GUIDE TO BUDGET FRIENDLY SHOPPING






Sweater Vest: Old Navy | Tank Top: Old Navy | Jeans: American Eagle Shoes: Steve Madden sizes limited, here is almost exact with more size options| Purse: Tory Burch (sold out, similar style here | Ring: BP | Watch: Michael Kors  Necklace + Earrings: I purchased from Old Navy, they only carry their jewelry in store here and here are some close matches | Bracelet: J.Crew | Sunglasses: Tory Burch

It is no secret that I love a sale and getting an expensive item at a discounted price. It has saved my family quite a bit of money over the years.  This outfit for example shows that you can be fashionable at any price point.  My clothing and jewelry pictured cost me less that $100! I've noticed that I can get some deals that other people may miss, so I wanted to share how I save big!

Disclaimer: I have not tapped into being an extreme couponer with groceries or anything else.  I give those women some serious credit, and wish I had the energy plus skills to do that! Who wouldn't want to get $100 dollars in groceries and only pay pennies! For about five seconds I attempted to do it and after the first grocery visit I stopped. I forgot some coupons (held up the line looking for them), did not select the right items, and really didn't even make my money back that I spent on the newspaper. haha! So that began and ended rather quickly. I say all that to say, I will be sharing tips on finding CLOTHING only deals.  Let me break down a few strategies for saving on your next purchases.

SHOP THE SEASONAL SALES 
There are many stores that I cannot wait until they have their seasonal sales.  I score big at sales, and wanted to share a few.
 
Nordstrom: This is really the only department store I shop at frequently.  They have a price point I feel comfortable with, and when they have a sale I can stock up on quality apparel at a great price.  If you like department shopping then keep your eyes open for their half yearly sale that just past about a month ago.  And most importantly their Anniversary sale which kicks off today! This is when I pick up some designer items for a fraction of the price.  No exaggerating when I say this is when I get most of my designer items. 

The Cardholder access starts the July 14th and open to all starts on the July 22nd. Items go quick so make a list of what you would like to snag, before it gets sold out! You will find designer items for 40% off and huge discounts on cosmetics. 

Tory Burch: I love Tory Burch.  And while sometimes I don't mind paying full price for an item, as the brand is great quality. Of course, I prefer to shop their items during TB's quarterly sales. You can snag items for about 30% to 40% off. Their semi-annual sale just ended where you could get 30% off sale items. If you don't like the price tag of Tory Burch, seriously consider picking up some items during their sales. 

Victoria's Secret:  Need undergarments? Mark your calendars for their Semi-annual sale.  I stock up on bra's and undies at that time. They typically have the sale in the Winter and Summer.  Keep in mind that the basic bra and underwear colors go quick, so if you want a basic black be ready to move fast. I occasionally will get Pink lounge wear too for every day wear at low prices!
 
Dilliards:  I do know a lot of people that take part in the awesome yearly sale. I have never been a fan of Dilliards, so I can't give you direct tips.  I think the reason why is because we didn't have one in Grand Rapids where I grew up, so it just never seemed natural to go to that department store.  However, if you like Dillards watch out for that, because I hear you can get some great deals there also. 

In general, the best time to be on the look out for all sales is toward the end of  a season.  With summer wrapping up soon, stores will start to have great deals.  It goes without saying, that of course Black Friday and Cyber Monday are amazing with scoring big on discount items.  Put a plan together with those shopping dates.  I will share more tips on that as we get closer.  

 COUPON CODES ARE YOUR FRIEND
 I almost always shop online and when I do I first see if there is a coupon code before checking out.  I shop at the same stores for the most part so I know what stores offer coupons frequently. Here is a quick list of stores that I shop at that you should wait to purchase until you have a coupon.

NY and Company- They frequently have flash sales and coupon codes. If you are seeing something full price consider waiting because they always have sales.

Express- I never purchased anything from Express without having a coupon. I receive in the mail the coupon codes where you can purchase a certain threshold to get a tiered discount. I despise Express having $8.95 shipping so I typically wait until they have multiple items I am interested in to purchase over their $125.  

Charming Charlie- Every other day I am getting emails about coupons on jewelry.  Not to mention this store already has affordable jewelry. I just got in my inbox last week a coupon for JULY $10 off $60 + Free Std Shipping Use code: HOT160

Loft- I love shopping here for my every day looks.  They often have $50 off $100! The Loft also has the $8.95 shipping, so beware that will eat into your discount a bit.  SN: I don't know why I have this stigma with shipping costs. Seeing a store not offer free shipping will really have me considering not shopping there. LOL! Crazy I know, but its the truth!

Steve Madden- I love shoes the most and frequently shop at Steve Madden. Unless I need a shoe for an event I rarely shop full price.  They always have 15% or 20% with free shipping.  SM also moves their shoes over quickly to sale section giving it even more of a discount. Keep your eye out for their Midday steals sale! You will get shoes for half off! 

 Gap- I notice I shop here more in the fall an winter as I like more of their fall clothing.  They are pretty affordable with a their sales and coupons. I shop here a lot for Rick, and they always have affordable menswear as well. 

