Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My favorite fashion (and non fashion) bargain sites for the consumer feeling the economic downturn

Wow... I can't stop posting today. I thought while I was on a roll, I might as well share with you some of my super-bargain secrets. Here are some places I go when I want current fashion ridiculously cheaply (in order):

1. - I basically never need to leave this website when it comes to finding a shoe that knocks off a designer shoe. Whatever the shoe--if it's hot and fashionable it's there. In addition, they knockoff knockoffs. Here's a story to that end: One day I was in DSW searching for an amazing bootie when I found one I loved for $70. I was like, "I don't feel like spending that much today, I'll keep it in mind and see if I can find it online for cheaper." A couple days later, I was in Saks Off 5th when I saw the same shoe by them for about $150. Of course, this shoe I later found out was based on a Lanvin shoe priced around $500 (give or take). had one that looked just like it for *gasp* $25! Now, you will have to keep in mind you are sacrificing a couple things when you do this. One, it might look cheap, and you can't always tell from the pics. Two, if you can find the shoe you loved online, especially from different angles, check out the knockoff to make sure it's the same heel height, color, has the same design elements you want, etc. because every knockoff makes it's own slight changes to avoid lawsuits. Three, order enough stuff to reach the free shipping minimum, because you get a free return shipping slip and can return it if you don't love it.

2. - wait until it goes on clearance, order it in as many sizes as you think you might wear (for example, I'm sometimes between a 7 and a 9, so I order both), order enough stuff to hit the free shipping minimum, then return what doesn't fit/you don't want in stores. That way you don't pay extra for shipping or return shipping. If you buy from the Go International line, you will almost always get an amazing quality item, too. You can also try stuff on in store and wait for it to go on clearance, because usually they do in most sizes.

3. The Mall - Many a deal has been found in a mall--regular or outlet--when perusing the stores and having the willpower not to buy items at the front. I shamelessly head straight for the sales and clearance racks and I primarily visit stores advertising sales and clearance--especially if they are taking money off existing sales and clearances. I have found amazing deals by doing this, like 2 for $5 shoes at Claire's one time. I didn't even know they sold shoes! And they are cute and NOT cheap-looking, too! Sign up for VIP programs at your local outlet mall. You get special coupons that will take money off existing sales and low prices, making sweet deals even sweeter.

4. Ross - SUPER cheap store often with decent department store names. Check the clearance rack. I regularly find things like jackets and sweaters for $3. Even on the regular racks things rarely top $15. 

5. TJ Maxx and Marshalls - These are great if you want nicer brand names and the occasional low-end designer. I always check the clearance racks first (hmmm... are we seeing a pattern?)

6. Ebay - I usually won't buy something I want (and won't settle for a knockoff) in store until I've checked ebay. Ebay is also great if you know you wear a specific item size and style. For example, I know I wear a medium in J. Crew long-sleeve T's, so I'll check ebay from time to time to see if anyone is selling any cheap, especially in lots. People often sell new items, too, if you don't like the idea of buying something used. I even recommend buying electronics on there, specifically from Ebay stores, where they will garuntee the item for a certain amount of time just like any other store.

7. For books, check out Amazon and for the "used" cost. I find $25 books in stores for 75 cents sometimes, especially if it's an older title or if you can settle for an older edition...

8. Various low cost websites such as,,,, and Even though these stores are aimed to a younger audience, you can find basics and shoes there for only a few dollars. Watch out for the quality, though, as it can vary a LOT.

9. Deal sites like and Great for everything, especially electronics and computers.

Whew! Hope you find this helpful!