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Mamas. Hopefully if you've been reading this blog for any length of time you know that dressing cute, classy, and stylish doesn't have to come with a high price tag. Here at Now THAT I Can DO, Mama! (Frumpy Fighters) we try to keep things as mom friendly as possible. And that means saving the most money on your purchases!
I rarely spend more than $20 on any one piece of clothing unless it's a high quality classic item I know will get tons of wear over at least a few years worth of time. Coats and boots are good examples of pieces I am willing to spend a little more money on. But that new floral tee that I really hope will add some trendiness to my wardrobe? I definitely don't want to be spending much on an item like that.
Today I want to share some tips on making the most on all your in store shopping experiences! It can be discouraging to head into a store only to find that the item you are looking for is not on sale or priced at more than it's worth to you. You want to walk in knowledgeable about how much you want to spend and confident you can accomplish that!
Before jumping into the juicy list, I wanted to put in a word about shopping lists and master wardrobe plans. Because without them, you might save money on clothes online but in the long term you'll be wasting a lot. As a mom fighting the frumpy monster, you need vision for where you want your wardrobe to go. It will give you confidence about what to even spend money on, and you'll rarely if ever regret a purchase.
Corina explains how you can create a master plan for your wardrobe in this 3-part series.
You can also grab her free done-for-you wardrobe plan here or by clicking the button below.
In our first point below we also talk about only shopping with a list. Read up on these! Just a shopping list will save you a lot of money and frustration! Not only that, you'll enjoy a beautiful, versatile and mom-friendly wardrobe—maybe for the first time!
Handy Shopping Checklist
(Rules, Tips & Tricks)
Stack these strategies like a crazy coupon lady (without clipping a single thing)
Any one of these strategies on their own may not make much of a difference. But combine them and you’re going to be jumping around with glee after getting back from your shopping trips. (No more guilt or regret!)
You'll probably have the urge to post about your awesome finds on Facebook (and yes, we want to hear about it over in the Frumpy Fighters group!)
You might even feel a little guilty because you snagged such a good deal. But I promise none of these strategies are cheating. They are all 100% legit!
How to Save Money by: Planning, Being Selective and Stacking Discounts
1. Maintain a smart shopping list.
Treat clothes shopping like grocery shopping! We all know what happens when you go to the grocery store without a list. You spend more than expected and inevitably forget something you needed. If you have a budget and a list you won't feel guilty about the clothes you buy! Not only that, but no more wandering aimlessly around the mall looking for a new top or feeling like you lost out when you don't find something to buy. It just means there wasn't anything you really needed! Corina goes into depth about how to create a smart shopping list here and here.
2. Earn money that you can use on clothes.
Okay so this strategy isn't about saving as much as about making money. But I'm including it because there are so many EASY ways to create a clothing budget even if you don't have one now.
- Earning money with referrals. There are referral programs with most websites, but I'm gonna tell you about the easiest one that you need to start using NOW. Ebates has a great referral program that can you make you as much as $25 PER REFERRAL! Their promotions for this change periodically but here's what it is as of this post (it's been like this for a couple years!) This includes a chance to enter a $50k giveaway as well!
Get a $10 gift card when you create an Ebates account with this link.
Notice that 3 referrals is a sweet spot... totally doable and you get $75 dollars!! They pay out your money in a check or Paypal quarterly.
- Ask for gift money or gift cards on your wishlists. If your friends and family know the best gift for you is money so that you can go shopping, you'll start to receive some that you can use when you need it most! Gift cards covered almost half of this month's expenses!
- Drop an expensive habit just for one month. Whether it's buying Jamberry wraps or a Starbucks coffee, calculate how much you could put towards your clothing budget if you held off on those purchases for just one month. Wasn't too bad? Try the same for a second month!
- Cut expenses elsewhere. There is always a way to save on groceries or simply resist an impulse buy. Do this for a month too and you'll be amazed how much accumulates to use towards purposeful shopping!
- Clean out your closet and take clothes you no longer wear to your favorite consignment shop. After your items sell you'll have some credit to spend at that store... or cash out to spend elsewhere. You can also try selling them on www.poshmark.com.
- Accumulate cashback on everything you order online (even when booking a hotel or buying a new oven!) My favorite cashback services are: Ebates, TopCashback, and Swagbucks. Cash out with gift cards that you can use when you go shopping.
3. Buy discounted gift cards in advance.
- Coupon apps: Recently I noticed that my Fred Meyer mobile app was offering a discounted gift card for Old Navy by clipping their digital coupon. "Clipping" on the app sends the coupon directly to your rewards card so that the discount is applied when you check out at the store and buy a gift card. If you use a coupon app (even one that is mostly for groceries) look out for these occasional deals on gift cards!
- Store discounts: Sometimes the stores themselves offer a discount on their gift cards—especially around the holidays. If it's a favorite store and you know you'll use it, buy a gift card at a discounted price to save money in the long run.
- Cashback on gift cards: Swagbucks also runs a website (https://www.mygiftcardsplus.com) where you can get cashback for gift cards from a handful of stores. My favorites: Groupon and Old Navy. This is available year round. So if you know you'll be ordering from these stores in the future, by a gift card through this website to start rolling the savings ball!
4. Be smart about how/when/what/where you shop.
There is always a sale just around the corner. If you have enough patience, you will likely find that item (or a similar one) available at a fraction of the cost in the near future.
