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How to spend less on fashion but get more – In Store

Welcome to part 2 in the series of how to find all the best fashion deals! If you haven’t read part 1 yet – how to save money on fashion online, then go there now….and then come back here to read on about fashion offers in store. Thank you muchly 🙂

Anyhoo, I mentioned at the start of the series that it’s hard to put a figure on your monthly clothing spend. And that’s not just because we really don’t want to (eek!). It’s also because we don’t tend to go out on a regular basis for clothes. Instead, we buy when we need to replace items, or to restock our wardrobe during sales periods or at the start of a new season. Well, regardless of how often you purchase clothes and how much you spend, I’m sure you’d love to spend less.

So let’s crack on with tips on how to grab fashion offers in store!

Buying fashion in store

As easy as online shopping is, the downside is that you can’t see the item on the hanger. Nor can you touch the material or try it on to see how it fits you. Often those three factors can be huge in determining whether you buy something or not. So if you buy online, you run a huge risk that you’ll be dissatisfied with the item and have to return it. Annoying.  In fact, according to research by the BBC, 2/3rds of clothes bought online are returned.

And yet, we still buy clothes online because we know it’s so easy to find a bargain. But don’t think for one moment that deals can’t be found when shopping on the high street. There are loads of tricks to find fashion offers in store!

Have a plan

Browsing is dangerous. Yup. That’s a strange statement right there. But it is dangerous. If you enter a clothes shop with a open mind and money to burn, you’ll end up spending quite a lot.

So, the best way to keep a limit on your spending is to decide before you walk through the door what you intend to buy and stick to it.

And every time you’re tempted by something else, make a mental note to think about it again later and run through these questions:

  1. Do I need it? i.e. will I wear it lots and will it go with a lot of clothes I currently don’t wear but should?
  2. Will it suit me? Think in terms of colour, cut, style and age-wise
  3. How can I buy it more cheaply? Unless you can find a way of paying 50% of the full price for it, wait for the sale!

Vouchers

If you’re venturing out to the shops, you’ll know which retailers will be there, so before you leave, check online to see if there are any in store voucher codes available for those places. Just as you would search online for vouchers and codes to get a discount on your favourite retailers’ website, you can often apply most of these at the till in a store too. Always check terms and conditions before you do though.

In store cashback

My favourite cashback site, Quidco, has a great tool whereby you register your debit or credit cards securely on their site and then when you buy anything in store at places like Debenhams or Jojo Maman Bebe, you’ll automatically be credited with a percentage of your spend as cashback in your Quidco account! Just visit Quidco now and click on the Ways to Earn and High Street tabs.

For more info on how cashback sites work you can read my guide here.

Wait for sales

If you’re like me and patience is not one of your virtues then this will be a tough one. The thing to remember, however, is that sales take place a lot more frequently than they used to and you could save yourself as much as 60% of the full price.

If waiting seems too hard, sign up to the retailer’s mailing list (if it has one) as you may get advanced notice of when the sales are to start which at least means you have a date to focus on!

Buy quality over quantity

Technically this requires you spending more upfront rather than less, but you’ll realise the savings over the long term. Cheaper clothes are typically made with cheaper materials which don’t last very long and will need replacing fairly often. And more trips to the shops mean more temptation to buy other things! So if you’re buying items like white shirts (that you don’t want to go see-through very quickly) or a staple jumper (that shouldn’t stretch beyond your knees the first time you wear it), seek out a good quality version and see it as a long term investment.

Charity shops (particularly in wealthier areas!)

There is probably nowhere you’ll pick up a better bargain on a good brand name than a charity shop. Having volunteered in one as a teenager, I can assure you that the sorting process is incredibly thorough and it’s rare that anything other than a high quality brand, in nearly new condition or better, will get on to their shelves. So you can be sure that you’ll pick up something great and it will only cost you a few quid.

Even better, a fellow money blogger, ThriftyMum.com, recommended to me to visit charity shops located in wealthier areas as the stock is likely to be very high end!

