Who isn't trying to save some money right now? Living here in New York City, in the heart of the nation's financial mess, has definitely heightened my monetary awareness. As the New Year approached, our family put together a new budget in anticipation of more difficult times ahead. As much as I hate tracking of all of my purchases, and being accountable for them (especially my frequent and well-hidden almond croissant purchases from a nearby bakery) I realize that being frugal in bad financial times (and even good financial times!) is a very good thing.
Here are some shopping tips that I hope can save you some $, and make your budget extend just a little bit farther this year.
- Always look for online promotional discounts. Before you purchase anything online always google the name of the vendor and "coupon code" or "free shipping." Chances are, you will either find a code for free shipping or a code for 15-20% off your purchase. One website I find myself at a lot for this is retailmenot.com
- Try online discount vendors. Two in particular are MamaBargains.com and theminisocial.com. The Mini Social is much like a virtual sample sale of sorts. You have to register (which is free) to purchase anything, and they typically have a few brands, with a few styles of each available. I have seen anything from toys to clothing here. I am excited about the Ses Petite Mains sale that starts next week. Even though I will have a hard time convincing myself that my children "need" a 40$ Easter dress, I LOVE this brand and it is usually way out of my price range. Mama Bargains differs in the fact that they only run one product at a time. The product will run until it sells out. Mama Bargains deals are typically better than The Mini Social, but it also has less variety in purchasing options.
- Shop a year ahead. Think about next year, and anticipate what you will need. You can typically find fantastic deals in October (right after school-shopping is over) and in January/February (after the Christmas rush). This past October I found Gap "school uniforms" (khaki skirts and polo shirts) in store for as low as $1.97. We are about to hit the next wave of sales in the next few weeks, so get ready to do some winter shopping for next year.
- Be aware of how to get a discount in your area. Here in NYC there are sample sales galore. Some are fantastic (like the time I spent $5 on a $280 pair of jeans), and others are so-so. JCrew is having a sample sale here in NYC starting the 20th of January (yes there was a date change, it is starting a day earlier), which I am counting down the hours until. Websites to keep you in the sample sale loop: clothingline.com, dailycandy.com, and topbutton.com.
- Make do with less. I realize I am typing these words right after fantasizing about the JCrew sample sale sweater I will (maybe:) buy. Argh....why do all the great sales have to happen when we are supposed to be saving our money?? Seriously though, making do with what you have is the all-time money saver...... and it comes with free shipping.