10 Tips to Shop Smarter

10 tips to shop smarter

I love shopping as much as the next girl, but I will be the first to admit that nothing good comes out of a mindless shopping spree. There are a ton of cute clothes out there, but a jumble of adorable pieces does not make for a functional closet. Below are 10 tips to help you get the most out of your shopping trips.

1. Decide What You Need

shopping list

Just browsing can be fun, but if you want to make it a productive shopping trip, it is best to go with a plan. Figure out what you need.  Is your closet missing sweaters or a coat for the upcoming fall season? A top to match the skirt you picked up last time? Shopping with a purpose will help make your shopping trip a productive one.

2. Go Pre-Shopping


Pinterest is a great place to see what’s trending and get style inspiration

Before heading out,  browse the online stores to give yourself an idea of what to look out for. For even more outfit inspiration, visit fashion sources such as Teen Vogue (still useful even if you’re not a teen!) and Pinterest. Getting up to date on the season’s upcoming trends is a great way to give your shopping trip direction and inspiration.

3. Budget Your Trip

Before going shopping, check your bank account and decide upon a rough budget for the trip. This will encourage you to make more thoughtful purchases instead of buying first cute item you find. Also, don’t forget to check for any good sales going on, and whether you have any coupons to use.

4. Shop Alone

Going shopping with friends is a lot of fun, but if you want to get the most out of your shopping trip, it is best to go solo. When shopping with others, you may tend to take less time to think through your purchases, view fewer options, or buy what everyone else is buying. Shopping at your own pace allows you the freedom to accomplish what you need to.

5. Leave Your Options Open

If you come across something you are thinking about purchasing, don’t be afraid to leave it and come back later. This gives you the opportunity to think through whether the purchase is truly necessary and allows for the possibility of finding something else you like better.

6. Staple Pieces vs. Statement Pieces

The bright daisy print dress is a statement piece and the nude sweater and brown belt are staple pieces.

Statement pieces, such as stunning patterned dresses and floral blouses, are most tempting when browsing a store. But staple pieces, such as basic tees, tanks, and cardigans, will get the most wear. Staple pieces can be worn together, but statement pieces typically need to be paired with neutral-toned staples. Maintaining a balance of staple pieces and statement pieces is the key to avoiding having a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear.

7. Try It On


And sometimes a dressing room mirror selfie is completely necessary!

For the life of me, I don’t understand why people buy clothes without trying them on first! Sometimes a piece that looks really cute on the mannequin turns out to be disappointingly lackluster after trying it on. In the fitting room, move around, check out the back, lift your arms/legs, and really get a feel for whether you could live in the piece. Don’t be afraid to try on multiple sizes!

8. Ask Yourself…

dogs question

While examining a piece in the dressing room, ask yourself a series of questions: Am I prepared to care for it as recommended on the label? How often will I wear this? How would I style this piece with the clothes I already have? Would I feel comfortable wearing this all day? Do I have something like this already? Answering these questions will help you choose the pieces that will contribute most to your closet

9. Know What You’re Buying


This is the only reason why an animal should be in your closet!

Every time we make a purchase, we are voting with our dollars. It is important to know what we’re voting for. I avoid purchasing animal materials such as leather, fur, wool, and down because I cannot truly know how these animals were treated. Even animals at “humane” facilities are often subjected to cruel treatment and are ultimately slaughtered. I also try to inform myself about a company’s treatment of their workers to avoid supporting companies that do not treat them fairly.

10. Hang On To Receipts


The fridge is a great place to keep new receipts!

In case you change your mind about a piece or notice any defects, keep the receipts in a safe place until you are completely sure that you love your new finds. This takes a lot of the hassle out of making returns.

Those are my 10 tips for shopping smarter. I hope these tips help you make wiser purchases during your next shopping trip!




Vegan & Cruelty-Free Holiday Shopping Guide


The final week before Christmas is a busy time for shopping. I know I will be scrambling to pick out gifts for my friends and family this weekend! As if the stress of finding the perfect present was not enough, the cruelly obtained fur, wool, leather, and cosmetic products can turn the mall into a minefield! So in this guide, I will provide some pointers for shopping cruelty free, my favorite stores, and a few gift suggestions. Good luck with your holiday shopping!

Why Shop Cruelty-Free?

That angora sweater is so cute! I need those leather boots! But Revlon’s lipsticks are so nice! Why should I care that they aren’t cruelty-free and vegan?

