Flash sale sites: make them work for you.

My first foray into the flash sale site was Rue La La. I loved getting that email every morning notifying me of their latest sale. It was an adventure and totally new.

Flash forward and now you have a billion: Rue La La, Gilt, Hautelook, Beyond The Rack, JewelMint, One King’s Lane, Joss & Main, Fab.com, and then there’s the Groupon, Living Social and Bloomspot to look over. And now I have no less than SIXTY emails every morning telling me there’s a can’t-miss sale happening and I just gotta take a look. Thank goodness for email filters*…

It was really getting out of control for a while. If I really wanted to look through everything, it’s a one-hour task first thing in the morning (and I’m a very fast reader). You find yourself buying things you really don’t need. Or maybe you need them but not right now. Whatever the case may be, the flash sale instills a sense of urgency and it is very effective. Having a time limit on anything will do that. Once I realized these sites were really sucking me in, I stopped cold-turkey. But that wasn’t a great strategy.

Recently, I sold a bunch of old stuff on eBay in an effort to free up some cash to get some new pieces**. I decided my wardrobe was looking way too casual and wanted to class it up a bit. I’m a big believer in looking good in order to feel good. If you feel that you’re looking like a slob, it’ll reflect in your demeanor. Superficial? Maybe. But when you know you’re looking like $100,000,000 it’ll also show through. My favorite thing when I used to work in an office environment was to dress up a little when I was feeling Shark Week coming on (full disclosure: I refer to my monthly visitor as Shark Week since everything seems to piss me off and I want to destroy everything in sight, as well as devour everything edible in arm’s reach).


The Gibson riding jacket I scored at Nordstrom Rack.

Anyway, I found that I had a need for the flash sale sites. There were a couple of things I wanted, like cute jackets/blazers and earrings, that I was flexible on when it comes to brands, colors, etc. This is where flash sale sites work for me. Eventually I found a cute blazer and it was only because Nordstrom Rack was having a sale and they were advertised in their email blast. Hooray! I also found my favorite moisturizer and some earrings for my sensitive ears. These aren’t big purchases but I did save a lot of money and it was worth it.

So here’s my flash sale strategy: Have a shopping list and get what’s on the list. These sales reel you in on things you weren’t looking for. Do you need another v-neck black tee? Probably not. And if you find out a few days later that you really needed that cashmere sweater, chances are it’ll be back. I’ve noticed brands will sometimes list on multiple sites, either at the same time or within a few weeks of each other. There was some Amritah Singh jewelry that appeared on Gilt and Hautelook within a couple of days.

If you have a specific item you’re looking for, or are on the lookout for a specific brand, most sites list their upcoming sales 7 days or so in advance. If you see something come up, jot it down in your calendar so you’ll be first in line.

Lastly, be conscious of what the time limit does to your brain. It really is a psychological trick to get you to make a purchase. Don’t fall for it! Think it through. You’ll be much happier in the long run.


*Get to know the email filters in whatever email client you use. You have folders in real life, right? Then having them for email only makes sense. You can set them so they presort your mail into specific folders and you don’t have to look at 47 unread messages about shopping in the morning until you’re ready!

**By the way, Lululemon stuff holds its value and then some. Don’t toss you old sports bras or yoga pants. They go for almost full price if they’re in decent condition.



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