how to find the look for less

One thing you all may not know about me is that I am an avid bargain shopper- I find extreme joy in landing a steal of a deal and rarely purchase anything if it’s not on (major) sale. There’s just something so exhilarating about “the hunt” and scoring something at a great price that I can't get enough of. Even when it comes to Bear's clothes, I shop around to make sure I'm not overpaying for something he'll outgrow in three months. I've loved shopping since I was even younger than Bear; my grandma tells stories about when she'd take me to a five and dime store called Mott's in our hometown when I was so little, I couldn't even see over the counter. But I'd still pick out something to buy, plop my purse up on the counter, pull out my money, and make the purchase. And Mamaw hasn't confirmed this but I'd bet anything those items were always on sale.

Growing up, I credit my bargain finds to how much our family traveled every summer. My parents were both teachers and had summers off, so they'd take my brothers and me all over the continental U.S. in June and July. We'd shop at every destination and I had stash of money that I'd saved over the year- I learned quickly to shop smart and not spend it all in one place to really make my money last. I also learned to hold out and wait for a good deal because nothing upset me more than buying a pair of shoes full price and later hitting a different outlet mall only to find the same shoes half off. Always wait for the deal! When we'd get back to the hotel room, I'd have a big fashion show for my Mom and Dad and tell them all about my best finds. Looking back, I'm sure my brothers thought I was ridiculous (and they'd probably be correct).

But guess what? I'm still playing dress up.

top | jeans | similar wedges | bag | earrings | sunnies

The earrings I'm wearing in this post are an exact Baublebar knock-off, regularly around $40. I found them at Burlington for just $7. And I'm not kidding- they are exactly the same (I own Baublebar ones in a different color so I've compared)! One of my biggest shopping secrets is Burlington Coat Factory- they have the very best and trendiest jewelry selection with tons of brand name dupes. If you're in the market for statement jewelry, you have to get to Burlington! This is not a sponsored post in any way, I just want to let you all in on the secret :). A lot of people think that Burlington only has coats and are shocked to find that the store has so much more, like the top I'm wearing in this post as well that was just $12! The embroidery detail and quality are amazing- a similar top would easily retail for $50+ in a boutique or department store. 

Some other stores I regularly frequent are pretty obvious choices that I'm sure all of you love too such as TJ Maxx, Marshall's, ROSS, and our local Dillard's Clearance Center (where I find the very best deals of all, usually). Some people complain that they don't really see the point of these stores or never score that great of deals and if you aren't careful, you can fall into that trap. Here are the money-saving tips I use every time I shop at one of these locations:

1. Look for the yellow price tags at TJ Maxx and Marshalls. If it has a red clearance tag and you can live without it, pass! A white tag is regular price, a red tag is the marked down clearance price, and a yellow tag is the final clearance price. You want to look for the yellow tags because that's the lowest of the low (in a good way, of course!). 
2. Know when to shop. There are all different theories on days of the week and even times to shop at these discounted retailers, but most bargain hunters would agree that Wednesday morning, right when the stores open, is the best time. For whatever reason this is said to be when the markdowns are best.
3. Shop during January and July. According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, these two months are when stores need to clear out seasonal inventory and prices will be at their lowest on tons of items. 
4. Haggle for a discounted price on "imperfect" merchandise. I can't tell you how many times I've found something with a small flaw in one of these stores, took it to the counter, and was given a 20-50% off discount! If you find a dresser with a small crack on one of the shelves, tell an associate and I can almost guarantee that they will take a percentage off the price for you! Most recently I found a necklace in Burlington that was missing a link- it was regularly $20 and the cashier gave it to me for $6. I fixed it in under 2 minutes when I got home. Thank goodness I asked!
5. Check back often. I know this is no-one's favorite option, but it really does ensure finding the best deals. Since these stores are getting in tons of new inventory every day, it's important to check back frequently if you want to find the best bargains. I go in Burlington several times a month and every time, it's like a whole new store! 

Okay this post has officially given me the itch and I need to go shopping now (using the term "need" loosely here). Pretty sure I see a shopping spree in my near future!
xo, Britt