Check out bargain retailers and supermarkets for basic items

Pants, t-shirts, basic jeans and kids clothes are always great items to buy from the supermarket. Stores like Asda and Sainsbury’s have some very good clothing brands under their belts and the prices are great. While they’re never going to be bang on trend, don’t underestimate these stores for the basic essentials.

Haggle

You may be surprised to hear that it’s not just at the market that you can haggle on the price of your purchase; major retailers will do it too. According to a survey conducted my Moneysavingexpert.com of its readers, it’s possible to successfully haggle for a cheaper price in TK MAXX, John Lewis, Debenhams, Clarks and M&S!

So go get your negotiation face on and see what you can achieve.

Shop with an honest friend

My final piece of advice on spending less on fashion in store is to take a friend with you who will be able to tell you straight if something suits you and is worth buying or not. Stores play a lot of tricks on customers in the changing rooms by using soft lighting and  flattering mirrors to make you think you look better than you do so get someone to give you honest feedback and it could end up saving you a fortune!

What was the last thing you bought in store? Would you try haggling?

 

How to spend less on fashion but get more – online

I recently hosted a Twitter chat organised by the UK Money Bloggers community on how to save money on fashion. With over 100 financial experts in the group, you can only imagine how much helpful advice was flying about in 140 character form.

If you missed the twitter chat, and my radio interview on Share the next morning (HOW DARE YOU?!), don’t despair for there are plenty of ways to catch up! A full round up of the chat can be found here, and for the radio interview, just press play below!

But if you want more than that, and NEED a detailed guide on how to spend less on your fashion needs then read on!

But first…

How much do you think you spend on clothing each month? According to a recent survey by Ariel, the average Brit spends over ÂŁ1,000 on new clothes every year. That’s ÂŁ83.33 a month.

Maybe you splash the cash every week or perhaps you have a splurge at the end of every season to exploit the sales, and to get your mitts on the new trends?

Well whether you love clothes shopping or you hate it, you probably wish you didn’t spend so much on it. Wouldn’t it be great if you could learn how to bag a bargain every time?

In this series of posts, I’ll cover every which way of saving money in the clothing department but the first area of focus is fashion offers online!

Buying fashion online

In this fast-paced world of e-commerce, consumers have a lot of power. There is so much competition that retailers are bending over backwards to take our money. It’s true.

What this means is that it’s now possible to NEVER pay full price for any clothes you buy online.

1. Cashback

Before you visit a retailer’s website, visit a cashback site.  By logging on to Quidco or Topcashback first, and clicking through to the retailer you need from that site, when you buy something, your purchase will track through the cashback site and you’ll earn some money back on your purchase! It sounds complicated so read my foolproof guide on how cashback sites work.

2. Voucher codes sites

Similarly, check for voucher codes. There are so many sites to choose from so I recommend googling the retailer name followed by the phrase ‘voucher code’ and checking through the sites that come up for the best deal. You may find that a deal has just expired so be patient as it will be back!

3. Think beyond the brand

If you can’t find voucher codes or cashback on the brand you want to buy, think about which department stores or online sites sell it as one of a number of brands.  For example, Net-a-porter sells a wide range of designer brands and it offers cashback!

4. Share your data

Once you’ve made it to the retailer’s site, look out for pop ups or headers that mention discounts when you sign up to their mailing list or spend over a certain amount. All the retailers want in return is your email address and thats a small price to pay for a money saving offer. What’s more, they’re likely to email you with future offers so you can keep on saving! 

5. Be patient

It used to be the case that retailers only held sales on big calendar days like the 27th December and we’d all go to bed early on Boxing Day to get ready for shopping the next day. Nowadays, however, there are sales far more frequently. if you see something you really want to buy, save the link and check back a few weeks later and you may find it’s heavily reduced.

6. Discounted gift cards

I’m willing to bet that you have been given a gift card at some point and you didn’t use it. You either forgot it was in your wallet or the brand just wasn’t your cup of tea. Well, there’s a way to make money from that!

Zeek is a website where you can sell gift cards at a discount to get the money to spend on the brands you like PLUS you can buy other people’s gift cards at a reduced price! So go have a look and you may find your favourite brands on there.

