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As a budget-conscious shopper, former personal shopper, and past retail associate at Nordstrom (Oh college days, how I miss thee), I've gained some important lessons while helping people avoid overspending. This includes myself! So these 3 simple, money-saving tips are basic things to keep in mind as you search for mind-blowing items. Have some of your own you'd like to share? Please comment and do so!
(1) Eat Before You Shop. Ever hit a store that is full of amazing sales and deals, but you're so hungry that you can barely think? Do yourself a favor and eat before you shop. Not only will you feel energized, but you won't have to leave the shop to fill your tummy and risk missing out on that marked-down biker jacket you've been eyeing forever. I also suggest eating at home so you can apply that $5, $10, or $20 bucks toward your purchase.
(2) Ask about the return policy. You totally have the right to change your mind about an item. Whether it didn't fit right, the color really doesn't flatter your skin tone, the trend is not your style, or is way too tight (yes, there is such a thing), don't you wanna get your money back? But there are many stores that don't offer refunds at all; rather, you can only exchange or get store credit, especially when it comes to clearance and accessories. (Ahem, Forever 21! In fact, this recent fashion blog post from Lovelyish, "5 Tips for Shopping at Forever 21 (From a Former Employee)," is extremely helpful.) Also, you don't have to wait until you're at the register to ask about it! When you're shopping the floor, chat up a sales associate about the return/exchange policy. This will also save you from wasting your time in line.
(3) Check out vintage and thrift stores before a major purchase. Since I was 13, I've always loved second-hand stores. When buying used merchandise, I appreciate the special character to a piece. It's also one-of-a-kind and typically much cheaper than paying full price. Not everyone is into buying an item that was worn by a stranger, but with a little wash or dry cleaning, you wouldn't know the difference. Plus, you can find some amazing brands and designers at second-hand shops. Places like Wasteland and Crossroads on Melrose always have some awesome items. These stores also buy back items from shoppers or offer a trade as long as pieces are in good-to-excellent condition. From handbags, hats, and shoes to jeans, dresses, and accessories, the selection can be pretty exciting. You just gotta have a 'lil patience as your browse.
If you dig this article, you may also like "Top 5 Tips to Online Shopping" and "Top 10 Random Tips From a Personal Shopper."