Don't Break the Bank - Spring Shopping on a Budget

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Ohhhh spring. Flowers blooming, birds chirping, my favorite places to shop are stocking their racks with the cutest things I've ever seen. But for real. The cutest guys! It's almost like the only way to avoid overspending is to avoid those places all-together, but what fun is that? None fun whatsoever. Since I'm having major issues right now avoiding overspending on all the cuteness I'm seeing, I thought this would also be the perfect time to put together a budget post, with a budget outfit (under $35 for the dress, shoes and bag) and share some of my favorite top-secret ways to score the best deals.

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1. Shop the clearance sections. I know, I know, it's spring and you want cute spring pieces, but actually, it turns out spring pieces are really similar to fall pieces. Or last summer pieces. And you can get them for next-to-nothing. I purchased this dress and these sandals from the H&M online clearance section this winter. The bag I found at Old Navy (on clearance) in the early fall. 

Speaking of H&M, their clearance is my ABSOLUTE favorite to shop. They frequently have basics that you'll need year-round (like this Black Tee ). Or take a look at these shorts and this these shorts. OMG, so much summer cuteness for under $6!!!

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2. Make a list and check it twice. I know, I know. We're all adults, why make a list? If you're on a budget, this is SO helpful. I usually have two columns...what I need and what I want. It totally helps me stay on track so when I see things that I get all ga-ga over, I can weigh my decision to get it, based on the importance of my list. Is it smarter to get the fringe colorblock jacket or the brown strappy standals I have on my list that I'll be wearing all summer long?

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3. I shop strategically using Ibotta. This app has been life changing guys. Ok, maybe not quite "life changing," but it is amazing! I use it mostly for grocery visits, but it has a ton of regular shopping locations - Kohls, Coach, Macy's, etc. Basically you get cash back when you shop. For groceries, it's usually a specific brand or item (includes everything from popular foods to general produce like carrots, apples, etc.) and the offers change from week-to-week. For stores that you might be doing spring shopping in, it's a percent back. 

I seriously just cashed out with $100 deposited to my Venmo (you can use PayPal or get gift cards as well), of cash I had earned back in about 6 months for purchases I would have made anyway. AMAZING!

You can sign up right here using my referral code (yxlsgnp) and you'll get an automatic $10 to start with. Yay! I do get $5 back when you sign up, just an FYI so it's a win-win for both of us! 

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4. My last tip is to make sure you try whatever you've purchased at home, with the shoes, or pants, or top or whatever, you think you would wear it with. Everyone knows stores love their skinny mirrors - the kind that can make you look good wearing anything and everything looks like it fits. You take it home, rip the tags off excited to wear it for the first time and then look in your mirror and are like, "Hmm. This does not look like what I thought I tried on." Save money by trying everything on the first day or two and if it's not working out, go get yoself a refund:)

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I'm sure some of you have some great ideas as well - I would love to hear about them in the comments below! Happy spring everyone!

P.S. This necklace is c/o Soufeel. SO cute!!! I've always wanted a "Carrie" necklace and their sharing a 15% off code with all of you! Just enter Lauraya115 at checkout:)