Love to shop but need to stick to your budget? I've got a few tips to help you shop the sale section like a pro!

I have a confession to make; I am a sale section shopaholic.

I’m just starting out in my marketing career and balancing multiple student loans, car payments, rent, and utility bills, so I don’t have much in the way of disposable income to spend on clothing.

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But you wouldn’t know that if you took a look inside my closet (even after a serious spring cleaning session).

I love dressing up for work, and I love buying new clothes. Keeping my work outfits fresh, stylish and professional on a very limited budget has turned me into a sale section shopaholic.

95% of the clothes I own are from the sales and clearance racks of Loft, JC Penney, and even Walmart. (I can’t tell you how many times someone at work has asked me where I got my outfit and my answer has been Walmart.)

I also confess that I’m an avid fan of Goodwill and Clothes Mentor. I even see what I can scrounge up at garage sales, and rummage sales.

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I balk at the idea of paying full-price for clothes, and revel in the feeling of picking up a $50 blouse for $15 or less.

The only time I let myself pay full-price for something is when I really, REALLY love it and just want to treat myself (because even a sales section shopaholic knows that every once in a while you need to treat yo self) — but I make sure to wear those items often enough to justify the price I paid for them.

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I’ve found a lot of great clothes while shopping like this.

If you’re on a tight budget like me, here’s how to stop paying full-price for clothes and turn yourself into a sale section shopaholic:

  1. Look for cute outfits on Pinterest and try to recreate them. Instead of buying them for full-price, see what you can find on sales racks and at yard sales. This is especially important when you’re looking for Halloween costumes. No need to waste money on an outfit you’re only going to wear one night!
  2. Seek out versatile pieces that are comfortable, fit well, and inspire several different outfits. Think about how many times you are going to wear that piece of clothing, and how many outfits you can actually pair it with. Before I started shopping sales racks, I would let myself buy fancy tops at stores like Charlotte Russe and Forever 21 that I would only be able to wear with one specific skirt, and I could count on one hand the amount of times I actually wore that particular outfit.
  3. Thrift stores are your friend. The Grand-dad-like clothes that you will find there are much more stylish than you might think. Macklemore was on to something when he wrote that song.
  4. Shop sale section and clearance racks at the beginning of a season. You’ll find a ton of stuff on sale from the previous season. In the summer, you can find some great winter coats and sweaters on sale that you can stock up on for next year. If there isn’t enough room in your closet, set these items aside in a box.
  5. If something is over $20, think long and hard before you buy it. Unless you know you’re going to wear it on a regular basis (that is, if it’s a jacket or a blazer that you’ll often wear to work or when going out).
  6. Know that jewelry makes the outfit. In addition to my frequent trips to Loft, JC Penney, and Walmart, I’m also a huge fan of Francesca’s because they have the cutest jewelry and there’s always a lot to choose from in the sale section. Pair your comfortable and versatile outfit with a statement necklace to really make things pop. Bonus: Store your jewelry on this cute DIY necklace board!
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Becoming a sale section shopaholic has changed the way I look at clothes and shopping. Tell me, what’s your favorite sale section to shop?