” stores are ridiculously overpriced. The thrift shops in New Jersey were better!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  5. OMG! I have the same pair of DSW boots as you do (from last year) in three different colors–cranberry, navy, and black. Can’t wait to wear them again this year!

  6. angelin2014 says:

    I love those over-the-knee-boots! Unfortunately my calves are pretty thick and so far I haven´t found a pair, neither cheap nor expensive, that works for me :((
    Instead I have invested in what we call curling-boots, hard-wearing flat boots that can handle both ice and snow. And they are lined with soft furry material! Every winter there will be a month or two when they are absolutely necessary, so I guess spending a bit of money on them was pretty wise. I´m actually one of those people who loves a bargain, but especially when it´s a priced down quality item. BUT I also buy things that I know will not be there when it´s time for the sales. Over here we have big sales in June, August and January, and the rest of the time you have to be lucky to find a good sale.
    For a good few years I bought mostly on-line. Now that I dress more casual and “normal” I have returned to the shops and I have to say, I hate dressing rooms from the bottom of my heart!
    Thanks for a fun post! Even if I have a voluntary shopping-ban I still can dream! :))

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Angelin! Thankfully, it hasn’t snowed much here in the past few years so my ill-fitting Hunter boots will suffice. And I don’t have thin calves either but I like the stretch in the boots that I do have. I popped over to see your first week and you did good. I love the photo of you in the elevator. I need to saunter back to give my thoughts!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  7. Nora says:

    I love to bargain shop. Many years ago my favorite place was Loehmann’s. I got the greatest clothes there. Now T J Maxx is my go to store. Not as good as Loehmann’s but you can still get a bargain. I pretty much know my brands and know what to look for. An educated consumer is a smart consumer. Right?

    • Catherine says:

      Nora! LOEHMANN’S was great. I used to go to one out on Long Island in the town I lived in and the one in the Bronx when I lived in Manhattan. Loehmann’s was the greatest discount store of all time!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  8. I am a discount shopper too. I love your boots. I have a number of pairs of boots that I have either got at thrift stores or I found them on clearance at the end of the season. It is worth it to wait! Thanks for sharing all your good advice. Have a great weekend. – Amy

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Amy!! You have a great weekend too. Oh…and those end-of-season sales usually have the best markdowns because the stores want that stuff out!!!! XOXOXXO!!!

  9. fiona says:

    As I’ve become older I don’t spend so much on cosmetics and clothes, (although I did buy two tops this morning, one in a sale) but I like to buy something new every now and then so I trawl the charity shops, some great items can be found there and I don’t feel bad about spending so much money on clothes. I do try to make my boots last, one pair I’ve had for nearly ten years…OK, they are a bit tatty now. I don’t buy shoes or much clothing online as I can’t be arsed to keep going to the post office if they don’t fit! Those OTK boots of yours are fab. xxxx

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Fiona. It’s funny because as I get older I don’t spend as much on trendy clothing. I’m still a makeup junkie though! But I’ll tell you, the charity shops in my neck of the woods suck. I’ll buy online only from J. Crew and if there is a great sale, AG jeans or Nordstrom Rack. I’m really skeptical because of the size range between brands! The OTK boots are my faves. It’s a ’60’s thing!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  10. Gillian says:

    Love your boots. You don’t need Stuart Weitzman! I actually have a pair of SW shoes in my closet that I coveted for weeks. I bought them at Nordstrom Rack, of course, (where I’ve found all my Paul Green shoes/sandals) and even at 65% off they were still expensive! In any case, yes, I too love bargain shopping.
    Wonderful about your marriage! My husband and I finally got married after living together for 10 years.
    And what ever happened to the Spin Doctors–they were so great!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Gillian! I also have a pair of Paul Green shoes/booties that are among the most comfortable shoes I own. And I also got them at Nordstrom Rack and they were not cheap but for Paul Green shoes, the price was heavily discounted. Thank you! I think it’s important to live together before marriage no matter what the age–LOL. Yeah. I miss Spin Doctors!!!! XXOXOXOXO!!!!

