I’ll let you in on a secret that many of my friends already know. I love to shop. It’s one of my favorite ways to spend spare time. I travel to New York to shop, I try to plan vacations near outlets so I can shop and I took a four day vacation to celebrate Tax Free Shopping Weekend in Virginia. The problem is this: I’m a single parent of teenagers and they are expensive to raise. So how do I manage my shopping addiction with not much money to spare?
Use the Smart Phone
Well, I’ll tell you how. I leave the store without buying anything! Then how do I have such a great wardrobe? Here’s how. I often do a walk-through of a store to see what items I like and what fits and then I scan the barcode with Red Laser to see if I can find it cheaper. If I can find it on the web, I order it right there (and I usually can). Or I’ll go home and check eBay to see if I can find the same or a similar item for a better price. My daughter wanted a Vera Bradley Coin and Key for her birthday. Twenty-five dollars at Saxons only ended up costing me $14.95 on eBay. Free shipping too!
Never Pay Retail
I never, ever pay retail for anything! Never, ever! If an item isn’t on sale, I keep walking. I better have a handful of store coupons before I even walk into Delia’s or Aeropostale for clothes for my daughters and I won’t even walk into Macys without coupons for my own purchases. I get store credit cards if they afford extra discounts. I just have to be extra careful to pay them off at the end of the month to avoid those pesky interest charges. But having a store credit card means you can get advance information on sales and coupons for at least 20% off on most purchases. Some stores, like Victoria Secret, send coupon books with a special coupon for each month.
And my best kept secret is the Goodwill Store. Yep, I shop at thrift stores! And I love it! My latest finds included a beautiful beaded David Warren black cocktail dress for $6.99 (see photo below), a Kenneth Cole pink handbag for $4.00, a silk flowered purse for $4.00 (in photo with dress) and a grey, A-line skirt from Express for $2.50. It’s brand new! I’ve seen an original Bob Mackie suit (he was Cher’s designer) and an original Oleg Cassini (designer for Jackie O!) on the racks at Goodwill ON THE SAME DAY! No, I passed on both. The Mackie was five sizes too big and the Cassini was just not my style.
I am hawk-eyed in the Goodwill too. I make sure I check every seam and every single square inch of fabric. If it doesn’t fit exactly right, even if it is a buck, I walk. I’m not going to waste a dollar on something that will sit in the closet. If it has even a tiny spot, I pass unless I am sure I can get it out. It helps that I am very fashion savvy when I go into the store. I know which designers make good quality items and I stick to those. I also know which types of clothing fit my body the best and I stick with those as well. I am particular about what I purchase and won’t buy shoes at a thrift store and some other items as well. I usually stick to jackets (a black denim jean jacket today was a steal at $4.99), skirts, purses, belts and scarves.