Monday, January 18, 2016
10 Tips to Stay in Your Fashion Budget
My husband and I have been on a monthly clothing/fun money budget for almost 3 years now and I really have only good things to say about it. It's completely eliminated the fluctuating spending on clothing that used to affect our monthly budget and helps make each of us feel more in charge of our spending. We have more freedom to save, spend, or splurge. Now I know what I can afford and I don't have to worry about ruining our monthly budget if I want a higher priced item. But still, I want to get the most for my money. I try to be transparent with my spending each month by sharing my budget posts. Often I see comments about how I am able to get things for less. You can all do that too! Here are some of my tips:
1. thredUP-By far, my favorite online store. This past year I have really increased the amount of clothing I get through thredUP. I can buy higher quality and designer items for much less money. It's worth it! Occasionally there are even sales and free shipping so watch out for that. If I am ever low on funds, I clean out my closet and send in my used items and use the credit for shopping. Overwhelmed with the selection? Check out my post on How I Shop on thredUP. If you've never shopped there, sign up with my referral code and get $20 off!
2. % back websites- I am basically obsessed with ebates. I shop online for about 90% of my items so I have the ebates button installed on my toolbar to remind me to sign in before I make a purchase. If you don't know what ebates is, you sign in to the site and shop online as you normally would. Many sites offer a percentage of cash back for each purchase you make. If your balance is above $5, ebates will send you a check every three months with your money back. I have earned over $300 back for purchases I would make anyway since joining. I even use it for slightly larger purchases I would normally make in store. I buy it online and choose the 'pick up in store' option for even more cash back. Even sites like ebay, etsy, and thredUP are on there. Use the cash back for off setting some of your spending! Sign up with my referral code and get a $10 bonus with your first $25 purchase. Shopathome is very similar to ebates. You get a percentage of cash back for your online purchases. Both sites offer coupon codes and additional incentives. I like to compare which site is offering a higher percentage back to decide which to use. Shopathome is offering a $10 bonus when you join as well. I know this sounds too good to be true, but it isn't and it's an amazing way to get some cash back for your spending and use it on future purchases.
3. Ebay- Personally, I don't use ebay a lot, but I have used it a few times with success for accessories. I like to get blanket scarves, statement necklaces, and bracelets off ebay for a fraction of the price I would pay at J.Crew Factory. Yes, the quality is substanially lower, but they are trendy items that will be out of style before they start to show wear so I can justify it. I have gotten several necklaces and my blanket scarf for less than $10. I know other bloggers have also gotten great deals on clothing and designer bags on ebay. Just be careful to make sure the item is authentic before purchasing!
4. Shopstyle- When shopping for a particular item (as opposed to browsing a favorite store), I will often go to Shopstyle. That way I can search for the item on their database of items from many stores and brands and filter/sort it according to color and price. I can compare similar items across stores for cost. This saves me time from searching everywhere and I know I am getting a good deal.
5. Check for sales and watch- Yes, this is a no-brainer. Occasionally a specific product will catch my eye from one of my favorite stores. If you shop at a store enough, you know what their typical sales are. For example, LOFT often adds additional % off on their sale items. But I shop there enough that I know 40% additional off isn't that much. LOFT will go as high as 60% or even 75% additional off their sale items. That is when I know to nab an item. Old Navy and Gap are the same way. 25% off isn't enough for me at those stores. 30-40% off is more like it! You do have to balance out your desire to get a good deal against the chance the item may sell out though.
6. Keep your receipt for adjustments- Although I try to get items on sale as much as possible, sometimes they are placed on an even deeper discount after I buy them. However many stores will give you a price adjustment with a specified time period. This happened to me when I bought a pair of boots from Macy's last year. I got them on sale with 20% additional off, but then they went on clearance right after I purchased them. No big deal. There was a spot online to submit for price adjustment and less than a day later I was refunded over $50! Checking back on items after purchase can help you save big!
7. Promo codes and coupons- This is another tip that consistently saves me lots of cash, shipping fees, and more. Before purchasing I always search places like retailmenot, dealspotr, ebates, or shopathome for promo codes to save even more money off an item. I've found these sites have the most reliable codes and I can always search and find them quickly.
8. Earn and use giftcards- Giftcards can help offset costs of clothing and accessories. I use shopkick and dealspotr to earn giftcards that I use towards my purchases. On dealspotr you can earn 'karma' for posting deals and doing other tasks on the site. Once you reach certain amounts of 'karma' you can redeem them for an amazon giftcard. Shopkick is an app that you open when you go into select stores. You can scan items in stores, invite friends, and go through the app for points (if you add your credit card you can also get points for purchases, but I haven't done that). You can then redeem points for a giftcard to various stores. I've been using Shopkick for well over a year and gotten about $50 of giftcards. I've been using dealspotr for 3 months and gotten $15 in amazon giftcards. You can use my referral link for extra karma when you sign up.
9. Rewards programs- By participating in a few rewards programs of stores you frequent often, you can get additional coupons, sale alerts, and other benefits. Two programs I am a part of are JCPenney and DSW. Several times a year I get '$10 off anything' coupons and rewards for money I spend. There are also many store credit card reward programs available. Of course, the credit cards are only beneficial if you pay it off at the end of each month and actually use the rewards. Otherwise you're spending extra money on interest which kind of defeats the purpose of saving money in the first place!
10. Fast fashion- I was unsure whether to include this or not. While my basic wardrobe pieces I prefer to be of high quality because they are classic and get lots of wear, trendier pieces I want to get for a steal. Why the difference? Trends come and go and I don't want to spend a lot on something I may wear for only a few months. When purchasing trendy items, I tend to shop at fast fashion retailers like Forever 21, H&M, SheIn, etc. The clothes are incredibly cheap. The downsides are the quality is lower and items sell out quickly so if you like something you need to grab it fast! These aren't the places to get wardrobe basics, but are great if you want to try a trend. Sizing can also be an issue so beware (check out my tips for SheIn sizes if you need help). By balancing out your higher spending on classic, quality items and saving on trendy items you save in the long run.