Tastefully Trendy

A life and fashion blog by Sarah Beth

Tag: bargains

I’m Gonna Pop Some Tags

Have I ever told you how much I hate thrift stores? Like I HATE them. There are several reasons for this:

  1. They smell bad. Honestly, this is probably the biggest reason. All thrift stores smell the same and it’s gross and I feel like I need a shower after.
  2. I’m not much of one for the hunt. When I shop, I head straight to the clearance section – there are either things I like there or not, and I move on. At thrift stores you have to sort through all the trash to MAYBE find one thing you like. It’s too much work. (On a related note, I refuse to eat wings or ribs or fried chicken for the same reason – too much work.)
  3. I don’t think the prices are actually that great. When I can buy new things for the same price or less (as I regularly do), I would rather. Of course, there is that chance you might find a high end label that is new/barely used for a steal – but, for my opinions on that, see #2.

However, because I do have a limited budget, sometimes I just have to hold my nose and go into thrift stores. This happened recently because I’m looking for a specific piece of furniture and just can’t bring myself to pay several hundred dollars for something I have to assemble on my own. And new, already-assembled furniture is out of my price range at this point. So…hey, Good Will!

Naturally, I did not find what I was looking for, but on the way out, I noticed a sequin dress on the mannequin by the front door. So, of course, I got sucked in by something sparkly. I’m glad, though, because $6 for a sequin dress is a good price, even by my standards

Since I was already hooked, I just gave in and started browsing. Most was nothing I’d be interested in, but I did find the pants below, which are destined to become a new favorite.
Light blue, silk, floral pants with multiple colors in the pattern  to mix and match, and a super comfortable drawstring waist that’s also not frumpy looking? Sign me up.
These pants are actually not my best thrift store find – one time I got a Louis Vuitton garment bag (which, I’ve never used, but I own!) for $10.25. But, I like them a lot.

What’s your best thrift store/yard sale find? Do you like the thrill of the hunt, or are you more of an efficient shopper like me?

The Day I Went Shopping

Y’all know how I’ve been complaining about this fashion rut I’ve been in lately?

I had a feeling that a good shopping trip would cure my blues and give me some renewed inspiration. But, after several failed attempts recently, I was very nervous that I might never have a good shopping trip again (perhaps a bit dramatic, but it was a legitimate concern!)

Well, I was fortunately wrong. So very, very wrong. This weekend I went shopping, and 5 hours later…was the proud owner of more new clothes than I have ever bought at one time in my entire life. I ended up with 23 new items (well, 2 of them were tights, which don’t really count. So, 21 new items) and paid a grand total of $102.00.

Are you guys caught up on New Girl? I don’t want to spoil anything, but when Allie meets Winston’s mom, they discover that they are both card-carrying DDS – deep discount shoppers. I should be in this group. Let me break it down for you:

My highest average spent per item was in TJ Maxx. I have always liked TJ Maxx, but it’s hard to find true steals there, since they never run sales and put very few things on clearance. So, I paid full price for both the pair of pants and the off-the-shoulder (this will be a theme in today’s post) top I bought, for a grand total of $37 (all prices include tax, unless otherwise noted.). However, I forgot to take a picture of these. I think I’m still a LITTLE on the fence, because, well, they were full-price, and that doesn’t fit in with my DDS creed!

Next highest total was at a consignment store. Y’all, this is why I so rarely shop at thrift/consignment stores. It’s only a little bit because I think thrift stores are dirty and smell bad and I don’t like the hunting through garbage aspect. It’s also very much because I can find new things for the same or less money. Nevertheless, the consignment store was my first stop before I knew I was going to hit pay dirt elsewhere, and I walked away with a cute dress, sweatshirt-top, and blouse for $33. Not bad.

Next up is Ross. This is like the poor man’s version of TJ Maxx; literally, and figuratively. I’ve never seen so much emphasis on loss prevention than at Ross, where you are greeted by a security guard wearing a jacket that says, well, “Loss Prevention.” It’s not a pleasant shopping experience, but of the three big discount clothing stores – TJs, Marshalls, and Ross, I’ve found Ross to have the best dress (and sometimes shoe) collection. So, I go in there for those two departments alone. This time, I think I found my Easter dress. I’m still trying to decide if off-the-shoulder is appropriate for church (I’ll wear my hair down, and have a choir robe on most of the time…feel free to weigh in). It was $10.99 (plus tax).

