article_shopping-the-sales.jpgI've always prided myself on my shopping skills. I can zero in on a cute skirt at some random ukay ukay, extract a quality piece from a rack of cheaply made dresses, and track down an inexpensive alternative to that designer bag I'm currently lusting over. I don't know exactly how or when I managed to hone this so-called talent, but I sure am grateful for it.

One thing I am not good at, however, is shopping during sales. Until now, that is.

A little background: Since I've graduated from college and started working in 2011, I've found myself tightening my purse strings more and more. I just don't want to part with my money so easily, when I know full well my parents no longer give me an allowance. Sure, I'd indulge on a few fashion magazines each month, but aside from those and the odd cheap buy, I much prefer saving my salary for bigger, better things (like traveling, for instance).

So I managed to do that for roughly two years, only relying on the rare trip abroad for some retail therapy. And then, just last May, I went through some pretty life-changing things. I won't go into the gory details, but I will tell you that I was pretty much down and out for the whole month of June.

Finally, July came around. Not only was it a new month, it was also my birth month. And not only was it my birth month, it was also time for... end-of-season sales! If a disappointing end to a long-term relationship, my birthday, and huge discounts weren't reason enough to revamp my closet, I don't know what are.

And so I shopped. And shopped. And shopped. But if my younger self would have gone crazy snatching up every remotely cute item she found (never mind if she'd only wear them once), this older, wiser version was more selective.

I entered the stores with an agenda and a purpose. I took into consideration the next trip I'll be going on this year and the fact that I'd have to bundle up for that. I also passed on the summery, overtly old season fare, instead selecting the pieces I could wear during the -ber months. I mentally searched my closet for things I already had too much of and things I seriously lacked. I zoned in on silhouettes I know look good on my body and styles I could wear regardless of what's trendy. Most importantly, I handled everything with patience. I swore off impulsive buying unless something was the last piece in my size, unless I could imagine the number of things I already own that I could wear with it, and unless I could see myself paying for it even at full price. I also made it a point to revisit stores every weekend, just to check for further reductions or new things added to the sale pile.

In the end, I came away with quite a number of things I honestly feel great about having bought. No buyer's remorse, nothing at all. Just some of my buys? Two skirts—one pink organza, the other black and leather-trimmed—for just P499 each; extremely comfortable studded ballet flats I just know I will live in; a skirt-looking pair of shorts I could wear with every single top I own; leopard ankle boots for stomping around New York in; and a pair of embellished Great Gatsby-esque shorts that I fell in love with at 30 percent off, tried to forget about, and finally purchased a few weeks after at 70 percent off.

So you can see I did good--no, scratch that--I'm pretty sure I did well. Most of the time, a girl doesn't need an excuse to shop. But when you present her with a heart-wrenching breakup, an upcoming birthday, and clothes at half the price, you can bet she'll make Rebecca Bloomwood proud.

(Photo by Rolo Tanedo Jr. via Flickr Creative Commons)

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