Shopping Hack

Despite being the daughter of an elite shopping marathoner, I am kind of a wimp in stores. My formula for shopping breaks down like this: For every 45 minutes of shopping I require one soft pretzel.

Online shopping, however, is an entirely different story. I can online shop for much longer than 45 minutes. Probably because I can wear pajamas and watch television at the same time.

Thanks to some online shopping fails I’ve learned to follow the following rule:

Only buy things with free shipping and free returns.

If you’re an Amazon Prime member this is easy.
It also includes online shopping at places that have stores nearby you can return to.

I’ve made exceptions to this for cute boutiques and startup companies that can’t afford it, but free returns saves you a lot of heartache when that shirt that looks perfect shows up in a different color (“because of screen displays colors may vary”).

A big secret I’ve learned is being real with myself. There are certain styles I know I don’t like but I still gravitate to because they’re “so cute!” Don’t do that…unless there are free returns.

You might think all this online shopping might cause you to spend more money but here’s the thing, it is so much easier to be focused when online shopping. If I am looking for a specific color and style I can type my wishes into the Amazon, or Google shopping, search bar and find the exact thing I need. And unlike a trip to Target I don’t come home with 20 other things I don’t need. Maybe one or two extra things, but a lot less than if I was in the store wandering aimlessly.

So when I had to have a burgundy top WITH POCKETS to go with a pair of leggings, I found not one but two that I love. It took me like 15 minutes as opposed to searching 15 stores. These tops are great, the second one is kind of a lie and more of a bright red, but they’re very comfortable and come in more colors, check them out by clicking on the photos.

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I did the same thing when I wanted a green dress but didn’t know what style. I bought eight and returned all but one. This will save your life when it comes to family photos, bridesmaids outfits, or any other time you need something very specific in a color that’s out of season. While looking for my own bridesmaids I found this stretchy, flattering pencil skirt that comes in almost any color.


My genius friend, Candy, even used Amazon to purchase several wedding dresses, try them on, and return the ones that didn’t make the cut.

Another online shopping secret is to keep something in your cart until it sells out. That’s a good way to not buy as much stuff.

I also made a Pinterest board for other tops for leggings that I like and either want to share with other people or don’t want to forget to purchase later–got to stagger the spending. If you in the market for long tops check it out here. All of them have options with free shipping and free returns. One trick with Amazon is not every color or size will be eligible for free returns so watch out for that.

My last secret (for now) to online shopping is Paribus which, if you link it to your email, will automatically contact stores on your behalf if something lowers in price within their allowed period (usually 30 days). This way you don’t have to stress about buying something only to see it go on sale two days later.

And if you still hate shopping, feel free to hire me as your personal online shopper. I enjoy it a lot more than I should.

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