One of my very favorite things to do is go shopping. I feel guilty for this little hobby of mine sometimes, but I really can’t help it. I love to find new things I love and can bring home with me! I particularly love getting new clothes, because I love the confidence boost they give me when I leave the house. There’s nothing quite like wearing a new outfit you love, and then being able to mix and match it forevermore. And somehow, this time of year makes me want to shop even more for new items in my closet. I think it’s leftover from my many, many years of BACK TO SCHOOL SHOPPING WHOOOOOO. Blame my parents, and my growth spurts, for this love of fall shopping. But, just because I love to shop doesn’t mean I have to spend a ton of money.
Last year, I went to the Lord & Taylor outlet store and purchased $320 worth of products for only $53. For those of you bad at math, that's over 83% savings, before tax. That's bonkers, bananas, out of this world savings. Most sales are only 15-25% off! Some of you might be thinking this is atypical, a rare occurrence, but the truth is that I save money like this on clothes all the time! After a shopping trip, my favorite thing to do is ask people how much they think I saved. Through a mixture of skill and luck, I've managed to save a bunch of money on clothes. And because I love to share, I'm going to give you the inside scoop of exactly how I do this.
This is a pretty obvious one, but you should shop when there's a sale going on. I was able to purchase colored jeans from Old Navy for half off. In fact, almost all my jeans are purchased when they're half off! If I hear a commercial (usually on Pandora) for a sale, I'll check out the site to see what they've got. It's a great time to pick up essentials like jeans, tees and sweaters for a fraction of the cost.
Another obvious one, but use coupons when you can. I'm not a crazy couponer, but sometimes Macy's will send me coupons on the mail, or Old Navy will offer a coupon for filling out their survey. I once saw a tip to create a special email address just for signing up for deals so you don't spend unnecessarily. This way, when you need to buy something, you can log into that email account and see what sales are happening and look for coupons sent to a store’s mailing list.
Shop the clearance sections
Although they can be a mess sometimes, the clearance section is a great place to find a good deal. Take a few minutes to browse around the sales section. Things over there can be pretty disorganized, so if you see something you like in a different size, browse the area to see if perhaps the one in your size was stuffed somewhere else. This area can sometimes have an added bonus, like an additional 15% off the lowest price. They want to get this stuff out of there, so they're dropping the prices like they're hot. Also, if there's anything I liked in a store, I like to take a look for it in the clearance section. Sometimes it'll be there!
Save on shoes
Honestly, I think shoes are the easiest thing to save money on! Shoes are extremely seasonal, so they're always being discounted. I love stores like DSW, Marshalls, and TJ Maxx to save money on shoes… but, what's even better is shopping their clearance section! It's like a discount on a discount. Plus it's usually name brand stuff for way less than retail!
Browse thrift stores
Shopping thrift stores has become known for fashionable people with eclectic vintage style, scoring the perfect 70's peasant dress or vintage faux fur coat. But the truth is, they've got something for everyone. I've purchased cardigans, a sequin t-shirt, and even a pink winter coat from there. I once even got a brand new pair of boots (with the tag!). You never know what you'll find there, but it's usually affordable. While the trendy shops are great for more unique vintage pieces, I find that the Salvation Army or Savers have more ordinary clothes for great prices.
On that same note, you can also find great secondhand clothes without even having to step foot into a thrift store! You can browse Facebook Marketplace for local deals and find lots of great secondhand clothes on ebay. If you’d prefer a more streamlined way to shop, definitely check out the ThredUp App! Their interface is seriously amazing and you’ll feel like you’re shopping new clothes instead of the bargain rack. They also have tons of new clothes with tags! Similarly, you can shop on the Poshmark app which is a bit more ebay in my opinion but they have tons of brands and sizes and options. I recently used ThredUp to purchase a pair of brand new J. Crew shorts for $13.99 and a barely used pair for $11.99! Plus, I added a coupon and saved even more on my order. It’s seriously bananas. They have a $1.99 restocking fee if you return an item, but depending on the cost and what it’s worth, you can still save a ton. I took this screenshot after the return window ended for all my items, but only one (the top Ann Taylor Loft shirt) was final sale. Plus, look at how clean the interface is! Seriously feels like shopping brand new.
A lot of times, Amazon will have items on sale for cheaper than the stores. I've used it to buy crocs wedges, crocs sandals, and even my wedding shoes! Which, by the way, I got for 30% off on Amazon. I’ve also purchased tons of other clothes there, like most of my maternity dresses, skirts, nursing friendly tops…. you name it, I probably have it from Amazon! A lot of their products have prime shipping and free returns, so you can try it on and return it for free if it doesn't fit.
