I knew I was destined for a closet bursting at the seams when, as a child, I would gravitate towards old issues of Vogue rather than the cartoony bright pages of Highlights. When I was thirteen, I went into a Nordstrom for the first time, and I had the kind of strangled breathing/starry-eyed reaction that most people equate with love at first sight. (I was annoyed enough to enthuse to the sales assistant in the BP section that I was their very own Holly Golightly, only enamored with the silver bags from Nordstrom rather than the light blue Tiffany boxes.)
While there is no substitute for petting the cashmere sweaters after a long day of staring numbly at my computer, the rise of the internet has made my favorite hobby a lot cheaper to enjoy. Over the years, I’ve picked up tips and tricks to make my dollars stretch even further, and today, I’ll share that wisdom with you.
1. Know Your Brands
When there are retailers you consistently return to, you’ll eventually learn their sale patterns. They become almost predictable, and it’s why, for most purchases, I never ever buy full price. If it’s meant to be, then it’ll get marked down in a few weeks, and I’ll be able to take it home at a huge discount. Stores like J.Crew or the Banana Republic–I feel like if they aren’t offering at least 25% off, then wait literally two days, and they will be again. But if you’re shopping luxury? Chances are, you’re not going to catch Louis Vuitton offering 25% off their entire site. For that, you’ll need to get a little more creative.
2. Become Best Friends with Resale Sites
If you’re looking for luxury at a discount, The Real Real will become your best friend. Everything is gently used and guaranteed authentic, and you can pick up designer duds for a fraction of the normal price. (And remember #1–I see 20% codes for The Real Real all the time!) I also stalk FB Resale groups. These can be a little iffy, but if you know how to authenticate your designers, you can nab gorgeous things for pennies. (Okay, not pennies, but you know what I mean.)
When I sold my first book, I decided to reward myself with the bag of my dreams–a Louis Vuitton Neverfull GM. Those puppies retail for around $1300, but through an FB Luxury Resale site, I found a little old lady selling hers for $800–used once. I ended up going to her house, where she showed me her entire designer bag collection and then told me stories about how she used to shop in Paris and Milan to get the limited editions. When I was bummed she couldn’t find the dust bag for it, she sent her husband to the Louis Vuitton store nearby, and they hand-delivered a new dustbag along with a massive shopping bag. It was kind of like having the designer shopping experience–with none of the snobby shopgirls.
3. Find All The Coupon Codes!
If you’re not googling “[Store Name] Coupon Codes” before any online purchase, then you’re basically setting piles of money on fire. It’s pretty rare for me to shop online without finding at least one or two coupon codes. And if you’re lazy and you use Google Chrome, you can install Honey, which is a browser extension that automatically compiles coupon codes for the site you’re on, and applies them until the best one remains. Sometimes I’ll come armed with my own coupon code, and then Honey finds an even better one.
4. Shop Through a Cashback Site
Once you’ve found your % off sale and your coupon code, next start looking for the best link through which to shop. Some websites will kick you back a small % of your purchase if you buy through them. The big “cashback” site that most of my friends use is Ebates, but you can peruse this list here to see which works best for you.
The other alternative here will tie into your favorite points-churning credit card. (Check out our post here to see an expert’s opinion on how to maximize your rewards cards!) Most credit cards have a portal through which you can shop–and earn extra points. When I was buying a new coach earlier this year, I was able to get 3x the points if I shopped through their link–which was a better rate than if I’d used a cashback link.
So, this is a recently discovered tip of mine, but I am obsessed with this site called Raise. It’s basically where people sell their gift cards at a discount. (Hint, this link will give you $5. Yay!) Once I’ve figured out my coupon code/cashback link combo, I’ll see if there is a gift card available for that site. Most of their gift cards are e-gift cards, which get mailed to you right away after you buy it. Some stores, like Sephora, only get you like 8% discount (which is still big since Sephora doesn’t do a lot of sales…) Other clothing brands will have gift cards for like 20% off, which when you then use your discounted gift card to buy your discounted item–the savings get insane.