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Smart Shopping Tips

The Budget Fashionista's Top Ten Budget Shopping Tips
by Kathryn Finney

Lots of people ask me for my top budget tips. Here are a few from my Budget Shopping Arsenal...

1. Know what looks good on you. This is the essence of a true fashionista. Just because it looks great in a magazine doesn’t mean it will look great on you. Be honest with yourself about your body. It will save you time and money.

2. Get to know the names of sales associates. Sales associates are a great source for information on upcoming sales. They might even let you use their employee discount - as happened to me once at The Gap.

3. Pay for everything with cash. This way, the satisfaction of the purchase will last longer than your next credit-card bill.

4. Head to the Outlets. Shopping at the outlets of your favorite stores and designers can save you a bundle. Some of my favorites are Off Fifth, the Saks Fifth Avenue Outlet; the St. John Knit Outlet; the Donna Karan Outlet; and the Last Call Neiman Marcus Outlet.

5. The 70/30 rule. Fashionistas with limited budgets should follow the 70/30 rule: 70 percent classic pieces, 30 percent trendy pieces. And go cheap on trendy items.You can purchase such pieces at stores like H&M, Target , Zara, Bluefly, Urban Outfitters, etc. Go designer on classic pieces like black suits (Tahari), coats (Burberry, Max Mara), evening (Armani) and purses (Coach, Longchamp).
6. Recycle fashion. Pay a visit to your mother and/or grandmother. While you’re there, offer to “help” clean out their closets. You’ll be amazed at the goodies you’ll find. While visiting my grandma in Milwaukee, I discovered a vintage Coach saddle bag, dating from around 1960, in mint condition amid a box of old magazines. If you are unable to visit a relative’s closet, try having a clothing swap party with your friends. Ask everyone to bring unwanted, high-quality clothing to exchange for similar items from other party-goers.

7. Learn where and when to buy. July/August and late January/February are the best times to hit the stores for deals. Write down the names of your favorite stores, go to their Web sites, and register to receive coupons, special invitations and notifications of new products. Outlet stores are also great sources of designer goods.

8. Write a List. Making a shopping list will help you stay focused on the task at hand.

9. Locate the nearest thrift store. Thrift stores are great for quality inexpensive coats.

10. Sign up for our newsletter at Get free fashion advice and up-to-date notification of the hottest sales around the U.S. and Canada.

About the Author

Kathryn “The Budget Fashionista” Finney is the founder and Chief Shopping Officer of (, a popular website that provides realistic fashion advice, shopping tips and sale event information to budget conscious consumers.

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