Smart Shopping

Living off what I call a ‘student salary’ can be really difficult when you love to shop. Especially for those much needed clothes. My wardrobe is bursting at the seams but pretty much all of it is second hand, part of a multi-buy offer or a sale purchase. Over the past few years I’ve developed habits I wasn’t even aware of until now! So here’s a few pointers to becoming a smart shopper:

Charity Shops
Don’t be afraid to step inside a charity shop – especially alone. For ages I avoided these shops because I didn’t want to be seen to be going in and when I did start, I did it with a friend. A few years on and I walk in with pride, knowing that I am giving to a charity and will probably walk out with a bargain no one else will get!

EBay
eBay can be pricey when bidding wars commence, so try and search for items without using brand names in the title. This way you will find items you like for what it is rather than for the shop it was originally from. Also sort your search results with ‘Time ending soonest’, it can be dangerous for impulse buyers like myself but it does feel good when you win a dress for 99p. Always keep in mind how much the seller is charging for postage and just add this to the value of the item so you don’t go overboard with the spending.

Hold on to labels and receipts
Keep labels on your new purchases until you wear them. From past experience I have learnt that things that look and felt like a good decision in the shop often do not give the same satisfaction when you look in your bedroom mirror. If you remove the label right away you will have trouble trying to return.  To return you will most likely need the sales receipt too so learn to clear your purses and pockets and keep all proof of sales in an envelop or basket at home. If an items gets lost in your wardrobe for a year and still have the label on, you can sometimes sell these for a profit!

Discounts and sales
Try and always look for discount codes before you hit the shops or proceed to checkout online. Most high street shops always have some kind of discount running and I always found out about them after I had made my purchases and the discount had expired! For students, your student card is as much of a necessity as your bank card whenever you go shopping.

Try new shops
Shop around! Many people can get used to making purchases just because they want to be known for having a certain type of style, like the Topshop girl or Burton man. River Island is the new favorite in this town. If you are sad like me, when you read the labels of clothing you start to notice that a Zara jumper is made of the same materials as a Primark one. So you can just be paying for a logo. Speaking of logos, I can’t stand items with brands being shoved in your face. Subtle works well for me.

Primark
Primark, also known as ‘Primani’ isn’t as daunting as it once was and their prices are creeping up so you have to be wary that you can’t fill your basket with 5 new outfits for £10 anymore. It still is a place which sells pretty much anything you could need in a clothing emergency. They are a staple for everyday items like vest tops, pants, socks and they have a great range of PJs! Most people are already aware that they sell very similar items to other high street brands and a cheaper price, and I personally haven’t found much of a different in quality. They have a great developing range so if you refuse to shop there, you are missing out.

Supermarkets
Don’t overlook the supermarket clothes departments. F&F, George and TU all provide good value pieces and they have started to introduce other branded items for sale online, such as AX Paris and Billie and Blossom. So if there is something out of stock on one site, always check these sites! Every item I have worn from supermarkets has attracted compliments and people rarely know that my clothing is from Tesco or Asda! I love that I can go food shopping and casually pick up a dress on the way out too!

Banking rewards
Money saving is always a hot topic and you sell your old clothes to get some cash back. But if you haven’t got the time check your what your bank has to offer! Halifax have an automatic cashback scheme and all you have to do is log on and see what offers are there for you to enjoy! I love it when I shop somewhere and see I’ve got 10% coming back to my account! There are no fees to pay and the money you have earned via cash-back comes into your account monthly.

Online shopping
Quidco are a cash-back website that you shop through and you can earn back all sorts of amounts! If you are a regular online shopper this could save you lots of monies.

Loyalty Cards
Use your store loyalty cards. A lot of people don’t bother with them and some people don’t understand that you do not have to spend a penny to get one (unless it’s The Body Shop and it’s a pricey £5). Boots give you 4 points to a pound, each point is worth a penny! If you’re a regular shopper there than you can soon end up having enough points to grab a free lunch or nail polish. If you’re a keen saver you could save all of your pennies earned on your loyalty cards over a year and save lots on next years Christmas presents! Loyalty cards also come with the perk of additional discounts on products.

Know your limits!
Enjoy shopping but be aware of the money you are spending. Avoid those Credit Card shopping sprees wherever possible and try not to get store cards unless you’re in a position to pay off your statements in full every month. Interest rates are high and add so much money onto your purchases if
you don’t keep up with payments!

Be green, recycle an reuse clothes, sell on and pass on. Give to charity! It makes you feel good and it helps those who are less fortunate than you.

Happy shopping!

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