Full wardrobe, half the cost

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By CAITLIN GILMARTIN
Staff Writer

It is a month into yet another school year which means your summer paychecks have paid for (in no specific order) your: monthly Ram Plan bill, textbooks, groceries, residence hall t-shirts, shampoo, suite décor, late night McDonald’s runs, toilet paper, and maybe even tithe at your church, leaving no spare cash for your fall wardrobe.

But fear not, discounts are in sight! One of the perks of living in downtown Minneapolis is easy access to a plethora of inexpensive stores to meet all of your shopping needs.

One store that I love more than any other is TJ Maxx. Here you will find men’s and women’s clothes along with shoes, accessories, home décor and even luggage. TJ Maxx carries only quality, name-brand overstock items and sells them for ridiculously low prices. You can always find one-of-a-kind pieces to suit all of your needs. There are several locations in the metro area, the nearest being Southtown Shopping Center (7800 Penn Avenue South, Bloomington).

Another one of my favorite stores in the area is Heartbreaker; located on Hennepin Avenue in the heart of Uptown. This women’s store has inexpensive, fashionable clothes and accessories and a basement full of shoes…need I say more? It is not a big chain, so there is less carbon copy style of clothing.

Unique Thrift Store is another place to find great deals on new and used clothing, shoes, accessories, furnishings and more. There are several locations in the surrounding area, the closest being 2201 37th Avenue NE Minneapolis. Unique is less expensive than Savers and has a clean, organized selection of items. One of my favorites is the vintage section, which always has some hidden treasures. Another perk is customer appreciation Tuesdays—everything in the store is 25% off!

Another great outlet for all of your shopping needs is found at the Mall of America, which has many stores with trendy clothes at fairly low prices such as. A few include: H&M and Heritage 1981 for both men and women; and Forever21, Charlotte Russe, Garage and Wet Seal for just the ladies. If shoes are the need, check out DSW, Famous Footwear and Payless for bargain prices.

While at the Mall of America, take the escalator up to the third floor and visit Marshalls, Ragstock and Nordstrom Rack. These stores have great deals on clothes, shoes, accessories and more. The selection at these stores includes designer and name brands at extremely marked down prices.

However, time is not exactly plentiful for most of us so online shopping websites are the bee’s knees for college kids (and who does not love getting a package?). Sometimes a trip to the mall is just not feasible. Therefore, remember these bargain websites:

  • www.alltherageonline.com—trendy, low-cost jewelry and accessories.
  • www.bluefly.com—discount designer clothes for all the fashionista trendy folk.
  • www.gojane.com—inexpensive women’s clothes/shoes/accessories, similar to Forever21 or Charlotte Russe.
  • www.half.com—a sister site of ebay, with discounted movies, books, clothes, shoes and more; similar to Amazon.
  • www.overstock.com—everything from electronics and furniture to men’s and women’s brand name clothing at discounted prices.
  • www.polyvore.com—a website full of outfits…go here for ideas!
  • www.threadlesstees.com—funny, artsy, low-cost graphic tees.

With all of this in mind, the key thing to remember when shopping on a budget is sticking to the basics. Buying staple pieces to mix and match with is what makes a small wardrobe seem bigger, which saves you money.

Solid colored tees, cardigans and jackets can enhance any wardrobe when they are paired with other accessories. Be sure to buy clothes with outfits in mind—think layering. Stray away from purchasing lots of random items that do not go together. Chances are, you will not wear them as often which equals money wasted. However, buying classic basic pieces does not mean you must shy away from the trends. They only enhance one another.

Looks for both men and women this fall include: plaid, dark and destroyed jeans, vests, cardigans and the ever-so-popular scarves. Just always remember to accessorize, accessorize, accessorize!

So, after the bills are paid and the groceries are bought, scrounge up your spare change and check out these stores and websites to get a bigger bang for your buck. Happy shopping!