Saturday, July 26, 2014

Ballin' On a Budget: On-Season vs. Off-Season Sale Shopping

Last week, during one of my rare excursions to the mall, I ventured into Gap, lured in by their advertisements of a Semi-Annual Sale that boasted 60% or more off of their regular prices. Although Gap, with its timeless and minimalist designs, is one of my favorite haunts, I generally cannot justify spending upwards of $70 on a pair of their (extraordinarily well-fitting) jeans. And when Gap items generally do go on sale, it's usually just 15-20% off, which means that I'm still paying $60 for a pair of pants. It's madness, y'all.

Enter off-season shopping and the Semi-Annual Sale. During semi-annual sales, stores like Gap and Victoria's Secret are trying to move out last season's inventory in order to make room for their new fall or spring collections. Because the fashion world is such a fast-paced, cut-throat environment (haven't you seen The Devil Wears Prada?), items worn in the last fashion season (usually about 6 months ago) are immediately horrifically tacky and unsuitable to be seen on store shelves. Not really, but you get my point.

The end result is that fall/winter clothes are deeply discounted during the summer, and vice versa for spring/summer clothes in the winter.

At this point in my life, I do still slightly follow trends, picking the best and most applicable ones for my personal style, but I generally go for simple, high-quality pieces that I can heavily accessorize over the course of several seasons. Of course, we all fall victim to the too-cute-to-pass-up cheetah print miniskirt from Forever 21 (present party included), but before I purchase a piece of clothing, I generally ask myself, "If I looked back at myself wearing this outfit 20 years from now, would I think that I suffered a total psychiatric break?" I typically purchase my "questionable" trendy items (like palazzo pants and crop tops) from fast-fashion stores like H&M and Forever 21, but I buy my long-term staple pieces from classic retailers like J. Crew and Gap (only on sale, of course).

I paid a total of $25.64 for the items I got at Gap, which was marked down from the original total of $164.93 for a savings of 86% (the items were already on winter clearance, and they were marked down another 40%). The pieces that I purchased (two long sweaters and a pair of high waisted skinny jeans) will still be fashionable this winter, and even if they're not, who can turn down a $4 sweater from Gap?

This can be contrasted with seasonal sale shopping, which I did at Zara. Stores also tend to have end-of-season sales at the end of summer/winter to move out all of their current season merchandise. The discounts at these sales are a little less impressive, but you generally have a wider selection of sizes and styles than you would at an off-season sale.  At Zara, I paid a total of $80 (I'm cringing) for the pieces that I got, marked down from the original price of $160. So it was a discount of 50%, which is okay. As a plus, the items I got from Zara are on-trend and can take me into the fall with the addition of tights and a jacket.

Off-Season sales generally yield discounts of 70% or more, but in limited sizes and styles.
On-Season sale items hover around 30-50% off, but offer a greater variety and can be worn immediately. 
Higher end stores are a great place to buy long-term staple items.
Fast fashion stores like H&M and Forever 21 are basically made for impulse buying and cheap trendy purchases.

Got any smart shopping tips? Leave a comment below!

Saturday, July 12, 2014


"Wow, I'm really broke."

"I am unalterably single and will soon begin collecting cats."

"Those shoes cost how much?"

"Do I actually want to major in that?"

"Gymtimidation is real."

"I can't be the only one having this problem. Right? Right."

are thoughts that have doubtless crossed the minds of many a college girl on several occasions during her time at university. We're all collectively told that college will be the best four years of our lives (and I'll gladly admit that there's some truth to that statement), but when it comes to navigating details like living on a budget, getting exercise other than walking to a Redbox, eating food that isn't Panda Express, and successfully dating in an environment where murky terms like "polyamory" and "open relationship" are actually a thing, a lot of us (myself included) are left totally confused, stood up, or broke.

That's why I started this blog. After two years of successes, mistakes, and tragically awkward encounters in college, I've come to the realization that college isn't always glamorous or easy- it's a lot of work, tough decisions, and growing up. And ramen. Lots and lots of ramen.

This year, I'm really taking strides to manage my finances, date smarter and more often, put together outfits other than leggings and a tall tee, figure out my career path, actually learn how to use that weird torture device machine at the recreation center, and share stories of other college women who are planning to go into tons of different fields. That includes stories of grad/med/law school students and advice on the most efficient way to apply to undergrad.

Because I want this blog to reflect the actual lives of college women, all photos posted will be taken with my phone camera (unless otherwise noted) and edited with filters on apps that are available for purchase on the App Store. The clothes will be from stores we can all afford to shop in without blowing our budgets (Forever 21, Target, Old Navy, H&M, Gap- on sale- etc.), and I'll do my best to keep everyone updated on huge sales that happen online or in stores. I own precisely one MAC product- Ruby Woo lipstick- and one Clinique product- their Stay Matte foundation. Everything else will mostly come from affordable brands that could even work as dupes for luxury brands.

It's going to be a crazy year. Hopefully you'll stick around to see how I do.

Got an idea for a post, or just want to give an opinion? Hit me up in the comment section below!