But here’s where it really starts getting good. I had a couple gift cards for JCPenney – one I knew had $25 on it; the other I’d recently found and could have had $2.93, for all I knew. Anyway, JCP had items on their deepest clearance level, PLUS an additional 25% off coupon. So, for $28, I got a skirt, two pairs of pants, and a pair of shorts. And, my other gift card also had $25, so not only were these items totally free for me, but I still have about $21 left over!

And yes, those are silver pants. Because why not?

And now for my shopping masterpiece, I present, Old Navy. I know they’re cheap clothes, so to say I got good deals there is not probably as exciting as finding the rose-printed LOFT sweatershirt pictured above for $7. But, I will still revel in my victory.

When I recently opened the Old Navy credit card, they immediately sent me an offer that if I used the card outside of their brand within the first 30 days, I’d receive a $30 rewards card. So, I did (and promptly paid it off, of course. Credit card companies probably don’t love me.). Then, a few weeks later, they sent another, similar offer. If I used the card twice outside of their brand, I would get $45 in rewards! So, I bought some gas and a water bottle, paid it off, and had $75 of Old Navy credit to my name.

Well, thanks to the never-ending sales at Old Navy, as well as a very well-stocked clearance section, I struck gold. 2 pairs of pants, 2 dresses, 1 tank top, a sweater, 4 shirts, and 2 pairs of tights later (so, that’s 12 items), my bill came to about $98.  By itself, that’s a pretty good deal for 12 items. But, after my rewards, the total I owed was $12 and some change. Y’all. Twelve dollars. That’s a dollar per item. For new clothing.

My favorite part is that I almost bought that hot pink sweater when it was new and probably like 30% off. I would have paid $25-30 for it. Instead, I paid $3.47! Or, you know, nothing, depending on how you attribute those rewards.

So…it was a good day. Also not pictured, the (also off-the-shoulder) blush, silky top I’d bought at Kohl’s earlier that day for $8.

I don’t anticipate I’ll go shopping again anytime soon; my wardrobe has been completely revitalized, and my wheels are turning thinking of all of the new outfits I can create! So, maybe my mojo is back, after all. Let’s all hope.

Are you a DDS? If so, what are some of your best finds? I get way too excited about good bargains (as evidenced by this very long post), so I’d love to hear your stories!

Bang for my Buck

And now for the quarterly (??) installment of, How Does Sarah Beth Have So Many Clothes??

Guys, I give away stuff all the time, but it just comes back to me. And, every time I start to think I’m being excessively materialistic, some amazing deals fall right into my lap, and I can’t help but think maybe it’s okay for me to have a lot of these unnecessary pretty things that make me happy. Who knows.

Regardless, here are my latest finds.

First, I was at the mall recently for a legitimate purpose that had nothing to do with Charming Charlie. But, since I was walking past, anyway…  I decided to stop in and just see if anything was on sale. Lo and behold, not only was there a ton on sale, but their clearance was buy one, get one free!

So, for $40, I came away with two watches, two bangle sets, a bracelet, a necklace/earring set, and four pairs of earrings. That’s 10 pieces of jewelry for $40. Of course it’s cheap and trendy, but for $4/piece, it’s okay if I only wear it a season or two. And I had just been saying the day before that I’d like to refresh my jewelry collection a little bit – ask, and you shall receive!

img_20160422_183357898.jpgIn haul #2, I happened upon a yard sale the other day while running my errands. Let me first say that I really don’t like yard sales – they overwhelm me and make me feel awkward. Also, I think on the way there a 10 year old might have flipped me off for not stopping at his lemonade stand.

But, I needed a couple odd pieces of furniture, so I thought I’d just stop and see if they had what I was looking for.  This is what I walked away with:

wp-1463355556244.jpgYou may notice there is no furniture in this picture… But, this lady was getting rid of some never-worn clothing and shoes (seriously, the tags are still on some of the pieces) – in my size! I got these Jessica Simpson wedges, Adrienne Vittadini shoes, two pairs of jeans, shorts, and 5 tops – all for $25. They were asking $26, but I’m a shrewd negotiator.

