Friday, 10 August 2012

Shopping on a budget: the easy way

This post is an entry for a competition over at

I love clothes. If you're reading this, you probably love clothes too. I love looking at clothes, and I love shopping for clothes, but I hate not having the money to buy what I want to. Years of this problem have meant that I've developed some finely-honed bargain-hunting skills, which I'll share with you here. 

Note: I'm going to be focusing here on designer and the more expensive end of the high street here, as the greater the saving, the greater the satisfaction!

Sales, sales, sales

My mantra for the past couple of years has been to never buy anything at less than a 70% discount, unless it's something that I've been tracking down for a long time or is absolutely perfect. Even then, I never buy it unless it's at least a 50% discount.

The biannual Net-a-Porter sale is my absolute favourite; throughout the year I get their 'new in' email updates and make lists of items that I like via their wishlist feature, then when the sale opens (end of December and end of June) I see which ones have been discounted. The first discounts rarely go above 50%, but a couple of weeks after the sale has opened most get discounted to around 70-80% - wait for these further discounts if your patience can hold out!

Net-a-Porter's sister site, The Outnet, has huge designer discounts 365 days a year, but the sizes are pretty limited and I've never managed to see anything I like there that would fit me. If you're an unusual size, or even if you're not, it's worth having a look there. My favourite outlet site though is Cocosa; they have regular flash sales (usually at least 50% off) and have recently started doing beauty sales as well. Their shipping is quick, unlike other discount sites like BrandAlley - their stock can take 4-6 weeks to ship!

My favourite discount site for shoes is Shoeaholics. They mainly stock the Kurt Geiger brands, but also have some stock from designers such as Acne and H by Hudson. The discounts on this site are amazing - sandals from £5, heels from £18, and boots from just £19! There's a great range of sizes available too, so no need to panic buy if you're a size 5 like me!

If you're hunting out a specific item, ShopStyle is completely indispensable. Just type whatever you're looking for into the search bar, and it will show you all the sites that currently stock that item - and the prices it's going for. You can limit the search to just UK sites, or you can include international sites too, which often work out cheaper even when you work in the shipping costs! There are so many different search options that make it easier to find exactly what you want: as well as the usual size and colour, you can search by items that are on sale or which shop they come from. 

1: Adidas by Stella McCartney // 2: A.P.C. // 3: Hervé Léger // 4: Joseph // 5: Elizabeth and James

Quick fixes

Student Discount: Don't forget to use your NUS card to get an extra 10 or 20% off certain sites - and if you don't have one, use the website UNiDAYS to get the same benefits without paying the NUS fee! If you're not a student, you can sometimes just type in a random number at the checkout and it will accept your discount - I did this at Topshop a few weeks ago and saved an extra 10%!

Exclusive Discounts: Sign up to brands' newsletters, Twitter and Facebook pages, and you'll often find exclusive offers and discounts for their followers! Urban Outfitters send out offers for 20% discounts and free shipping almost every week, so it's worth waiting a few days if you've got a big order sitting in your online shopping bag.

Voucher Websites: Sites such as are great for scooping up any discount codes from newsletters, magazines, and adverts that you might have missed along the way - you'll very rarely have to do anything other than copy and paste the code at the checkout, so they're really worth spending a couple of minutes searching for!

1: French Connection // 2: Miss KG // 3: KG Kurt Geiger // 4: KG Kurt Geiger // 5: Chloe Sevigny for Opening Ceremony

Other Useful Sites

ASOS: Usually my one-stop shop for anything fashion-related; ASOS often have great sales, and though it can take a while to shift through everything, the site is super-fast and their search options are really useful.

TK Maxx: If sifting through rail upon rail of really unappealing clothing isn't up your street, check out their website instead. There's a fairly good selection of stuff, but I haven't found anything that I really wanted there yet.

Buy-a-Powa: Mainly beauty products, sold at huge discounts through their co-buy scheme. The more people who buy a certain product, the cheaper the final sale price goes! A pretty fun (but addictive) take on discount sales.

Girl Meets Dress/Wish Want Wear/Cinderella Me: If you've got your heart set on an Alexander Wang but won't be able to afford one in the foreseeable future (a girl can dream, right?) why not try out a rental site? You'll get to keep your favourite designer item for a few days after hiring it for an absolute fraction of the retail cost, and then send it back without having to worry about the dry cleaning bill! Sites like this are especially good if you want a dress or some shoes for a special occasion such as a wedding or a ball, where you know you're unlikely to wear the item a second time but still want something special.

find me: Twitter // Bloglovin' // Pinterest // Etsy

1 comment:

  1. I always check sites like before going to Girl Meets Dress as they will often have a Girl Meet Dress discount code. Savings are usually between 10 and 20% so its well worth checking first.