The Brainless Shopping Rule That's Probably Saved My Mother Hundreds This Year

How to save money while shopping for clothes

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Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

As some of you may be well aware of, my mother, Nancy, is a shopper. And while she often goes for timeless basics to work within the classic wardrobe she’s been curating for years, she does venture outside of her sartorial comfort zone from time to time. But here’s the thing, she doesn’t just ball out on any new piece that may pique her interest; she’s actually quite strategic when adding fresh items into her closet because, like many of us, she hates wasting money. On that note, while I was recently shopping with her over Black Friday weekend, she divulged to me that she actually follows an internal “24-hour shopping rule” every time she’s thinking about purchasing something.

It may seem simple, but according to my mother, the internal dialogue of really thinking about the cost per wear of something and waiting at least 24 hours to potentially purchase it has “probably saved her hundreds of dollars over the last year.” What she’s found is that she tends to love a variety of items when she’s scrolling through a new arrivals section or browsing in a department store, but by waiting and truly imagining exactly how often she’d wear something (and internally mixing and matching said piece with other things in her closet), she ultimately deciphers whether she actually really loves something enough to buy—or if that “love” was just an instant thrill. If it's the latter, she'll just save the money.

This all really does make sense to me. Because trust I’ve experienced buyer’s remorse far too many times where, for example, I may spot a pair of shoes that I’m into, buy them, and realize three months later that I’ve worn them maybe twice. A complete waste of $100 or so dollars. In reality, I could’ve saved that cash by mapping out its true value in my head—and put the money toward something I’d wear more often.

What do you think? Do you already follow this shopping rule? If so, wonderful. If not, consider testing it out the next time you make a purchase. And speaking of, if you are in the mood to shop, I curated a range of items below—separated by category—that I think have solid cost-per-wear potential (in that they’re modern yet timeless and could seamlessly fit within a range of wardrobes). Keep scrolling to uncover a new treasure or two. But of course, if you don’t immediately think you’ll wear that coveted piece on the regular, just wait a beat before you actually add to cart.

If you’re on the hunt for an A+ party dress to wear this holiday season and beyond, look no further.

This ruched-front floral tea-length dress is charming and fresh.

A polka-dot long-sleeve dress with a very-right-now square neckline will become a constant in the elevated side of your wardrobe for seasons to come.

This midi dress is so elegant with the puff sleeves, playful print, and ruching.

Yes, this slouchy cowl-neck knit is as cozy as it looks. I bet you’d wear weekly this winter.

The square neckline gives this must-have bodysuit an even more fashion-forward appeal.

The Club Monaco Fair Isle sweater is classic yet so fresh with the contrasting hues.

The shape of this cardigan is timeless and classic, but the dinosaur buttons give it that extra something something.

This super-soft timeless sweater actually has slight puff sleeves for a flattering vibe.

There’s a reason these perfect straight-leg jeans are consistently trending on Nordstrom with often over a hundred viewers at any given time. They’re the perfect wash, length, and fit.

That ideal pair of wider-leg distressed jeans does exist—and they’re under $55.

Light-wash straight-leg jeans are essential to any fashion person’s 2020 wardrobe. Get to it.

Sure, you may have a pair of go-to straight-leg jeans in your wardrobe, but these stunners with the twisted hem could be a welcomed addition.

How could you go wrong with a classic peacoat? Exactly.

With a coat this comfortable (re: the maxi length and fleece shell), how could you ever want to take it off?

While your standard black double-breasted coat will be a forever staple, don’t underestimate those bold picks as well to bring a current feel to your winter ensembles.

This could easily become your new wear-daily winter coat.

The snakeskin boot trend isn’t going away anytime soon, so if you haven’t indulged in a pair yet, this may be the time.

Perhaps this is the moment to invest in the lace-up boots all the fashion girls love.

Moto boots will carry over as an It shoe trend for 2020. This staple style could easily become your new wear-everywhere pair of boots.

A streamlined pair of ankle boots with a chunky block heel are practical and polished.

While incredibly modern with the mock-croc and buckle detail, this shoulder bag will also have some serious longevity.

The baguette style is officially one of the must-have silhouettes for this season and beyond.

If you are really going to invest in a new item, make it a handbag you’ll use every day for years—like the always-in-style Loewe Puzzle bag.

This powder blue bag may not seem as versatile at first, but the hue could honestly be considered a neutral because it can pair with any color.