So, these are the things that happen to me. I was not looking for clothing this past weekend, or jewelry a few weeks ago, but they just fell in my lap. I think God just appreciates my appreciation for good deals and pretty clothes, and He helps me maximize my limited budget. I don’t know if that’s theologically sound, but I believe it.

Do you have something similar – a special, unimportant thing that you know is a gift from God? Maybe it’s not finding good clothing deals, but perhaps you always find the best burger in any place you travel. Maybe you’re super into cars, and seemingly every time you look out your window, you catch a glimpse of an expensive car. Maybe cardinals cross your path on a daily basis, or you see a friend in every restaurant you frequent. I challenge you to look for the special blessings in your life that show that God sees you and cares about the things you care about. And if you’re willing to share, I’d love to hear!

PSA: Go Shopping!

This is an important public service announcement.

Altar’d State, one of my favorite chain boutiques, is having a 70% off all sale items sale!  And this is not just one rack of clothes, y’all.  About a quarter of the store was devoted to these amazing mark-downs.

I went to the mall last night, fully intending to just return a dress and buy my mom a birthday gift.  I have already over-spent my budget for this month, and Dave Ramsey would not be pleased with me spending more right now.

But, 70% OFF!!!!  There is no human in this world strong enough to resist that lure.  I consider it a gift from God when I accidentally hit sales like that, so $75 later, I’m two dresses, a jumpsuit, tank top, scarf, and pair of shoes richer.  I’ll work it out next month.

If you don’t have an Altar’d State near you, check them out online.  Cute stuff, kinda overpriced, but the sale makes it definitely affordable.  And, they’re a Christian company that gives a portion of their proceeds to charity – you gotta like that in a mall store.

That is all.  Have a great weekend, everyone, and if you do find some good deals – at Altar’d State or elsewhere – let me know!

Fashion on a Dime

If there is only one thing you ever learn from me regarding fashion on a budget, it is this:

“Good things come to those who wait.”

If you are the type of person who always has to have something as soon as it is available (cough, cough, iPhone 6 Plus users), then you’ll probably have to spend a lot on clothing…or have a small wardrobe.  Even shopping in cheaper, “fast fashion” stores, you’ll end up paying all $34.95 for those skinny overalls, when you could wait a few months and find them for $14.99.

One of the reasons I have so many clothes is because I’ve lived by this principle my whole life.  So, even now, when I get a gift card to Francesca’s for Christmas from my favorite brother, I hold onto it for 6 months.  I love Francesca’s, but my gift card was for $60.  Full-price, that would have given me probably an item of clothing, and maybe 1/3 a pair of earrings.  By waiting, though, I was able to get all the goodies you see below (okay, fine – I threw in $12 of my own money for the extra and tax).
Granted, I do go to the mall pretty often, so the odds of me hitting the sales are pretty good.  But, the point is that you can find everything you want for a price you can afford, if you can be disciplined to be patient.

Example 2: this awesome acid washed jacket.  I’ve been wanting a denim jacket for a while and haven’t found one I really like for a price I was willing to pay.  Until this weekend, when I went to Target, Cartwheel app with 20% off women’s clearance in hand, and I picked it up for $12!
1 - pineapple shortsThe shoes were a reasonably-priced-but-not-a-steal find from my beloved college shoe store, Becky’s.  Because they’re beautiful and I had been wanting some new wedges, anyway.

What do you think about my number one rule of budget fashion?  Do you adhere to this rule, or is patience not one of your particular virtues?  What are your thoughts about my new pretty things?  I’m glad to be back after a week on the road, so let’s talk!

Baby It’s Cold Outside (sometimes)

It’s Friday, y’all, and that means a very busy weekend, as I get ready for Christmas and a cross-country move.  But, as one of my friends said, “sleep is overrated”.

The weather is actually unseasonably warm today – I’m not sure how I feel about that.  But, a few days ago when I wore this outfit, it was not at all warm, so I layered with long sleeves, wool, tights, and boots.

