Not everyone can afford to shop in department stores and buy the first thing they see on the racks. I happen to love fashion and make a game of finding bargains. People tell me “you must spend a lot of money on clothes because you’re always dressed up.” I chuckle and say “you have no idea how cheap I am.”
My number one source when I had no disposable income was the consignment store. My mother gave me her hand-me-downs so I could trade them for clothes in my size. I took them to the consignment store where I was given store credit once the items sold.
I may be a bargain shopper, but I’m a picky one. I never paid a dime for anything and every item I purchased was new. The best tip the owner gave me was to find items that were from sample sales. The top and bottom pieces may be different sizes, but as long as they are only one size apart, they are fine to put together. These were items the owner had gotten at the buyer’s mart shows.
The store had many name brand items, new with the tags still on them. Wealthier older ladies would wear an outfit one time, decide they didn’t want the item and donate it to the store. I shopped there for about ten years.
If you have the patience to look through every rack, you can also find brand name or vintage items at thrift stores. You may need to have them dry cleaned before wearing, but it is worth it. Liquidation sales and outlet stores are good places to look.
Knowing the layout of your local department store will help you find bargains. Seek out the clearance rack and scope out the goodies before payday so you can go back and get them. The best time to shop is mid-day during the week while you are the only customer. Merchandise is less expensive in the junior department than in the misses department.
Knowing the timing of semi-annual clearance and saving back shopping money for those times will help you plan your trip. The two clearance months are January and July. Shopping off-season and saving items for next year really helps build your wardrobe.
Building around a basic wardrobe will help refrain you from impulse buying. Start with basic items and add a new blouse or accessories to go with what you already have. Arranging your closet and dresser like the store makes getting dressed each day feel like you’re going shopping.
When my daughter was in high school we had fun sharing clothes. We are the same size for everything including shoes, so we had a double wardrobe. Of course, we wore outfits differently. We made a game of splitting up when shopping and seeing who got the best bargains.
One thing to keep in mind is that if you want good customer service, don’t expect it when bargain shopping. Get what you need and get out. Unfortunately, today it is common for clerks at the register to be talking on the cell phone as if you weren’t there. I’ve given up on expectations. With the money you’ve saved, you can splurge on a luxury treatment such as salon services.
Now that my daughter is in college, her taste has upgraded a bit. We recently needed to purchase a gown for a military ball she was attending. She found a boutique that we never could have afforded, but were lucky enough to find the perfect dress on the clearance rack. This was the kind of store with a lot of personal attention to match the price tags. The dress was a beaded dress for $200.00 marked down from $1,000.00. It was beautiful. For a special occasion, this was a good deal. It was fun having the ambiance.
I pretty much still do my clearance shopping at my usual neighborhood stores, but if I ever have a wedding to go to, I may go back to the boutique, just for the fun of it, with the hope of finding a treasure. The fun is in the hunt.