How to Make Better Shopping Decisions

While some people consider shopping to be an agonizing experience, others consider it a leisure activity. Irrespective of what your opinion is about shopping, poor shopping decisions can lead to a loss of money and time, and you could end up with low-quality products. But, how can you make sure whether the product you're buying is high in quality or suitable for you? And what are the criteria to determine that you're buying the right thing? If you've been struggling due to poor shopping decisions, it is time to turn it around with these useful tips.

1. Focus on Features and Efficiency

This is specifically applicable to investments in technology. Buying a new phone should not be influenced by the desire to buy the latest model. Instead, look for the ideal model by deciding whether it is fulfilling your objectives to get a new phone. For example, if you need a phone that fits in your pocket, it is unwise to buy the latest model that is bulkier or longer. Moreover, don't buy it for the sake of the brand name. Conduct thorough research and narrow down your options after comparing plausible features. Buy a model that fulfills all criteria.

2. Read and Compare Reviews

This goes without saying. If you're planning to invest in an expensive item, it is wiser to read and compare multiple reviews before choosing the final item. There are multiple websites, YouTube videos, and social media platforms that provide legitimate reviews that will help you make the final decision for a particular item. If you can, find and talk to people who have already used this item before, and ask for their recommendation. If you're purchasing the item from an online store, chances are that you'll find user reviews on that site. By comparing multiple reviews, you'd know whether the item is worth investing in or not.

3. Look for Shopping Catalogues for Bad Credit

If you're a customer with a bad credit history, chances are that you'll be rejected in high-end catalogue stores upon applying. The good news is that catalogues for poor credit exist, and you can now purchase these and get a second chance to make amends. Most of these catalogue companies offer a 'buy now, pay later' deal, which enables people to manage their finances. Look for a similar company in your region and enjoy the perks of shopping with a poor credit score. But, make sure that you repay your debt and sort your finances.

4. Don't Go 'Last Minute' Shopping

As you can guess, last-minute shopping decisions are always made in haste and often poor. If you've received an invitation to a party a few weeks ago, do not wait until the last minute to go shopping, expecting to find the 'perfect' dress. Be prepared beforehand and buy your outfit at least a week in advance. More importantly, be flexible and do not expect an ideal outfit with a certain design, color, and fit. Since it is last-minute, you won't have much time to explore all options; you will have to go with whatever seems remotely suitable for the event. Avoid this by being prepared beforehand and giving yourself a buffer period to buy what you actually want.

5. Calculate the Item's Value Over Time

If you're planning to invest in an expensive item that should work for at least a few years, calculate its value by dividing it into the money spent on it yearly, monthly, weekly, and even daily to know its true worth. For instance, if you're planning to buy a mattress, check its warranty period (it's usually ten years). Divide the amount you're spending on it per year, month, week, and day. Assuming that it costs around 27 cents to sleep on a comfortable mattress every day, which is much less than a soda can, it is definitely worth the buy.

6. Consider Needs Over Wants

One of the main reasons for making poor shopping decisions lies in prioritizing wants over needs. When you're out shopping and notice an enticing object, you're immediately compelled to buy it. If this happens many times in a year, you're burning a huge hole in your pocket and accumulating things that you don't really need. Before buying an item, ask yourself whether you actually need it and what needs it would fulfill. Be honest. If the item is a want and not a need, refrain from buying it. Occasional indulgences are not an issue but don't make it a habit.

With these tips in mind, you can easily become a well-informed shopper and begin making better buying decisions in no time. It will not only save you money and time but also a lot of energy. Now that you're prepared, it is time to go on a spree. Happy shopping!

5 min read

Lessons Learned and the Power of Turning 50

Except for 16, I have celebrated all of my milestone birthdays in New York City.

I turned 16 in Arnold, Missouri. Arnold is a small town (though not small anymore) 20 miles south of St. Louis. St. Louis is known for the Gateway Arch, a beautiful arch of shiny stainless steel, built by the National Parks Service in 1935 to commemorate Thomas Jefferson's vision of a transcontinental U.S. St. Louis is also known for its custard, a frozen dessert that is so thick, they hand it to you upside down with a spoon inside. Something else about St. Louis you should know is that there is a courthouse just steps from the base of the Gateway Arch where one of the most important cases in history was tried: Dred Scott v. Sanford.

I'm turning 50 during what I define as a miraculous time to be alive.

