Sandra shops smart

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Sandra Dupree, 36, Fresno, California, Deputy Probation Officer

The zen of shopping: "I enjoy browsing alone because it's peaceful and I can take my time. I'm concentrating on what I really want instead of who needs a diaper change or a doctor's appointment. When I'm with my two young boys, I get distracted; with friends, I sometimes buy things that match their taste more than mine."

Getting older: "I'm much more careful to choose items that I'm completely happy with. Especially with shoes, I've found that you get what you pay for—I want to be comfortable at the end of the day, not limping. I try to take into account the age-appropriateness of what I wear. So many current trends are better suited to teenagers."

Financing: "I balance my checkbook, make sure all my bills are paid and the children have what they need. Then I see what's left for shopping. I try to pay with cash and save credit cards for emergencies."