Let’s get right to it: I’m poor. As a twenty-year-old college student working in retail, money is not something I have a lot of. As someone who
is obesessed with loves fashion as I do (and pretty much any- and everything expensive), it can be hard to balance your wants with your needs. As much as your obsessing over that $400 Kate Spade bag (guilty), you know you have to put necessities first.
However, not having a lot of money to burn has made me quite good, an expert I daresay, at bargain shopping. Today, I’m sharing my tried-and-true tips for dressing well on a tight budget.
Thrift stores are not just home to worn out, outdated clothing. While there is quite a bit of that, a sharp eye and lots of patience can make for some great discoveries. A pretty large portion of my clothing is thrifted; I’ve found tons of 100% cashmere sweaters for a couple of bucks a piece, real leather and wool jackets for under $5, and lots of classic J. Crew pieces. I’m a seasoned veteran of thrift shopping, with tons of tips and tricks, so let me know if you’d like me to share those in a post!
Consignment shops are the way to go for more upscale or designer goods. Since the items are sold to the stores (instead of being donated, like at thrift stores) prices are usually higher, but quality and wear is taken into consideration a lot more. I personally shop at consignment shops for designer items, formal dresses/gowns, and shoes.
Shop Clearance In-Store if Possible
I think we can all agree online shopping is the best (getting to shop without putting on pants? Heck yes!), but when it comes to shopping clearance, in-store is the way to go, and for many reasons.
When shopping online clearance, you’re shopping the same clearance as thousands of other people, which means lots of competition for the best items. Shopping in-store, however, gives a much greater chance of finding those great items, and maybe even more that aren’t listed online. Online clearance is also often final sale, so getting to try on the item in-store can prevent wasted cash.
One of my personal favorite places to shop clearance is Old Navy. I used to work there and -insider tip- lots of items that sit around for a while can go under a dollar. I once found a perfect oversize open-knit pink sweater for 47 cents (I kid you not!).
Buy and Sell on Poshmark
I discovered Poshmark a couple of years ago and it’s become one of my main tools for snagging great deals. Simply snap a picture of the item you want to sell, describe it, price it, and you’re good to go! There are lots of sites like this, but Poshmark is by far my favorite, as it has a wonderful community and very high sale rate. You can use the referral code BQNZA for $5 when you sign up.
T.J. Maxx is pretty much my home-away-from-home, and for good reason. This is the place for buying off-price designer goods and great-quality trendy clothing, home decor, beauty and bath products, kitchen products, and much more. One of my best (kinda TMI) finds were two pairs of Calvin Klein underwear (originally $20 a pair) for only $5 each! Some other great things I’ve spotted are Kate Spade kitchenware, philosophy bath products, agate coasters and bookends, a marble cutting board, and an amazing slew of candles. Other great places are Ross, Marshalls, and HomeGoods.
Two Words: Yard Sales
A pair of Converse All-Stars for $1. Three J. Crew flannels for $1.50 each. A Patagonia pullover for $3. What do all of these crazy deals have in common?
I found them at yard sales.
I live in Alabama, where yard sales are huge when the weather starts warming up (the famed 690-mile-long yard sale begins here!) and it’s always where I find the best deals. This is a little more difficult, as, to properly “yardsale”, you have to get up very early to ensure you score the best finds. Thankfully, I live in an area where there are always an abundance of sales every weekend and you can just follow the signs people place on the roads. Craigslist is also a good way to check for upcoming sales. Even though it requires a bit more work, yard sales are very worth it and I never end the day empty-handed.
My Favorite Stores to Shop
Forever 21– I’m sure many of you probably already shop here, but this is definitely one of my top choices for shopping on the cheap. You can find all of the latest trends and almost all of it is under $20-30. There are lots of good-quality items here, but it takes some digging. Avoid polyester clothing and try on EVERYTHING. This is a great place to find trendy accessories at low prices. I also love the shop the clearance here, but beware-it can be a nightmare!
H&M– This store is like Forever 21’s sophisticated older sister. The items are usually higher-quality, but also higher-priced. H&M is my choice for ultra-cheap denim. I sometimes find it hard to pay a lot for ripped jeans, so this is my place to get them. They also have great basic cotton tees and tanks for $10 and under.
T.J. Maxx– As I said earlier, this place is my weakness! My favorite things to buy here are home decor, beauty stuff, and workout gear. They also have a great selection of on-trend clothing and shoes as well, but the deals sometimes aren’t quite as great. There is usually a pretty good clearance selection for you to check out too.
Asos– This is the most expensive place on my list, but Asos is a great place to shop for unique, fashion-forward pieces. I especially love to shop their shoe section. I recently acquired these beauties for only $26! Watch for their awesome sales for up to 75% off.
Thank you for reading today’s post! I hope I gave you some helpful tips to getting your dollar’s worth when you’re tight on money like me! Be sure to subscribe via e-mail and follow my Instagram for more posts like these and affordable outfit inspiration.