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By Zainab Chunawala

It’s always great to save a few bucks while shopping, finding a good deal is thrilling! A few simple reminders on how to shop smart can help you save big! Here are some useful hacks that can come in handy next time you’re on the hunt for that perfect outfit or just out window shopping.

Online Coupons – Retail Me Not (retailmenot.ca) is like extreme coupon clipping —without the hand cramps. You have every sale listing in one place for both online and in-store purchasing that you can browse through before you step out. Places like American Eagle, Dynamite and Garage list all their running offers, so you can know the best deals.

Ask for price adjustments – What can be worse than splurging on the perfect pair of ripped jeans, only to see them go on sale two weeks later! Look out for that, since many retailers will honour the sale price within a certain time frame. Make sure to bring it to the store with the receipts and they will refund you the difference. They will also price match from other stores –if you find a lower price online for the exact same thing you’re looking to purchase.

Use your student discounts -Tons of stores have discounts for students, that you can take advantage of. All you need is a valid student ID! You can also purchase an SPC Card (for around $12) that allows for an extra 10% at checkout at most stores and dining options too!

Buying wardrobe staples offseason on clearance-Save big bucks for when you want to treat yourself with something exclusive!

For everything else – Browse through the clearance section. You sometimes find pieces that are so great, marked down at unbelievable prices! A friend of mine who works at Hudson’s Bay as a sales associate shares her thoughts, “Even with the Bay being a little pricey, you can find tops and accessories for as little as $10 in the clearance section! Another great tip is buying offseason. You can land some pretty great deals that way too. As long as you know it won’t go out of style, this works best for wardrobe staples.”

Another great tip is buying offseason. You can land some pretty great deals that way too.

Hudson’s Bay Sales Associate

Stores to check out that have great clearance sections: Old Navy, Joe Fresh, Suzy Shier.

Pro Tip – Ask about an extra discount for signing up for the store’s mailing list/text alerts. Stores like Suzy Shier and Urban Planet have days when everything in-store is just $5! You can stay in the loop with their alerts of when the best deals are.

Outlet Malls – If you are looking to add some pop to your wardrobe – maybe that Zara jacket you’ve been eying at the mall every time you go, there could be a way to actually afford it.

Most stores have warehouse and factory outlets that have these branded original products at a substantially lower price than regular stores.

A great one to check out is the SoftMoc outlet at Dundas & Dixie Road (Mississauga) for footwear. They have a great collection of the best brand name footwear and at prices starting from $20.

Pro Tip – Don’t succumb to the temptation of buying first copies of branded jackets and boots (any winter wear) since it may not last you even a full season! Be sure to visit these outlets and you will find the original products at low prices which is durable and substantially warmer! These may be far to get to for some of us (With them being in Mississauga & Niagara-you can make it a fun day trip), but the deals you can get will definitely make it worth the effort.

Places you can check out; Orfus Road, Outlet Collection at Niagara, and Dixie Outlet Mall.

Plato’s Closet prides itself with being “Not your typical second-hand clothing store” You can find a huge selection of trendy, designer styles as well as the everyday basics-all at 70% less than store prices! They also buy gently used branded items – so if you have stuff you haven’t used, or bought on an impulse, you can trade it in and find yourself on your way out with some extra cash or a new outfit! They have one store in Scarborough & in Richmond Hill.

Common Sort, a second-hand clothing store with three locations in Toronto – at 1414 Queen St. W,  800 Queen St. E and 444 Bloor St. W – will buy your gently-used items or trade for store credit. They also offer a free personal styling service, with tea, coffee or wine! Perfect if you’re looking for something special!

ccsai.ca/services/firstimpressions

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