Right now I think twice before I buy a really expensive bottle. If I learned anything and could start over I would think twice about buying an inexpensive bottle. I have made my share of cheap mistakes but love all my expensive purchases. Buying decants is the way to go and buy the good stuff, cost be damned. To draw an analogy, cheap tattoos are not good and good tattoos are not cheap. I think the same goes for fragrances. At least you can wash the fragrance off...
i would have taken the journey a bit more slowly. for example, during spring/summer of 2012, i was sampling hundreds of fragrances. i would sample 10+ per day at times. now of course, im taking this hobby much more slowly. sampling here and there, but nothing crazy.
1. Never blind buy!
2. Dont just buy a whole bottle if you're on a budget, get decants instead.
3. Never take other peoples word for granted, everyone has their own taste.
4. Dont buy a cologne just to get compliments, make sure you enjoy the scent first.