Top 7 Tips for Shopping on Budget

Follow The Abstract Life with Bloglovin! Personally, I like to mix "high / low" pieces together or hunt for bargains and no...

Personally, I like to mix "high / low" pieces together or hunt for bargains and no one is the wiser. Unless I blog about it like I am right now. WHELP! Secrets out people. ;) Allow me to spill my secrets...

Budget Shopping Tips:

  • Mix High/Low:
    Buy statement or investment pieces from quality merchandisers or designers (rag & bone, Burberry, Acne Studios, Anthropologie...) and fill your wardrobe gaps in with low cost (Target, H&M, Zara...) to mid-tier retailers (Loft / Lou & Grey, Madewell, Banana Republic...). Few people can notice you mixed your Elizabeth and James coat with a J. Crew blouse and Topshop jeans.
    Buy layering pieces-like tank tops or plain tees-from low cost stores. Usually unseen, they serve as function over fashion. Reserve investments for long wear items that stand out for quality and tailoring-such as coats, dresses, or shoes.
    DO NOT splurge on trends. Fashion comes and goes; style stays consistent. If you MUST wear the latest trend of body suits, chokers, etc, buy it from a H&M-like store. These items typically last as long as the trend does. 
  • Shop Between Seasons:
    Look for deals during the few weeks when stores transition between seasons. I bought these end of the season Loft white slip on sandals for < $4 (originally ~$50). Many stores try to clear out end of season merchandise to make room for their shiny, new pieces. You may not be the first of your friends to have "that one new piece" but you'll save loads of cash...and isn't that kind of better? 
  • Small Holidays Deals:
    Keep an eye out for promotional discounts around smaller holidays like Labor Day, Columbus [Indigenous People] Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, etc. Retailers love to entice shoppers to their stores or websites with holiday discounts and specials. I typically see anywhere from 20%-60% off and sometimes even free shipping (all the better to do online if you can avoid the crowds and find the exact size / color you need). 
  • Off-Price Retailers:
    Nordstrom Rack, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Home Goods, Ross, Saks OFF 5TH, Burlington Coat Factory, Big Lots, Filene's Basement and DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse), etc... These guys usually sell an inconsistent assortment of off season brand name or designer fashion / home goods at low prices.  You can get Ralph Lauren or Rebecca Minkoff 20%-60% below department and specialty store's regular prices. In short, high quality + off season = $ cheap.
  • Thrifting:
    If you like to hunt for items and aren't afraid to try, and try again...this is the method for you! Never the same and always a scavenger hunt, you must go regularly to your local Goodwill, Salvation Army, or thrift store and search through the most recent hauls. Stores like these get their goods from donations so it's best to go early in the week after their heaviest donation traffic (weekends).
    If you target donation centers near affluent neighborhoods (stay with me here) you can sometimes score designer or new clothes with the tags still on. I've bought Burberry, Oscar de la Renta, and even a brand new Banana Republic suit all under $15.
    Always keep an open mind and eye to see something for its potential (Read: quality items that just need to be painted, washed, or ironed. Don't buy junk just because it's a deal!).
    Bonus: Sometimes you can find a really unique piece that no one else has AND you are helping non-profits and the environment (fast fashion isn't so great for the earth). 
  • Tax Free Weekends:
    If you live in a state that has back-to-school tax free weekends wait to shop till then. Stores regularly attempt to drive consumer traffic to their brick and mortars by giving additional discounts on this mini-Black Friday. Buy your laptops, clothes, etc and forget about the tax! 
  • Sign Up for Store Emails:
    I know, I know. I hate digital clutter as much as the next person. However, if you sign up for store emails you get the occasional free shipping plus 40% discount-which is pretty great if you're keeping an eye out for something to go down in price. 
Hope this helps you with your shopping on a budget. I'd love to hear if these tips work for you or if you have your own strategy! 

Do you usually wait for clearances or do you buy an item when you want it / spot it? 
Do you have your top favorite stores or are you diversified where you spend? 
Have you ever gone thrifting? Did you ever find a gem? 
How often do you shop with coupons or use email campaign promos? 
Do you mix high / low to achieve your final look? If so, what are your investment pieces or low cost basics? 
Do you like hunting for deals and goods or does it overwhelm you to the point where you'd rather just have it all within easy reach and pay more for less of a headache? 

You Know You Want to Keep Reading...


  1. Thrifting is always something I forget about and need to start doing this more often.

  2. Great tips. Now I know how to shop savvy

  3. I love shopping the thrift store next to me. The Waterfront Mission supports homeless veterans and alcoholics and helps feed them. AND, they always have a great selection of top branded clothing. I got some nice, brand new 9 West shoes a few days ago for $5! They still had the tag on them.

  4. I love this advice and these tips. Right on target. As my husband says all the time, "Any fool can spend money."
    Carol Cassara

  5. These 7 tips have never been more needed! Especially as we head into the holiday season!

  6. So many good points made here! I love mixing high end brands with cheaper pieces - not everything has to cost a ton! :)

  7. for the win! LOL! I am obsessed. I literally ONLY shop at Amazon - for EVERYTHING!