$9.99? I’ll take it

Sarah Rosenberg

Do you remember how excited your mother would get when she would find a coupon for dishwasher detergent or frozen dinners in the newspaper? She’d cut the coupons out and save them for her next trip to the grocery store. Lately, I’ve been getting a very similar feeling. Except, I have no use for dishwasher detergent as a college student. Instead, finding a sale online or in the mall, while looking for new items to purchase, has given me the butterfly-filled feeling in my stomach that I’m sure my mother can relate to.

Instead of heading straight for the new items in a department store, I find myself heading for the sale racks instead. Why not? It’s not like the new items on display aren’t going to go on sale eventually. My theory is this: if they put it on sale, they must need to get rid of it. You’re just being a faithful patron by helping your favorite stores make room for new lines. It’s not like you’d be putting a big dent in your wallet by helping out, either.

I feel as if stores make it easier for you to save money now. On every Web site there’s a separate section just for their sale items. Personally, I enjoy perusing through these items more than any shopper should. For some reason, I get sheer pleasure in seeing what the original price of a blouse was compared to its current sale price. If there’s more than a $20 difference, I am almost always sold. Whether it’s an addiction or just smart shopping skills, I can’t be sure. But, it’s nice to know I have a few extra swipes to spare on my credit card by purchasing more items on sale.

A sort of confidence can also rise when you wear something that you found on the clearance rack. You’re not as worried about protecting it from spills because it had the $0.99 at the end of the price tag, so you wear it with more enthusiasm. Plus, no one has to know you got it on sale. It’s like your own little fashion secret. You can have everyone guessing where you got it and how much it cost, but you’ll never tell. You go about your day taking pride in the find, as well as everyone’s jealous stares as you walk by in a top that just looks like it cost you an arm and a leg.

That being said, I think it’s probably a smarter move to look through the sale items before you get yourself worked up about something you can’t afford. You can’t want what you’ve never seen and you may just find something worthwhile with a markdown instead of something with the intimidating full-price tags. One never feels good after buying a piece of clothing with bold, multiple-digit prices staring at you. Save yourself the heartache, and the money for that matter, and give the sale items a chance first.

If you have the patience and the time to really find a good deal, the Internet will be your most coveted shopping partner. There are more sites than one that offer you the best deals on designer clothes you thought you would never be able to afford otherwise. ShopItToMe.com is a free Web site that lets you tailor a profile with your clothing sizes and brand preferences so that they can let you know where to find specific items that are on sale and fit just for you. It’s like the World Wide Web wants you to be not only economically savvy but chic in the process. There finally is an excuse to shop for fun, where no one can tell you that anything you bought was a waste of money.

Bluefly.com also offers inexpensive items from high-end brands to those who want to save rather than spend. Selling DKNY winter jackets, Marc Jacobs khakis, and BCBG blouses almost half-off, Web sites like these may be heaven for the obsessive shopper like myself. We all love a label once in a while. When that time comes when we’re yearning for something a little more luxurious, Bluefly.com and ShopItToMe.com come to the rescue with the prices to make your knees shake and your heart scream with joy.

Although it may make you feel better about your fashion sense and your wardrobe to buy what’s fresh on the racks, it’s probably not always the smartest move. Not many people will be able to tell whether it was recently shipped to a store or if it’s been sitting on the shelf for a month. You can still be fashionable and up-to-date with the trends with sale items. Experiencing the thrill of finding a popular dress on sale beats the feeling of paying full price for it. To get the true excitement of a shopper, do some sale hunting-then you’ll equally understand the excitement of finding those coupons in the papers.