Posts Tagged: saving

Bargain shopping tips roundup: More ways to save

By IN Advice, Find Your Style

Bargain shopping tips: More ways to save on style, in the stores or online

More ways to save when shopping: Coupon codes, cash back and sales alerts.

One of the subscribers to the Frantic But Fabulous email newsletter, The Style List, had a succinct request: “More bargain shopping tips, please.”

I’m always on the hunt for ways to get a deal, too, so this is the perfect opportunity to round up some of the best advice from the penny pinching experts.

Best bargain shopping tips

  • Know what’s really a deal. Mark Ellwood, the author of “Bargain Fever: How to Shop in a Discounted World,” says anything lower than 30% off isn’t a deal. (Another one of his tips: interact with the sales staff; they will often get you the best deals.)
  • Let the internet find the deals. RetailMeNot is the go-to source for online coupons; before you shop online, search for discount codes for that site. ShopItToMe will send you alerts when what you’re looking for is on sale. Sign up for the email newsletters of your favorite brands to get alerted to insider sales. If you’re on Twitter, follow bargain-focused accounts like @slickdeals and @couponcabin.
  • Don’t be fooled by the coupon. If a coupon requires you spend a minimum amount in order to get a discount, be careful. You may wind up spending more than you’d planned, and going over budget is never a bargain. And speaking of coupons, remember to stack them.
  • All low prices aren’t created equal. A pair of shoes priced at $29.99 full retail will never be of as high quality as a pair of shoes that cost $29.99 after they’ve been marked down 60% from $100. Your goal is to get a great price and a great value. Think “deal,” not “cheap.”
  • Never stop looking for savings. Follow Pinterest boards devoted to deals, or periodically search for tags like “coupons,” “deals,” and “savings.” New tips for bargain hunting will pop up all the time.

And if you find a really great deal on those wardrobe staples you know you’ll wear again and again, consider whether it makes sense to pick up not just one steal, but two.

Get more tips on shopping smarter for clothes that fit you and the way you live. Say goodbye to “I have nothing to wear”! It’s all included in your instant download of the “No More Yoga Pants: How to Dress Better, Shop Smarter and Reclaim Your Style,” style makeover workshop.

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Coupon stacking: The secret to saving more online

By IN Find Clothes You'll Love

Coupon stacking and sites like are the secret to saving more online

Like you, I love a good deal. I rarely pay full price for clothes. But usually my deal comes from a sale or a coupon code, not both.

Then I was inducted to the world of coupon stacking, thanks to Adrien of Looks Good From the Back.

As the name implies, it’s a method for using multiple discounts on a single purchase while also leveraging cash-back programs like

Result: I bought shoes on sale at, saving about 40%—and by shopping via link, I’m getting a check in the mail as well.

What’s not to like?

Try this today: Read Adrien’s post for tips and techniques and then sign up for ebates. (You’re going to shop at most of these online stores anyway; why not get paid for it? And yes, that’s my affiliate link.)

Struggling to identify your personal style? Don’t know the difference between “chic” and “boho”? What’s My Style?, the Frantic But Fabulous step-by-step guide, will show you how to find the style that’s just right for you with detailed tips and fun activities.

Less Frantic Mondays: Save money at the mall with a shopping plan

By IN Create Outfits, Less Frantic Mondays

Less Frantic MondaysCasual browsing at the mall or online can be fun. Goodness knows I love some retail therapy from time to time.

But if you hate mall wandering, or if you’re watching your budget (and who isn’t?), then don’t go shopping without a plan.

Before you ever leave the house or flip open the laptop, figure out

  • what you’re really looking for
  • where you’re going to look
  • how much you’re willing to spend

This little bit of effort up front will save you time, money and hassle in the end.

(Want to know how to put a shopping plan together? Sign up for my email newsletter, The Style List, and you’ll get my free 7-day email course on shopping smarter, including how to make a plan.)

Sample sale sites decoded

By IN Advice, Find Your Style

With so many sample sale sites to choose from (like Belle & Clive, seen in this screenshot), how do you know which is best? This post decodes the top 9 sites for you.

Are you a big fan of the sample sale sites, like Rue La La and Ideeli? I am; in fact, I do the majority of my online shopping there.

Also called flash sale sites, I like them because they combine great deals with curated offerings.

But with so many of them out there, it can be hard to decide which ones to join–assuming you don’t join them all, of course! (Confession: that would be me.)

Here’s my guide to decoding the sample sale sites, and finding the one(s) best for you.

[Wherever possible I’ve given you an invite link; many sites also allow you to join with your Facebook or Twitter account.]

