Shop Smarter: Tips and Tricks and a Linkup

Fashion My Thoughts Tips and Tricks
A lot of times people ask me how in the heck can I afford all of the clothes that I wear.  I will have to admit that some of them are through my blog when brands want to send me something complimentary.  All of the other times though, I shop on my own.  In today’s post I want to share a few of my tips and tricks on how I’m able to purchase
the clothes that I wear on my blog and not burn a hole in my wallet.
Top:  MakeMeChic // Hat: Ralph Lauren Gifted (similar) // Jeans:  LOFT // Booties:  Old Navy
Dupes
As y’all can tell, there have been a few dupes that I’ve had here on the blog throughout the past year.  Most recently was my post from last Thursday with my faux fur mules/loafers that I bought at Target for $24.99, but some people are buying the Gucci ones for almost $1000!  Or how about my leopard print booties I got from Target for the same price of $24.99 but Sam Edelman is selling them for over $75!  I had a pair of Shein ballet flats, you know the ones that look like the Miu Miu ones.  I paid $30 while other people are paying WAY more than that for the real thing.  You see, you have to learn what’s worth it.  Is this trendy piece worth the dupe or real price?  I will almost always go for the dupe, but that’s just because I’m living on a budget.  Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have the real thing, but unfortunately I’m not a baller shot caller.
 
Budget Wisely
Ok, so every once in a while you’ll see a burst of new clothing that I buy from Banana Republic or Old Navy for example.  I budget myself.  I get a quarterly bonus and even though I use most of it to pay off bills, I do save a little extra for myself because every once in a while I deserve to treat myself.  I usually won’t purchase anything over $30 unless I am getting my bonus.  That’s when I will allow myself to spend up to $200-$300 in one shopping trip.  This year it’s going to be a little different because I’m going on a serious budget so that $200-$300 will have to be decreased just a tad.
 
Sign up for emails
OK I KNOW EMAILS ARE ANNOYING!  I had to put that in caps because trust me, I KNOW.  I have an email that is specifically for email subscriptions.  However, as annoying as these are, I highly recommend you start reading them.  Unsubscribe from the ones that you don’t even care about anymore and keep the stores that you do shop at.  This is how I found out that I had Old Navy and Banana Republic gift rewards and on top of that my most recent Old Navy shopping spree was only because of the discounts.  I got an email from Old Navy saying that they had this crazy sale going on and that on top of the sale you get a discount.  I ended up saving almost $200!  I don’t know about you, but saving $200 is a great incentive for me.
 
