You guys know that I’m a huge fan of good quality clothing and accessories, and I have a soft spot for designer jeans and handbags. Unfortunately, my budget isn’t always on board with my taste. I’m one of those girls who will always gravitate to the most expensive product first. It’s a problem.
Even though I appreciate the finer things, I rarely pay full price for the name brand products that I buy. Thanks to regular sales and off-price shopping, we can stay current and on trend while still maintaining our budget.
That’s why I’m excited to be partnering with Ross Dress For Less through the end of the year to bring you some budget-friendly fashion posts. Ross is an off-price retailer that carries a wide variety of on-trend clothing, accessories and housewares at lower prices than traditional retail chains by selling secondary or private labels, excess inventory and/or clearance items. To keep their prices low, Ross takes a no frills approach to their stores. You won’t find any mannequins, window displays or decor so they can pass even more savings on to you.
There are definitely certain tricks to shopping at off-price retailers, which is why I’m excited to join 7 other bloggers in the Ross Secrets of a Bargain Hunter program to share my shopping strategies with you.
At off-price retailers, new items arrive daily. Some are overstocks, some have slight imperfections, and some are from previous seasons, so it takes some patience and the willingness to hunt, but you can get great deals on good quality products and current trends if you know what to look for.
If off-price shopping is new to you, or if you often feel discouraged when you try to shop off-price retailers, here are some tips that should help.
3 Bargain Hunter Tips for Off-Price Shopping
1. Familiarize yourself with current trends and designers.
You have to know something about current designers and what is on trend to determine what is a good bargain. When I had more time on my hands, I used to love to wander the malls and window shop. I would make mental notes of what styles were featured in the store windows and how they put outfits together. Nowadays I subscribe to InStyle Magazine to help keep myself apprised of the latest trends, and I am on many mailing lists. I love perusing retail catalogs that come in the mail to see the newest trends and how they are styled. When I’m in department stores, I try to pay attention to the designers and their retail prices so I know a good bargain when I see one. That way, when I have time to stop into an off-price retail store like Ross, I know what to look for, and I recognize the brands and know if the prices are worth snatching up or not.
2. Shop regularly.
Ross stores get new product 3-6 times a week. There is a much larger turnover of their inventory than at regular retailers, and they don’t always stock every size of every item. This is how they manage to keep their prices down on the current trends, by buying up leftover inventory. This means you need to be patient and check in regularly.
This is definitely where I am challenged. I don’t get out as much as I used to, but when I do have a chance to stop in, I know that it can be hit or miss. I usually don’t go looking for anything in particular. Instead, I like to see what jumps out at me. You’re much more likely to find that hidden gem if you’re willing to be open minded. Also, it helps to keep a running list of things you might need or want to round out your wardrobe or your home decor. (Yes, Ross has a large selection of furniture and home accents!) I try to keep notes in my phone so I always have them with me.
3. Allow yourself plenty of time, and be prepared to hunt.
When shopping off-price retail, you have to allow yourself enough time to comb through each item on the racks. The inventory is so varied, and it changes so often, that you will want to take the time to look at each piece and assess its worthiness. Don’t get drawn into the lure of the deal. Make sure it is something you truly want and will use and enjoy.
I have to do a gut-check when I’m shopping like this, because I tend to get drawn into the low prices, and before I know it, my cart is overflowing and my budget is blown. It’s only a good deal if you’re really going to use and love it. Remember Stacey and Clinton? Their voices ring in my head when I’m trying to make a decision. “We can do better,” they used to say. Or, a friend of mine has a similar saying that I’ve adopted: “When in doubt, do without.”
And you have to be willing to dig through the racks. This can be intimidating to some, but they key is to take your time. You can truly find some hidden gems if you are patient. Ross carries many name brands, often they are from current seasons. Don’t assume everything is last year’s styles. Because they are able to buy out the remaining sizes, they are able to offer some super duper deals. You just have to know what you’re looking for and be patient until you find that hidden gem.
Right now Ross is hosting a “Step into Spring” promotion on their social media channels. Each week they highlight shoe finds and give away a $200 Ross gift card. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram to participate.
Many thanks to Ross for sponsoring this post!
For more fashion inspiration for women over 40, check out all of my Fashion posts. Or better yet, sign up to be emailed my weekly fashion & beauty digest with a recap of the week’s fashion & beauty posts.