How to Be a Frugal Shopper When You Have Expensive Taste

For the majority of moms, shopping for personal items can often fall pretty low on the list of priorities, after the needs of the kids and the household are met. This is especially true for women who simply have to have the best (or nothing at all). And while there’s nothing wrong with wanting to look like a million bucks every time you throw on an ensemble, you probably don’t have the extra cash on hand to support such an ideal. But if you’re willing to make a few minor concessions, you can in fact have the expensive look you love while still managing to embrace frugal sensibilities.

Here are just a few ways to fudge in order to become a frugal fashionista.

1. Online sample sales. If you thought you had to keep tabs on design-house schedules in order to schlep into the city for sample sales, the internet offers a better solution. Gone are the days when you had to cram yourself into a room full of manic shoppers looking for deals on designer duds, grabbing for the few runway samples on display and trying on outfits where you stood. Nowadays you can simply attend online versions of these sales that offer you the opportunity to nab some killer pieces at a fraction of the cost.

2. Fashion DOTD. Deal-of-the-day sites like HauteLook, Gilt Groupe, and Beyond the Rack were made for frugal shoppers seeking designer labels for less. Signing up for membership is free, and to make your life easy they’ll send you daily emails to let you know which labels and items they’re currently blowing out. You could get up to 70% off retail prices on your favorite brands and all you have to do is check your inbox each day and then click through to sales that interest you. Sounds too good to be true? This is one occasion where the idiom doesn’t hold.

3. Friend swap. If you are interested in looking your best for less, you aren’t alone. You probably have plenty of friends who are in the same boat. So why not put your heads together and find a way to help each other out? The best way is to rummage through your closet for pieces you no longer wear (that are still in fantastic condition), ask your friends to do the same, and then host a party to swap. You can make a fun evening out of it by send the kids to Grandma’s house, shoving your husband out the door, and serving up hors d’oeuvres and drinks to your girlfriends while everyone peruses the selection. Since women come in all different sizes, include items like jewelry, handbags, and other accessories so that everyone can home with something new (to them). It’s a great way for you and your friends to get fashionable pieces at the eminently frugal price of absolutely free.

4. Discount stores. Although you may be inclined to shun stores with the “discount” label attached to them, keep in mind that outlets like TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, and Ross not only sell brand-name overstock at up to half off (sometimes even more), but they are also accessible. You are likely to find one or more of these companies operating in just about every city across the country. So check your local shopping directory to find the store nearest you and start piling up purchases!

5. Designer collaborations. For the fashionista seeking expensive items, stores like Target and Kohl’s might not seem to fit the bill. But considering they’ve done collaborative lines with designers like Zac Posen, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Vera Wang (just to name a few) you may want to change your tune.

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  1. Kathy Nguyen says:

    Great article!