I love this wool skirt, one of my favorite examples of patience at work.  I almost bought it when it was full price at JCP a few years ago, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  Low and behold, a few weeks later, the clearance rack decided to bless me, and the black-and-white-plaid-with-the-pink-belt skirt was mine! My philosophy is generally that if you wait for something to go on sale and it disappears, you didn’t really need it in the first place.  With few exceptions, that principle has been stretching my money and expanding my wardrobe for years.

Thanks to a bracelet with inspirational colors, I decided to pair a deep green, almost teal, shirt with the pink accessories, keeping the bottom half of my look simple and warm!

I hope everyone has a great weekend – let’s go Christmas shopping!

Skirt: JCPenney
Shirt: Old Navy
Sorry, guys – I don’t remember the rest…

Sometimes She’d Shop

There may be this notion out there that I’m addicted to shopping. I’m not. I really have to be in the mood, because I get depressed when nothing I try on looks good, just like everyone else. But I do enjoy shopping when that mood hits, and I do have a lot of clothes and shoes.

Today I thought I would show you how I shop, though, so you can see why I’m not completely bankrupt, despite my extensive wardrobe.

Below is a picture of my mall finds from a spontaneous shopping trip yesterday (I went to kill time for a few hours by looking and apparently I was in the mood…oops!). You will note the following:

A maxi dress
2 belts
A tank top
2 pairs of heels
2 pairs of earrings
Nail polish
5 anti-bacterial things
The cutest sweater known to man
A ring (unpictured because I’d already put it away and forgot to take it out).

That’s a lot of stuff. Want to venture a guess on how much I paid?  I’ll give you a hint – full price, the dress/gold belt, and two pairs of shoes would have been $140. 

Any guesses?  Okay, time’s up!  The answer is $107.  Yes.  I got all of that for 1/3 less than the price of three of those items.  And that was with paying full price for the sweater, even (I never do that, but seriously – cutest sweater ever). 

Now if you’re a quality over quantity person, my method may not work for you – or may, at least, require a bit more patience and delayed gratification.  However, even at cheapo stores, you can find reasonably good quality things if you are selective. 

Sometimes, my method requires that you buy the belt you mostly like instead of the one you really like because it’s a difference of $1.99 and $4.99 – those $3 differences add up.  But, some other times, if you’re patient, you get the exact shoes you tried on a few months ago when they were full price, for $13. 

Here’s the breakdown of where everything is from, if you’re interested:
A maxi dress – JCPenney
2 belts – JCP (came with the dress) and Charlotte Russe
Shorts – Forever 21
A tank top – H&M
2 pairs of heels – JCPenney (Worthington brand)
2 pairs of earrings – JCPenney (they were free with a coupon!) and Wet Seal
Sunglasses – Charlotte Russe
Nail polish – Forever 21
5 anti-bacterial things – Bath and Body Works.  I now smell like fall.
Barettes – Wet Seal
The cutest sweater known to man – Love Culture
A ring (unpictured)  – Love Culture

These Boots were Made for Walking

Since I was in Philly this past weekend, I was prepared for the worst weather-wise, and I lived in my “snow” boots.  I put the “snow” in quotes because most normal people would not wear heels of any type in snow.  I’m not a normal person, however, and these boots have way more traction than any others I own.  Plus they have fur.  So, they’re my “snow” boots.

Turns out, this precautionary footwear was unnecessary, but since these boots are pretty comfortable, warm, and cute, I didn’t mind too much.  Rounded toes aren’t really in style right now, but the overall look of the boots is current enough that I can get away with it.  I chose to wear leggings instead of tights for a little more warmth.

My skirt and belt came together from JCPenney back in the days when I still shopped there (JCP Execs – if you’re reading this, bring back your coupons!).  The skirt is actually one of my favorite examples of delayed gratification.  I had seen it early in the season and loved it, but it wasn’t on sale enough to suit my tastes.  I waited a little longer, and eventually, it went on clearance to a price that I could justify.

The turquoise top was a find at Aeropostale ages ago (so long ago that I still shopped at Aeropostale) and the headband I picked up somewhere along the way to add a bit of hippy flair.  I took a picture with my leather coat and scarf, too, because I just loved how perfectly this pretty scarf coordinated.

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