Shopping on a Budget

Shopping on a Shoestring Budget
By Susan M. Keenan

Shopping

For many women, designer clothing simply isn't in the budget. However, you can still afford to purchase and wear high quality clothing if you learn a few techniques.

Paying attention to when stores have their sales is a very important facet to providing yourself with an extensive wardrobe. Many stores run special sales, which usually provide the customer with a special discount, around the holidays, especially on weekends. Various times throughout the year, other special sales are provided with equally significant discounts.

If you have a favorite store or two that you like to browse for your clothing needs, become familiar with the store and its policies. In fact, don't be afraid to go on a little shopping mission on a different day than you normally go. Many stores will run specials on their slowest traffic days to reward the customers who do venture in to visit. Often there are early morning bonus buys to entice customers to readily exchange their hard earned money for a few trendy threads.

Many stores also offer special rewards such as larger discounts, free shipping, and free gift-wrapping to their most loyal customers. The requirements for this are simple; you must be a charge card holder who has spent up to a certain level of money. After this initial investment, which is worthwhile anyway, you simply need to continue to use the store charge rather than a credit card. Many of the stores will also offer clip free coupons to their charge customers who have attained a certain level of spending.

In addition to observing which months or holidays the stores run their sales, you might also take note of familiar discount patterns. Quite a few stores will run a typical pattern of lower prices. For example, certain merchandise may be reduced to $12.95 initially, then $9.95, then $4.95 and finally $2.95. One of our local stores has been following this practice for several years.

If you are technologically inclined, a simple internet search may provide you with a handy site to browse the store's merchandise, locate additional branches, as well as the opportunity to sign up for an e-mail account for early notification of special sale events. Once inside the store, you can have a sales associate search for a particular outfit if that branch does not have your size.

Many stores, chain and individual, sell discounted designer clothing and accessories year round. For this, you need to do a little research to discover the ones that are closest to you. If you are fortunate enough to be within driving distance to the outlet stores, then you have many a good bargain waiting for you. Often the selection is more limited by size and color, but if you go in with an open mind, you are bound to discover the perfect bargain. The designer merchandise in these stores may have slight imperfections that you can easily overlook due to the super low purchase price.

If you do your research diligently, you can maximize your savings so that you can afford the pricier clothes. Whether you are shopping for an outfit for a special family event, an executive's power lunch, or a special dinner date, a little homework can provide you with the perfect outfit at the perfect price.

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