Recession specials
I think it's pretty much a given that the United States is in a recession, but if there was any doubt, Elle has confirmed it. Fashion magazines tend to peddle extravagantly expensive items, in part because they perpetuate an air of fantasy, and in part to please the magazine's luxury advertisers. Of course, even in a recession, magazines continue to do this (hey, gotta pay the bills!), but they also try to snag the more practical newstand-buying reader with fashion-under stories--99 dresses under $100, 500 accessories under $500, and so on. So today I noticed on a story about 20 office essentials under $200, and this is a noteworthy story not only for the fact that a lot of the items pictured are really cute but that in itself, it acknowledges the fact that its readers actually work! Sacre bleu!

As you know, I always have an eye out for bargains, but in uncertain times such as these, even I have to curb my spending. Thus, here are my five tips for shopping during a recession.

1. Buy vintage. Scour vintage stores and websites for the original versions of what designers are currently knocking off. (Most of them will be of better quality anyway.) Vintage stores are also great for satisfying your designer fix--dropping $100 on a '70s Gucci bag is much better for your wallet than spending ten times that much on a comparable new bag.

2. Swap with your friends. My dear friend MM hosts semiannual "bitch swaps" wherein a bunch of girls bring their unwanted clothes (in good condition, of course) and trade with each other. I've gotten rid of ill-fitting and ill-suited clothes in exchange for everything from cashmere scarves to a vintage Valentino jacket. Best part? It's free, and if you're the host, you can take a tax deduction for donating all the unwanted stuff to charity.

3. Stay away from fast fashion. It seems counter-intuitive, but today's trendy clothes from H&M and Forever 21 are next year's (or even next month's) cleaning rags. You might think you're making a savvy buy, but for the $200 you spend on an assortment of polyester-blend bar tops and work dresses, you could buy one nice pair of pants or a dress that you'll have for years. The poly-blends, on the other hand, will either fall apart in your washing machine or fall out of fashion--whichever comes first.

4. Get cash back.
If you shop online a lot, sign up for eBates or Lucky Rewards. Click through the links to shop your favorite sites (on eBates, this even includes car rentals, hotels, and airplane tickets), and get cash back, anywhere from 1%-20% of your total purchase (or in some cases, a flat fee). If you shop online a lot, it really adds up. If I were Suze Orman, I'd tell you to put the extra money in a savings account, but since I'm me, I'll tell you that you can go shopping with it instead!

5. Keep reading Cheryl Shops. Sorry, I had to throw that one in there. Of course I will keep listing sales every week, as well as other noteworthy deals, so please keep coming back!

1 comment

Moya said...

Good tips, especially about not buying fast fashion. While I have a couple of H&M things that I wear after a few months/year, the rest are long gone. It's not just the quality (although that's part of it), it's the design. I have one F21 dress and that's practically fallen apart before it reached the washing machine. Meanwhile my beautiful Mayle, Lyell and Lim pieces stand up to month after month of wear and I'll cherish them forever. The same applies to shoes.