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I have a problem. I have expensive tastes, and yet I also live for the clearance section.
There is just something about getting a good deal that gets my heart pumping. Cumulatively, I’ve probably spent more money total on clearance section items that I never ended up wearing, simply because they were cheaper at the time.
But the styles I love and wear more often usually happen to have higher price tags. I love a good deal, but I really want quality staples that actually last a while. And those will cost you.
Take the classic field jacket. Loved it, but I couldn’t spend $148 on it.
Or this sweater blazer. After seeing it styled by a blogger I follow, I loved it and so wanted to add it to my closet. But not $138 worth. I can’t do it. (Yes they’re both J.Crew. Obsessed.)
What to do? Get creative, and find ways to get exact styles I want for less. Since I’m a deal hunter, I’m happy to gather my resources, find the best deal, and even take my time to get it if necessary. (I ended up getting both for around $50, thanks to deal searching and secondhand sales.)
My advice for you? Don’t settle for a higher cost or a cheap knockoff. With the internet readily available, you can get what you’re looking for at the price you want.
- Poshmark and Mercari. Online marketplaces (both websites and apps) that are specifically for secondhand clothes, shoes and accessories. You can search as specifically as you want, or just by certain categories like size or brand. You can also make offers directly to the sellers, which is another way to save. (If you’re willing, I’d love for you to use my referral code on Poshmark – JENNKS1 .)
- Instagram. Wait, wait. To buy clothes? Absolutely. It’s become a great place for people to post items for sale. Just search hashtags with what you’re looking for – for example, #jcrewforsale. Again, you can always message the seller to negotiate price. *Make sure you pay “goods and services”, and they send you an invoice to keep it legitimate.*
- eBay. But of course. Unfortunately, due to fees and name recognition, you can sometimes end up paying a lot more than you want to. There are ways to get around that, though – see below.
- Thrift and consignment stores. This is a little harder to pinpoint what you’re looking for, but the prices are usually the best, if you’re willing to dig.
- Don’t always search specifically. If you’re looking for the J.Crew Downtown Field Jacket (sorry, going off of real life experiences), try searching for just a jacket from J.Crew. Then, go through listings one by one. Here’s why: people who post that specifically, with the name and everything, usually know what it’s worth, and expect to earn more. Those who don’t are likely just going off of the name brand, but aren’t into figuring out what it’s worth. Again, it requires lots of searching, but it can pay off.
- Make an offer if you can. Many people are willing to negotiate just to get rid of their items. Just try to be fair and not lowball. Consider shipping costs and fees.
- Offer slightly lower than you’re actually willing to spend. So that when you are negotiating, you can get to a value you’ll both be okay with. Or the person just takes your lowest offer, which is always great.
- Don’t get too specific about sizes. Sometimes you can afford to size up or down. It’s great if you can go to the brand’s website and look at reviews, to see if it fits true to size or not. Or consider whether it might look better sized up or down.
- Sell your clothes too. Online marketplaces like Poshmark give you the chance to both buy and sell. With Poshmark, they give you the option to get earnings as cash or credit towards purchases.
- Don’t give up easy. Don’t jump on the first sale you see, just because it’s the right size. Hold out for the price you’re looking for. It may take more time, but if you have a reasonable price in mind, it’ll come up.
- Shop off-season and stack discounts. If you just can’t seem to find what you’re looking for, or prefer not to shop secondhand, go straight to the source. But keep an eye out for deals, and shop at the end of the season for the clothes you’re looking for. You may not be able to wear it right away, but you can save a lot if you can hold out.
What tips do you have for getting the best deal?