How to save $2,500 in 3 hours or less

(Or how to spend $375 in the same amount of time. It’s all about perspective, really.)

Not too long ago, I was lamenting about how I was so uninspired about shopping. My only purchase during the post-Christmas sales was a plastic container for storing muffins. And maybe some hair ties. And get this —

They weren’t even on sale.

Well, one absolutely amazing sample sale later, and I am happy to report that I have made significant progress. Enormous strides… leaps, even!

It happened about 2 weeks ago, and on that sunny Thursday afternoon, I bought (wait for it………):

  • 7 Jigsaw/David Lawrence dresses @ $40 each, usually between $279 and $399 RRP
  • 3 Jigsaw skirts @ $25 each, usually between $179 and $199 RRP
  • 1 David Lawrence blouse @ $20 each, usually $149 RRP

The sale was held by Webster Holdings around their HQ in Waterloo, so Marcs samples were also available but I didn’t manage to pick any up.  No insider info about when the next sale is on, I’m afraid…

Also unfortunately, as with all sample sales there can be casualties. In this case, a parking ticket (not mine, but hopefully the cops will forget to process it!) and some missing fabric.

Can you spot which of the items I bought has a chunk of material missing?

Jigsaw floral watercolor dress

Jigsaw floral pleated dress

Jigsaw Purple textured floral skirt

Jigsaw blue tiger print dress

David Lawrence white silk shirt with black trim

Jigsaw Purple spot dress

Jigsaw ethnic print dress

Jigsaw Renaissance floral dress

Jigsaw Orange white crosshatch full skirt

David Lawrence Kelly green bow front dress

Jigsaw oriental print full skirt

(Answer: It’s this one.)

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Choices, choices, choices (and a review of J.Crew skirts)

The thing about shopping online is that your exposed to a lot of choice. That’s definitely one of the perks for me, because the search for a perfect tan saddle bag (or insert desired item) can seem endless when you’re looking in person. And it’s just so inefficient, with needing to walk in and out of shops, driving in and out of shopping centres? Really, so last century.

But what to do when you’re not looking for the perfect one, but just something you like and more than one catches your eye?

Sometimes you just gotta buy ’em all.

This is the story of how I ended up with 4 new skirts from J.Crew in the space of around 2 weeks.

J Crew skirts

After comparing my new goodies with the 2 I bought while in the US, I realised something odd: they all fit perfectly but ranged from a size 2 to a 6P (US sizing).  Weird, no?

Ok, perhaps that’s a little misleading — of course I knew I had ordered different sizes, and of course I did so purposely after looking at reviews and the like.  Here are some tips so that you too can hopefully order the right size on the first go:

  • I’d say a regular 4 in J.Crew translates to a AU8-10 for Country Road, Witchery, Saba etc.
  • The No. 2 pencil skirt, both the cotton and wool versions, for some reason runs large even for J.Crew sizing, so I would size down again
  • The cut of the Sterling Skirt is supposedly A-line but is really only 1-2cm wider than the No. 2 pencil skirt on each side at the hem
  • Go one size up if you’re getting a petite size, e.g. a regular size 2 is similar to a 4P.  In fact, I could tell no difference between the 2 and 4P for the No. 2 pencil skirt

But at the end of the day, sometimes you’ve just got to take the leap.  If it helps, even though J.Crew has gotten rid of their free shipping and free returns to Australia option (i.e. risk-free shopping), shipping now is only a flat rate of $10.  Really, isn’t that just 3 coffees in the grand scheme of things?  And returns are still free!

 

Cyber Monday Sales 2012

I’ve been lamenting to anyone who will listen that I’m rather underwhelmed by this year’s Black Friday sales. Le sigh and le big sad face. After an exciting order of two bags from Shopbop last Wednesday, I’ve been in a state of indecision and nothing’s really inspired me to click that “submit order” button. Main issue? The deals just weren’t quite at the level that I remembered from last year.

Luckily, Cyber Monday is here!  And I’m happy to report that stores are giving something just a little extra than they did at the Black Friday sales (but some just changed their codes).

Most of these are one day offers and only valid with US shipping:

Codes: 

  • Origins – $10 off orders of $25 plus free shipping with code TENOFF
  • J. Crew – still 25% off everything with the code MONDAY
  • J. Crew Factory – was 40% off everything, now 50% off everything with the code YOURGIFT
  • Loft – was 40% off everything (then 40% off selected items only), now 50% off everything with the code TODAYONLY
  • Ann Taylor – was 40% everything… still 40% off everything with the code MONDAY
  • Banana Republic, GAP, Old Navy – was 25% off storewide, now 30% off storewide with the code CYBER
  • Piperlime – still 20% off with the code CYBER
  • Urban Outfitters – $15 off $75 with the code SUPERCYBER

No code necessary:

My favorite of the bunch is this Kate Spade tote (was $425, now $199).  The only way this could be better if it was half the size!

A good friend also alerted me to a Chloe Marcie bag – small in nubuck leather which is newly marked down from $1,895 to $1,136 on Nordstrom… tempting, but I’m still holding out for the mini version!