  11. Momcat says:

    Pretty much everything I purchase is on line…but my background in research AND (some) patience comes in handy. I now get discount emails from Old Navy, GAP and whatever other companies they are connected to just because I bought jeans for my son! ….One of the best tricks I have found to save on line is to go directly to the manufacturer’s web site and check out the prices. Last year I coveted a pair of Pikolinos sandals at a ridiculous price. Found out the importer has a web site and got the shoes for 100.00 less than Nordstrom’s ….really watch those links on blogger sites like StyleMe or whatever. They usually take you to Saks or Neiman’s or (usually) Nordy’s. because the blogger gets a little sump in’ if you buy through the link…..( no reason for me not to go bargain hunting in greener pastures..)
    Write down the manufacturer name, style number etc and toss it into Google….you might be pleasantly surprised that those 200.00 shoes can be had on Amazon for a fraction of the price, or a local retailer is running an on line business and is promoting what you want. Also some on line retailers will give you a nice discount on your first purchase from them. Eventually you can do this very quickly, you become an instinctive hunter.. You can also be the person my husband detests ( me;) and go into the store try it on and then buy on line at the best price. My son even buys his GROCERIES ON LINE!! From Walmart.
    I just got three cashmere sweaters from the Shopping Chanel in their clearance department and they are gorgeous! I swear I am not one of THOSE ladies, ordering my Diamonaire jewellery with prerequisite little dog in lap:))
    If you shop a lot of Amazon upgrade to Prime, it’s worth it.
    Get a PayPal account, link a credit card to it that you ONLY use for online purchases or a bank account that is ONLY used for online purchases. Safer and easier to manage your purchases and PayPal offers neophytes protection because there are some not nice vendors out there but once you send PP to sniff them out you get action….fast.
    If you even think you smell a rat …resist the urge to click. Check out the vendor on google read comments, complaints, customer service feedback etc.
    I live in a Capitol with embassies, nobody in that crowd wants to wear the same things over and over…our consignment stores are pretty good….an acquaintance told me she got a leather Longchamp bag for 175.00….gently used. Great buys on shoes, accessories too. If you are hunting for something get to know the owner and give her your email she might keep you in mind when Ms.$$ drops off a few things!

    • Catherine says:

      Hey Momcat. I had tons of issues with PayPal. I refuse to use that company. I can’t even begin….. But that click & bait that many bloggers use, I don’t even click anymore because I know that by research, I’ll get the item cheaper. We are a lot alike. That’s why every now and then I always add a caveat on the blog that I am NOT sponsored or getting a kickback. I’m telling you, I can’t even read certain blogs anymore that I used to love and read faithfully because they are nothing more than ads. I can’t even….
      LOL. I’m that person who does go into the store, tries on then goes online. But only with clothing brands I trust!!!!! You are a savvy shopper there my buddy!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!!

  12. Great tips, Catherine. I really love that J crew jacket you’re wearing. Um, I always shop in store. I’m kind of old school that way. I NEED to try stuff on, feel the fabric etc. LOVE boots. I bought a pair of Frye’s for almost half price at end of season a few summers ago. They will last 4ever. I’m definitely a bargain, sale shopper. I also make mistakes and end up donating items. I try to ask myself this question before purchasing “Would I buy this at full price?”. If I say no, then I don’t buy it (usually). It keeps me from buying stuff ‘just because’ it’s on sale. Great post!

    • Nancy says:

      I am trying to follow the same thought process…and not spend money on an item because its such a bargain. If I wouldn’t buy it at full price then its prob. not for me. Have wasted so much money over the years on clothing that is not flattering but a good price and i end up donating it with few if any wears.

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks Lisa. So true. I like to shop in-store as well, although with J. Crew, many of the items are less expensive online–even during sales, so I’ll tryon in store then go home and shop online!! Frye boots are a great buy during end of the season. Actually, that’s a good rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t buy at full price don’t buy. I like that!!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!!

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