Ask The Cheaping Girls - Part 5, The Final Installment!

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Dear Cheaping Girls,

What does one do when shopping causes anxiety? Every time I go into a store, I feel like there is too much to buy, too little time, not enough money and how come I can't find the good deals like you can? Any simple suggestions to ease my anxious mind and still make me feel as fabulous as you do?

Please advise whenever!-- Christina 'Shopaphobic' S.

The good news to come out of the fashion world lately is that you can make your personal style all your own -- following trends is optional. The bad news is that means that the amount of choices out there can be totally overwhelming. These tips are designed to help you narrow down all of those choices and most importantly, to make shopping fun!

Part 5 - Cheaping

So, you asked about how we find the good deals. This is really how we coined the term 'Cheaping'. We don't really ever go 'shopping', we go 'cheaping'. The whole fun of it for us is finding something we want, or as close to what we want as we can afford, and finding it on sale or for a good deal. This is really the whole thrill of shopping. Cheaping produces a little bit of a high, it makes you feel like you're spending your money a wee bit more wisely than you actually are, and it give you a nice story to tell later. A couple of months ago Janaan got us into an exclusive warehouse sale and the cheaping was EPIC (read: everything brand new - $15 leather jackets, $20 Frye boots, $5 sets of dishes). When we left, my car STUFFED to the roof, we were laughing and giddy and a little bit shaky and well, we're STILL talking about it. Ooh. I'm getting giddy right now just typing this...but I digress...

Here are our recommendations for 'cheaping':

  • Invest in foundation pieces that need to last more than one season or will make a statement with any outfit. We generally don't cheap out on jeans, coats, handbags (mostly Natalie on that one), boots, dress shoes, and jewelry (mostly Pam on that one). We are also willing to invest in skincare (at least a bi-annual dermatologist visit) and hair care (regular cut/color and great products). You need to feel great underneath the clothes if you want to pull off a $5 sweater from Wal-Mart. And nothing says 'cheap' like pimples and a bad dye-job. Yes, I know, beauty is on the inside too.
  • Decide what you personally will or won't cheap out on, but always have a hi/hi or hi/low mix going. Never a low/low mix. We think it's OK to mix up casual and fancier pieces at the same time. Think Carrie in Sex and the City with a simple white T-shirt, jeans and a HUGE diamond necklace. Or Mom on the zodiac boat in Hawaii in a baseball cap, bathing suit, flip flops and MASSIVE diamond earrings. Or Mom on a hike in $10 camo print shorts from Steve and Barry's, a tank top, and David Yurman jewelry.
  • Spend less on trendy items and more on classics.
  • Shop off season as much as possible.
  • When you enter any store, always head for the sale rack first.
  • Know your sales. For example, my friend Piero only shops at Nordstrom during the anniversary sale.
  • Take inventory of your closet often. You'll be surprised at what you find that you haven't worn. Or maybe we just have a serious problem...

Find and visit frequently your regular "haunts" (both for trendy cheap stuff and for finding expensive designer stuff on sale). Here are our favorite haunts:

  • Anthropologie Sale Rack (great for designer jeans)
  • Dollar Stores
  • Forever 21
  • H&M
  • JC Penny’s (I know! But really, sometimes you find great stuff there)
  • Marshall’s
  • Nordstrom Rack
  • Old Navy (great for basics like T-shirts)
  • (jewelry)
  • Payless
  • Ross
  • Target
  • TJ Maxx
  • Wal-Mart
If we are in big city, we will hit these up too:
  • Market Places (the best by far is the Orange County Marketplace)
  • Outlet Malls (the ones that are branded 'Mills' are great and we also love the ones with higher-end goods, the best being the Primm Outlets outside of Las Vegas)
  • Street Fairs
  • Street Vendors
And hey, why not make some of your money back? When we are done with our clothes, we take them to Plato's closet or other consignment stores or sell stuff on eBay. It's just one small way we help justify our habit.




miss t said...

Where exactly is this massive warehouse sale & should I schedule a trip to Utah to mix biz & pleasure?

Stina said...

I can't tell you how much these 5 posts have helped me! I'm so excited to use all your expertise on my next "cheaping" trip. Thanks again!

Kate said...

Janaan!!!! Warehouse sale :-( Fye boots :-( I'm so jealous.

NatRat said...

Warehouse sale....I want to go!