By Kelly Pearce
If you’re short on cash and desperate for a wardrobe update, you’re like most college students.
Luckily, there’s a way to quell the new-clothing fever for cheap: with some decent discounts, racks upon racks of clearance and the willingness to spend a couple hours at the mall scouring stores.
My friends, Western students Karlly Palica and Miranda Roberts, took some time to look around and dig into the deals with a $30 shopping limit at Bellingham’s Bellis Fair Mall. Here’s what happened.
Some disclaimers before you continue:
-Their goal was to get an outfit under $30 excluding adding tax.
-Any socks you see featured in photos below aren’t part of the purchase, the floors were just a little chilly.
-No, some of these outfits don’t hit under $30, as stores do sometimes have different price ranges, but sometimes it’s the thought that counts.
Miranda found two clearance items for a date-night/business look, made complete with a pair of discounted velvet heels which were originally $29.90 but were reduced to only $5.00.
The top was $17.90, but was reduced to $7.00, as it had a loose strap.
Miranda actually ended up buying the black trouser pants that were originally $29.99 with a sale price of $17.00.P
The total here ended up being just under 30 dollars, at $29.00.
The best find out of this look was a pair of maroon chinos Miranda snagged in the clearance section for a whopping $2.97.
Since those came in at such a low price, it was easy to find a top for a little more that was still under budget. The chambray she’s wearing was originally $26.99, but with a 20 percent discount, came to $21.60.
To top it off was a necktie that was taken down from $8.99 to $6.
$2.97 + $21.60 + $6 = the first small disappointment in the outfit-making escapade. This outfit came in 57 cents over budget. Do you think the steals are worth the two quarters, nickel and pennies?
This next one was more of a stretch. American Eagle isn’t always known for having the lowest prices, but Miranda went for it nonetheless.
Luck was on her side, as the store was having a 60 percent off sale in the back of the store, which immediately pounced on.
The photo might not do it justice, but the leggings are navy and have silvery strands in them. They were marked down to $13.98.
Another piece worked out for Miranda, as she bought the Nirvana long sleeve for it’s lowered price of $11.98.
With some money in the budget left over, accessories were the final stretch to complete the look. The headband Miranda found came to $5.18, and if you’re following along with a calculator, you’ll see this is the second misstep.
The total for American Eagle was $31.14. With this, the search went on.
That search led Miranda right to a pretty popular destination for just about everyone, Target.
The store has been under renovation for about two months, according to a sales associate. While this displaced the clearance racks to a different location, that didn’t stop Miranda from finding some bargains.
First came the floral dress for $17.40, already making up more than half of the budget.
Target came through with a lower deal of $4.98 for sandals that went well with the dress. Though it’s still winter, spring is right around the corner and those sandals are bound to come in handy.
To round it off, a pair of black and gold dangling earrings were discounted from $7.99 to $3.98.
Miranda’s total? The lowest yet: $26.38.
Karlly was up next with another department store, Kohls, where their motto “expect great things” was probably referring to their variety of clearance items.
The jewelry section, once past the Lauren Conrad collections, had racks full of earrings and necklaces that were discounted between 50 and 75 percent off.
Karlly grabbed silver and navy earrings for $3.60, leggings for $16.00, and the striped shirt for $10. It came in close, but the total of $29.60 fit the challenge like a glove.
The good times kept coming for Karlly when she went to the final store, H&M.
Simple and sweet deals.
Leggings for $12.99, a simple $9.99 T-tee shirt that could go with anything, and to top it all off, a discounted beanie for $3.
What better way to wrap up the challenge than coming in at $25.98?.
Shopping for cheap and stylish clothes is hard when there are bills to pay or classes to study for. What can be an overwhelming trip to the mall is made a little easier when you have a budget, some friends and some time to make your money worth it.
Did any of these discount stories inspire you to grab the deals while they last?
BONUS: CHARLOTTE RUSSE
As a bonus, here’s one of Miranda’s favorite looks from Charlotte Russe that sadly came too far above the set budget, but is worth a mention.
The boots, $14.99.
White sweater, $9.99.
Camo bodycon skirt: $5.
That combination by itself would have worked, but the glasses are the icing on the cake at $5 even for a grand total of $34.98.
Photos by Kelly Pearce