7. Go second hand

Try Preloved and Ebay for incredibly well kept second hand clothing. You could get your hands on some fantastic brands that have barely been worn and spend very little.  If you don’t fancy shelling out on postage, you could check out local preloved groups on Facebook and go and pick them up yourself.

How’s that for a round of how to find the best fashion offers online? What techniques do you use?

And remember, if you fancy joining one of the UK Money Bloggers’ twitter chats one week, you can find us at #MondayMoneyUK every Monday at 8.30pm.

I’ll be back soon with the next in the series, covering fashion offers in-store!

How cashback sites work – an easy and fast way to make money

Update: Sign up with Quidco here and receive a further ÂŁ5 cash bonus when you earn your first ÂŁ5 cash back!

We all want to be careful with our money so that we can spend it on the things we enjoy but we have to eat and pay the bills, right?  Well, I’m about to tell you how to make money on these essential purchases so that you have more to spend on the finer points of life! Get ready for cash back!

A few years ago, I was Head of PR for one of the UK’s leading cashback sites. The concept of cashback was pretty new to me but I soon discovered it was a great service to promote because we were effectively giving our customers money for free!

How cashback sites work?

Any retailer or consumer-facing service provider that operates online wants web traffic, and most are willing to pay for it via advertising campaigns and customer incentives.  Cashback is one such method.  Cashback sites drive traffic to retailers’ sites and if a consumer then purchases something as part of that journey, the retailer pays the cashback site commission.  Cashback sites then pass the money in full to the consumer hence allowing them to make money on their purchase.  Typically, the cashback you can get is a percentage of your purchase (3-15%) but financial service providers and utility companies offer a lump sum of cashback, often as much as £100.

How do I make sure I get cashback on my purchases?

Whenever you want to buy something or open a bank account or switch utilities providers, start the journey by visiting a cashback site first. Then find the retailer/company you want and click through the offer on that page to get to the retailer’s site. Then when you make that purchase on that page, you should be entitled to cashback! It won’t be immediate, and it won’t be referenced on the retailer’s page but when you revisit the cashback site, you should be notified that your cashback has ‘tracked’.

It is not unheard of to earn as much as £1,000 in a year and there are many opportunities to earn cashback on free trials so you don’t even spend a single penny.

And it’s not just online cashback that these companies offer.  I assume you’re familiar with printable vouchers and voucher codes? Well cashback sites offer these too but the voucher code offers allow you to earn cashback on top(!) so you’ll often get a better deal here than you would from a  voucher code specialist.

Who are the main players?

I would say there are two main companies.

quidco-color

Quidco is the UK’s biggest.  It offers all of the services above as well as in-store cashback whereby you register your debit and credit cards on the website (don’t worry – it’s completely safe and follows legal standards) and then when you use that card to pay for your purchases in participating stores you earn cashback!  Quidco also has an app which notifies you of offers in your vicinity.

Also, at the moment if you sign up for Quidco with the link above, you’ll earn a ÂŁ5 cash bonus  once you’ve earned your first ÂŁ5 cashback. It’s easy!

introducingbrand_blog

TopCashback is closely behind Quidco in terms of member figures and often beats its rival on cashback rates.  Its app is also very similar. For more details on the apps, read this.

Which should I sign up to?

Personally, I’d sign up for both.  While Quidco gives you more opportunities to earn, Topcashback often offers slightly better rates. Each company negotiates their own deals with retailers and financial services providers so depending on when you’re looking to switch your insurance or buy your dad’s birthday present, it’s best to look at both for the best deal.  Both are free to join but Quidco retains the first £5 you earn.

To join Quidco, click here.  For TopCashback, click here.

What’s the catch?

Honestly, there really isn’t one. This is simply one of the benefits of living in such a highly competitive e-commerce world.  I guess the only challenge is remembering to go to a cash back site every time you buy online but once the money starts rolling in, it’ll become a top priority, I’m sure!

Clothing, cosmetics, music, groceries, travel, utilities, insurance, entertainment, tech…. it’s all there to make money on. Go give it a try.