Secrets passed on from a former retail employee and lifetime retail enthusiast.
1. Start at the back of the store and work your way up.
2. Ask the store associates about when new floor-sets are being put out, or what days regular shipments come in.
3. Not all associates are able to tell you this, but some are and it’s invaluable information. It means you’ll know exactly when the quality bargains are coming in at places like Tj Maxx and exactly when a lot of clothes will be going on sale at mall stores like American Eagle.
4. Make an email address strictly for retail coupons.
5. Every time a store clerk asks you for an email address, give them the special retail email. This way your regular inbox isn’t clogged, and you can go straight to the source for a whole inventory of coupons when you are in need of a shopping spree.
6. Don’t completely dismiss the idea of youth sizes. I know it sounds silly, but a youth large or extra-large NorthFace jacket is almost the exact same size as an adult small. However, it is usually about thirty bucks cheaper.
7. Check out thrift stores and yard sales for really awesome vintage finds.
8. Buy a winter coat in the spring time. They are crazy expensive, and there is always one last shipment of the winter coats right at the end of February that will be on sale shortly after. You do have to pack it away, but coats don’t go out of style very quickly, and you’ll spend almost half of what you would if you waited until mid-fall like the rest of the amateurs out there.
9. TRY EVERYTHING ON. Returns are a waste of everyone’s time, and you’ll make sure you’re spending those precious shopping dollars on what you really want.
10. Get a free budgeting app. It will tell you what you’re spending your money on and where.
11. Bond with Pinterest before going on a big spree. If you have to go shopping for Winter clothing, spend a little time getting an idea of what you are looking for.
12. That way, when you go into the store you can take a quick look at your app and stay on track. It helps you find what you want, and not just what you see.
13. Online shopping can be amazing and also disastrous. Use online shopping for stores like PINK, where you know the size sweatshirt and yoga pants that you want to buy, and you know that subtotal will be high enough to obtain free shipping.
14. Shipping is always the catch. Beware of shipping budget fashionistas, beware.
15. Never underestimate the power of your own creativity. Search “Fashion DIY” and prepare to be amazed by what you can do with an old pair of jeans or the purchase of a few new scarves.
16. Check out large internet retail websites like Amazon.com for incredible deals on name brand and new items. Amazon works with a plethora of outside companies and often sells quality items at clearance prices.
17. Don’t forget the outlets. The outlets are life-changing places. They often take a little time and some digging, but it’s unbelievably worth it. Grab your friends and make a day out of it.
18. Connect with your favorite stores on social media. I know this sounds incredibly dorky, but often, stores are now holding promotions that are strictly run through social media. This means they will run crazy sales, and only those coming into the store and saying they have seen this promotion or gotten that unique code, will be given the discount.
19. Get familiar with your local consignment shop. They will let you sell some of your nicest clothing to their store, and many stores even work on a trading basis. You can sometimes give them something like an old purse in nice condition and trade it in for a different one. They also have some really unique and thrifty finds.
20. Don’t let the department stores fool you. They mark their prices way up, just to mark them down. They’ll tell you that you save fifty dollars, when really, they just charged you ten dollars more than necessary for an item, and made you feel like some kind of winner.
21. Evaluate an item for its quality and then decide whether or not the price is fitting. Don’t let the “incredible discount” bull-crap cloud your judgement. It’s a marketing technique, and one people fall victim to far too often.
22. Go shopping on the seasonal long weekends. Department stores have to get rid of the last-season inventory a few times a year, and often the best sales are held on those random three day weekends like Labor Day, Memorial Day, MLK day, and President’s Day.
23. Never pass up a pair of cute clearance shoes. Even fashionistas on a budget need an extensive shoe collection.
Share your own input! I would love to get a collect of tips and continue to add upon this list. I get the most amazing comments from all of you, share your secrets!