Tip 1: Time it right
Thursday evenings are often the best time to find deals. Many stores mark down their clothes for weekend sales then, and you can take advantage of the fact that there will likely be better inventory on Thursday than on the weekend, when more shoppers come in. You can also score great deals when a season is winding down and by waiting six to eight weeks from when the item initially hit shelves. Once an item has lingered that long, the retailer is likely to mark it down to try to sell it.
Tip 2: Buy clothes using a discounted gift card
Sites like PlasticJungle.com sell discounted gift cards – a great way to save. So, for example, you could buy a gift card from a popular clothing store that has a $200 value for say $170. You can also swap your old gift cards for ones you might actually use (goodbye Lands End gift card from grandma, hello Express gift card!).
Tip 3: Make ‘em last
The longer your clothes last, the fewer you’ll have to buy – so take care of them! Zip clothes before washing them so that the zipper is less likely to tear other clothes and reinforce the hems of skirts and pants. (If you don’t have a sewing machine, check out Neighborgoods.net to see if you can borrow or rent one, and check out the sewing how-to videos at eHow.com to learn how to stitch up the hem.) Store handbags on shelves instead of hanging them, which can stretch the leather, and only wash your dark clothes, which can fade easily, every 3 or 4 wears unless they get really dirty.
Tip 4: Get tech savvy
Use your phone to score deals with the free app Coupon Sherpa. You’ll get tons of coupons and when you create a wish-list of your favorite stores, the app will send you coupons from them. And be sure to hop online to some of the great sites for swapping clothes like SwapStyle.com, DigNSwap.com and RehashClothes.com. But be careful, they’re addictive (swapping is the new shopping!).
About the author: Catey Hill is the money columnist for Seventeen, a writer for SmartMoney.com and the author of “Shoo, Jimmy Choo! The Modern Girl’s Guide to Spending Less and Saving More” (Sterling, 2010). Catey’s work and advice has been featured in/on “The Early Show” on CBS, The Associated Press, People, Access Hollywood, The New York Times, Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Day, “The Huckabee Show” on FOX, and more. Learn more about Catey at www.ShooJimmyChoo.com and follow her on Twitter at @cateyhill and on Facebook via the “Shoo, Jimmy Choo!” fan page.