Mr. Scott was born into enslavement around 1799 and, in 1830, was sold to a military surgeon who traveled back and forth between his military posts in Illinois and Wisconsin, where slavery was prohibited under the Missouri Compromise of 1820. In 1842 the doctor and Mr. Scott both married, and they, all four, returned to St. Louis. Still enslaved, Dred Scott filed a lawsuit against the doctor's wife for his and his wife Harriet's freedom. We don't know exactly why he chose this moment in time to file a lawsuit, however, he did. At the time of filing his, now, famous lawsuit, he was 50 years old. Ultimately, The Scott family did not gain their freedom, but their profound courage in filling this case helped ignite the Civil War and what we would come to know (or think we know) as freedom from enslavement for all human beings. Powerful then and even more powerful now.

My next milestone was turning 21, and I did it in the Big Apple. Having only moved to "the city that never sleeps" a few months prior, I knew nobody except my new friends, the bus-boys from the restaurant I was working at, Patzo's on the Upper West Side. And, yes, pazzo is actually the correct spelling of the Italian word, which translates to "crazy." Trust me we all had several laughs about the misspelling and the definition going hand in hand. I worked a full shift, closing out at around 11 PM, when, my kitchen team came out from the line with a cake singing, "Cumpleaños Feliz." It was fantastic. And the kindness of these almost-strangers was a powerful reminder of connection then as it still is today almost 29 years later.

I design the life I desire and the Universe creates it for me every day. I show up, keep the story moving, and work hard because I am relentlessly devoted to making the world a better place and this is how I choose to leave my legacy.

When I turned 30, I had just finished a European tour with Lucinda Childs dance company. The company had been on tour for months together and were inseparable. We traveled through Paris, Vienna, Lisbon, and Rome. We ate together, we rode on a bus together, we had drinks after shows together, and we even took turns giving company class to get warmed up before a show. It was deeply meaningful and dreamy. We ended the tour back in New York City at BAM, The Brooklyn Academy of Music. It was an incredible way to end the tour, by being on our home court, not to mention I was having an important birthday at the culmination of this already incredible experience.

So, when I invited everyone to join me at Chelsea Pier's Sky Rink to ice skate in late August, I was schooled really quickly that "tour" does not mean you are friends in real life, it means you are tour friends. When the tour ends, so does the relationship. I skated a few laps and then went home. This was a beautiful lesson learned about who your real friends are; it was powerful then as it is today.

Turning 40 was a completely different experience. I was in a serious relationship with my now-husband, Joe. I had just come off of a successful one-woman dance show that I produced, choreographed, and danced in, I had just choreographed a feature film, John Turturro's Romance and Cigarettes, with A-list actors, including Kate Winslet and James Gandolfini, who became a dear friend and had even been on the red carpet with Susan Sarandon at the Venice Film Festival for the movie a year earlier.

And I encourage all women to identify their power and choose to be fully in your power at any age.

This was a very special birthday, and I had, in those 10 years between 30 and 40, come to cultivate very real friendships with some wonderful colleagues. We all celebrated at a local Italian restaurant, Etcetera Etcetera (who is delivering for those of you in NYC — we order weekly to support them during COVID), a staple in the theater district. Joe and I were (and are) regulars and, of course, wanted to celebrate my 40th with our restaurant family and friends. We were upstairs in the private room, and it was really lovely. Many of those in attendance are no longer with us, including Joe's Dad, Bob Ricci, and my dear friend Jim Gandolfini having transitioned to the other side. Currently, that restaurant is holding on by a thread of loving neighbors and regulars like us. Life is precious. Powerful then and today even more so.

I write this article because I'm turning 50, still in New York City. However, I'm turning 50 during what I define as a miraculous time to be alive. And I could not be more filled with hope, love, possibility, and power. This year has included an impeachment hearing, a global pandemic, and global protests that are finally giving a larger platform to the Black Lives Matter movement. Being able to fully embody who I am as a woman, a 50-year-old woman who is living fully in purpose, takes the cake, the rink, and the party.

I'm making movies about conversations around race. I've been happily married for 11 years to the love of my life, Joe Ricci. I'm amplifying and elevating the voices of those who have not previously had a platform for speaking out. I choose who to spend time with and how long! I design the life I desire and the Universe creates it for me every day. I show up, keep the story moving, and work hard because I am relentlessly devoted to making the world a better place and this is how I choose to leave my legacy. Being 50 is one of the most amazing things I ever thought I could experience. And I encourage all women to identify their power and choose to be fully in your power at any age. I'm 50 and powerful. Dred Scott was 50 and powerful. This powerful lesson is for today and tomorrow. We have the power. No matter what age you are, I invite you to use your powerful voice to join me in making the world a better place.