Everyone knows that places like Walmart sell clothing at quite affordable prices. I was thrilled when Walmart came in to our area. The prices were good, but the clothing didn't hold up very well. We had quite a few trips returning new clothing that after it was washed and worn once, would rip out in a seam or other problems. I was getting very frustrated, especially when we were getting men's dress clothes, and they weren't holding up at all. Poor hubby had more than one seam give at work! We finally decided we couldn't afford Walmart any longer, and went to the mall to see what we could afford - not expecting much.
To our surprise, we came home with some beautiful dress pants for my husband - and they cost LESS than they did at Walmart! Now most of our clothes shopping at places like JCPenney, Macy's, Bonton, Sears, etc., and all at the same price or cheaper than Walmart.
Have you ever really looked at the ads that come in the paper? Have you noticed the sales that they all advertise? Those sales can really save money! We went just before school, and my daughter brought home Arizona brand jeans for $8.50 a pair. Their regular price was $34 each! I came home with a very feminine and super soft nightie, some new panties for my daughter, and a few other things that were all 75% off.
Before you say that the sales only pertain to off season items, listen to this great bargain... My daughter wanted a feather down coat so badly. Of course, you know that they are very expensive, and over our budget. We looked for a coat for her at yard sales, but the girl is a Jr size zero, and it seems that no one has that size at yard sales. JCPenney's had a sale on their coats last fall, so we went to see what we could find. They had a percentage off, plus when you spent a certain amount of money, you could use their money off coupon that was in the flyer. We found a feather down coat that fit my daughter perfectly, and with the percentage off, it was VERY affordable, and in our budget! But, the money off coupon couldn't be used, because the price brought the coat down too much - just $2 under the coupon requirement. We browsed the store and found a bra in my daughter's size that was marked down to just a couple of dollars, poking it just above what we needed. We left the store spending about $60 for a beautiful coat and nice bra after all the discounts. One year later, the coat is still as beautiful as the day we bought it, even after washings. :)
I found a gorgeous swing coat with a removeable lining at JCPenney's quite by accident last year. We took a trip to another store to pick up a Pirates of the Caribbean T-shirt for my daughter for her birthday. While we were there, I stumbled on the coats, and couldn't believe the markdown on them. They were regular $180 and were on sale for $29. I really needed a new coat, and this one fit the bill - especially with the removable lining! My husband was quite impressed with it, and actually commented on it. (he normally doesn't - he's not a clothes kind of guy)
If you are lucky enough to have a second hand shop near you, make sure you stop in. We've found numerous bargains at our Good Will Store and American Rescue Workers Thrift store. My weakness are those sweatshirts that have birds printed on them - usually snow scenes with them or maybe a bird feeder, etc., and they are expensive. I won't buy them no matter how much I love them, however, I have found some that look like they were never worn, and only $1.50 each at these stores! I found a Quacker's Factory jacket - still with the extra buttons and tags on it for $3 and we've found Tommy Hillfiger jeans for $1.
I didn't really mention yard sales, as everyone knows the great bargains that can be found there. However, if you are looking for something in particular, you may not find it right away. With the cost of gas, yard sales aren't always a good choice for us. We live in the country, and they are few and far between for us. It also seems that with the economy going south, there weren't as many near us this year. There is one we look forward to, though. It's a 10 mile yard sale that happens once every year. We do go to that one, as we usually find something that makes it worth going to.
So the next time that paper comes stuffed with all the ads, take notice what is for sale. Don't forget to look at the early bird sales - sometimes you can get some fantastic deals! However, if you need to travel a distance, make sure you figure in your cost for travel. When we go to the mall, the round trip costs us about $20. It's not worth saving $10 but spending $20 for fuel. We usually stack all our errands to do at once. It makes the trip worth it.