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women shopping for clothes

10 Ways to Shop Smarter

Penny pinching takes the fun out of every gal’s favorite pastime. Luckily, shopping for all the things you need, want and have to have can be budget friendly if you know how to do it right.  From the supermarket to your Saturday night wardrobe, it’s simple to shop and save. Just follow these tips.

Be a Frugal Fashionista
A true trendsetter knows how to find the best for less. Thanks to stores like Target and H&M, you can drool over your favorite Zac Posen dress and buy it too! Click here to check out more of their designer collections. Also, sign up to receive newsletters and daily emails from your favorite shops and brands. You’ll be surprised by how many great deals pop up in your inbox, especially at the end of the season.  Stores are practically giving away summer staples…

Accessorize on the Cheap
And speaking of style steals … never splurge on trendy accessories.  (The headband with feathers you’re obsessed with now will definitely wind up in the “what was I thinking?” pile.) Forever 21 and Fred Flare (great sunglasses, FYI) all sell must-haves of the moment for fabulous prices.

Stay Connected
Is your wine rack in need of a little restocking? Follow your favorite local wine shops on Twitter and/or Facebook to get the inside scoop on up-to-the-minute specials, seasonal sales and tastings. This way you can go in with a game plan and walk out with a good bottle of vino that didn’t break the bank.  This tip applies to all of your favorite stores (even big national brands).  Everyone’s sharing secrets to saving in 140 characters or less.

Plan Ahead
Going to the grocery story hungry and unprepared never ends well at the checkout counter. Plan out meals for the week ahead of time (you’ll save serious cash by eating at home), make a shopping list and stick to it. This way you’ll stock up on what you really need, instead of winding up with a cabinet full of crackers and nothing for dinner.

Buy Store Brands
From tomato sauce to drugstore pain relievers, save big bucks by choosing store brands. Check out Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value products (especially for organic essentials) and hit up Trader Joe’s for reasonable, tasty prepared meals and a fabulous frozen food section.

Scope Out Sample Sales
Whether you need a wedding dress or a fall bag, head to sample sales for incredible deals (sometimes up to 70% off!) on designer items. Or score major discounts on luxury brands online with Gilt Groupe, Rue La La, Bluefly and more.

Seek out Flea Market Finds
Redecorating your abode doesn’t have to cost a fortune. All it takes is patience, a good imagination and a little paint to give old furniture a new twist. Peruse neighborhood flea markets and antique shops for one-of-a-kind pieces to spiffy up and show off.

Don’t be Afraid to Bargain
These days, everyone’s looking for a deal. So do your research and talk down the price if you think it’s appropriate, especially at flea markets.  And remember, being friendly and well informed gets you a lot further than rudely demanding a discount!

Get More from Your Credit Cards
Do your research and sign up for a credit card with a rewards package that fits your lifestyle.  Whether you want airline miles or free hotel stays, you’ll get closer to that dream vacation every time you swipe your credit card. (Anything to help take the sting away from that monthly statement … right?)

Try New Things
Shop outside of your comfort zone. Discover up and coming jewelers and designers on Etsy for better bargains and truly unique fashion finds.

Jessica Solloway is a Washington, DC based writer and producer. From wedding planning to work, dating to dieting (and everything in between), she enjoys writing about lifestyle topics women want to know about. Jessica received her degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Check out her blog, The Savvy Mrs.