I am a self-professed budget style junkie.
Actually, I prefer to call myself a Savvy Shopper Goddess.
I had no choice really, growing up with a grandmother who was the true Queen of Layaway Fashionista, and a mother who continually pounded into my head, “Honey, a real woman never pays retail,” from the moment I asked for my first Baby Alive doll, and pair of Luv-it jeans.
I used to hide this dirty little secret, but now since it has become en vogue, I feel safe sharing my secret with the world, just as long as everyone knows that I was ‘easy on the pocket’ before it was cool.
My quest, though not a simple one, is to share secrets, search and find true shopping satisfaction, reduce women road ragers, and use some of the savings to make a difference. Lofty goals, I know, but we all know that a happy, confident, sexy, fulfilled, philanthropic woman can conquer the world and bend most things to her will.
So for my New Year’s Revolution, I am going to share some Best Kept Shopping Secrets for the Accessory Hounds, Adventure Enthusiasts, Couture Snobs, Activists and Handmaidens in all of us.
Closeted Claire’s Shoppers
Sam Moon: Handbags, jewelry, hair accessories, gifts, scarves, and hats, Oh My! For those of you who secretly love Claire’s but are embarrassed by that fact, and will circle back to make sure you do not see anyone you know before entering the store, check out this site; it is great for lots of unique, fun and economical accessories for all ages. Truth be told, I get the most compliments on the purses I have bought there, than any other item in my closet. If you happen to be in Dallas, you can visit the retail store, but I would not go there on a weekend unless you like to be part of a real life stampede.
Out and Proud Amelia Earharts
REI Garage Sale: a somewhat well-kept secret, but once you are on the invite list, a little birdy will inform you of each quarterly REI garage sale allowing you to purchase camping, skiing, hiking, clothing and outdoor gear at 50–75 percent off. If you are not hard core or adventurous enough to stand in line for hours just to get a shot at a deal, or are not lucky enough to have an REI nearby, you can visit REI online for the same budget shopping high. Just in case you did not know, REI has one of the best return policies known to man.
Sensible Carrie Bradshaws
Decades: If you can’t help yourself and must have contemporary couture, vintage or designer clothing, try this truly delicious consignment store boasting up to 90 percent off the original retail price. If you happen to find yourself near Melrose (8214 Melrose Ave) in Los Angeles, stop in, but if you want to shop from your couch, check out their eBay store here. Hurry, your discounted Jimmy Choos await.
Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolies
Clothing Swap: Share your passions of budget shopping, playing party hostess, and making a difference with your friends. Host a clothing swap and ask for a small donation to attend to benefit your favorite charity. For ideas on how to start, visit their site. If you are not able to get your gals together, or you want more closets to rummage through, visit here and feel good that you are recycling.
Proud to be Handmade Martha Stewarts
I was so happy to stumble upon Etsy, an eBay clone, but with all things handmade. Whether you have a talent for making unique items to sell, or a love for buying them, this is a great website with a bazillion stores. Be prepared to spend some time searching, and likely getting hooked. I bypassed Home EC and took shop to meet boys in Junior High, so Martha Stewart I am not. Needless to say, I cried the day my son grew out of his handmade costume, so I am due for another visit to the site soon.
For those so inclined to give back:
Well, that is all for now, but I hope that you all will ban together with me so we can share our budget secrets. It will no doubt make 2010 easier, and although it may sound crazy, I truly believe that we women can change the world, one sale at a time.