Guest Author - Helene Choi
Having a tight budget or overspending can suck the fun right out of shopping for new clothing. If you're like most people in the world, money can be tight at times and there are always other priorities that are more important than shopping for clothes. But when you work hard, you definitely deserve a few nice treats. You can score some nice finds without breaking the bank. Here are some great ways to save money on your next shopping trip:
Create a Budget - How much do you have to spend? Nothing is worse than coming home with buyer's remorse and feeling guilty about overspending for fashion. Whether you have $50 or $500 to spend, make a promise to yourself that you won't go over your limit. Resist the urge to use credit cards because these will cost more in the long run if you don't plan on paying it off within one or two billing cycles.
Research Clothing Stores for Savings - Make a hit list of your favorite stores. When you're on a budget, you might want to avoid high end department stores and boutiques. Rather, stick with mid-price stores for clothing like Old Navy, New York & Company and Ann Taylor Loft. Once you create a list of clothing stores you want to visit, checkout its websites to see if there are any coupons or additional savings for signing up for email lists. For example, I signed up at New York & Company to receive a $25 coupon. Whether you're shopping online or at a store, these coupons can really add up! It also doesn't hurt to call your local store to ask them when their next sale is or to find out when they are doing their next round of clearance markdowns.
Shopping for Clothes Online - If you don't mind not having instant gratification, online shopping can be a lot of fun and will save you time. You can research even further by looking for coupon codes that can be applied at checkout. My favorite site for this is RetailMeNot.com. All you have to do is plug in the name of a store and a list of eligible coupon offers will pop up. For example, I plugged in a store called Alloy.com to see if I could save some extra money on jeans I was ordering, and voila! I was able to find a coupon code for an additional 20% off my purchase of $75+. Sometimes, there might not be a coupon available but if there's a coupon code floating out there, RetailMeNot is usually one of the first sites to know about it.
Make a Wish List - When money is tight, you need to make sure that every purchase counts and that you'll get plenty of wear out of what you're buying. To do this, you'll need to make a wish list. What are you looking for? Be as specific as possible. For example, instead of listing "shoes" on your wish list, you might want to list "burgundy wedges". This gives you a mission and will ensure that you get exactly what you're looking for rather than indulging in impulse buys. Ending up with items that you didn't really want or need will make you feel like you wasted your money. It might take a little time but really assess your closet to see what you need and want.
Buyer Beware - Don't get sucked into savings offers like extreme discounts at the clearance rack or big one day sales. If a store is offering 75% off on a purple sweater, it is a waste of money to buy unless it actually looks good on you and you would wear it more than a few times. Opt for something that might only be 20% off if it means that you'll get more wear out of it. When you can only afford to buy a few pieces, every piece of clothing counts. If you buy on impulse because of a good sale, you'll end up with a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear!