Shopping for women's clothing and accessories on a budget can be exhilarating. It takes time and patience, but when you're shopping with limited funds and you want to stay trendy and fashionable, it's worth it. Shopping the right stores at the right time can get you a closet stuffed full on a shoestring budget. I consider it power shopping, because if you do it right, you can buy a whole season's wardrobe in one sitting.
First and foremost, shopping for the best deals requires a willingness to shop online. Yes, you can go in to physical stores and find great deals, but if you're truly trying to maximize your hard-earned cash you have to do (at least some) shopping online. Most stores Donreturns super simple these days, including providing free return shipping labels, so if you don't mind packing your unwanted items back up, there aren't many worries. Make sure you carefully read return policies. Some stores only offer store credit.
To maximize your shopping experience, you should go in with the mindset that you aren't necessarily shopping for the current season. You can get some great deals at the end of a season, but you can do even better if you consistently shop for the next season. Shop for summer in the fall, fall in the winter, winter in the spring, and spring in the summer.
Now that we've identified the ground rules for online shopping, we can get to the important stuff. One of the best resources you have are sites that compile coupon codes. Coupon codes were plentiful at one time, but retailers have a tendency to keep them quite limited now. You may not find anything better than what they offer on their website, but you should always check. Some of my favorites are Petrella Finds, Brad's Deals and Retail Me Not. Don't just check for coupon codes for retailers. You can find coupon codes for almost anything--restaurants (I always get fantastic deals at Hungry Howies), movie and concert tickets, flowers, automotive--you name it, you can find a coupon code. Don't limit yourself to these sites, though. Just google 'coupon codes' and you will find hundreds of websites that offer them. Check some of the more obscure sites. Sometimes that is where I find my best deals. A free shipping coupon code can alone save you $10-$15.
Websites like Petrella Finds, Nerd Wallet and Brad's Deals also compile the best deals from around the web. Bookmark them and check the latest posts often. It only takes a minute, and you can really find some steals. If you have a Twitter account, check out @FatKidDeals. He tweets out some fantastic Amazon deals. Get yourself in the habit of checking these sites often. Bookmark them and check them several times a week. That way it literally only takes a minute, and you won't have to spend a lot of time catching up on deals and sales you may have missed.
Try to narrow down a list of your favorite stores. My go-to used to be Bon-Ton. I could buy a new wardrobe for around $300, but they went out of business. They have re-opened, and although they claim the prices are the best deals out there, I haven't found anything yet. Now I tend to stick with Nordstrom Rack, Macy's and Ralph Lauren. I also find a lot of extraordinary clearance deals at Bealls Florida. As I write this, Bealls has a friends and family sale that adds an extra 40% off almost everything in the store. Make sure you check the fine print to see what is excluded from coupon codes. At least once a week, head to the clearance section on each of your favorite stores and sort them from low to high, or by percentage off, if that option exists. Also, use the size filter to narrow the list you have to look through.
Make it a point to shop for separates you can mix and match. For example, pair one skirt with a few different colored and styled blouses. Do the same thing with pants. If you are lucky enough to find a complete outfit, go for it! Make accessories like scarves, belts, purses and jewelry a priority. Accessories not only complete an outfit, changing them up with the same outfit refreshes it and makes it seem like new. It's the same with shoes. You can never own too many pairs of shoes. Add several 'filler' pieces like cheap shells and t-shirts.
The last thing I will leave you with, and probably the most important. is that you you absolutely should shop outside of your comfort zone. Try things you may not be able to imagine yourself wearing. Sometimes the most looked over pieces that end up in the clearance section end up being the most flattering. You will love the compliments you get, and you will feel absolutely amazing!