Shopping on a Budget

The frenzied holiday shopping season that began with Black Friday and Small Business Saturday and ended with Cyber Monday is now over. But if you missed out on these deals (or simply had no desire to fight crazy crowds and long lines and get beat up for a $20 toaster), not to worry!

As a fashionista and semi-shopping addict on a strict budget, I’ve gotten very good at finding the best stores with the best deals. I always want the newest and latest, but alas, am not rich. If you are on a budget this season, check out this handy dandy list of some stores I love with great deals!

Where do you shop for a deal? Let me know in the comments!

Forever 21

Romper, sandals and necklace, Forever 21
Romper, sandals and necklace, Forever 21

Everyone knows about Forever 21. But I can’t sing their praises enough. If you’re trendy, or like following new fads that will fade in a month or so, this is the store for you. Forever 21’s fast-fashion model means that you can get what you just saw on the runway immediately, for a 1000% cost reduction. It’s not the best quality material, but that’s ok, because it will be out of style in a matter of weeks. With Forever 21, you can keep up with any and every trend you want – no need to pick and choose. I LOVE that freedom!

Their jewelry is also a great idea – get an adorable necklace that you’ll collect compliments by the dozen on. It’ll tarnish in a few weeks, but no matter – it was $3 and you can grab a new one.

 

 

Fashion Rush

Dress and boots, Fashion Rush
Dress and boots, Fashion Rush

This boutique is not well-known because they are super-small (one location in Rancho Cucamonga, one in the City of Industry and one in Riverside). And I run a huge risk by even telling you guys about Fashion Rush, because it is MY place. But this small boutique, which mysteriously offers Forever 21, Windsor and other brands for jaw-dropping prices, is the secret to my wardrobe. I love everything here. A few times a year I go and literally fill up a trash bag with clothes. I can get 25-30 items for just $250 which is INSANE. The items are all good quality and last a long time. Tops run anywhere from $4-10, dresses are usually about $8, spaghetti straps and tank tops are $3 and it’s never hard to find pants or jeans for $10 or a coat for $15. How they do it, I’ll never know.

 

 

H&M

Top and skirt, H&M
Top and skirt, H&M

Probably my second favorite store ever, H&M is just so effortlessly cool. Some of the stuff may be weird, like oversize palm tree print cotton pants, but they are so trendy and well-cut. Sizes here are really difficult to determine, so only shop here if you have loads of time and patience to try things on. I have had 00 skirts fall right off me, but I own a pair of jeans that are a size 10??? It’s worth the dig, though – these items will be your go-tos. Not to mention the Basics collection, which I’m sure my regular blog readers are sick and tired of hearing of already. But you can get t-shirts, v-necks, tank tops and miniskirts 2/$10. Yes seriously. They also have other deals, like 2/$20 with long-sleeved shirts and dresses. You can come here for the basic wardrobe staples you’ll be wearing for years or for the trendy mass-market pieces you’ll throw out in a few months. Either way, your wallet will be happy.

Victoria’s Secret

Victoria’s Secret is full of great deals! If you sign up for their distribution list, they will regularly email you deals, text you coupon codes and mail you coupons for free panties to your house! No purchase necessary. This is a great way to try out their different panty styles with no risk if you don’t like them. They also send money off a bra coupons or offer free items with a minimum purchase. You’ll also be the first to know when they do their regular Panty Parties, where you’ll get 7 pairs of underwear for $26.50, instead of just 5 pairs.

Payless Shoesource

New shoes - dark brown boots 3

I get most of my shoes from Payless. The brands they cover are so comfortable and always trendy. From amazing ankle booties to suede knee-high boots, professional flats, funky colored heels and furry moccasins, you’ll always find something cute here. They also have tons of sales and email coupons to their distribution list. I have 4 pairs of ankle booties from Payless that cost $45 each. However, during a recent online boot sale I was able to get them for $14.44. Crazy!

 

Windsor

 

Windsor is probably best-known for its $100+ sparkly floor-length homecoming and prom dresses. But it also has an amazing collection of normal, everyday clothes that won’t break the bank. You’ll find dresses, crop tops, skirts, sweaters, etc. all for the same price as Forever 21 (or slightly more, but the items are also better quality). My favorite item I’ve ever gotten from Windsor is a navy blue miniskirt. It was $5 regular price (not on sale). I’ve worn it maybe $100 times, so the ROI on it was ridiculous. There are plenty of gems like this – just dig through the racks!

 

Target

Wedges, Target
Wedges, Target

 

I don’t know when Target’s clothes and shoes got so damn cute. Seriously. It’s like I just woke up one day and I walked past the women’s fashion section and was so impressed and totally forgot where I was. Target’s clothes were never particularly well-fitting or trendy, but now if you compliment someone and ask them where they got their outfit, they will often tell you Target. I own quite a few items from Target now, from pants for work to maxi dresses to high-waisted booty shorts. Everything is so high-quality and runs large so you feel skinny :) But by far my favorite thing to buy at Target is shoes. The shoes are a little more pricey than other places, but they are still quite cheap and are SO COMFORTABLE. My brown wedges and my brown suede moccasin ankle booties were just $30 each at Target and I have worn them both to death – and my feet don’t hate me. Yay.

 

Cotton On

Romper and fur vest, Cotton On
Romper and fur vest, Cotton On

 

I only recently discovered this store but I’m already a convert. This Australian import carries what’s cool in Australia, which is often either too casual or too funky for America. So shop here and you might find something that not everyone else has (hooray). I have a flowy burgundy long-sleeved shorts romper here that I love. My favorite item EVER (not just from Cotton On) is a white faux fur vest that was $70 but I got for under $40. Here’s the thing about Cotton On – they stock up for Australian winters where you actually need outerwear. Then they try to sell it in LA, and they obviously can’t, because where are you going to wear a peacoat or a wool sweater, and then they drastically mark it down! So if you need/want outerwear, this is 100% the place to go. They also regularly have sales, and sometimes give you coupons off your next purchase when you buy something.

 

Goodwill

Last but not least is Goodwill. I discovered Goodwill while living at USC. I have always had a stigma against second-hand clothes, but quickly shed it when I entered this store. I got GUESS, Steve Madden, Anne Taylor and Express clothes for insanely cheap prices. Best yet, most of the pieces still had the original price tags on and were never worn! The key is to shop at Goodwill stores in rich areas. Goodwill stores in west LA, or by USC, are good places to start. Rich people donate their unworn designer clothes and you reap the benefits (and your money goes to a great cause).

 

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