I love to shop. I mean LOVE TO SHOP. But shopping doesn’t always equate to buying for me. And that’s because what I love more than shopping is snagging a good deal. I am a total bargain shopper and if I may, I’d actually consider myself a bit of a pro. lol.
Now with this being said, if you are reading this post in hopes of snagging ways to get deals on high end fashion, you may as well close out this window. I don’t buy or wear or own any high end designer items. I just can’t justify paying insane amounts of money for the sole purpose of just being able to say it’s “designer”. It’s just not me. I’m more of a “I got this for $10” kind of person than parading around in something designer so I can pretend to have more money than I have. Nope. Not gonna happen.
Wanna know how I manage to save all kinds of money when shopping, and how you can too? Keep reading!
1. I Never Pay Full Price
As tempting as it may be to grab the item I just fell in love with, I will never pay full price for it. With the commercial industry competing at all time highs for their consumer’s business, sales are a frequent thing. And I will always wait for their next sale, or the one after that. I can’t think of a time when something I wanted was gone when it went on sale.
Related post: 6 Things You Are Paying Too Much For Every Month
2. I Mull It Over
Along with never paying full price, comes the art of mulling over any potential purchases. Sometimes I will wait a couple days or even more to think about whether I even need the item. In fact, I am doing this right as I write this post. The other day when at work I popped over to the mall during my lunch hour and saw a really nice suede-type long dress coat that would be so nice to wear to work. It was on sale, but at $40 I wasn’t really sure I needed it. So I left the store and am taking a few days to think it over. Not sure if I will go back and get it or not. That’s the beauty of waiting before making any impulse buys, it helps you to avoid spending frivolously when you don’t need something.
3. I Buy During End of Season
Know when I buy spring/summer clothes? In late July or August when they go on sale because stores are bringing in their Fall merchandise. Same goes for fall/winter clothes… I buy them when the prices on them are slashed in February/March. Last summer, I bought a bunch of summer clothes when they were a whopping 50-90% off at my local mall. I got shorts for like $5, tank tops for $2.50, dresses for $10. And with still plenty of summer left when I bought them, I was able to wear them last summer and will wear them again this summer.
Related post: 30 Reasons Why You Have No Money
4. I Make a Budget & I Stick To It
If you’ve been following my blog for any time, you know my husband and I are big budgeters. We budget for everything. Having a budget is how we manage to do the things we love to do, like travel. So when it comes to budgeting for clothes we actually give ourselves an allowance for “fun things” from each pay and we use that fun money. For instance, I might use my fun money to treat myself to a iced coffee drink one day at work (yes, this is a treat because of the sugar content, and I rarely buy coffee from coffee shops – another one of our budgeting cutbacks), or to buy a home décor item I might have had my eye on, or to buy clothes, or buy a treat for my mom when I see her every week – which is usually a fancy slice of pie at the local bakery or a bag of her favorite candy. Remember that “treats” don’t have to be expensive. So having a budgeted amount for such stuff gives me only so much money to work with and really makes me think about whether I want the item or not.
I think it’s a good exercise in financial management to have a set amount of money and have to make decisions based on that. As I mentioned in #2 above, I’m contemplating that suede-like jacket and not sure I want to spend my money on it. I might see something else I want or need and may not get it at all. Often times, I find when I contemplate on something, I end up forgetting about it altogether. So knowing I have a set amount in my budget for “fun stuff” means that I cannot use up more than that. That’s the budget, and I need to stick to it.
Related post: 5 Steps to Making a Budget that Works
5. I Stay Out of Stores When I Don’t Have Money
If I know I don’t have any money to spend at the moment, I stay the heck out of the mall and stores. Why tempt myself? If I stay out of the stores, I can’t buy stuff and if I have no money and see something I want I know I will be too tempted to use a credit card to buy it. And this goes for online shopping too. I will exercise willpower and stay off my fave retailer websites. It’s not always easy as I’m a total bargain hunter and love checking out the insane amount of emails I get every day from my fave stores, but I push through. It’s more rewarding in the end.
