Being trendy (whether you perform the act of trendsetting or trend following) is not easy. As any fashion-obsessed person can attest to, keeping in vogue not only takes up precious time (what with all the online style stalking), but also takes a toll on your bank account. If anyone out there has great advice on minimizing the time spent on WhoWhatWear and watching recordings of Fashion Week, please share your wisdom. Otherwise, lets focus on wallet-friendly (and PETA approved!) activity of bargain hunting.
Unrestricted to any particular season, bargain hunting is at the very core of my shopping tactic. To me, there is no point in spending $200 on something that I could find for $30, or even spending $50 on something I could make myself. In addition to the endorphin boost I get from a savvy purchase, there is nothing quite like the ability to respond to the question of “ohmygosh, WHERE did you get that?!” with “Salvation Army,” or even better, “I made it!”
To my friends, I have become the go-to girl for advice on where to shop and how to pick out the items that won’t end up in everyone’s wardrobe by the end of the month. So, for those of you whom I don’t have the pleasure of knowing personally, I will just have to teach the art of bargain hunting through this blog.
First things first, have an idea of what you are after, whether it be a particular dress or a general trend you want to try out. Like regular hunting, who won’t be very successful if you don’t know what you are looking for. Generally, I will visit some of my favorite designer pages or pricier websites (TopShop, Free People, BCBG, etc) and take note of the pieces that catch my eye. I then check the price, and follow this rule: this would be the equivalent of getting paid for X hours of babysitting (or whatever work you do). Is it worth it? If yes –> add to cart. If not —> keep reading!
I then visit all the hot hunting grounds. First, check out sites like eBay, Style.ly, or Google Shopping to see if that item is being sold elsewhere for a more reasonable price. More often than not, you can find it at a slight discount at department stores, or someone who bought it and wore it once will be selling it for 30-50% off (or better!). If this strategy fails, look to cheaper stores like Forever 21, Tobi, TJMaxx, Marshall’s, or even a thrift store (depending on what the item is) for something similar at a fraction of the cost. If the item is something really simple, like a sweater with a cool design on the front, and you have a rainy afternoon to kill, look to a Goodwill store for a plain sweater in a similar fit and knit pattern and paint the design on yourself!
This whole process requires a good deal of patience, much unlike the immediate gratification of finding something totally adorable and clicking “checkout” within the same minute. However, I find that approaching shopping with the bargain hunting mindset is so much more rewarding. In the end, one of __ things happens: either
a) you find your item at an agreeable price
b) you find something that looks just like it for SO much cheaper
c) you discover during your hunt that you don’t actually want it that much, and you spend $0
d) you have some fun and make it yourself
now that sounds like a win, win, win, or win. Suddenly the idea of hunting doesn’t seem so bad, huh? (unless it involves harming cute animals like this)