Whether you have designer taste but not the funds, or couldn't care less about labels as long as something's cute, we’ve rolled together clever shopping tips that will help you look major on a shoestring budget.
Start at the sale rack.
Every store hides its sale rack in the back in hopes that you’ll fall in love with a full-priced number up front. So, put those blinders on! The back is the place to begin. Start with the clearance section (where things are pretty much at the lowest markdown possible), and then move to the sale rack (where the items tend not to be final sale).
Don't avoid those store emails.
Sometimes handing over your email address is all it takes to score a discount. Many stores offer coupons and flash sales to only those customers on their email list. Others, like Kohl’s, will even honor in-house coupons for a full year. If you hate having your inbox bombarded, we love the trick of creating a payday folder, so you can save those 25%-off codes for when you're ready to use 'em.
Shop out of season.
It might feel weird to buy a bikini in the dead of winter or a puffer coat when the temps are boiling, but the easiest way to save a buck is to shop out of season. Stores want to move out old merchandise, so all those items get a big markdown.
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You’re not the only one trying to save, so organize a swap meet with friends who wear similar sizes. You’ll walk away with a new wardrobe, and it won’t cost you a penny. Or, if you have a few bucks to blow, head to a blogger shopping event, like the Shop & Swap in NYC, where you can peruse the closets of some of your favorite bloggers (ahem, yours truly included).
Consider thrift shops.
Because some vintage styles tend to run smaller, plus-size women sometimes avoid secondhand stores. But, we encourage you to go ahead, ignore the tag, and try it on if it seems like it could work. The number doesn’t matter; what matters are fit and quality. Check out the men's section, too, for cool menswear pieces that could add a chic touch to your wardrobe. You'll be surprised what you can find.
Don’t overdo it on similar items.
Chances are, if you like one style, you’ll be drawn to it again and again. But, who are you kidding? You don’t need another black, short-sleeved dress or pair of dark-denim skinny jeans. Save your money for the unique, special pieces that don’t resemble things you already own.
Don’t buy things that aren’t your size or style.
Women of all sizes can fall into the trap of thinking, “It’ll fit when I lose weight.” The only body you should be shopping for is the one you currently have. In addition, avoid buying an of-the-moment trend if it really doesn’t work with the rest of your style; you’ll find yourself staring at it a year later, price tag still attached, wondering why you ever shelled out the dough.