6. I Use Coupons/Promos/Ebates/etc
I only started using Ebates in December and lemme tell you, I love it. Now that being said, I’m not buying copious amounts of stuff just to try to rack up Ebates cash. But I will use it to buy something that I would have bought anyway. I mean why not earn cash back if I can, right?
Some stores like Old Navy also have promos during the year in which you earn Old Navy dollars that you can use for future purchases. I love getting these promos because it’s like getting free money to use at a later time and a great option if you’ve had your eye on something for a while.
7. I’m Willing to Search Out Options
A few months ago, I decided I needed a good pair of black pumps that I could wear to work. I knew I wanted a good pair that would last me for a while. So when I went to the mall, I searched every shoe store and every store that had shoes. Had I bought the first pair I saw, I would have paid $130 (which would never happen because it was full price), but lo and behold, I came across the almost identical pair of Clark’s black pumps at the department store I checked last for only $55 on clearance. Had I not found these clearance ones on sale that night, I would have waited for a sale and checked thoroughly online for similar sales. One thing to keep in mind when shopping online is to be leery of shipping costs as they can really add up and you often have to meet a minimum purchase amount before you qualify for free shipping. Suddenly paying shipping on top of your purchase cost doesn’t equate to such a good deal.
8. I Shop Online With Friends
My friend and I love shopping at some of the same online retailers, but since we often only buy one or two things, we often don’t meet the free shipping options. So we will get together on our purchases in order to save the shipping. Last time, we both bought items on clearance and saved the whopping $25 shipping cost. We take turns being the one to make the purchase online and just pay the other person back right away via e-transfer and it’s done. We’ve done this for shoes, clothes and accessories. Works great!
9. I Shop at Thrift and Dollar Stores
I feel no shame buying stuff at the dollar store or at thrift stores. I buy most of my scarves, gloves and even some cute jewelry pieces at the dollar store. And I’ve found some great items at the various thrift stores in my area. I have no shame in that. One of the pairs of earrings I’ve gotten by far the most compliments on were from my local dollar store. One woman thought I got them in Morocco because of the design. I proudly told her “Nope, I got them at the dollar store.” And since I am often times a careless person who will lose things, I’m not at all heartbroken when an earring goes missing, or I lose a glove, or a piece of clothing get’s torn or ruined. I didn’t pay a fortune for it, so it’s no big deal.
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10. I Buy Things for Year Round Wear
I love to get good wear of the things I buy, so I will often wear lighter weight items with winter items. So I will pair a light weight top with a thick open-front cardigan and a scarf to work in the winter, and I will wear the same shirt throughout the spring, summer or fall as well. I typically wear layers so buying t-shirts or lighter weight tops are something I will wear throughout the year, not just in one season. Doing this allows me to need less clothes overall because I wear what I have at several points in the year. The exception to this is summer dresses, but I have only a few of these, so it’s not such a big deal. I often will buy skirts or pants that are in colors like black/grey/brown/etc that I can wear year round as well.
11. I Keep Things in Check When it Comes to Sales
I have an aunt who will buy anything if it’s on sale. And I mean anything. She bought a men’s shaving kit that was on clearance and while there’s nothing wrong with that, I should point out that she’s single and has no one to give the kit to at all. But she had to buy it because it was such a good deal. Even really good sales still cost you money, so be careful of buying things just because they are marked down or on clearance.
12. I Opt for Gift Cards as Presents
When it comes time for friends and family to buy me gifts, they all know I love gift cards. If this sounds like you, let your friends/family know that you’d like cards from your fave stores rather than other kinds of gifts. There’s something so nice about going in and buying things with gift cards and being able to buy stuff for “free”.
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So these are the ways I like to save money when shopping for clothes and have helped me save soooo much money when buying new outfits or even specialty items.
Do you have a special trick that works for you? I’d love to hear it!