Racks and Racks (Image Credit: Kevin K)

Shopping smart at discount fashion stores!

Racks and Racks (Image Credit: Kevin K)

Racks and Racks (Image Credit: Kevin K)

As a college student, saving money is always a top priority. But who really wants to give up shopping until graduation day? Let’s face it; it’s not possible. So, for the fashionista who can’t go much longer than a few weeks without feeling the need to peruse the racks at Express, (maybe I have a problem!), I have to find ways to shop smarter and spend money wisely.

Discount stores were clearly made for college students with a flair for fashion. All the brands we love and new ones to explore can be found at low, low prices. Seriously, best invention ever. My favorite discount store is definitely T.J. Maxx. I have also had great luck a Marshalls and Nordstrom Rack. Discount stores are like the luxury version of second-hand and thrift store shopping. Although I have scored BCBGMAXAZRIA, Ralph Lauren and DKNY at thrift stores, these brands and more are in abundance at discount stores. And bonus: the clothes have not been worn before! It’s always a bit nicer when you spend your paycheck on designer clothes that are brand new. I feel a little less poor-college-student-y this way.

I have scored so many great items at discount stores that they have actually become my first place to shop when I need a new look. There is always a great variety of brands, and it’s not just clothes! You can find great buys on home décor, beauty products, bags and shoes. Personally, I love T.J. Maxx so much because I know I can always find great items from two of my favorite designers and brands—Michael Kors and Steve Madden. (I’m obsessed!)

Here are some of my tips for finding the best items:
  • You must have a sharp eye! Finding the best deals requires time and attention to detail. Sometimes you have to search through racks of merchandise to find the perfect item at the perfect price, but it’s worth it! 
  • Check out the clearance or sale section first. Often times you can find what you’re looking for (or maybe a cute dress finds you) in these sections. It’s definitely worth the even bigger savings you’ll get by checking out the clearance first.
  • Always grab a cart or basket. If you are not shopping for a specific item, it’s likely you’ll find many great buys. One thing I love about T. J. Maxx is that you can try on as many items as you would like in the fitting rooms. You can fill up a cart and only buy what you like best, or buy it all!
  • Bring a financially frugal friend. Discount stores often have the effect of “I must buy it all–so many great deals!” on shoppers. To combat this effect, try having a friend with a sense of style help you decide what looks best on you. Getting a second opinion is a great way to stay focused on buying what you actually need.
  • Wear clothes and shoes that are easy to take on and off. It’s highly likely that you’ll load up your cart at most discount stores, so you’ll want to try on everything. (No need to buy an item if it just doesn’t suit you.) Wearing easy on-off clothing and shoes can make the dreaded fitting room process much smoother.

The prices simply cannot be beat for the quality of purchases made at most discount stores. If you are a discount shopping virgin, I urge you to take the plunge. Go for it! It is possible to dress in the latest trends and designers without breaking the bank. College student or not, everyone wants to be a smart shopper, and discount stores like T.J. Maxx and Marshalls make it possible for almost anyone. If I’ve learned anything in college (sorry mom and dad) it’s how to shop smart. Tell us about your discount shopping experiences in the comments below!


Image courtesy of Kevin K

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