How to Week: Saving Money Online

I would conservatively estimate that 85-percent of my wardrobe was purchased from online retailers.  Sound impossible?  Not really, when you consider the fact that I work a 50 to 70-hour-week, blog in my limited free time, and like to get a good night’s sleep. 

Shopping online has some obvious pitfalls (you can’t try things on before you buy, you have to juggle piles of boxes, etc.), but if you know what you’re doing, online shopping can actually save money.  And who doesn’t love that?

Sample Sale Sites

The first step to saving money by shopping online is joining sample sale sites.  Websites like Gilt Groupe and Rue La La sell designer fashions from all the best names at a fraction of the price.  Last year, I purchased a gorgeous Moschino coat at Gilt Groupe’s Final Sale and saved 80-percent.  You really can’t beat that.  So whether your tastes run to Carolina Herrerra and Valentino or Nanette Lepore and Black Halo, everyone can find something that they like.

Also, these sites are a great way to buy expensive staple pieces at a price you can actually afford.  For example, I bought my Rebecca Minkoff bag at Ideeli for $250, less than half its retail price.  So if you need a great Burberry trench or a little black dress from Carmen Marc Valvo, keep an eye on these sites and plan your purchases accordingly.

Sick of following 120 sample sale sites trying to keep track of who’s offering deals where?  Just subscribe to MyNines, from the creators of the Fairest.  The site is like a clearing house for every sample site on the Interwebs.  It really makes being a frugal fashionista so much simpler.

Promo and Coupon Codes

What if I told you that 20 minutes spent communing with my good friend Google could save you 20-percent on your purchase or get you an awesome free gift?  Well, it’s true.  Retailers of all shapes and sizes are offering their customers incentives to shop online but only if you know where to look. 

Sites like RetailMeNot  and Coupon Cabin act like clearing houses for promotional codes.  How about 10-percent-off everything at Urban Outfitters?   Or free deluxe samples from Sephora like the full size Benefit cleanser that I got in the mail with my order last week?  And how about free shipping offers from basically every retailer imaginable?  Yes, the Interwebs can help you save money if you’re only willing to explore their bounty.

Twitter and Facebook

If for some unearthly reason, you can’t find a coupon code for the retailers that you like on one of the sites above, the next best thing that you can do is to hit the social media circuit.  Retailers often post special deals for Twitter and Facbook followers on their social media sites. 

So if you have a favorite retailer, like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter (you can also just bookmark their page if you don’t Tweet) and watch the offers pour in.  I also recommend subscribing to the store’s e-newsletter since these also contain information about specials and sales.


Want to make sure that you’re getting the best deal on an item?  A website called Shopstyle is your low-price insurance policy.  Simply search the site for the item that you want to buy and it will scan hundreds of retailers to see what other stores are selling that item and if they are selling it at another (lower) price. 

Still not sure you’re getting the best deal?  Search Google shopping, MSN shopping, and Amazon for a little more piece of mind.  A few weeks ago, I found a DvF dress selling for $395 at Saks on Bloomingdale’s site for just $118.  That’s one hell of a discount. 

Shopstyle can also help you find items in your size or help you track down an item in another color.  So feel free to go on an online shopping safari if you can’t find them item that you want.

If you shop online regularly or at all, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the best deal.  These websites can help you keep your closet and your wallet happy.   Because fiscally feasible fashion is the best kind of style that there is.


    leave a comment

  1. JB says:

    This is such great advice, thanks for the tips!

    May 20, 2010/Reply
  2. Babs says:

    Belle — love, love, love this advice. Another site I use frequently is Ebates. Gives you a cash rebate on online purchases. Shopbob is 6% cash back and Sephora is 4%. Plus, they have a daily double to get twice the cashback that day. I stock up on my Sephora goodies when it’s double cash back!

    May 24, 2010/Reply
  3. John says:

    I like your post but “Promo and Coupon Codes” is awesome. I always use coupon before shopping because I save my money by doing this.

    December 14, 2011/Reply