Polish Your Style: 5 Money-Saving Shopping Tips

money saving shopping tips

Above, me in a shopping frenzy in Melbourne. It’s nice to indulge from time to time in full on shopping adventures. However, most of us mere mortals have budgets, not to mention mortgages. Moreover, shopping frenzies may result in impulse buying which is not the best thing you can do to improve your style. So instead of satisfying our impulsive cravings to buy something, “OMG! Its so pretty!” we will apply a more rational approach to shopping. The result? We’ll save money and improve our style.

Here are our top 5 money saving shopping tips:

1) Plan, plan, plan

It’s the same as if you’re grocery shopping with a list you have written in advance. Your goal is to buy things that suit you and will last for a few seasons rather then spending your money on an expensive ‘treat’.

What do I really need? Review your wardrobe. What is missing there? What you were thinking about the last time you were putting together an outfit? “Wish I had nude pumps. They would go perfectly with this dress”. There you go, nude pumps go on your Wish List. Review your inspiration files and/or boards (finding the perfect source of inspiration we reviewed here). Which items appeal the most? What do you think you simply must own? “Wish I had that blue skirt…” So the blue skirt goes on your list too.

How much money I can spend comfortably? This is a tricky one. Who has never exceeded their spending limit? However, by writing down a real world number right at the top of your Wish List you’ll be reminded to stay realistic and maybe re-think some of those items you just picked up.

Do I really want this?
Wish Lists can go a long way toward preventing impulse buying. By keeping a never-ending wish list, you are less likely to buy items that have not been contemplated for at least a couple of weeks, which provides sufficient time to decide whether it’s a necessity or an impulse. For example, my Wish List is on Pinterest .

Extra tip: a monthly shopping budget is a great idea. You may go over the limit in one month and buy less in the next. The idea is to avoid systematic overspending.

2) Perfect timing

If you wait to purchase something until you really need it, you’re likely to pay the sticker price. But with a little advanced planning, you can save a lot.

Will this item go on sale?
May I confess that even grocery shopping I prefer to do around 6pm? Simply because many things in supermarket go on sale after 5pm. Same thing with fashion. You will always pay premium for the item if a collection has just been released. However, as new items become more popular, even if they don’t officially go on sale, you may be able to get a good deal on eBay or other online boutiques. So if you don’t just follow the latest fashion trends, clothes are best purchased during end-of-season sales. However, if you do follow the trends, just keep an eye on flash sale offers. Like for example now, Shopbop.com offers 20% off.

Can I find a coupon for this item somewhere?
If you combine sales with coupons, you’ll save even more. For the internet-savvy, E-Bay can be a great source of coupons. Also, sites that offer free printable coupons, like Coupons.com could be a good option.

When shopping online, search for the store’s name plus “coupon code” before making a purchase. You may get lucky and get some savings from online couponing services such as Flipit – where a huge variety of codes are available for anything from $5 off shipping fees to 20% off your entire purchase.

3) Stay informed

Information is the power. Why not use it to your advantage? Define your favorite brands and/or shopping sites and subscribe to their newsletters and/or enter their loyalty program. They will notify you on their special offers first, give you special discounts or even maybe issue a gift card for your birthday! I’m subscribed to Shopbop, Net-a-porter and Piperlime newsletters, and own a few dozens of Australian brands loyalty cards. While I’m not using them all at the same time, its nice to know who offers what and then simply choose the best deal.

4) Substitute

If the item you want to buy doesn’t quite fit into your budget, think about similar but less expensive alternatives.

Is there something that doesn’t cost as much as these crazy Valentino shoes?
Figuring out the real reason behind a pending purchase can help you brainstorm ways to achieve the same result with less spending. For example, you want those red Valentinos that cost $700. Instead you may buy Toni Bianco for $149 and decorate them with studs. A-ha! You don’t feel like DIY-ing? Then maybe you don’t want them that badly. Maybe you just want to feel spoiled? Then dear friend, buy yourself a Chanel lipstick, $43, and be happy.

For a direct not emotional fashion substitutes, check out Asos.com and Zara.com. Nice prices and the freshest fashion. You know, I’m a big fan of Zara and that is exactly why.

5) Expand Your Shopping Universe

If you normally head straight to your favorite website, specialty store, or the mall when you need to buy something, consider these other shopping options that can save you a great deal of money:

Is someone personally selling what I need?
E-Bay, garage sales or even your favorite bloggers’ personal boutiques tend to offer great things at much lower than retail prices. You are most likely to benefit from this type of shopping experience for items that are not necessarily needed right away. For example, Marc Jacobs bag. Surely, you can live without it for another week or two. However, don’t expect to find absolutely everything at these sales, but do check them out from time to time to add value to your shopping budget.

Can I find a better price elsewhere? Often I find that comparing retail prices to a couple of online stores can result in up to 40% lower price. Various online stores have different prices. For example, here is a Tibi dress and there is a Tibi dress. See the difference? Another example, my man recently bought sunglasses that have a sale price here in Australia of $280. The price of getting that same glasses from UK website with conversion costs was $50 (!!!).

Hope you find this article useful dear reader and now I’d like to ask you one question: what are your money saving shopping tips? Share with us, we would love to know!



PS. In case you missed our previsous posts from the “Polish your style series“:

– the 1st post – here,  the 2nd post – here and the 3rd post – here.

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Comments 6


Thank you for taking time to leave a comment! However, the comments section has been playing up recently. It's only working if you leave your name & email. Thanks for understanding, Maria xx

  1. Tegan @ Tegania's Thoughts October 17, 2012

    Wonderful tips, as always Maria! xx

  2. Absolute Amy October 17, 2012

    Excellent post Maria, I am a bargain buyer and wait for my Country Road spend and save offers before stocking up and I do all of my research online before hitting the shops. There’s no no need to pay full price for anything anymore! A xx

  3. Dustyn October 19, 2012

    Off to ShopBop to eye off my dream bag of the moment – Pashli satchel, sigh! Great tips as always!

  4. The Dainty Dolls House October 20, 2012

    These are great tips!! I love ebay and get a lot of what I wear from there. Other online boutiques are wonderful as well, as the good ones will have something more unique compared to other places. Just have to look around and read all the print first. x

  5. Joey October 21, 2012

    Hey fantastic post. I am absolutely addicted to asos. It is such good value. I had no idea Zara had an online store so thanks for the heads up!

    I’m going to start my own wish list pronto.

  6. DanniiBeauty December 30, 2012

    Great post! I am a huge sales person, I rarely pay for anything full price. I have a wishlist and as things go on sale thats when I buy them :)