How To Save Money On Fashion
Like most of us I love my fashion, looking good is feeling good. Ive put together this article to help you to save money on fashion but still feel fantastic!
Written & contributed by Charlotte, founder of LottyEarn’s
Get a discount
- Always use a student discount card – even if you’re not a student
Whether you are buying online or on the highstreet there’s no reason to not get a discount on your shopping. If you are a student you can get an NUS card that will get you 10-20% off the majority of stores. Don’t worry, if you’re not a student, you can still get a NUS card, you just have to be a bit cheeky about it. To do this, go on the NUS website, and apply as if you are a student. When it asks you to enter your university, enter ‘ecareers’. You can fill in any dates and courses etc – it doesn’t matter, you’ll only get year. When you choose how you get it delivered, whatever you do, pay the extra pound and get it delivered to your home (rather than to the ecareers headquarters!), and Voila! You have student discount for a year.
- Utilise tech and savvy apps
There are lots of apps and websites out there to bag yourself a serious discount on fashion. Here are my three favourite:
- Quidco app – With the Quidco app, you register your credit/debit card to it, and then get offers and in-store cashback when you shop normally. It has over 4,300 retailers, including the big ones such as Amazon and eBay. Don’t forget that Quidco has an awesome website too which you can get cashback from when you shop online. I’ve personally had over £400 back.
- Fatfingers app and site – If you are an eBay fan, you need to get the FatFingers app (there’s a free and paid for option). It finds typos and spelling mistakes on eBay, so if something is listed as “Moonson dress”, the item will never show up when people spell it correctly, meaning you can swoop in at the last minute and bag those on items nobody has bid on.
- CamelCamelCamel website – Is my all time favourite website to bag a fashion bargain from Amazon (yes, they do clothes too!). You can create Amazon price watches and get alerts via email and Twitter when the price of the thing you want has dropped to the price you want.
Know what you’re doing in the sales
Major sales happen twice a year, usually after Christmas and towards the end of the summer (there may be smaller ones throughout the year too). These sales tend to start off at 50% off, and then go to 70% after a week or so. So if you have something in mind that you really want to get, I’d suggest you get there ASAP and get the 50% off, but if you’re just browsing, wait ‘til there’s 70% off. A couple of weeks after that, then you start getting discount codes that work on top of the sale, such as ASOS with 10% off, Miss Selfridge with 25% off and Debenhams 10% off the sale.
And of course, if you plan on spending a decent amount of money on an item of clothing (winter boots for example), the winter sale is the time to buy them. Sure, you probably won’t be wearing them for a year, but if they aren’t going to be out of fashion next year, you’ll save yourself a fortune. Also, don’t forget, you can sometimes get student discount on top of the sale item in places such as Topshop.
There’s also a cheeky trick for getting a heads up for when the sales start. When shopping, and considering buying a full priced item, check the price tag for any strange markings or numbers in pencil or pen. If there’s a dot, it usually means it is going halve in price within the next few days. If there is a number that looks about right for a sale price, the odds is it is that. If the number starts or is surrounded by zeros (0019), ignore them – and the number you are left with, is usually the price. Stores which always do this include Next, Monsoon, Accessorize, New Look and River Island. Once you know what you’re looking for, you’ll see these marks everywhere.
Designer clothes for high street prices
When it comes to high fashion, the nature of the beast means it is incredibly expensive. But there are ways to get an expensive luxury piece at a discount,
- Go to a sample sale
A sample sale is where designers sell off old stock, samples (so items that never made it to store or were worn on the runway), or pieces where the quality is imperfect. The discounts really depend on the sale, but I’ve been to a Mulberry one where the cheapest item was £300 (it was a £1,200 bag though!), and also a Chloe one where you could get dresses for £40.
They are exciting, busy places – but frankly a bit terrifying. You know the scene in The Lion King where Simba is stuck in a stampede of wildebeests, well it’s like that – but the wildebeests are replaced with wonderfully dressed women prepared to break your arm to get a discounted Burberry bag.
Of course, if you are in London, that’s where you’ll find the best sales (although there are a good few around the UK too). One of the biggest and best is Designer Sales UK, which travels up and down the country. Bookmark SampleSaleGuide, Style Barista, Sample Hunters as well as Time Out if you’re in London.
There’s a few things you should remember if you are going to go. Most importantly, it’s very unlikely you’ll be able to return the item if you change your mind. You’re stuck with it. Also, the item maybe a bit dodgy, so check the item’s condition thoroughly before you commit.
My top tips are to get there early, as they tend to shove everything out in one big pile (it’s a mess) and grab and keep hold of everything you might like. Once you have a massive pile (and keep your eye on it, people will try and take them out of your basket), get yourself into a corner, try things on and check the condition.
2) Sign up to Secret Sales sites
These sites are usually time-limited, you can pick up designer brands such for up to 70% off the retail cost. You can register for free, and they’ll send you alerts for online flash sales lasting between 2-6 days.
These sites secure items by buying up last season’s stock which brands want to shift from their stores to make way for new lines. The two big players are Achica and Secret Sales (the only places you’ll find discounted Pandora for example).
Others to sign up to and keep an eye on include Vente-Privee, Brandalley and Sarenza. Unlike in sample sales where you have to go in person, you do have the right to return items – but delivery and returns can be very pricey.
3) Shop on the high street
There are a few places in the high street where you can bag yourself a designer bargain. My favourite one (and maybe it’s because I used to work there when I was in college) is TK Maxx. They get in old designer stock (there was a Marc Jacobs bag I used to dream of, but was only on a TK Maxx part time wage), but because people rarely buy these items, they go into clearance pretty quickly. And they get reduced three times, leaving a few weeks inbetween discounts. So if you spot something in TK Maxx, keep your eye on it, you never know when it will be discounted again.
Another way to get a designer brand at highstreet prices is to get in line early when a designer collaborates with a store, such as Balmain for H&M. H&M do the best collaborations out there which have included Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney, Viktor and Rolf, Cavalli, Comme Des Garcons, Matthew Williamson, Jimmy Choo, Lanvin, Versace and Alexander Wang.
Bear in mind, the designer collaborations aren’t normal H&M price, you won’t get Jimmy Choos for £12. Some of the Balmain stuff was £500, which sure, if pretty steep for H&M, but a steal for Balmain.
Not classic designers as such, but just as popular, Beyonce and Kate Moss have collaborated with Topshop (you should see the resale price on eBay of those pieces), and Rihanna paired up with River Island.
So hopefully you have a few more tips on how to bag a fashion bargain when in the shops, but remember, ‘buy cheap, buy twice’. I can’t tell you how many pairs of £6 Primark shoes I have got through – they don’t last, while I’ve had a pair of Clarks shoes for years!