Known for: Being the first of its kind
Sample brands: Calvin Klein, Juicy Couture, Cynthia Steffe, Oliver Peoples
If it was a person: A grande dame

Rue La La
Known for: Nipping at the heels of Gilt Groupe; curated sale offerings by categories, not just brands
Sample brands: Calvin Klein, Trina Turk, Pour La Victoire, Cynthia Rowley
If it was a person: Your best-dressed best friend

Known for: Another one of the originals (launched in 2007)
Sample brands: Guess, Vince Camuto, Betsey Johnson, Dior, M Missoni
If it was a person: That slightly trendy 20something girl

Known for: Being owned by Nordstrom
Sample brands: Puma, Hue, Diesel, L.A.M.B.
If it was a person: The girl with the modern yet classic wardrobe

Beyond the Rack
Known for: Having lots and lots of sales
Sample brands: Evan Picone, Club Z, Kensie, Hush Puppies, Helmut Lang
If it was a person: The Marshall’s and TJMaxx fan

Moda Operandi
Known for: Online pre-sales of designer collections, arranged as “trunk shows”
Sample brands: Lem Lem by Liya Kebeda, Prabal Garung, Tibi, J. Mendel, Elizabeth and James, Marni
If it was a person: Nina Garcia

Belle & Clive
Known for: Being launched by; offering high end, new names and vintage
Sample brands: Bailey44, Aryn K,
If it was a person: That fashion-forward girl who works at the consignment store

Known for: Being launched by Amazon
Sample brands: Escada, Natori, Thakoon, Norma Kamali, Chloe, Prabal Garung
If it was a person: A fashion editor with a killer closet

Vente Privee
Known for: Being launched by American Express, having a small number of select offerings
Sample brands: Tracy Reese, Trina Turk, Philosophy by Alberta Ferrari
If it was a person: The manager of the chic boutique downtown

And once you do join, here’s how to get the most out of sample sale shopping.

Your turn

  • Are you a member of any of these sites?
  • Which are your favorites–and why?
  • How would you describe them?

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(Want to get more shopping tips and fun insider stuff? Join The Style List. It’s like a secret club in your email inbox! And when you join, you’ll get my free email series, 7 Days to Better Shopping. It’s my gift to you!)

When to save and when to splurge on your wardrobe

By IN Advice, Find Your Style

When to save and when to splurge

One of the most challenging steps in any wardrobe overhaul process–other than weeding out the clothes that don’t need to be there, of course–is going shopping to buy the pieces you truly need.

Part of that process is establishing a budget ahead of time (assuming you aren’t an oil heiress or a lottery winner).

So if you need 10 things and you have $500 to spend, that’s $50 each, right?

Not so fast, tiger. The trickiest part of all shopping calculus is knowing what is actually worth spending a little extra on because not all garments are created equally.

Here are some examples of when to save and when to splurge when you’re shopping.


  • Anything super trendy. This year, think neon. If it will look clearly dated in a year or two, why spend a lot on it now? This is why God invented H&M.
  • T-shirts. Yes, you can find $100 T-shirts woven by angels from the finest Corinthian cotton hand-dyed by unicorns, and perhaps they will feel a little better or drape a little nicer, but the incremental difference in quality is almost never borne out by the exponential difference in cost.
  • Anything otherwise loose-fitting or utilitarian. Yes, your basic weekend khaki pants should fit you properly, but you can find such a thing in any Gap or Old Navy for $50 or less. Ditto for a simple knit circle skirt, sundress, basic bootcut jeans, woven tops … you get the idea.


  • Suits and blazers. You will only buy a few of these in your lifetime and you will want them to last. This means impeccable tailoring, and quality lining and fabrics. They are truly investments; treat them as such.
  • Work shoes. Whether pumps, slingbacks or even flats, the shoes you wear to work over and over (perhaps with the aforementioned suit or blazer) should fit you well and be made to last. This doesn’t necessarily mean Louboutins, but it does mean leather. Get your fun and funky shoes at Payless (see “anything super trendy,” above).
  • Classic handbag. Ditto. Own at least one in a simple, classic design and make sure it’s made well and of leather. Keep in mind that these can often be found on eBay or at consignment stores; if they’re well cared for, they will last as long as a new purchase. In fact, that’s the point.
  • A really great pair of jeans. You might be able to find them at a mass-market mall brand; if so, good for you. But if finding a pair of fantastic-fitting, solidly made, quality denim jeans means stepping up to a premium brand, then consider it a worthy splurge. A great pair of dark wash boot cuts will last you for ages.

In summary, the more well-fitted, tailored and work worthy the piece, the greater the importance of investing in an item of quality.

Think of it this way: what are the pieces you could imagine handing on to future generations? Those are the ones to spend on.

Your turn

  • If you could only splurge on one item, what should it be?
  • What’s your favorite investment piece? How much did you spend?
  • What did you spend a lot on–only to regret it later?

Share the love

Thanks for reading. Did you like this post? Please leave a comment or share it with someone else; just use the handy sharing widget below.

(Want to get more shopping tips and fun insider stuff? Join The Style List. It’s like a secret club in your email inbox! And when you join, you’ll get my free email series, 7 Days to Better Shopping. It’s my gift to you!)