Have you ever found that new deal blogger who has the cutest fashion sense and you get so excited about all the new deals that will be coming your way? Then you slowly start to realize that all of those “deals” are way out of your price range? Maybe it’s just me but I feel like this happens all the time and a little bit like those people don’t have to live on a budget like mine. I wanted to write a post about finding “steals” as opposed to just deals.
First I want to share that I love to shop. I think all the girls in our family do. I had issues with spending way too much money on clothes that I just HAD to have. A new sweater here, some shoes there, and a scarf because I lived where it was cold… and I have… a neck. I justified spending money on these things because they were much better quality and would last me for years to come. Then time goes by and I started to feel a little bit like Rebecca Bloomwood did when she realized that the coat she spent so much money on wasn’t actually 100% cashmere (please excuse my Confessions of a Shopaholic reference).
I wanted to write a post today about how you can find actual deals that fit within your budget. If you’re one of those people though that have to have the fanciest name brand purse or pair of jeans then go back to the other deal bloggers because those don’t fit within my budget! The kind of deals I’m talking about are how to find steals on everyday items from what I view as mid range stores. For example, I was out shopping the other day and found this skirt and shirt for a combined $9.59 from Gap! This shirt was originally $24.95 and the skirt was originally 49.95! Look how cute they are! and I have this shirt in another color and it has been through the wash so many times already and still looks great so I know it is something that will last me but even if it doesn’t last me forever, I got quite the steal. I feel like I’m pretty good at getting deals either on clothes for myself, my husband, or my sweet little baby so I’m going to share 6 quick tips to a cheaper wardrobe.
1. NEVER buy anything full price. I say this because almost every store I shop at on the bottom of the receipt it says something like “fill out this survey and get 20% off your next full priced item” Obviously this varies based on the store and depending on the item I would say only 20% off isn’t that good of a steal but it is something and better than paying full price. Some stores are known to have things that hardly ever go on sale (like Gap kids pajamas and their first favorite nightgowns) but they do go on sale every once in a while when they do a “no exclusions” sale. So if you know you may be wanting some of those (look at number 4) then you know that when a sale like that happens, you will want to get those specific things.
2. Take full advantage of sale on sale. When I’m shopping for myself I only really ever buy sale things and when the sale is a percentage off. I love to shop at The Loft and they frequently have an additional 40% off of their sale in their stores so I know that when they don’t have this then it probably isn’t the best deal. Oh also a side note, I have gotten a bunch of jewelry from The Loft for myself or as gifts that has been on sale and then 40% off and I get so many compliments on those pieces which makes me feel even better inside because it didn’t even cost me much! Gap also does 40% off of their sale in stores so I’ll look there for things for my me and my husband. I once got him 3 no-iron dress shirts (he has to wear them for school) for less than $15 a piece because they were on sale and then there was a percentage off of that in the store. I also live near outlets and the J. Crew Factory store does a percentage off of the whole store including sale. My sister got a super cute cream pencil skirt from there for $21!
3. Subscribe to emails BUT know when to delete. You have to know where your budget is at because subscribing to emails from stores can be a dangerous road. But, if you know you don’t have the money at the time you have to be able to just not even look at the subject line and just delete. Store emails can be a huge benefit though because if you do have the money, they let you know what sales are happening so you can know if it’s a good day to shop. As I said, I have some outlets about 5 minutes away from where I live. I get both the J. Crew Factory email and the Loft Outlet email. Sometimes in my Loft email it will say their main deal and then have an extra coupon for an additional 20% off of my purchase. Like I said though, you have train yourself to not be tempted into going when you don’t have it in your budget at the time. This was hard for me at first, but now I can go right through and delete without feeling sad about missing out on a deal (and lets be real, another great deal will come around).
4. Keep an ongoing list of things you want or that will become a need soon. I keep this list on my phone, when I notice I don’t really have many jeans that fit right or that aren’t wearing holes from years of use, I will put jeans on my list. When my baby starts wearing one size of clothes, I start looking into the next size and adding those to my list of clothes. Right now on my list is another reusable swim diaper. I love the one he has and I’m planning on getting another since we end up swimming so often. Don’t be afraid to have a long list, just know that you will only buy something IF you have it in your budget at the time.
5. Know where the best deals are. What I mean by this is that I have found that I can always find pretty much the same deal or most the time a better deal when I shop for my baby online. A lot of times in stores, they don’t have as much sale selection for baby boys so when they do a percentage off of the sale it doesn’t help me in the store. Also, the beauty of shopping online for babies is that it is much easier to shop around. I was looking for a rash guard for my little guy and a few different stores were having sales so I compared Carters, Target, Children’s Place, Gymboree, Old Navy and Gap and found where I could get the best deal and went with that. If I would have done that in the stores, it would have taken forever! When shopping for myself or my husband, shopping in the store tends to bring much better deals so just know the stores you like and what is a real steal and then when you are in that store and something on your list is a steal then you know to pounce! (like Simba)
6. Set a maximum amount of money you will spend before you go out (or start adding to your “I’m actually going to buy stuff cart” online) and STICK TO IT! It gets so tempting when there is such a good deal that you feel like you need to take advantage of it and spend more than you have but just think I’M SPENDING MORE THAN I HAVE SO IT ISN’T WORTH IT. I saw a pair of shoes that I just loved and I wanted to go and get them. Luckily my husband was able to come with me and he had me set a price that I wouldn’t go over for the shoes. We went to the store and I tried on the shoes and they were the best thing. So soft and fit so well… then my husband asked about the cost. They were double the price that we had set. So, we left the store and kept walking around. Then me being the toddler that I am decided I was going to sulk about it and hope that my husband would just say “let’s go buy the shoes” He didn’t. He put his arm around me and said he was sorry they were more and my pity party stopped pretty quickly. Since then I have found almost the same shoes for the amount that we had set elsewhere.
Of course everything can’t be a huge steal but you’d be surprised at the deals you can find on a regular basis. I’m no expert but I do love the feeling I get when I get a great deal so I rarely buy things (especially for myself) unless it feels more like I’m stealing it (minus the 5 finger discount). I should also add, if you have a good thrift store around and are good are finding great things then that would be a place to get a steal as well (I don’t have a great one by me and I am not great at finding because I get tired of looking). I’m now realizing this post is long so sorry about that!