I recently made a spreadsheet of all my perfumes, including prices paid with shipping and tax. Then I went over the list with partner to find any regrets. The regrets amounted to over 10% of the total money spent!
We analyzed my patterns and decided that I was too easily influenced by sales, and by attempting to "just add one more thing since the shipping cost will be the same".
So we made up three simple rules, and agreed to revisit the issue after four months:
1. Try before buy.
Perhaps you've heard this one before? It bears repeating. And by extension:
2. Do not buy samples.
The concept is that I should finish sampling all the fragrances that are available in tester bottles in retail shops -- i.e. thousands of fragrances -- before I spend money on samples. This was tough to commit to, but I'm going to try it and see what happens.
Note that this does not apply to decants (however large or small). If I try out a fragrance fully, love it, and don't want to pay for a full bottle, then decants are completely fair game!
In other words, I'm drawing a qualitative rather than a quantitative distinction between "sample" and "decant."
3. Check what the % discount would be online versus in the store.
Rationally, I want to support retail shops that allow this kind of sampling. I also want to support great SAs who provide great retail experiences.
And of course I am irrationally subject to their salesly wiles, "free" gifts (possibly unwanted -- remember that!), and so on.
So if I've fully tried out a fragrance and decided to purchase a full bottle, then I must check prices around. If the available discount is 50% or more, then I am obliged to purchase from the discounter. If the discount is less than 50%, then I can exercise discretion.
Ultimately, creating the spreadsheet and then sharing it with my partner were rather eye-opening, cringe-inducing experiences. Furthermore, knowing I'll have to enter every future perfume expenditure into the spreadsheet is already making it easier to follow my current rules.
So we'll see how it goes.
How do you figure your perfume budget?