Kate Spade: Spring 2013 RTW

Popping with color? Check.  A healthy amount of polka dots? Check.  Bow prints and other irresistibly cute retro throwbacks? Check.

Kate Spade’s Spring 2013 RTW line probably isn’t for everyone, but I’m finding all of this so much cuter than any animal photo you could send my way (no, this is not a challenge).

Here are some of my favorite looks…  with quite of a few of these going onto the shopping list!

Image source

Shopping Bans: The Uncut Version

Remember how I wrote about my 5 tips on how to get through a shopping ban? Well, I have a confession to make.

So, I love ASOS. It’s hard not to, with their cheap and cheerful clothes, free shipping to Australia, and abundant further discount codes.  When they launched their Australian website a while back, I was very concerned that they might inflate prices for us and market it as Good News (*cough*j.crew*cough*), but I was very happy to note that the Australian ASOS website was more about defaulting viewing options (like currency and sizing) more than forcing different prices.

What I did love though was their new local returns. Does this mean I now buy heaps of stuff knowing full well that I will return most of it and only lose out around $8 per return?

You know it. Case in point: I just ordered 4 pair of jeans in varying floral and heart prints.

 

And yes, for those with an eye for detail and who cannot be distracted by the mere mention of yet another mass purchase, you’ll notice that I said per return and not per order or per item. And yes, that’s obviously an incentive to buy heaps and not return until there’s a huge box such as this one:

 

So how does this relate to my shopping ban? Well, when I said that I had “shopping credits” from pre-ban returns (handy hint #3), I actually meant these ASOS orders which I only got around to sending back… last week. Even though I spent the shopping credits in February.

I’m pretty sure big companies do their books like this all the time.

I’ve now also worked out that my actual “shopping credits” were $420, of which I only spent maybe $80.

So either I actually made money during the shopping ban (a truly mind blowing outcome… must revisit this concept), or I’m still in credit and have an extra $340 to spend this weekend.

My math skills are awesome.

Fruits of a Shopping Ban

Before I went on my US trip, I made a resolution to start a shopping ban to first save some money.  Those 3 months were a dark, dark time in my life, but I grew up on Destiny’s Child*, so I made it through.

Today, I would like to share a couple of tips on how to survive a shopping ban, told in the story of 5 pairs of shoes — why, yes, I did acquire 5 pairs of shoes on my shopping ban, all without breaking the rules!  Here’s how.

1.  Have your birthday in the middle of the shopping ban

Obviously not everyone can rearrange the year so that their birthday falls within the shopping ban period, but Muhammad and mountain and all that (read: move the shopping ban!).

A couple of dear friends gifted me these lovely jelly flats from Kate Spade:

 

(Plus 10 points if you can convince an unbiased third party that a gift for yourself is appropriate.  I recommend working on some type of sob story.)

2.  Use up your credit card reward points 

I think this one is pretty self-explanatory.  It got me these red suede peep toes — I’m just waiting for warmer weather to roll around again so I can wear them!

Oh, and I also got these cute Mimco bootie sandles.

3. Know your shopping history

Did you buy something before the shopping ban started, that now needs to be returned?  Well, that’s the very definition of a “shopping credit” that can be used without breaching the shopping ban! 😉

4.  Know the rules (i.e. necessities)

Everyone laughs at me when I tell them this, but it’s actually really important: the purpose of a shopping ban is usually to save money (mine was to save for my holiday).  But you can’t stop spending money completely — there are still necessities that are outside of the shopping ban, and rightly so.  This includes food, toiletries and, in this case, comfy flats suitable for long days of walking on my holiday**.

(I also got a travel bag.  It’s very important to keep your belongings secure when traveling — both Lonely Planet and the Australian Government say so, it must be true.)

Of course, this type of reasoning is not for the faint-hearted and can lead you down a very slippery slope, so I would suggest…

5. Appoint an adjudicator 

Choose someone you can trust.  Do not ask a fellow shopping ban-ner, as they are likely under extreme stress and might not be in their right frame of mind.  Try out all the crazy arguments with varying degrees of logic that you can think of, to see what sticks, e.g. my most compelling was:

If I am saving money so I can spend more in the US, then surely it wouldn’t be breaching the shopping ban if there is a limited period online sale with free shipping to Australia.  If I wait until I go to the US and buy it in person, it might not be on sale anymore and I’ll have to pay additional sales tax anyway, and maybe even more baggage fees??  In fact, it will cost me money if I don’t buy it now….

I rest my case.

Shopping ban?  Easy.

* I’m a Survivor! I’m not goin’ give up, I’m not goin’ stop… I’m goin’ work harder!

** Status of “necessity” determined at point of purchase.

Get Me Some Prints!

I love prints, so when I was flicking through the latest issue of Vogue Australia (well, swiping through, actually, since I was reading the digital version), I immediately stopped at this page:

But after scouring the entire page, there was not a single mention of where I can buy that palm tree printed sleeveless shirt or cute book clutch!?

Luckily, there were more details on Hanneli’s blog.

Unluckily for me, however, the shirt is from H&M, and not on the website… so it’s probably already sold out.  Same goes for the Stella McCartney bag/clutch.

Is the universe telling me that I need to go out and hunt for a suitable replacement?

…Challenge accepted.