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College is this time for deep introspection and reflection, and sooner or later, we’re supposed to figure out some “gifts” that we each possess, special and unique and able to transform our corners of the world accordingly.
I swear my gift is bargain shopping.
That’s what I’ve learned from my Ivy League education thus far – how to create a killer wardrobe on an I-can’t-even-afford-Starbucks budget.
This spring break, I went all out with the momma at what we like to consider our “treasure hunt” store – Ross: Dress for Less.
The result? 19 pieces of clothing for a grand total of $210.81.
Yeah, that averages out to $11 a piece.
I’m talking all skirts, dresses, pants, and tops here people.
A disclaimer for the pictures that follow: For anyone who checked out this post on styling my fave sweater for spring, you’ll know that sometimes (most times) I make a less-than-par model. It was really windy and really cold when my wonderful brother agreed to play photog. Naturally, bloopers will follow.
I’m loving my Ross finds…
My friends tend to ask me, “How do you find stuff for that cheap?!”
I’m just the bargain guru who will stop at nothing to get designer shoes for $25. Just kidding (but not kidding about the shoes).
Here’s the thing.
It’s a process, so take friends (or your momma) along for the ride.
My 3 tips for finding stellar steals:
- Play supersleuth. Figure out which stores near you – even if they seem pretty obscure – are known for either having unusually low prices most of the time, or have great discounts or sales. Figure out when those sales are. Back in the day, my mom and I figured out that Claire’s Boutique (back before it was Icing) had a 10 for $5 accessories sale right around every holiday – even St. Patrick’s day. Figure out the secrets ala Nancy Drew, and you’re one step closer to saving bank.
- If you really want good deals, shop off-price retail. And if name brands are a big concern for you, just don’t tell anyone who you’re wearing! But, that being said, some off-pricers carry known names now. You’ll find Michael Kors in Marshall’s, Jessica Simpson in Ross, Kenneth Cole in Burlington, and a ton of hot names in TJ’s.
- Be willing to hunt for style. Especially in the off-price retail world (Ross, Marshall’s, Burlington, TJMaxx), racks might feel a little cluttered or disorganized. I’ve learned in time, though, that you just gotta push through and persevere to get to the goods. Momma and I will spend ~2 hours together in Ross. It takes us around 5 trips to the dressing room, because our cart becomes a fountain of clothes and shoes. If you’re like us, you’ll be the most obnoxious ones in the store, and the dressing room attendants will either find your wild antics amusing or annoying (if they’re any fun, they’ll be entertained). Make it a fun adventure with your favorite shopping buddy, and you’ll end up surprised (and elated) when you find some key pieces for less!
Now, since I said I would…
Aaaaaaaand, didja notice my watch? Since I can’t count the number of times I’ve been asked at college where my watch is from, I’ll let you in on a secret: That was a bargain, too! If you fancy it just as much as I do, buy it here:
What are your favorite places to find deals? What’s the best bargain piece you’ve scored? If you’re an off-price girl, which one’s your fave?
SO MANY QUESTIONS FOR YOU. Just comment with whatever your heart desires. Embarrassing photos are an added bonus.