5 Ways to Stay On Track While Shopping On a Budget

It’s hard out here for a college student. Whether it’s because we’re paying for our tuition, books, or even just food, we always seem to be broke! Things like shopping become either obsolete or regretful occasions because the money we just spent on those too-cute booties from Aldo definitely should’ve been used on a bill or two. And as the holiday season approaches, the temptation to shop can become too much to handle, but don’t fret! Your closet and your wallet won’t have to suffer with our helpful shopping tips. Happy shopping!


  1. Try alternative retail places

Thrifting is a great alternative to shopping at typical fast fashion stores. You can find similar or even lower prices at a thrift store for similar or better quality clothes. Thrift stores are really great places to try out trends, too. If shelling out $100 for a wide legged jumpsuit you’ve been wanting to try as part of the 70s aesthetic isn’t in your budget, try thrifting where you could probably get it for less than $20—and it could even be an authentic 70s piece!

  1. Online shopping

This is also a great alternative that provides cheaper options that you don’t even have to leave your room for. Coupon codes are your friend when it comes to shopping online. Sign up for stores’ newsletters because they usually offer codes for you to use. Websites like Unidays (instant access to student discounts for various retailers) and RetailMeNot (thousands of coupons for you in one place) are super useful. Chrome has an extension called Honey that automatically scans the web for codes when you’re at the checkout, but it doesn’t catch everything so don’t be afraid to search the web either to get that deal!

  1. Hit the sales rack first

It can be hard to find, but don’t let that hold you back. They hide the sale aisles all the way in the back because they want you to walk past and buy all the full-priced items and carefully placed visual merchandising first. Now that you know their secret, they’re powerless to your money-saving abilities! The key to the sales rack is control. Only buy items you would buy even if they weren’t on sale. This way, whatever you get you’ll actually wear and you won’t feel like you have nothing to wear because you don’t really like all the sales pieces taking up space in your closet.

  1. But don’t stay in the sales rack!

It’s important to know when to save and when to splurge. Basics, for example, are always good investments. If you’re only buying trendy pieces, you’re probably throwing out out-of-season items or buying new, trendier pieces all the time. That’s a lot of money! Basics, on the other hand, are always in style. Buying quality staple pieces can help you cut down on trendy item spending.

  1. Have a list

Write a list of all the things that you want (like that pastel coat, black sock boots, and distressed high-waisted jeans). This keeps you focused when you enter a store or are shopping around online. The list should help you only buy the things that you need or really, really want. If it’s not on the list, you probably don’t need or really, really want it! You also don’t have to buy everything all at once. Stretching your expenses over time can help you reduce total damage to your bank account. It gives you time to explore all your options, recover from your purchases, and decide if you really wanted that piece anyway.


by Skyler Murry