Sale racks, AHHH. The only thing that is more magnetic, for me, is a stray cat or my local coffee shop. (I’m a certifiable caffeinated crazy cat lady, what can I say? I am married, does that make me any less of a cat lady? Asking for a friend.) Navigating my way through adult hood, I’ve been smacked in the face with what we call “responsibility.” It’s a real B and a half. Overall, I do enjoy shopping, I consider it a sport at which I excel (I am pretty athletic, so you can understand where I am going with this). Unfortunately, these little paper notices requesting my money somehow always land in my mailbox. However, as many adult bills that I have (I mean, do I HAVE to pay my mortgage, PSE&G and my car payment?), I still want to remain stylish. So, what gives? Is it even possible on a budget? Truth be told, with the right patience and knowledge, “ballin’ on a budget” when it comes to your wardrobe is completely possible. Here are my five tips, on how I remain in the styles I like, without eating Cup O Noodles five nights a week.
1: Strike While The Iron Is Hot.
Thursday. Most sales start on Thursdays. If there are certain items that you were waiting to go on sale, then Thursday is the best day or evening to hit the store that has your item. There is a strong possibility that you will find most items going on sale on this day of the week. I understand that a lot of people wait until the weekend to shop but Thursday is your day for two reasons: One, more inventory so you’re more likely to actually snag your desired item in your size and two, less crowds. If you’re hawking around the sales racks, the less humans in the area, the better. Thank me later for the latter piece of advice.
Purchased last Thursday: My new favorite jeans in every color offered. Comfortable, stylish, and 150% flattering on my figure (I am wearing a size 26/2 so you can gauge what size you’d need). This specific pair was $9.00, after all discounts, and the darker shade was $13.00 – both marked down from $98.00, in store, and $69.00 in the outlet. Banana Republic Outlet also has an additional 29% off of your order, for Leap Day, until midnight tonight, with the code “LEAP +.” (My top, also Banana, was $7.99, the shoes are Blahnik and the purse is Minkoff, which I waited for both to go on a reasonable sale.)
2: Know Thy Discounts.
Did you know that many major stores offer discounts on top of sale prices? When I explain that I’ve gotten excellent work pants, for $7.00, believe it. Two of my favorite stores, Banana Republic and J. Crew, always have discounts, with a valid up-to-date ID, for teachers and students (I will forever be a student just for the extra percentage off, and my company pays for all formal education, which is a bonus, I’ll have my Ph.D. by 2025) J. Crew offers 15%, on top of your final price while Banana Republic comes in a close second with a still respectable 10% off of your final price. New York & Company also offers a discount as well as The Limited. Military and Vets, I am not forgetting you! Not only do I always humbly thank you, for your service, but there are stores and companies that do, too. Here is your list of qualifying stores and companies that offer you discounts every day. We salute you!
3: Get Clipping And Carrying.
Wait, that sounded a little violent. I, for one, am not embarrassed to use coupons. I slave way too hard, over a hot desk, for me to just watch my dollars burn on full priced items. If I can use a coupon and save money, I will. Most department stores that I typically shop in have coupons or extra savings passes (Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom) which I never shy away from using. Like an Amex, I literally never leave home without them. If there is something that you want that usually doesn’t go on sale, wait for Friends and Family sales. The savings are honored on ALL items, despite brand name, and are usually a solid 25% or extra 30% off. They are also valid on sale items and occur twice a year.
4: Let A Few Weeks Pass.
See something that you love and you need ASAP? Wait a good six weeks for it to hit the discount rack! Most pieces make their way from the front of the store, to the middle, to the back within just a few weeks, typically four to six.
5: March and June Are Your Months.
All prices on last season’s pieces are cut drastically in March when Spring 2016 styles hit the racks. This is your chance to get your favorite styles, for close to nothing, for next year. Shopping for them babies (sorry, total Mariah Carey moment) and children? Stock up! Pick up a size or two above their current size. This way when the time to switch their wardrobes comes, you won’t be in a panic trying to buy new items that fit.
Need lingerie? Don’t forget Victoria’s Secret has their semi annual sale in June. That is your chance to really do an overhaul on bras, panties, swim, and some more “fun” pieces (you follow?).
Last but certainly not least, don’t forget to check out your local Consignment Shops, Goodwill stores (I usually leave these to the people who truly need them, however, it is always an option not to pass up), or estate/garage sales. Some of the time you can even find one of a kind or limited edition pieces. There are a ton of consignments, with gently used items, or items with tags still on them, right in my area of Bergen County (Ridgewood/ Wyckoff) that typically have a great selection. A run through the wash or a dry cleaning session and you’re good to go!
In closing, there are some items that will just never go on sale (I’m throwing major shade your way you Louis Vuitton) and I completely understand and respect the company’s reasoning. More times than not, these are non-essential items. (Make me a respectable offer that I just can’t refuse, on any of mine, and they’re yours.) Follow my tips above and throw those extra bills saved, into an account for a rainy day, a quick getaway, pay down a credit card, Botox, or simply just save it. Let me know your thoughts, or try these tips this weekend, now that we’ve entered my version of March Madness.
All the best,