Happy Wednesday!  My name is Megan and I am the gal behind Step – Brightly, the official blog documenting my enthusiasm for style.  I make dressing on a budget a game… and I am competitive as all hell. My outfits are the culmination of my relentless flea market shopping, some fashion investments and the periodic must-have contemporary clothing purchase. I get a kick out of incorporating vintage into my every day wear. At the end of the day I value two things: looking professional and looking like a lady.

I work in nonprofit, which means I have a skinny fashion budget to work with. Over the years I have developed some tips for loving style and shopping without breaking the bank. I am proud to say I never pay full price. There are too many amazing sales and promotions out there to justify paying sticker price for really anything. While I don’t claim to be an expert coupon clipper, there are a few rules I follow when shopping online and in stores.

Step-Brightly Tricks of the Trade

Avoid Sundays. You should never make purchases on Sundays. While it is the day you have the most  time to peruse online, Monday morning is the day online retailers like Madewell.com start to run new promo codes for everything from free shipping to 25% off. Check the text under the tool bar and make sure you enter that promo code at check out.

Buy Online. Most of the time sales only apply to a brand’s website while prices in store stay the same. You should only buy in stores if you know the discount promotion you saw online is valid in store. Check on your phone before you check out.

Show Your ID. Ask if you can get a student discount…. and grad school counts!  Club Monaco offers student discounts and online if you sign up here.

Be patient. Play the waiting game when shopping. More and more retailers are putting full lines on sale once the season is over. If you want something badly, but the price is too high, make a habit of checking for it to go on sale.

Haggle. If you are shopping vintage ask the seller I they would consider a sale price you are more comfortable with. Flea market and Etsy sellers are often willing to work with your budget, especially if you are getting more than one thing.

Follow Alerts. Spam stinks, but alerts on sales via email or Facebook does not. Kate Spade is known for opening up sales to Facebook followers first.

step-brightly srs

The Step – Brightly Shopping Philosophy

Even more important than my tricks for scoring discounts is my philosophy for shopping. I keep stylish on a slim budget by avoiding buyer’s remorse.

The easy way to avoid being disappointed with a purchase is to never buy something the first time you see it. Before I decide I have to have something I spend a significant amount of time stalking it online. Not only do I examine the fit and specifications on the store’s website, but I also Google the name of the piece to see pictures of how other bloggers or even magazines have styled it. If I still want the piece after multiple days of looking at it online I’ll go to the store and try it on. Obviously this doesn’t work for all retailers, but if I’m lusting over a skirt from J.Crew.com you better believe to head over to the store to try it on.

Now if I still am in love with the piece after trying it on, here is the catch, I don’t buy it. Instead I head back home and follow the steps I listed above before buying it online.  It’s important to assess which discount tricks I can apply after I’ve decided I have to buy the item.

I know what you are thinking – what of it sells out before you have a chance to follow all these steps? My answer is this:  In the age of eBay, Overstock.com and other discount resellers you can most likely still locate it somewhere for sale online. I find it is worth it to put the legwork in, follow this process and end up happy with your purchase (and your bank account) than feel disappointed or guilty about a buy you rush into. Sometimes that means you miss out on the purchase, but I promise there will be more chances to shop.

The fact of the matter is being stylish on a skinny budget takes more work, but who doesn’t love a good challenge?

Here are the sale items I have already done my homework on and recommend you buy now:

Tag: Club Monaco Celeste Shirt  $119.50  $69.00 // Madewell Sidewalk Skimmer  $135.00 $89.99 // J. Crew Square Pave Link Bracelet $125.00 $89.99

For more from Megan, visit www.step-brightly.com. Share her finds with the hashtag #salerackskinny or #srs for short. 



These are fantastic tips! You always look fantastic, too, so I know you’re worth listening to. Buyers remorse is something I struggle with massively – I’m such an impulse buyer – but I shall try and exercise your level of self-restraint from now on. Wish me luck!

Laura at FashionPartTimer.com


Good luck shopping! So glad you liked Megan’s guest post! – Jessie


These are some great tips…I love how set she is on finding a deal. I never knew you shouldn’t buy on Sundays!

The Glossy Life

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