At the end of the day, these things are just things. No, your life does not depend on you getting those boots into your closet. There are other lipsticks out there. The good news is, your favorite stores carry plenty of other cruelty-free, stylish alternatives that work just as well! A sweater, pair of shoes, or an item of makeup is not worth someone’s entire life. If the tables were turned and you were in the animals’ place, you would hope for compassion, too.

what they must endureHow do I know if something is cruelty-free and vegan?

First, read the label. It is an item of clothing, the label should be around the collar, waistband or sewn into the side of the garment. Check either side of the sole of the shoe or underneath the tongue to find what materials were used. If the garment contains leather, wool, angora, fur, silk, or down, leave it on the shelf.


For makeup and personal products, first read the ingredient label to check if it is vegan. Avoid beeswax, milk proteins, albumin, or casein. For a complete list of animal products to look out for, look here. To check if the product was tested on animals, pull out you phone and conduct a quick google search. Just type “Does brand-name test on animals?” It only takes a minute, but saves lives! Items marked with a leaping bunny or the bunny with heart ears are cruelty free but not necessarily vegan.

Which stores carry the best variety of vegan and cruelty-free gifts?

This depends upon your geographical location, price range, and person you are shopping for, but here are a few of my favorites:

1. Bath and Body Works.

All Bath and Body Works brand items are cruelty-free. They do not test their products on animals; however, their sister company Victoria Secret does. They carry plenty of wonderful body lotions, perfumes, spa products, and candles. Most are vegan, but not all, so be sure to read the ingredients. They even carry men’s products, too! The price range is quite affordable. You could definitely find a nice gift for under $20. I would highly recommend this store for your holiday shopping!

2. American Eagle Outfitters

This store has a great selection of vegan sweaters for women and men. Their jeans are amazing as well. The price tag is a bit steeper here (most items are $30-$50); however, I think the quality and durability make the expense worthwhile.  They carry perfumes and colognes as well. However, their animal testing policy is very vague, only saying they are “against animal testing.” This could mean that they comply with animal testing policies when it is required by law, so I do not recommend purchasing their personal products.

3. H&M

H&M carries a huge variety of vegan, cost-effective clothing items. They recently stopped manufacturing products containing angora, which is a huge win for animals. They still carry wool and leather though, so beware. They carry a wide variety of styles for men, women, and children, so you are sure to find something nice if you look hard enough!

4. Ulta

Ulta is my favorite place to buy makeup because they carry both high end and drugstore brands. So I can get fancy with Urban Decay, or I can go budget-friendly with NYX.  In addition to makeup products, they carry spa and hair items, as well as many nice holiday gift sets. They also have excellent deals in their online store that are unavailable in store, so you can pick out your holiday gifts from your couch. 😉 They do carry brands that test on animals, so be aware of this while you are shopping.

5. Lush

This store is completely cruelty-free, but does carry products that contain animal ingredients. They carry a wide variety of body, hair, cosmetic, and fragrance, gift sets, and bath products.  Conveniently, all of the products that are vegan are marked with a “V” symbol on their website. Their products are not terribly pricey and high quality, too.

Help!! I have no idea what to get!

Shopping cruelty-free and vegan is not restrictive at all. There are many awesome vegan and cruelty-free gifts in every store. Here are a few gift suggestions!

1. Holiday Treat Stocking

Single gifts can be hit or miss sometimes, especially if you are shopping for someone picky. By assembling a stocking full of smaller gifts, such as candy, cosmetics, and technology items, there is bound to be something they like. This gift is also very easy to personalize depending on the person.

2. Quality time

Material things cannot compare to spending time with friends and family. So instead of buying a physical present, you could purchase  tickets to see their favorite band in concert, a small outing, or a night out to dinner and a movie. Spending time together during the holiday season can be the best gift anyone could ever receive from you!

3. Giving to a Cruelty-Free Charity

Despite our efforts, not everyone will be shopping cruelty-free this holiday season. Many animals are losing their precious lives for the presents people scramble to buy and soon forget about. Equally unfortunate, many people living in our own communities cannot afford to buy presents or food at all. To bring more happiness to the world, you can donate to a cruelty-free charity in a loved-one’s honor. Just make sure the charity does not test on animals, donate livestock, or discriminate against people based upon race, sexual orientation, or any other identities.

A great idea would be sponsoring an animal at a local farm sanctuary! Farm sanctuaries are nonprofit and rely upon donors to support and rescue animals from horrifying cruelty. A small donation can help to give an animal the life of peace and safety it deserves. For an extra special treat, you could go on a trip to visit the animals at the farm sanctuary together!


This is Jefferson from the SASHA Farm Sanctuary in Michigan! You can sponsor Jefferson and his friends here.

A present that cost someone’s life is no present at all. Please make this holiday season joyful for everyone by only purchasing cruelty free and vegan products.