How to be a frugal fashionista
Published: Thursday, October 24, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 24, 2013 17:10
Fads come and go, but the need to fit in and still have personal style is one trend that will not fade. So how can the average college student on a budget get the high-dollar names for prices they can actually afford? You’re in luck, because there are answers!
Steps to becoming a frugal fashionista:
1. Sign up for discount emails and free loyalty programs.
2. Look at Plato’s Closet and TJ Maxx first.
3. There is a sale section in every store.
4. Shop online and save on tax.
Let them help you:
Shane Hunt, professor of marketing, said this is when comparison-shopping needs to be mastered: finding the best deals by comparing pricing from different retailers.
Companies are really good about promoting their sales and Hunt said this is where this technologically-savvy generation should be able to maximize the technology that companies use to drive their sales numbers.
Companies provide money-saving apps, coupons via email newsletters, text messaging, social media sites and other loyalty programs.
Signing up and becoming a part of these promotions is a way to help businesses help you save money. Saving the customers’ money will help companies drive sales and build customer loyalty, ultimately lifting their profit over time. So, step one: let companies send you a thousand emails and sign up for the free loyalty program the sales associates pitch at the register.
Maximize your savings:
Another option for bagging those deals is to
shop at outlet stores and other types of discount retailers. A couple of popular ones in Jonesboro, other than outlet stores for specific companies (for example, a Nike outlet store), are Plato’s Closet and TJ Maxx.
Plato’s Closet buys and sells previously worn name brand and designer clothes, shoes, purses, sunglasses and jewelry for much lower prices than you would find in other retail stores. They carry several higher-end products from names like American Eagle, Hollister, BKE, Charlotte Russe, Forever 21, Miss Me and others.
Once the store buys the items from customers, the information is put into a computer system that prices the items anywhere from 50-70 percent off the retail price. Customers selling their items then receive 30-40 percent of that price.
Hannah Johnson, buyer, assistant manager and social media coordinator for Plato’s Closet in Jonesboro, said, “Our product is 98 percent used and 2 percent new. All clothing items come from local people that sell us their items.” She said they do purchase jewelry and other accessories from outside vendors.
All clothing items sold to Plato’s Closet are checked for holes, wear and tear, stains and fading before they can be put in the store. “We make sure the item has been in the original store the past year to year and a half,” Johnson said.
Another local favorite, TJ Maxx, is much like an outlet store. It carries brand names and designers at much lower prices.
Madison Roddy, a May 2013 ASU graduate in marketing of Jonesboro, said stores like this can sell at a lower price point because their items are purchased from the manufacturer of stores that no longer want or need those items. By doing this, TJ Maxx is able to keep prices low and keep budgeting shoppers happy.
“I shop at TJ Maxx weekly. I am always looking for good deals on some of my favorite brands, especially Ralph Lauren,” said Jonathan Horton, a junior physical education major of West Memphis.
“I can get a Polo shirt from TJ Maxx for $25, but if I went to the original department store, it would have cost me $75.”
Horton said by shopping at TJ Maxx, he could more easily stay on budget. So, know where the deals are! Check out outlet stores and shops with high quality second hand items.
Say no to retail prices:
One of the most crucial tips to use when shopping on a tight budget is hitting those sales. All, yes all, retail stores have sales.
“The best companies understand the demand pattern of their companies,” Hunt said. “They know when their buying capability is best and they understand when the demand stops. They schedule their sales around this knowledge.”
Yes, there is a strategy and now you know the secret. Ask any retail manager or associate and they will tell you there is a pattern when it comes to looking for sales at specific stores. Find it. Use it. Cherish it.
A few of the biggest sales are at the beginning and end of the season. For instance, buying coats in the middle of the summer is not crazy at all; its strategic and totally worth it. At the end of a season, businesses are clearing out the store, making room for new merchandise and this means clearance sales. Your wallet will thank you. So step three: understand the sales patterns and utilize the system.
Another way to look expensive on a college student’s budget is to stalk the online sales. Yes, stalk, because with great prices on high-end products, inventory will go quickly. Amazon.com, Ebay.com and the Coach Factory Outlet are some favorites from a Facebook poll of Arkansas State students.