There are a lot of ways that people shop.
Some people always have their eye out for stuff. They’ll shop regularly and keep their eye on things that they want and wait until they’ve dropped enough in price to be worth buying. They’ll know when the sales are and swoop in.
Similarly, some folks regularly visit yard sales and thrift stores and craigslist or ebay or facebook etc. to browse and buy. Or they’ll browse freecycle or their local buy nothing group.
Other people will buy things strategically. They’ll decide what they want and then shop for it.
Some people do a lot of research before buying, some people do enough research to satisfice, some people do no research at all.
Some people buy and return, others won’t return at all and will either hold on to a bad purchase or pass it along/donate it.
Some people are willing to pay full price if it’s what they need when they need it. Others only buy when there’s a sale or a coupon or some other way of getting a deal.
A lot of these differences are differences about how money vs. time (and mental load) are prioritized. If you’re really busy, comparison shopping and regularly browsing for sales and deals just isn’t going to be worth the time it takes. If you’re strapped on money, you may be more willing to wait for a deal.
Another concern is ethics– it may be worth it to spend time shopping second-hand if you care about the environment. It may be worth paying more for a high quality product from a country that does not exploit its workers.
And some people just enjoy the process of shopping. Some people hate it! Some people are fine with online shopping, others enjoy going into stores. Some people have to see an item in person, while others are ok with buying online with limited information.
My shopping style is to put off buying something until probably after I should, and then buy a whole ton of stuff that I need all at the same time. I don’t shop for fun except for books and fancy food shoppes in the city (including Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s– if we had a Trader Joe’s in town it probably wouldn’t be enough of a novelty to make it fun). When I was in college I hung out with people who shopped for fun, so I did do some of the waiting for dresses to drop below my price point, but these days I buy clothing at whatever price it is set during my every other year outlet mall trip. (When I do try to buy something online without my colleague-personal-shopper it usually ends up being ridiculous, except for shoes where I go to a fancy european store and let a shoe salesperson talk me into whatever type of shoe needs replacing.)
What is your shopping style? Has it changed over the years?