If there are stores you love consider joining the email list.  Yes, I know that will add some emails to your inbox, but that is where most of the coupon codes get delivered too.  Also, most companies will send something out for your birthday month as an added bonus.  Even if I don't have a coupon code for a particular store I always check Retail me not or others similar to make sure I am not missing out on anything. 

OUTLET MALLS
I am not going to pretend like I go to the outlet malls a lot, because I really don't.  I rarely go to any mall really, it is just not enjoyable for me. It's not how I find the best deals personally.  I like to browse on the couch with no crowds, no kids whining, and price compare. However, outlet malls you can save a ton! Whenever I do go which is every few months I find some great items.  The biggest tip is remember that not all stores or items at the outlet will offer a true deal.  Sometimes people run to the outlet mall and get items that are truly the same price as the regular store.  Be careful with that not falling into the trap of outlet stores. 

 Some of the stores that are a must for me when I go to the outlet is Katespade, Stride Rite, Nike (remember not all items in this store are a deal), Gap/Banana Republic Factory store,  Cole Haan (my husband loves their shoes), and Last Call.  Those are a few that come to mind that will have some great deals! Of course that will vary based on the outlet nearest to you. 

CASHBACK 
 I started using Ebates about 2 years ago.  I signed up not really thinking too much of it, but it has been a nice little perk to get sporadically.  Ebates is a program that allows you to get a percentage back for shopping at their partnered companies.  After you get an account (which is free), you then will shop at the online stores like you normally would.  However, this time you go to the store site through the ebates link, shop and check out just like normal.  Once you have completed your purchase you will typically get an email within 24 hours of the cash back you received from that purchase.

  It typically is never a ton, but does add up. Trust me! They pay out 4 times a year via Paypal or check.  So far my pay out have gotten me a handbags and shoes.  It's a nice little added bonus! One time we were switching to a new cable provider and checked out through ebates and got $50 just for that! So be looking for those added cashback deals.  Definitely something to consider! 

BUDGET FRIENDLY STORES
If you don't shop ever at affordable shops you are seriously missing out! More often than not there are clothing items that look almost identical as the designers and over half the cost.  You just need to know what stores to go to and what items are best to shop for at a bargain price. Here are some of my favorite cost friendly stores:

 Old Navy- Great for the entire family. However, for myself I don't shop everything from ON. I tend to stick with Dresses, shorts, and some blouses. Whenever I get pants for me, they don't tend to hold up well.  I feel online provides better deals than in-store.

 H&M- You can always find something.  However, just be careful with shopping there.  Sometimes the quality on all the items isn't the best. Example...they normally have 9.99 jeans that I stay away from.  They feel cheap and scratchy on my legs, and provide no shape for me. Same with jewelry, you get some really affordable jewelry but may not last that long. I do really like H&M for men as well, but just keep in mind if you have a huskier guy finding sizing is not the easiest. H&M is a store I like to physically go in, and take my time to browse around.  I will pay attention to the quality of the items as they have a huge range.  H&M gets crazy, so I go to a less busy mall locally and right when they open on Saturday. 

 Zara- Now let me say not all of their items are budget friendly.  However, they will frequently have hand bags that are pretty affordable. Zara also keeps their clothing items at a mixed price point. I normally can get pants for $40 and a top for about $30ish.  I haven't purchased an item from Zara that I did not love.  Some of my favorite items from Zara, is definitely Blazers.  If you want a blazer that is great quality with a nice fit.  Splurge on their blazers.

Shein- I just recently learned about this site and so far I am pleased, and definitely wanted to share.  I have gotten a few things from then, and have worn them all.  I always get leery of ordering from online boutiques with low prices.  However, I decided to give it a shot after I saw many bloggers order from them.  The prices are LOW, and recommend you browsing this site for trendy clothing items you may be interested in but not break the bank. 

A few other affordable online shops I visit is Boohoo(affordable plus they always have a coupon, Lulus, and Asos.  Over the years I have been working to build my wardrobe to have quality over quantity. I don't run out to all of the bargain stores that I used to just to grab something that won't last me. In the past I would shop with the price point being in the fore front, and sometimes left me with pieces not up to par. It's great to get a deal, but just make sure it will last.  I don't want a closet full of junk. I've found that it save me money in the long run because I don't have to every season run out to buy the same thing. Even budget-friendly brands can have great quality items.  

Start learning what brands offer the best deals but don't skimp on the quality. 
 This is where finding your wardrobe staples comes into play.  I recommend investing in your staple pieces, which for every women is different.  Flats are one of my staples, because I wear them the most on a daily basis.  Figure out the items you use and love most, and consider saving and putting money towards those items.  For the rest don't be afraid to shop a deal, sale rack, or apply that coupon code.  I am not above it and you shouldn't be either! 

There are of course many other stores with awesome deals.  The stores I listed are just the top ones I regularly shop at, but definitely not all! 
Hope you can find some great deals next time you shop!

Happy Styling!

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