Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ten Tips for Being Fashionable on a Budget

Want Fashion without paying full price, keep reading...

I love buying fashionable clothing, but never at full price. So the term "Bargainista" just sounds so wonderful to me. As part of a blogging campaign on "Twitter Moms" (more info here), I was challenged to come up with 10 tips for being fashionable on a budget. I do love a challenge, so here are my bargainsta tips that I use everyday --

1. Coupons are your Friend.
If I see something a love for full price in a store, I go to the nearest computer to see if I can print off a discount coupon. More than likely a coupon is available through a google search or you can sign-up on the store's online website and they will send you coupons. This method allowed me to get my favorite gray sweater for $15 off the regular price of $30.

If you are looking for coupons, click here to get 15% off at the Gap Outlet or Banana Republic until May 24, 2010. Restrictions apply.

2. Look often to Score the Best Deals.
I don't like to shop in crowds, so I will window shop for a short amount of time on my lunch hour a few times a week to see if any bargains have popped up. This method scored me my find of a buttery yellow Coach tote bag marked down from $280 to $80. Believe it or not, someone had just returned it because they did not like the color.

3. Know when the mark downs happen.
Each store has a different day of the week that they mark down their prices. Find out what days those are for your favorite stores by befriending a sales clerk. Once you find out that magic time, you will know when to strike.

4. Holidays are Magical Bargain times.
There is nothing like a holiday to get a good markdown. Mother's day just passed and a lot of stores had ladies clothing and jewelry marked down 50% the Saturday before and on top of that, they were accepting coupons for even more off. I scored a beautiful bracelet for my mom for only $6.50! Besides Mother's day, Valentine's Day, Christmas, Labor Day, and Memorial Day are good holidays for bargain clothing and jewelry shopping.

5. Know which designers look good on you.
Not every designer's clothing fits me. So I know which designers look good on my body type and which sizes I need by those designers. Then if I see an amazing deal online, I know I can buy it with the confidence that it will fit and not be a waste of money.

6. Fake It till you Make It.
Although I do like buying the real thing, sometimes a good fake it just as good and cheaper. A lot of stores now offer in-store private brands. These private brands are often made in the same factory and by the same employees that make the designer clothing. And because the middle man is cut out, they are cheaper than the designer brands.

7. Know what the real thing looks like
What is it that makes a designer brand worth the money? Believe me, it is not just the name. Designer brands have strict standards on fabric, quality and construction. A Coach bag cannot be made from sub-standard animal skins. Nor can it have sub-quality stitching. Get to know the details that go into a quality brand and then look for those details whenever you shop at discount stores and thrift shops.

8. Don't wait for a Big Occasion to Shop for a Special Outfit
Please, please, please don't wait right before for a big occasion to look for a special outfit. There is just something about the pressure of needing a special dress that just makes the budget go totally out of the window. It is much better to shop for that little black dress or killer shoes when you don't need them and can get them on sale or clearance. I have lots of little black dresses (all on clearance) in my closet just waiting to get out and party.

9. Use online Blogs to Find the Bargains for You.
I love Lucky Magazine (yes, I have a free subscription) because they put together great outfits with no affiliations to any clothing designers and their blog has a link to tons of online markdowns. Click here to see today's links.

10. If you cannot afford something that you love, walk away and give yourself some time to think about it. Never buy something in the heat of the moment. Bargains are always on the horizon.

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Gap Outlet blogging program to be eligible to win a $20 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Photo by Henri Bendel

Gap Twitter Discount

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