My partner and I live on one of our incomes and save the other, which doesn’t leave tons of room in our budget for splurges. But by purchasing items secondhand and waiting patiently for sales, I’ve been able to treat myself to designer clothes and handbags without breaking the bank. Here are some of my best tips on how to buy nice things without going into debt.
I used to be a little grossed out by the thought of purchasing used items. The idea that someone else wore my clothes or shoes before I did felt a little unsettling even if I cleaned them thoroughly.
But once I realized that you can find a ton of pre-owned items for sale that were never even used, I started shopping secondhand a lot more often. Now I buy most of my clothes and home decor on resale websites like Poshmark, Facebook Marketplace, and ThredUp.
To give you an idea of the kind of savings you can get by thrifting, I got a pair of silk pants with the tags still on them for $25. Considering they’re from Eileen Fisher and retail for over $250, I think I got a pretty good deal!
Shopping at discount stores like TJ Maxx and Saks Off Fifth can also get you significant savings. I scored a pair of Theory pants that retailed for around $350 for just $30 at Nordstrom Rack.
Wait For Sales
Another way I save on clothes and homewares is by waiting for sales.
If I have my eye on something from Amazon, I set a price alert on it using a sale tracker called Camel Camel Camel. It shows you the price history of everything on Amazon so you know whether or not you’re getting the best deal possible.
You can also specify the price you’re willing to pay for an item. If it ever goes on sale and drops to that level, the tracker will send you a notification. This is great for those that like to buy name brand items like Ray-ban sunglasses.
I also sign up for newsletters from stores I like so I know when they’re having a sale. However, if you’re an impulse shopper, I don’t recommend getting brand emails—they could encourage you to buy things you don’t need just because they’re discounted.
Pay With Gift Cards
When I have my eye on an expensive handbag, I try to see if I can earn enough gift cards to cover it by taking paid surveys.
I use websites like Swagbucks, YouGov, User Interviews, Respondent, and Amazon Mechanical Turk to fill out surveys from my couch and join online focus groups.
Some surveys only pay a few cents while focus groups usually pay a couple hundred dollars each, but every penny adds up. I’m able to earn a couple grand a year that I can put toward frivolous purchases without affecting my budget. budget.
Earn Cash Back
When I don’t have enough gift cards to cover my purchase, I pay with a credit card to earn rewards. I also use apps that give you cash back on your purchases like Rakuten and Ibotta to recoup some of the money I’ve spent.
If you’re on a tight budget, it can be tough to find the funds to treat yourself. I hope these money-saving strategies help you stretch your dollars further so you can afford a few of the things on your wishlist this year.