My six top tips for “Strategic Shopping”

Some of my purchases from the Fort Shopping Park

Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to work with the Fort Shopping Park several times, so I was delighted to be asked to be involved in bringing to life their latest research surrounding the “Theory of Shopping”. I was gifted £100 and asked to utilise some tips to assist with strategic shopping. Well if that wasn’t right up my (high) street then I don’t know what was. Bring it on!

When making my selections at the Fort I was asked to bear the following in mind:

  • How to shop against the clock
  • How to find what you want faster
  • Money saving tips
  • How to tackle the sales
  • When to say yes and when to say no
  • How to get the most out of your purchase

I was also asked to create a shopping guide encompassing these tips, so here goes.

How to shop against the clock….

I have a few tips when it comes to shopping against the clock. First, shop alone. That way you only have to go where you want to go and look at what you want to look at. That may sound selfish but when time is of the essence and you have to succeed, it just makes sense.

Red letter purse Next (£8)

Secondly, set yourself a time limit and keep an eye on the clock. I gave myself two hours to achieve everything and I left exactly two hours after I arrived. It would have been easier to spend longer shopping but keeping an eye on my watch meant that I spent my time wisely. Thirdly work from a list that you’ve made in advance – you will be much quicker that way. Oh and wear trainers! 

How to find what you want faster…

To be a true strategic shopper, you need to do your homework. Know which shops you want to go to and where they are in relation to one another, so that you avoid doubling back. If you don’t know the layout of the stores, head straight to an Assistant and ask for what you’re looking for. Shop at a time of day that is quieter so that you can see everything more clearly. 

Money saving tips…

Does  buying a Boots meal deal for my lunch count? I think so! That saved me quite a lot of money. There are some seriously good offers and sales on at the moment (although more about those later.) Money saving tips can involve anything from buying High Street versions of designer looks to utilising discounts from Magazines, to taking advantage of 2 for 1, or 3 for 2 offers or in my case, asking for samples of products that I thought that I might like to try but that which I wasn’t quite sure about such as this Benefit girl meet pearl primer and highlighter (£25).

How to tackle the sales…

There’s only one way to tackle the sales and that’s early in the day – or late in the month – when there’s not that much left and it doesn’t look like a bun fight. I try only to buy things that I saw and loved when they were full price, rather than going off on a sale frolic which is destined to end in disaster. The best bargains are to be had as the sales are nearing a close and the stores are desperate to get their new season pieces in. 

When to say yes and when to say no…

Listen to your gut instincts. If your heart sings, say yes! If you’re not sure, or if you need to ask someone else’s opinion, the chances are you know in your heart that it’s not right. If something is too tight or if shoes are slightly too small, leave them for someone else. They could be a very bad buy. If it’s a one season wonder (unless it’s a real bargain) again, leave it.

H&M tassel earrings (£8.99) – eleven colours

Tassel earrings are proving themselves not to be a one season wonder and they really make my heart sing!

A leather jacket could be a brilliant investment but if you’re not sure that you’re going to love it, trying a non leather jacket. This one from Oasis (£55) is definitely one to say yes to.

And a classic investment is always a good buy. These shoes from Next ticked my “when to say yes” box for a number of reasons. First, I can see myself wearing them for many seasons and on many occasions. It’s also worth me spending more on shoes because I find so many of them hard and uncomfortable on my feet.

Next cone heel courts (£48)

How to get the most out of your purchases…

The key to this has to be by buying wisely. It’s a bit like answering the question “how do you stay married?” Largely by choosing wisely before you say yes. See, it’s the same principle!

So let’s assume we’re talking about clothes. The cost per wear factor may well come into your decision making process. Think about how you can style something up, or down, as well as how you can layer it up or down. Can you wear it all year round or, like linen, is it quite a seasonal fabric? Can you wear  it both in and out of work? Take for example a black blazer – style it up over a party dress or down with jeans, wear it to work or at the weekend, wear it with a cami underneath or a crew neck jumper – your choices are endless.

New Look “Lucky” Tee (£8.99)

The other thing I advise is using the things that you have bought straight away. Use them, love them and wear them to death. That’s getting the most out of your purchase, rather than it sitting in your wardrobe “for best.” And actually I advise spending less on clothes for a one off occasion – even a wedding. The cost per wear of those items can be astronomical.

Do you have any fabulous shopping tips that I could include in my guide? If so, I would love to hear them.


  1. Kathleen Penfold
    February 1, 2018 / 7:30 am

    I would say make sure you're wearing easy to remove clothes as it makes trying on so much easier. Or base layer of leggings and a vest so you can slip clothes on top if you're pushed for time.

  2. Julie Clayton
    February 2, 2018 / 1:01 am

    Loving the blog as always-my definite go to style guide now!! Have just ordered the Next does and the Lucky t shirt…. justified by returning a pair of Miss KG boots which were’a bit tight’ and ‘not quite the right colour,’so took your advice!! My going shopping tip-make sure you ‘feel good’ as clothes never look right if you don’t!!

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