Friday, June 25, 2010

Young, Broke, and Addicted to Retail

Who doesn't love a bargain?! Serial shoppers like ourselves are always looking for a great deal and a way to keep a little cash in our pockets, which is why we're so excited for today's guest blog post!  Our friends, Lauren and Ashley, teamed up to bring you this fantastic post and share their secrets about finding bargains and the coolest trends at reasonable prices. Thanks ladies, for contributing to our blog!  Readers, we present you with "Young, Broke, and Addicted to Retail" by Lauren and Ashley.  Be sure to leave them some love :)

Like most women, shopping is one of our favorite things to do, but we all know how expensive it can be to stay on top of trends and look fashionable. Since our love affair with retail became a full on addiction we've had to learn to work within our financial constraints. This is a how-to guide on becoming a bargain maven by shopping what we like to call the "discount circuit".  Whenever we are craving a shopping session or looking for a particular item the "discount circuit" is the best way to get started!

TJ Maxx: Price point is clutch and the return policy is very forgiving. This is a great place to find salon quality hair products, designer perfumes, handbags, and sunglasses at affordable prices. Plagued with irregular sizes, it is best to try everything on. Real and costume jewelry selection is decent. However,  it tends to be time consuming to sort through the overstock of Jessica Simpson, Baby Phat, Betsy Johnson and American Eagle (to name a few).  Locations vary in level of selection when it comes to handbags, shoes and accessories.

Marshalls: Again, price point is clutch and return policy is favorable to the customer base.  Typically has a better handbag selection than TJ Maxx, but every location varies in their level of selection (some also advertise a mega shoe section). The same issue applies with irregular sizes, especially when it comes to bottoms, so always try on everything. In our experience, Marshalls has been lacking when it comes to jewelry and perfume selections.

Forever 21Their clothes won’t last forever but this is a great place to go when looking for trends on the cheap. There is always a huge selection and the store is always being stocked with new and different pieces. You can find costume jewelry, belts, hats, and sunglasses under $20 (actually most merchandise is around or under $30). If you're worried about being age appropriate, then be cautious with prints, styles, and lengths of skirts and dresses. Forever now offers a "higher end" selection as well, with slightly higher prices for somewhat better quality. In addition, Forever 21 also has a plus size section in most of their stores.  And if you're a vegan or animal rights activist, then you'll be pleased to hear that Forever 21 locations offer shoes usually in synthetic materials, but are still very cute. The drawback: The return policy is non-existent -- they only offer store credit, and that's if merchandise is returned with a receipt within 30 days, and jewelry is always non-refundable. 

H&M: Another great place to get trendy threads for less. This is a European label, so if you have curves keep in mind that their sizes run narrow. You can find fun and disposable costume jewelry as well as other affordable accessories here.  The layout of the store also minimizes the overwhelming feeling that can take over when faced with racks and walls of clothing.  Typically the front of the store is where you can find office attire and more dressy pieces, and as you progress you will find clothing arranged by trend/age group/gender and color.  It's a great place to build on your wardrobe basics without breaking the bank.

Century 21 Department Stores: If you are looking for long-term quality investment pieces for your wardrobe this is THE hot spot. It doesn’t get any better than an entire department store devoted to deep discounts on designer labelsDiane Von Furstenberg, D&G, Free People, BCBG, Calvin Klein,  Armani, and  Michael Kors to name a few.  Great seasonal selection and a shoe department that carries a wide array of styles (we get excited just thinking about it)!  From casual to special occasion, you are bound to find something, and we promise you will get a lot for your money. Locations are few and far between, but certainly worth the drive.

Loehmann’s: Another discounted designer label store with lots of variety and great for deals on sunglasses, handbags, and jewelry. The perfume selection is very impressive, from Gauthier to Paris Hilton, amuch cheaper prices compared to regular department stores or perfume dealers. Loehmann’s is home to an eclectic mix of international labels like Etienne Aigner and Carolina Herrera and classic finds like Cynthia Rowley and Calvin Klein. With so many labels and so many styles, we promise you won’t leave empty handed, but you will definitely leave with cash to spare!

Daffy’s: If you enjoy unique European designs at discounted rates this is an ideal shopping location. The shoe and handbag selections are hit or miss, but if you are looking for a special occasion dress this should always be a starting point. 

Of course a savvy shopper can save money in any store, just remember the sale rack is your friend! Keep these retailers in mind and you are sure to stay in style and out of debt.

Frugality is fun!

Jen & Saira


  1. Yo, you guys forgot to mention Filene's Bargain Basement. Holler!

  2. Maybe you can do a guest spot addition to our know, since you're addicted to retail.

  3. We had no idea that Daffy's had good options, we'll have to check it out!