Find a good Brand that fits you
This is so important.  So many times we buy things because they’re cute, but we aren’t fully in love with it.  Somehow it doesn’t fit right or it makes your hips look wider than usual, or it makes you look bloated.  It took me a while, but I found out what brands work for me and for what type of clothing.  I will say that the Sloan Pant at Banana Republic is one that I swear by.  Loft jeans are great.  I can keep going on which retailers I shop at for what types of items.  Not all bodies are made the same and a lot of retailers have one type of sizing and they duplicate it in multiple sizes.  They aren’t custom fitting it to your body.  I also hate when people say well because maybe you’re not supposed to be wearing that type of clothing.  Ok, so please explain why the same skinny jean fits me better at one retailer as opposed to another.  It’s all about finding what works for your body.  As much as the sloan pant costs, it’s one I’m willing to spend money on because I KNOW I will feel good and confident in them.  Plus, I can wear them to work and after work.
Sales
This goes back to the emails too.  You will always be the first to find out about a sale if you’re subscribed to emails or text message alerts.  That’s how I know when to go to Bed Bath & Beyond.  I get an alert saying I have a coupon (on top of some coupons I get in the mail) and I usually save those coupons either for my mom or myself when I’m looking to purchase something in particular.  Also, get to know your favorite brands.  Get to know their pricing.  For example I know that Banana Republic has better sales on the weekends than weekdays and I usually have better luck finding good steals on the weekends.  However, be careful when shopping sales as well.  Some retailers that I’ve noticed like to increase their prices when they have a sale.  I noticed that when certain retailers have sales they raise their prices.  I also worked in retail so I know the ways of certain companies.
Credit Cards
Ok, I’m not condoning having a million credit cards and working your way into credit card debt so before I continue with this tip/trick I have to throw in a disclaimer that these are just my thoughts and I am not responsible for anyone who doesn’t know how to use a credit card properly.  Ok, now that, that is out of the way!  Let’s take a look at some credit cards that I have and the benefits of each one.  Just remember you need to pay these off by the due date!  Also, do not sign up for a credit card just because of their promoted 10%-15% off when you sign up.  Make sure it’s a card that has rewards and that you will use.  You don’t want to open up a bunch of credit cards for shits and giggles either.
Banana Republic/Old Navy/Gap/Athleta
Not only do you get 10% off for using your card every time you shop, but you can also use other promoted discounts as well.  I think you can’t have a certain amount of discounts/promotions but if you’re finding stuff on the sale rack for an extra 40% off on top of the cards 10% you’re golden.  You also receive points for each dollar you spend.  Once you reach 500 points you get a $5 reward.  Last year alone I saved $358 just because of my rewards.  Another great thing is the points and rewards system transfers through all 4 brands.  You can use your card for all 4 brands too!  It’s really a great deal.  You also receive points if you shop outside of these stores (if you get that card), but I haven’t done that.
Target
With this card you don’t get too many discounts, but you do get 5% off your final bill at checkout and free shipping.  If you are good with cards and shop at Target a lot I would get it just because it builds your credit if you’re using it and paying it off and you get 5% off plus free shipping.
Chase
This isn’t a retailer card, but the Chase Freedom card is great.  I know a lot of people who love it.  I used to use mine, but I don’t anymore since I have retailer accounts that give me rewards for those particular stores.  Chase does a rewards program as well where you opt into it each quarter.  They also have one of the lower interest rates for the cards that I have used.
Discover
The same as the Chase card, it awards cash back bonuses when you opt in to certain programs.  This is my favorite card out of my non retailer cards.  It has the lowest interest rate so if I miss a payment or something bad happens I’m not as screwed as I would be with American Express for example.
Research
Ok, I know that sometimes when someone says to do research it makes you feel like you’re in class and the professor is saying that you need to do that, BUT in this situation it’s different.  Say you reallllly like a denim jacket right?  Instead of splurging on the one you’re looking at where it’s going to cost you way more than you would ever be willing to spend, check out other sites or even places like Marshalls/TJ Maxx.  You might find something similar for half the price.  So be patient and research.  Keep in mind I’m a total impulse buyer so I know how it feels to absolutely NEED an article of clothing in your closet haha!
Consignment Shops/Second Hand Stores
So I know that as a blogger adding affiliate links benefits both the reader and the blogger because the blogger makes a small commission off that sale and the reader gets redirected right to the product BUT (big BUT), I’ve recently been checking out this second hand store by me called Plato’s Closet.  Sometimes it’s hit or miss.  In an upcoming post I’m wearing a faux leather jacket that I got there for $12.  I mean seriously, how can you beat that?  I got a pair of Nike platform sneakers (the fiancé said were super expensive originally) for $45!  The only problem is I can’t link it so you can’t buy it online, it’s something you yourself would have to look for.
Quality?
So I put a question mark on this because sometimes I go for quality and other times I don’t.  When it comes to clothing, if it’s something I want to wear multiple times I’ll be looking at the quality but if it’s something I’ll only wear once or twice because it’s a trendy piece, then I’ll sacrifice quality.  When it comes to shoes, most of the time I will spend more on the shoes that I want to have for multiple seasons.  I spent $200 on a pair of OTK boots over 5 years ago and I STILL wear them.  Then we have my Miu Miu ballet flat dupes that I didn’t care that the quality wasn’t 100% there.  They were good enough for the 4 times I wore them anyway, and they are still in great condition.
Treat Yoself!
Alright, so my favorite part of this ENTIRE post; TREAT YOSELF!  Sometimes you really deserve that new pair of shoes, or that bag.  If you’re on a budget I totally understand, but sometimes you need to treat yourself to something nice.  I’m not saying go out and buy a Lambo while you don’t have funds for more than just a bar of chocolate, but sometimes you should get yourself something, even if it’s a bar of chocolate.
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I know this was a long post, but now it’s time for the linkup!  Thanks for reading, and also thank you so much for your response on last week’s epilepsy post.  That meant the world to me!  I love each and every one of you!  I know there were a few questions, so just email me and we can chat!