How to Shop Frugally for New, High Quality Clothing on a College Budget

As college students, we’re always looking for more ways to save money. This proves to be especially difficult when it comes to clothing. I have narrowed down all of my tips and tricks to be a frugal shopper while getting the most bang out of your budget. I would consider myself pretty much an expert on frugal shopping at this point in my life as I never buy anything full price. 

Joining your favorite store’s rewards program.

Madewell, Pacsun and Urban Outfitters are some of my favorite stores that treat their members extremely well. Madewell offers a gift certificate for your birthday, free monogramming and free shipping. Pacsun and Urban Outfitters offer $5 rewards on their apps that you earn by simply being an active member. There is no purchase necessary to earn your points towards a rewards, which is rare for these types of rewards program. For Pacsun, all you have to do is open their emails daily, and for Urban Outfitters you can participate by entering their contests on their app, tweeting and listening to the music on their app. I have saved countless of dollars at Urban Outfitters by always having a $5 reward to use on hand. 

Nordstrom Rack, Nordstrom Rack and Nordstrom Rack.

Nordstrom Rack is my holy grail and my best kept secret for all of the clothes I’ve scored. I don’t even step foot into a regular Nordstrom. The rack always has amazing deals, however, during their Clear the Rack sale, it transforms into a treasure land. The Clear the Rack sale is when all of the clearance is an additional 25% off. These sales happen several times a year, and from what I’ve researched and experienced, they seem to occur during all the major holiday weekends. I’ve found incredible items during these sales, including a $6.75 TopShop fur vest, $4.47 denim jacket, $4 wrap skirts and my personal favorite: wide legged Topshop pants for a single penny. Yes, you read that right. I found pants for 1 cent. I’m not sure how it’s possible but it happened, but they fit me perfectly. It was meant to be. Or maybe that’s the magic of Nordstrom Rack. Either way, get yourself to the rack immediately. 

TJ Maxx, Marshalls and other discount stores.

One of my favorite clothing items of all time is my Free People Dolman Quilted Jacket I found at TJ Maxx last fall. I found it in the contemporary jackets section, for $60. At the time, this exact jacket was still being sold online and in store for the original price of $168. I got the jacket brand new for a fraction of the price! These stores carry amazing brands and offer great deals at their original price or the clearance section. TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Sierra Trading Post in particular I’ve noticed carry some of the best brands. I’ve found Calvin Klein, Nike, Guess, Juicy Couture, Kate Spade, Michael Kors and Tommy Hilfiger to name a few. 

Discounts and getting rewarded for shopping.

Always online shop with a purpose. And by purpose, I mean with a coupon code. When I’m interested in buying anything I always go on the website Retail Me Not to search for coupons I can use, or I join their mailing list, whichever offers a greater discount. Once you intend to purchase the item, make sure that you are a member of Ebates! Ebates is a website that gives you cash back for online shopping. It’s based on a cash back percentage, and while it may only be 1-10% of your overall purchase, it certainly adds up! And you’re getting money for something you are already doing anyways. 

Now that my shopping secrets are out, I hope that you will utilize all of them to shop better and more frugal while still getting high quality brands you love at a fraction of the price. A lot of times it takes a bit of patience and bit of luck to find some amazing deals on pieces you will cherish forever.