I grew up bargain hunting and this “get it cheap and tell everyone how cheap it was” gene has been passed down from my mother to me and my sisters. In fact, it’s a Christmas tradition to tell everyone how great a discount you got that gift for.
I have a very small budget each month for clothes and so I have to make it stretch. Here’s my tips for bargain hunting at clothing stores:
1) Go straight to the sale rack, then check out the rest of the store. Sale racks tend to have the colors that were not as popular and the sizes that were not as popular, as well as returns. But you know what they also have? The popular stuff in medium-range sizes that they had overstock of. Boom.
2) Take a fashion risk when it’s cheap, otherwise stick with classic pieces. You can get ma-jor discounts on items that you would never have otherwise considered had it been full price. I have picked up many pieces on the sale rack that were trendy and cute but I wasn’t so sure whether they were really “me” or would incorporate into my regular rotation. Sometimes I luck out and end up wearing that trendy piece all the time. Sometimes they sit in my closet. It’s best to not spend a lot on something you aren’t sure about. Trends come and go but classic pieces that you love will always work for you.
3) Try on stuff that is not necessarily your size. I can often find things one size up or down that fit based on the cut. Women’s sizes vary so much, even by the same retailer, so don’t ignore it if it looks like it may fit but is the “wrong size”. Try everything on, but make sure it fits well regardless of the size on the tag. Who cares what the number is? And if it bothers you, cut out the tag.
4) Don’t buy it just because it’s a good deal. Just because that hot pink blouse that you are swimming in is 90% off, doesn’t mean it fits well or that you will ever wear it. Think over whether you think you would actually pull it out of your closet and what other items in your wardrobe you would wear it with.
5) Sign up for your favorite store’s email lists. If you sign up for the email lists of your favorite stores, you will get updates on sales, coupons, and all kinds of goodies. Then plan your trips around those sales. Another tip: If you don’t have money to shop, don’t open the email. It can be really tempting to want to use a coupon just because you have it or to shop online because there’s a 72 hour sale. Only open the emails when you plan on going shopping.
5) Combine sales with coupons. Just like at the grocery store, you can get the deepest deals by combining a coupon with a sale price. Before shopping, check your email for your coupons from your favorite stores (see #5) and check sites like Retail Me Not for other printable coupons (or online coupons if you are shopping that way). The Shopkick app also has mobile coupons you can use in store. Then use those coupons on your sale rack purchases and watch the savings add up! Read the fine print of the coupon because sometimes it can only be used on full-price merchandise, but when it can be used on any items you are in for a real bargain.
What are some of your best bargain hunting tips?