(1) Shop often but buy sparingly.I will go on shopping binges where I buy buy buy only to discover that I have (a) overpaid (b) already have the item or (c) don't even really like the item. By shopping often you become familiar with trends, how they work with your body, and what things are worth. Just because something has a 50% off sign on it doesn't mean it is a good value. Also just because something is "trendy" doesn't mean it is going to work with your body type and/or lifestyle
(2) Shop your closet first. Trends are tricky. You see everyone wearing colored jeans and you run out and buy the first pair that fit. Meanwhile in the back of your closet are a pair of awesome purple jeans you bought on a whim a few years ago but have only worn once (true story). This happened to me. Luckily because I did not obey my first rule I was able to uncover a lot of awesome gems in my closet. Purple jeans and yellow corduroys just to name a few. I was happy and so was my bank account.
(3) Make a list and stick to it. During my shopping diet I kept a list of all the things I wanted. During the first week I spent most of my day adding items to the list. By the last week of lent I realized that half the items on the list were things I was no longer interested in or things I already owned (refer to rule 2). That being said armed with list in hand I have been able to focus my shopping on things that I REALLY REALLY want instead of just buying random things that spark my interest. Not only is my account looking good for it but it is helping me stay more organized which is in turn making it easier to put together new outfits.
(4) Know how much to spend. We all want to be seen walking down the street in our red soles but it is really necessary to spend that much money on a pair of shoes? (If you ask me I will say yes but I am a bit unrealistic at times). The key is to know an item's worth. A pair of black Louboutin pumps that you will wear every single day may be totally worth it. A pair of feather and studded 7 inch heels that you will NEVER wear probably not so much.Even if they were on clearance for 99% off they still would not be worth it. Do the math. If you spend 600 bucks on a pair of shoes that you are going to wear at least 3 times a week for a year you just paid $3.85 a wear for those shoes. Even if you spend $10 on the aforementioned 7 inch heel and only wear them once you will have paid $10 a wear which is almost 250% more than the $600 pair. I say put the $10 towards something you will actually enjoy.
(5) Shop alone. I kinda hate this rule but I do best when shopping alone. It is fun to have brunch with the girls (or guys) and then go shopping afterwards. It is fun to try on things that you will never wear and laugh until you are in tears because of how ridiculous you look or try on those extremely expensive shoes that you will never buy just cause. But what happens when your friends "ooohing" and "aaahing" result in you reaching into your purse to purchase those extremely expensive (and unreasonably high) shoes that are (1) way over your budget and (b) unlikely to ever be worn comfortably in public. When you shop alone you tend to be more focused and realistic. There is no pressure to "impress". If you like something and it works and fulfills all of the above requirements then you buy it and move on. Yeah it doesn't sound like fun but neither does having your credit card denied.
(6) Follow these rules within reason. If you really really want that $4,000 Chanel bag (and you can afford it) then get it. If you have a pair of red jeans but REALLY want another pair then get them. If you fall in love with a gorgeous ring that is not on your list but you know you can put to good use then buy it. Rules were made to be broken and these rules are meant to be a guide for making better shopping decisions.Using these rules as a guide I am on my way to being able to afford that $4,000 Chanel bag.