Step One: Make a List...
This really helps me because I get so caught up shopping in big stores (Forever 21, anyone?) that I forget what essential items I need to find. I then organize my list into two parts: generic clothing items and store specific items.
For example, some generic clothing items I'm looking for are: colored shorts, jean capris, and some solid colored t-shirts for layering. Then for accessories, I'm looking for a silver necklace, a gold watch, and some grey flats.
As for store specific, I know I need to exchange my laptop case at Vera Bradley, buy a new bra from Victoria's Secret, look at Zoya polishes from ULTA, and I want to try some products from LUSH. (I've heard so many great things!)
Step Two: Look for Coupons...
This is something that not everyone thinks about, but as a broke college student I'm all about coupons! I first start with my e-mail inbox and print ones out that I know I'll use.
This week in my e-mail I had a coupon for 20% off Off Broadway Shoes, 15% off GAP Outlet, free VS PINK flip fops with any purchase, and $3.50 off your purchase at ULTA.
After printing my e-mail coupons, I search for coupons that I know I'll be using based on my store specific list. I first start with Wow-Coupons because they have an awesome retail coupon section! Then after that, if there are still some stores left, that's when I start the Google searching.
I've found the best way is to search for printable coupons by the store and the month. Example: American Eagle printable coupons March 2012. Also, make sure to check web sites and the images. Sometimes you'll find coupons and sometimes you won't. It's kind of a hit or a miss type of deal.
Step Three: Other Offers...
Here are some other great deals that not everyone knows about!
** Victoria's Secret $10 off $50 purchase- If you've purchased something at VS recently, you'll see a box at the bottom of your receipt for a $10 off $50 purchase coupon. I've only used mine once, but it's really easy! They ask you to type in your invitation number and then answer two questions. After you answer the two questions, they give you a code to write on your receipt so that you can use your coupon in-store. It's as easy as that!
** Free Piece of Chocolate Each Month- If you're not familiar with Godiva, you are missing out! This speciality chocolate store has the best truffles but they are pretty expensive at $3 a piece. But what if you could get one of those every month for free? Well, you can!
Just head into your local Godiva store and ask to sign up for their rewards program. It doesn't cost anything to sign up and it's really easy! You receive promo emails all the time as well as a free piece of chocolate each month. Also, during your birthday month you get another free piece and a 10% coupon.