Buying Professional Attire on a Budget
By Ashley Paskill
Congratulations! You have scored your first professional job or internship. You spent hours perfecting your resume and cover letter. However, there is one last thing you need to do before your first day. You need to buy professional clothes. This can be challenging on a student budget. Thanks to discount stores, websites, and apps, you can buy quality professional clothes without breaking the bank. Just make sure you check with your supervisor to make sure you buy clothes within their policy on what to wear.
Shopping online may be convenient, but shopping for clothes in-person, at least initially, gives you an idea of how a store’s sizes run. If you are shopping for something specific that is not in a store or the store does not have the size you need, then go online. Shopping in-person allows you to try clothes on and reduces the need to return items, eliminating trips to the post office.
Thrift stores are a great place to get nice clothes for less than retail price. While not all thrift stores are created equal, most check items for sale to make sure they are good quality. However, make sure you check to make sure there are no holes or stains, as these do not look professional. Several thrift stores even make donations to charity, so you can feel good about shopping at thrift stores. Also, since the clothes are donated, thrift stores are great for the environment.
Consignment stores, like thrift stores, are a great way to buy clothes for less than retail price. The items that are sold at consignment shops are being sold from people who are looking to get rid of items, kind of like a flea market. Since the items are resold instead of thrown out, these stores are also environmentally friendly. These stores have traditional brick-and-mortar shops, but there are also online consignment stores.
Outlet stores also sell clothes for reduced prices. Factory outlet stores are stores that sell only one brand of clothing while other retailers may open a store to sell multiple brands. Many times, a bunch of outlet stores are combined into an outlet mall. Since the brands sell directly through these stores, they can sell products at reduced prices.
No matter where you shop at brick-and-mortar stores, keep an eye out for sales. Even consignment shops and thrift stores have sales. If you cannot find what you are looking for at a discount store, go to a regular store or mall and look for the best coupons or sales. Doing so will help you get the best price. If you are shopping around your birthday or the holidays and people ask what you want as a gift, ask for gift cards to your favorite clothing stores. Using gift cards on top of sales prices.
Online Shopping and Apps
If you know your size at a store that you may not be able to go to in-person, you can shop online. Shopping online not only gives you the opportunity to find what you want at a low price, but can also save you money by not using gas in your car. Shopping online saves time, as you can do it anytime and anywhere, unlike brick-and-mortar stores that are only open a set amount of hours each day.
Ebates is a cashback website. All you have to do is choose the store you want to shop online and you will be redirected to the site you are shopping at. As long as you shop through Ebates, you will get a certain amount of money back. The money will be sent to you via PayPal or a check. If you accumulate $5 in cash back, you will be able to redeem your money in the next quarter. Be sure to check on the specifics of the cashback offer to make sure your purchase qualifies. Ebates even finds discounts for you to use, so it helps save money in multiple ways.
Poshmark is a website that allows you to shop other people’s closet so that you can get brand name clothes at a discounted price. Not only can you shop, but sellers also curate looks for their shoppers. You have the opportunity to get personalized recommendations just for you so that you can find new clothes that fit your style.
Amazon is known for a lot of things, but most people do not think to shop the site for clothing. They have a variety of high-name brands for reduced prices. If you spend a certain amount on qualifying purchases, you can even get free shipping. You can even earn cash back on Amazon by shopping through Ebates! Just make sure that you are paying attention to the categories so that you can get the maximum cashback possible.
Clothes shopping for professional clothes can be expensive, but with a little homework and some comparison shopping, you can get a professional wardrobe without destroying your budget.
By Ashley Paskill. From Uloop.com, Online Marketplace for College Life.
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