- Don't be afraid of thrift and consignment stores. Even they have sales! You can often find newer pieces for good discounts at either of these places. You might have to be willing to dig around a bit, but if you are shopping with your list that task won't be overwhelming... instead it'll be much easier to spot things you can use! We have some thrift shopping pros over in the Frumpy Fighters Facebook group. Ask for their tips and you'll soon be bound for the thrift store with great optimism!
- Start at the clearance racks when shopping in stores. Because you have a shopping list, it's easy to sort through the cluttered clearance racks to find your GOLD. Start here, even if it means buying out of season... which leads me to the next point...
- Buy out of season. If your budget doesn’t limit you too much, buy out of season. (This is EASY when you use Corina's Full Year Wardrobe shopping plan... you know what you need for future seasons because you shopping list spans the whole year!) For example...buying a new swimsuit at the beginning of spring is obviously going to be one of the most expensive times to buy. If you can, try to buy towards the end of the season for items beyond basics. You’re bound to find them on sale, if not on the clearance rack, ready for you to snatch it up and save some money.
- Avoid outlets or stores you know you can’t afford--unless you're headed straight to their clearance racks. Outlets often carry clothes made just for them. They aren’t always leftovers from their mall counterpart. These clothes are usually poorer quality and not really marked down. They might be “on sale” but that original price is usually a “suggested price” and not at all what the item is actually worth. The same goes for higher end stores that carry items typically above your price range. You might like the trends they carry, but you can often find that item for cheaper other places. Focus on spending your money on those basics you know you'll wear over and over again and avoid those stores that carry only high priced trends you might only wear a couple times.
5. Use these mobile apps to snag surprise discounts.
Not only do most stores have apps, but there are lots of other cash back apps you can use while shopping in store (not just online!) All of these apps should be available on both the App Store and Play Store.
- Ibotta. You may have heard about Ibotta for grocery rebates. Did you know they also have an occasional offer on popular clothing stores? When I first discovered this they had were offering $5 cashback on any purchase $30 or more at H&M. Just look under the "Clothing" category. Earn $10 for signing up for Ibotta through this link.
- GeoQpons. Use this app on your phone or the web to find coupons before checking out in-store. I like GeoQpons because it allows you to easily save coupons to your phone’s gallery, and if you have data you can quickly snag that coupon as you're waiting in line at the store!
- Shopkick. If you open this app on your phone while walking in or out of certain stores you earn “kicks” which you can use later to redeem gift cards. Even if you don't find anything that trip, you've still earned a little kick back just from browsing inside!
- Target's App (previously Cartwheel). If you shop at Target you should be using this! The app has coupons for 5%-50% off many items in their store. These coupons change just like a weekly ad would, but if there’s something on sale there that is on your list, you save that coupon and then at checkout the checker scans a barcode created in the app. It’s easy to use and a definite must for any Target shopper.
- Ebates. Hopefully you are already familiar with Ebates for shopping online, but did you know that you can also earn cash back on in-store purchases as well?! Using either the website or the app you can browse coupons and cash back items and then "link" them to a stored credit card. When you use that card in store you automatically get that cash back credited to your Ebates account. Here's a tutorial that shows you how it works. Sign up here for Ebates.
Get a $10 gift card when you create a free Ebates account with this link.
6. If you found something you love but it's out of stock... order it from within the store.
If your size isn't available, place an order with the store clerk. They may be able to get it from their online inventory or transfer it from another store. Why not just order at home? Because by ordering at the store this allows you to get free shipping! Sometimes the free shipping is just for shipping to the store, but other times they offer free shipping to your home!
Make sure you're getting the same discount and don't forget to use your coupons when ordering with the clerk.
7. Stacking coupons and sales.
Stacking coupons is not just for groceries!
- Most stores have mailing lists (physical and email!) that you can subscribe to. If you don’t mind the extra clutter in your inbox, it’s often worth signing up for them. Tip: Create a free Gmail account for just these kinds of subscriptions. Check that email before you go shopping! Along with a heads up on sales you can also get coupons and codes which can be used on top of already occurring sales.
- Be on the look out for places that offer senior, student or military discounts. If any of these discounts apply to you, you can often save at least 10%!
- Target's (previously Cartwheel) app that we talked about above is a great example of this! Use coupons from their app and combine with items that are already on sale.
8. Use your highest cashback credit card to check out.
Many credit cards offer from 1-3% cashback on purchases. If you have one of these, make sure to use that credit card to maximize returns on your purchase.
And that wraps up our tips for saving money on your purchases when shop in stores!
I know it will be hard to keep all these strategies in mind, so we put them into a handy printable checklist for you to take with you. Just download it below!
Free PDF Printable:
A Double Checklist for Securing Maximum Online Savings
It can be easy to forget one of these steps to saving as you shop for clothes. I've missed one or two savings steps more times than I'd like and kicked myself for days afterward.
To help insure you never miss any savings on your purchases I've put together a handy checklist that you can print and keep in your purse (or snap a picture on your mobile to keep handy in the gallery). This checklist includes an "ongoing activities" section to remind you how you can be strategizing and even making money to spend on future purchases. It also includes the checklist of savings steps for when you're ready to hit the stores, organized in the progression you would actually implement them.
If you're already a subscriber, you can download it here. Password is at the bottom of the last newsletter you received.