My Fave Stores for Great Deals
I got my maternity jeans from Kohl’s for a great price. I love the pools has a and a Tronic tag on their displays were tells you exactly how much everything cost with the discount. Cold is great for name brands that are slightly classier and more adult than other stores. They also have a great selection of family items so he can go there and shop for everyone in the family!
If you have a Macy’s card, you’ll probably find that they send you a lot of coupons in the mail. Also, I think they’ll also put out coupons in local newspapers, so check those out if you get them! Since Macy’s carries so many different brands, you might be able to score a deal. If you have a brand that you like, try going to Macy’s to see if you can find the same item at a discount!
I love shopping at DSW, especially their sales section! They have so many great shoes (in so many different brands) for a discount. You’ll notice that the sales section has different colored labels for the different percentages off. The other thing I really like about them is that they have all the sale prices listed. So, for example, if you find a pair shoes that cost $69.95 and then is at 40% off, you can look up on the chart and see exactly what that means. It saves you from having to do mental math or go to the register wondering exactly how much you’re going to be paying. I also love DSW because it’s pretty much like shopping on sale all the time. You’ll be able to find the shoes you need for all occasions and maybe even a bonus you didn’t know you needed, but definitely have to have.
Another one of my favorite “always on sale” stores! I love T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s because again, they have all sorts of different brands and everything is so inexpensive! I have purchased so many great pairs of jeans here, as well as shoes including my favorite pair of turquoise slides. I used to love shopping at Marshall’s or TJ Maxx to find American eagle clothing and Roxy hoodies for a fraction of the cost. Because a lot of the stuff is from last season, you’re able to find it at a discount. If you don’t care about when things were originally in the store, you may find that you were able to get a great deal on the basics that will cost twice as much in the store currently.
I find that sometimes Old Navy can be hit or miss, especially because the sizes run so strangely and sometimes large. However, if you’re willing to do the work, you can find amazing deals at Old Navy! Just this past summer, I was able to get a pair of purple pants for only about $12. I was also able to get a pair of boots from last season (I remember seeing them last year and liked them but didn’t buy them). I found a pair in the regular shoe section, but it didn’t have a tag. To my delight, they were only four dollars. Can you believe that?! Four dollars! You may be thinking that is the first time that happened to me and probably was a random occurrence, but it’s not! Last year, I found a pair of gold glitter boots in the regular shoe section, and I remember them again from being last season. They also did not have a tag, so I brought them to the register, and lo and behold those were only about four dollars as well!
You definitely want to sign up for Old Navy‘s email list, because they’ll be able to send you all the deals that are occurring, which are frequent. And since they have random items on sale every day, be sure to check online to see when it’s on sale. They also offer free pick up in store, so if you’re not sure something will fit, this is a great option. You can buy it on sale, try it, then return it in the store as well. I have purchased a shirt that I loved it for about $20, and it was the only item I bought it wasn’t on sale. It’s my surprise, the next day they were offering 50% off everything online. I ordered the shirt and was able to get it for half price, and returned the first one that I had purchased at full price. So, there is definitely money to be saved at Old Navy!
Most people don’t think of great fashion at Walmart, but they do have great items! I’ve actually been shopping at Walmart since I was in college. My parents used to go there for groceries, so I’d always peruse the clothes section for some fashionable items for a broke college kid. Just recently, I got a great romper that I’ve worn more times than I can count in the 6 months or so that I’ve owned it. I also got a really soft pair of lounge pants and a Friends t-shirt! Walmart gets a bad rap for being cheap, but their clothes are actually pretty good quality for the price. I know there’s some controversy about Walmart’s fast fashion, but most retailers contribute to the problem. In that regard, if you’re willing to shop other brands that aren’t super ethical, then don’t discount Walmart just because.
Lord & Taylor Outlet/Nordstrom Rack
As I had mentioned in the intro, I once saved an INSANE amount of money at Lord & Taylor Outlet! It’s similar to TJ Maxx and Macy’s becase they have tons of different brands, but it’s their last-minute-deal type of stuff. And, you’re able to find things for a steal! I personally got a dress, heels, wedges and a shirt for a crazy discount. I’ve also shopped at Nordstrom Rack and gotten great deals!
If you love shopping but need to stay on a budget, it can be done! There are so many great stores to buy clothing that’s really inexpensive. And, don’t be afraid to shop secondhand to save money AND the environment. It’s a win-win!
So, what are your best deals that you’ve gotten over the years? Where’s your favorite place to shop? Gimme the inside scoop!