Mon. Jun 17th, 2024

The stock market crashed, the job market has gone to the dogs, health care costs have skyrocketed, and it seems that every “complimentary” service now comes with a hefty price tag.While a pair of True Religion Designer Denim jeans, a Fendi Watch or that to-die for pair of Jimmy Choos may not be in your budget, there are ways to look good without swallowing a designer price tag.

As college students, we are all starting to interview for internships, apprenticeships, and jobs in the real world.and let’s face it, we want to look good without spending our entire paycheck, or financial aid refund check. I’ll admit it, I can’t pass by a TJ Maxx, Marshalls, or Ross without peaking my head in for a quick swoop, but my love for deals has turned me into a seasoned bargain hunter, and I’ll be sharing some of the great deals that I’ve found in my travels, as well as the upcoming deals to look out for.

Many people hit the mall when they need a new outfit, but I look at it as a challenge: what is the most impressive “hidden treasure” I can find without breaking the bank. Since we are in the worst recession since the 1930s, second hand shops like Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Plato’s Closet are getting more business than ever before, and you really can find some great deals, if you’re willing to scour the shelves and dig around a little.

Personally, I like going to the Salvation Army in my hometown on Wednesdays… “Why Wednesdays?” you might ask. Well, because everything in the store is 50% off! On other days, you can get 50% off on certain color price tags, so either way, you’re going to save.

Most recently, I was excited to find a pair of Yanuk Boyfriend Denim jeans that normally retail for $100-$150… I paid $3.50, because they were 50% off of $7…If that’s not a deal, I don’t know what is!

They have a nice selection of jeans- I just found a great pair of vintage, artsy-looking denim Vigoss Jeans for $7.50, plus nice pair of light denim jeans from Express for $3.50.

Although sometimes t-shirts can take a beating, if you look hard, you can find some shirts in pristine condition and for a under $5! I found a GUESS brand blouse, that looked like it was hardly worn (retail $60-$69), for $5.50 and a classy vintage military-style jacket for $9.99 with the tags still attached (retail 34.99)!

My other favorite is Plato’s Closet. There are locations all around the United States, and they specialize in clothes for teens and those in their twenties. Their unique system lets you sell your old clothing in exchange for cash, so if you’re wondering what to do with that bag of clothing sitting in the back of your closet and need a few extra bucks, this could be your golden opportunity.

They don’t take everything, but they’ll pick what they like and you can donate the rest to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army. My most recent trip to Plato’s Closet was quite successful-an authentic, genuine leather Fossil Brand purse for $15 (retail $148-$178), a blouse from Banana Republic- brand new with the tags still attached for $14 (retail $78), a leather wristlet from American Eagle Outfitters with the tags still attached for $8 (retail $24.50), and a Polo Ralph Lauren colored blouse for $14 (retail $89.50).

I hope that my bargain successes will inspire you to go out and test your shopping skills.of course there are good days and bad days, but if you hit it right, you’ll score some great deals and then if you want to splurge on a pair of designer denim or that “must have” purse, you won’t feel so guilty. I’ll be sharing more of my money saving secrets in the coming weeks- happy shopping, friends!

Erinn Carey is a student at West Chester University. She can be reached at

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