11 Shopping Secrets for the College Girl

I LOVE shopping, but what I love even more is making the absolute most of my small, college girl shopping budget. I'm a poor college student and saving money on top brands is like a game to me! I want to teach you all how to play the game as well.

1. Do your research before you go to the store.

Know what you want to buy and how much it is going to cost.  For example have a plan when you go to the mall. Why are you there? Do you need more shirts, dresses, pants, accessories, or are you just there to browse? Planning is huge when you are trying to save money. If you are going for a pair of shoes, try to stay focused on just the shoes!

2. Always ask lots of questions. 

Always ask if they have a sale coming up, and even ask if this is the cheapest they have seen a certain item in their store. Ask if they have discounts or coupons and what their return policy is. Ask! Ask! Ask! You will never know until you ask and it will never hurt to ask questions. The store associates will actually feel important because you are allowing them to do their job.

3. Know the Return Policy. 

I have two favorite places to shop because of there return policy: Nordstrom and Kohl's. They will take back items so easily if something happens to them. I hate when I put a lot of money into a piece of clothing and later find the hem has come undone or a small hole has appeared. These two stores will take it back!  It doesn't matter if it was your fault or theirs, and it doesn't matter how long it has been. This is what I call good customer service! Return Policy's are a HUGE key in saving money when shopping!

4. Sleep on it (if you can). 

I often see something and think I have to have that right this second, and then the next day I'm not that excited about what I just bought!  I have found it is easier to control yourself if you walk away and tell yourself "I can have it if it goes on sale in a week."  Surprise, surprise it  often does!

5. Go to that one store often.

The more you shop at a specific store, the more you get used to what is normal for them. For instance I went to Nordstrom's BP department 2 times in one month. I bought a cardigan and the next time it was in there, I noticed it was 50% off the original price that I had paid. I politely asked the cashier if they offer refunds for clothing going on sale, she said yes if you have your receipt that is within 30 days. SCORE! She gave me $15 cash right there on the spot! 

6. Coupons.

We all love coupons! I personally am obsessed with coupons and discounts, but dont't worry not the stock pile every room in my house obsessed.  Be sure to sign up for emails and mail flyers as they send out good coupons and alerts for current sales.

7. Student ID Discounts.

Always ask if a store does Student ID Discounts. I LOVE when being a student pays off! Here are a few great student discounts that I am aware of:

Charlotte Rousse- 10% OFF

Ann Taylor - 20% OFF

The Loft - 15% OFF

J.Crew - 15% OFF

Banana Republic - 15% OFF

The Limited - 15% OFF

8. Shop Yard Sales and D.I. 

You would be so surprised how often I find name brand clothes at yard sales and the D.I.! They are always the classics pieces that come from Gap, American Eagle and other name brands that could be 10 years old and still be trendy because they are such classic pieces. 

9. Go to discounted stores.

Here are some examples so you know what I am talking about: T.J. Maxx, Ross, Marshalls, Home Goods,and Nordstrom Rack. These stores often have great name brand clothing, accessories, shoes and home fashions for amazing prices.

10. Shopkick.

Have you heard of the app Shopkick?  Well if not GO GET it because it is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.  Basically it has look books for many top stores so you can see the latest fashions.  As you look through these look books, you click on the starts and get instant points. Another way to get points is by walking in to that store. Best Buy, Macy's, American Eagle, Old Navy and so many more offer points just for walking in their store with the app open. The points then become redeemable for gift cards or prizes! 

11. Examine the item.

Look at the item you are buying before you checkout! Is it opened? Did a button fall off? Is a thread starting to be pulled out? Any bit of damage that you don't feel fits "Brand New" quality will usually earn you a discount. This goes back to #2 -  just ask!