New YorkShopping, Style and Beauty

Caveat Emptor: Strategies of Counteraction

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Everyone has had those times where you agree to go shopping with your friend, and you promise yourself you’re only going to buy one thing that you actually need, only to come home and discover that in addition to the thing you really needed, you’ve also purchased 3 purses for some reason.

Here are some strategies to counteract these moments of caveat emptor:

1. Only go to ridiculously expensive stores that you can in no way afford

I know that may seem crazy, but hear me out.  If you go to Ferragamo or Hermes or something, and you’re eying a pair of $3,000 shoes, what’s the likelihood you’ll be stupid enough to spend your entire paycheck as opposed to paying a visit to H&M and buying 3 skirts, 5 clutches, 2 dresses & a hat for $400?  It’s a matter of spending an inevitable $400 (because let’s face it, you’re not going to buy one $5 item), or not spending anything at all, because it’s either those shoes, or you’re homeless.  Kind of a no-brainer.

2. Go shopping with someone who knows your wardrobe well

If you’re anything like me, you kind of tend to buy the same thing over and over and over again.  If you bring a good friend with you who knows your wardrobe pretty well, s/he can slap some sense into by being like: “Really?  Yet ANOTHER pair of brown boots and a plaid shirt?  Just face it, Anna, you’re not going to nor will you ever attend a rodeo.”

3. Leave your credit card at home

If it’s at home, you can’t use it to buy a pair of trendy yet ridiculously cute boots that though they look like they’ve stepped out of a Poison video, they’re pretty awesome in that retro sort of way.  Seriously, you’ll wear them for 3 months, tops.

4. Avoid Anthropologie at all costs

There’s ALWAYS something you can buy there.  But guess what?  It’s probably overpriced by about $200, on average.  Skip it, no one needs to pay that much for a skirt with an owl on it (even though god knows you want to, regardless of how idiotic that is when you think about it).  If you set foot in there, you just will.  It’s inevitable.

5. Don’t buy stuff that you think you may need

I have this problem mostly at Crate & Barrel, or Brooklyn Kitchen– mostly because I don’t make, say, chocolate mousse on a regular basis, but I like to think I will one day.  Here’s the thing– I won’t.  But if I do, there’s no stopping me from buying something like that at that point in time.  Honestly, you really don’t need that garlic press if your biggest culinary accomplishment to date is soup.

6. Don’t buy anything “as a joke”

Purchasing a Captain & Tennille hat for $100 ceases to be funny when at the end of the month, your only option is to beg to borrow money from your coworker so you can have a $3 falafel sandwich Mamoun’s for lunch, as opposed to..uhh…starving.  You know where you buy things for comedic value?  Thrift stores.  And not the kind that have stuff that go for more than $20.  Even then, my Golden Girls sweater is still sitting in my closet, as  I haven’t worked up the courage to sport it.  But at least I only paid $5 for it.

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Anna G - Caliburg Contributor

Anna G - Caliburg Contributor

Anna G. is a Southern California native living in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn since 2005. Anna is constantly trying to unite her love of CA sunshine and the excitement of the New York urban jungle, all the while trying to keep her unwieldy credit card debt under control, and look fabulous at brunch, no matter how un-showered and hungover.

1 Comment

  1. Erica
    January 23, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Exception to all “I can’t afford it” rules: two-fer gems …one sweater: both the Captain AND Tennille! Which is to say, you can buy anything if you can think of more than one way to wear it to justify the outrageous cost.