How to score new clothes on a threadbare budget

How to score new clothes on a threadbare budget // A Light Edit

Many years removed from the annual ritual of back-to-school shopping, I miss the excitement of buying a heap of new clothes, come fall. But as a graduate student, I’m not exactly flush with cash just before I start classes. Despite my threadbare budget, I’ll be damned if I’m not going to buy some new duds for the first week of school.

Here’s how to dig up some cash for new clothes, for all my broke ladies out there.

Return some shit

I bet if you dug deep enough, you could find some clothes, shoes, and accessories littering your closet that you have yet to wear. So look around for some shit you can return. Don’t have the receipt? Has the return window closed? Try to return it anyway. Chances are, the retailer will take pity and give you store credit for the unworn merchandise.

Pay less for shit

Remember when fifty bucks cash meant a new outfit? Nowadays that same money means half your cell phone bill. And although it’s painful to write checks for water and electricity, it doesn’t have to be so expensive. I keep my bills in check by calling my utility companies every few months to negotiate a lower rate. Especially in competitive industries like cable, wireless, trash, and sometimes electricity, providers are quick to throw you a discount if they fear they’ll lose your business. But remember, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. So when you call your utility provider, don’t be bitchy! Politely report that you’ve received a cheaper offer from one of their competitors, and say you’d like to remain loyal, but are too tempted by the lower price. Be sure you’re referencing a real offer, call around for quotes if needed. The provider will likely match the lower rate, at least temporarily. Then pat yourself on the back, and use the money you save for a new pair of jeans.

Sell some shit

I hope you’re already privy to the wonder that is consignment shops. Not only will these shops pay cash for your old clothing, they sell cute stuff! So pile up all the clothes you no longer wear, and bring them to the nearest consignment shop. I recommend Buffalo Exchange. You can take the cash, or put the value of your goods toward clothes from the shop itself. Most times, you’ll get more value in trade than cash anyway.

Sign up for shit

Sign up for as many e-newsletters as you can, and do it now. Retailers often offer short-term, last-minute deals to their e-mail subscribers, that you can sometimes redeem in store as well as online. Forever 21 rarely goes a week without posting a discount of at least 25 percent off merchandise, plus free shipping.

What sneaky ways do you find money to shop? Tell me in the comments, or tweet me your tips!

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