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September 1, 2006

The Swim (Don't Sink) Guide To Shopping

Men just don't get it: Shopping is a sport. It takes stamina, strategy, and sometimes a boatload of cash to get the right bag, shoe, or dress. Five readers fess up on how to keep afloat

Shopping Guide

Photo Credit: Karin Catt

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On average, women spend about 102 minutes shopping per month, while men spend a mere 60 minutes (according to Women's Wear Daily). Is it any wonder we go to extreme measures to make the most of those precious 1224 minutes a year?

Toni, 25 actress/musician
"I know I can put my cable bill off another week, but that sweater might be gone if I wait any longer."

I make sacrifices in other parts of my life to make up for my expensive clothing purchases. There's an urgency to my shopping. I like the feeling of buying stuff and having it in my possession. That's where the sacrifices come in. A fancy sushi dinner can wait, but those Giuseppi Zanotti shoes--my absolute favorites!--can't.

After I've made a purchase, though, I'll continue to think about it later that day or even later that week. I feel guilty, especially when I see it in my closet. Then I make trade-offs to make myself feel better. For example, clothes from H&M, Forever 21, or other inexpensive stores compensate for the Manolo Blahniks I had to have.

I recently bought some $25 Dior mascara at Sephora. To compensate, I ate a $2 slice of pizza for lunch instead of a healthier, more expensive salad. I also rationalize that I'll be the only person to ever have certain items, so it's worth the money, and I'll find an occasion to wear them. I bought a long, black, flowing evening gown a while back. It's so beautiful. I convinced myself that one day I will be invited to a black-and-white ball, and I'll have the perfect dress. So far, I've waited a year-and-a-half to wear it.

I love expensive bags and shoes, but I specifically choose accessories that will last. And once I've accepted my pricier purchases, I feel like I've gotten a deal with less-expensive items. I may pay a bill late and have to stay in and order Chinese instead of going out, but it's worth it in the long run!

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