Sunday, November 18, 2012

Money Saving Tips!

Hey guys! It's pretty much officially the holiday season, which means a lot of food, family time, and holiday spirit! It also means a lot of spending for a lot of people. One thing I've worked on since being in college is spending less on clothes. Here are a few tips that I have decided recently that work for me. 

#1: Buy for the Other Seasons
My best guy friend has always tried to convince me of the benefits of buying winter clothes in the middle of summer. I always denied it saying I couldn't imagine spending money on something I wasn't going to wear for months. But at the end of July, I took him to Forever 21 and he helped me pick out two coats that I can wear in the winter time. They were having a Buy 1, Get 1 Free sale on their winter coats, and the coats were already marked down. So I ended up getting two warm jackets for about $30, when I would have spent almost $80 at full price for both.  Buying out of season is a good idea since the stores have to get rid of their clothes to make room for the new arrivals. So if shopping for yourself in these cold months, look to see if the store has a section for spring and summer clothes and you should be able to find good deals!

#2: Be Careful About "New Arrivals"
One thing I have noticed about stores, such as American Eagle, is that at the beginning of a season, they put out almost a preview of what the rest of the season will have. They start putting out sweaters and long sleeve shirts out in September and the anticipation for fall really does make you want to buy them right away. But if you wait for about a month or two, you will be able to find the same items on their sales rack; they'll be just as cute and you'll probably get more use out of them now that we are deeper in the season of fall. 

#3: Hold Out for Clearance
This tip is kinda a continuation of the previous two. Let me tell you about my most recent shopping adventure: I love Lilly Pulitzer and I have always wanted one of the dresses, but I just can't afford to spend almost $200 on one dress. There is one dress I have eyed and dreamed about all summer, but I forgot all about it as fall came. This past week, I went to the Lilly Pulitzer section of Belk and saw that there was a 75% off section. Lo and behold, the same dress I wanted this past summer was there! It was originally $178 and I got it for $43.98 - a steal! I may have to wait until next summer to wear it, but it's well worth the wait. So if you have a dream item that you want, keep an eye out for it as time goes on to see how much the price gets knocked down.

#4: Find the Hidden Sale
One thing I have learned recently is that at Charlotte Russe, there is a wall in the back where they have insane sales. I'm talking $4, $5 sales. I got a skirt there that was originally $18.99 for $4.99. I also bought a dress that was originally $29.99 for $6.99. Many stores have sections with sales like this. You just to look past the glamorous mannequins at the front of the store and find the real deals.

#5: Thrift Stores Are Your Friend
I will admit, thrift stores can be a hit or miss situation. But they can be very useful. One of my favorite sweaters for the fall time came from a thrift store for $2.00. I also bought two pairs of unopened tights there for $2.75. I have friends who cannot stand the concept of wearing previously owned clothes, but if you just make sure you thoroughly wash (or even dry-clean) the clothes, they should be good to go.

#6: Plato's Closet
If you enjoy a certain brand and want up to date fashion for cheap, Plato's Closet can be very useful. The first thing I ever bought from there was a pair of Guess black heels for $12. My other favorite purchase from there was a Free People dress (which originally may have been anywhere from $40-70) for $16. Do you love skirts? Plato's Closet carries many of them for about $7. Also, for a little extra money, sell your clothes there! At the end of each season, I look at the website to see which brands they take and sell my good-condition clothes from those brands that I just don't wear anymore and sell them there. Each time I get about $50-60, which may not be much but it is something. Also, they take and sell men's clothes too!

#7: Buy Versatile Items
This is a tip that I hear pretty much every month when I buy my magazines, but it's a true one. Don't buy only items that you can wear one way. I try to fill my closet with basics that I can put together in different ways. It'll save your money and get your creative juices going if you have to come up with new ways to wear items. So when you look at an item in a store, do a mental picture of what else is in your closet and how you could wear the item. It also helps if you do a quick run through of your closet before you go shopping to get a fresh reminder of what you already own.

#8: Find Out Which Stores are Best For What
One thing I like to do is see which stores can offer the cheapest prices for the same thing. For instance, I always buy my camis at Forever 21 because they only cost about $2.75. I like to buy sweaters at H&M because they usually are cheaper there than other places. Buying everything from one store can cause you to spend more money. You can buy essentially the same scarf from two different places but one of them will be cheaper. Don't forget to look at stores like Wal-Mart and Target too. Those stores are good places to find cheap basics. Not everything has to be a brand name, a lesson I wish I could teach my 14 year old self. 

#9: Only Buy What You Really Want
Here's a trick I use- if I find something cute as soon as I walk into a store, I leave it on the rack (or hide it in another rack if there's only one of my size left) and finish looking at the rest of the store or at other stores. When I'm done, if I can't remember what the item I first wanted was, I know I didn't truly want it. If I couldn't stop thinking about the item the whole time, I go back and get it. It has saved me from buying clothes that I end up not wanting anymore when I get home. 

#10: Online Shopping
I actually have never bought clothes online, but I always notice the sales stores promote in emails to online shoppers. Also, some stores have items that they only offer online. This may be a cheaper way of shopping. Another thing - if you like J. Crew, they have a J. Crew Factory website, where you can order clothes for much cheaper than they are on the original website.

#11: Outlets 
If you have an outlet mall near you, I am extremely jealous. I love outlet malls! They are a perfect way to buy certain brands for much cheaper. My favorite outlet purchase was a red Dooney & Burke purse I bought this past summer. Because it was at an outlet, it was already less than in a department store, and there was a 25% sale on it. So I ended up buying a $200 purse for $75. Outlets are a great way to find sales on your favorite brands, so I suggest to anyone living near one to take full advantage of it.

Have anymore tips? Let me know; I'm sure I could use them! Have a lovely day xx

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