I have a few frugal tips up my sleeve that will make your bargain clothes shopping trip a tad bit easier... for the frugal newbies, anyway!
Now, we've talked about consignment selling and thrifting, what are your thoughts about The Goodwill or Salvation Army?
The Goodwill you say…”but I donate there, I’ve never really went bargain clothes shopping!” There are surely some pros and cons to The Goodwill, especially if you frequent the store.
Just this summer my grandmother was visiting and she adores all things frugal and free and second-hand stores (as she calls them) are her all time favorite…She even buys frugal books for pennies and reads on how to save money while shopping frugally (funny, I know you’d think she’d be an expert).
I digress…we decided to go on a Goodwill haul…I was looking for school clothes for my daughter and work clothes for myself. In passing, there’s a rack full of winter coats...I keep going…she looks. Long story, short she found me a 100% leather coat for (hold on... wait for it) $4.94 and my grandfather a winter coat for a similar price.
Now, I am supposed to be the frugal scout but my grandmother got me this time around. I had a list and was sticking to it…but she didn’t and I reaped the benefits.
Frugal Tips Pro's
· Prices range from $.99 for small items like binders or to $9.92(whole suits)
· There are more heavily priced items in better shape like furniture pieces, workout equipment, bicycles and some clothing, etc. (depending on the brand)
· There is a different color every week…which means you get an extra frugal discount of 50% off of that given color (note: the color is changed every Sunday)
· Don't forget about your senior discount frugal tip for customers 55 and over you can get 25% off on Tuesdays with I.D. including if you have picked up the color of the week.
· If you see a big ticket item and are unsure whether not you'd like to buy it, talk to the manager and he/she may let you walk around with the ticket until you are ready for purchase or until someone else is interested.
Frugal Tips: Con's
· Make sure to be thorough when checking for rips and stains (just as you would with any thrift like stores).
· Return policies are ALL SALES ARE FINAL!! That's one of the prices of the frugal lifestyle.
· Dressing rooms are dimly lit, so things that look great there don’t look so great once you get them home.
· Make sure all appliances work before you leave…remember you can’t return them.
Here are my thoughts about Outlet Shopping:
· U-use coupons
· T-tag envy (gets you in trouble…makes you feel like you have to have it now)
· L-long drive (not in all cases)
· E-energy (you must have it…way to many people and stores at one time)
· T-tennis shoes (you’ll need them for the walk)
· S-sorry sales(sorry…you thought it was a sale but really we have same the prices as our retail stores)
Certainly, don’t want to discourage your thoughts about outlet shopping especially since there is a Tanger Outlet miles from my home that is frequented like the local mall.
However, I would like to encourage the idea that outlet shopping can be a pitfall and unless you are armed and ready with a frugal guide then anyone can fall prey to the mighty outlet strip frenzy.
Here are a few more frugal tips to brave the outlet malls:
· Always, always, always know what you are looking for and continue to think about your frugal budgeting plan.
· Go armed with coupons (20% off one items helps in some cases). Couponing tips apply to frugal fashions, also.
· Don’t hit the whole outlet in one day (this allows you to go way over your frugal budget going from retailer to retailer getting a glimpse at all of the percentages off they offer).
· If the stores you need are only on one side of the strip…then stay on that side of the outlet.
· Know your prices…a deal isn’t a deal anymore and some of the prices are very similar if not the same as the retail stores on the street or in other shopping pavilions.
· Ask for discounts…AARP, senior, students, teacher, federal government or county employees (and this goes for all discount shopping deals including thrifting and consigning).
· Don’t fall into the trap of opening an account to get the percentage off unless you absolutely know that you will be able to pay back the entire amount sooner than later.
· Know your taxes (I didn’t appreciate Georgia’s 6-7% sales tax until I visited Illinois and shopped with their 10% sales tax). Let’s just say I kept my pennies in my pocket for the rest of that trip.
My suggestion for outlet shopping would be to stay away unless you are a skilled frugal scout.
**A good rule of thumb is no matter where you decide to shop to keep each of these places in mind for frugal gift ideas.