A fun fact about me: I used to be a fashion blogger! I started a blog called East Coast Chic back in 2014. I quit fashion blogging for a few reasons. 1) it’s really difficult to keep up with high quality pictures. My cousin is actually a photographer and would take photos for me, but she lives 45 from me, so we would have to shoot a bunch of outfits each time. My husband (boyfriend turned fiancé at the time), did not enjoy being a photographer for me. 2) I became too focused on taking pictures of all my outfits before we went places and it was becoming stressful instead of fun. 3) I didn’t like how much of an emphasis there was on looks. Yes, I enjoy wearing nice clothes, but I didn’t want to feel like I needed to have the perfect body and never have a hair out of place or always have makeup on for photo ops. It’s just not how I wanted to live my life.
Although I have quit fashion blogging, and now do personal finance blogging, I do still love fashion and designer clothing. The one thing I don’t love: paying full price. I was inspired by a post by the lovely Luxe Strategist, which made me want to share with you how I save money on designer (and other) clothing! Here are my tips on how I manage to afford fashionable clothing while still being financially savvy.
I ask for gift cards.
Gift cards seem to have a bad rep and I cannot for the life of me understand why. Sure, I can see the point of wanting to get something more personal sometimes, but I am personally MORE than happy to get a gift card. This is why I oftentimes ask for them for holidays when I am asked what people should get me. To add a little element of surprise, I list out a bunch of my favorite stores and let people choose whichever they’d prefer. I like gift cards over cash because when I get cash, I typically end up saving it or spending it on normal bills and I hate doing that. When I get a gift card, I have to spend it at that specific store and sometimes it’s nice to treat yourself.
I hate buying things full price, but the exception to this is when I have gift cards. Sometimes things don’t go on sale or they just take too long to go on sale and I want a specific item of clothing or accessory for an event or vacation. In these cases, I will use my gift cards towards the purchase of these items.
I almost exclusively buy items that are less than original price.
When I don’t have gift cards, I prefer to shop at discounted stores, such as outlets or TJMaxx and Marshall’s, in the sale sections of other stores or with coupons. There are SO many ways to get coupons and promo codes today that there’s almost no reason to buy things without them! There are certain items you cannot use a coupon on, but other than that I pretty much wait it out for the next sale or search the internet for the lowest price on a specific item.
Some of my favorite stores are SaksOff5th, Last Call NM, Nordstrom Rack, TJMaxx, and Marshall’s. If you have never been to outlet stores, I highly suggest checking them out. While online shopping is great, there are many outlets that still do not have websites. Check to see if there is a Simon Premium Outlets Center near you! The one closest to me is Woodbury Commons and it is fantastic.
I have someone else buy it for me.
No, I do NOT mean a sugar daddy. On the occasions when I don’t ask for gift cards, I ask for specific designer items as gifts (only if this is within the budget someone is willing to spend, of course). My husband is very, very good to me and likes to spoil me on occasions, so he has been the source of most of my designer items. While he is financially savvy, as well, he knows that I mentally cannot purchase expensive things for myself (because, you know, guilt), so he steps in and gets them for me. Both my husband and I LOVE giving gifts, whether it’s to each other, to friends or to family, so gift-giving tends to be one of our splurge categories.
I don’t buy solely designer items.
I like to mix and match. I’m a shoe-lover, so I tend to spend the most on shoes, or have someone else do it for me. I’ll pair an expensive pair of shoes with an average-priced or very inexpensive dress. To me, it’s not about being snobby and only wearing designer brands. I like what I and if it happens to be expensive, I try to get it for cheaper or find another way to acquire it and if it happens to be inexpensive, I’m a happy little camper! It doesn’t really matter what you’re wearing as long as you feel good in it and you like it on yourself. It can be $5 or $500 and a majority of people wouldn’t know the difference!
Utilizing credit card points and/or eBates to get cash back.
Our Amex Blue Cash Preferred also often runs deals for $X cash back if you spend $X. I check this before making purchases because I have to remember to apply the offer to my card before buying. My husband and I also have 2 Chase credit cards. If you shop through Chase Ultimate Rewards, you can often get more than 1% cash back at several stores. The percentage of cash back differs per store, but by clicking the store’s link through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards platform, you can get say between 3-7% cash back. I try to utilize this as often as I can and I compare with the deals on eBates to see which is higher. If you don’t know what eBates is, it’s a website that gives you cash back on your purchases when clicking the link to a store through their website. I love it. If you sign up through my link below, you will receive $10 automatically! Sign up for eBates here!
Lastly, I budget for clothing purchases!
Budgeting is the most important thing when it comes to spending money. How do you know how much you can comfortably spend without having a budget? Check out my post on Why You Need a Budget for more and feel free to download my budget template: Click Here to Download My Personal Monthly Budget.
We have a clothing allowance of $250 per month between my husband and I. Most of the time we come under this, but we like to over budget rather than under budget so that any excess can be saved for another purpose (traveling or investments are our two big ones). If you’re like me and shop often, you should absolutely make sure to allocate a line in your budget specifically to clothing purchases.
Who has some great fashion deal stories they’d like to share? Or any other tips on saving money on clothing?