Jess Swain is the director of brand strategy for DealPulp, a new daily deal shopping site that helps shoppers save money on everything from clothing and accessories to food and beauty products. She's a shopping expert in all things "comparista," meaning she knows how to comparison shop like a pro. She shares her best tips with SheKnows for being a savvier, money-saving shopper.
Instead of buying that couture Kate Spade handbag you have your eye on (but that doesn't really fit your budget), rent it from a site like Bag, Borrow or Steal, or see if you can buy wholesale from an overstock accessories site like Glint & Gleam. You can also use Google Goggles to take a photo of the bag you want and see if you can find a similar, but much less costly bag in the same shape, size and fabric/material just based on an image you upload online.
Cook gourmet at home. Shop sites like Tavern Direct for top-quality ingredients and then ask your favorite restaurant's chef if they'll sell you the recipe for a dish you love. Make your home cooked meal an event by dressing up, lighting candles and actually eating at the dining room table (instead of on the couch in front of the TV).
Resisting the urge to splurge on a gym membership? Work out in your own living room with sites like EvoTrain.com, which connect you with a personal trainer via webcam. You'll get one on one attention without the high price tag and without ever leaving your living room. You can also skip the gym in favor of creating a walking or running group with friends. It's free, fun and you can burn calories while catching up.
Before you paint a room, consider wall decals instead, Swain suggests. They bring life to any room and come is a wide variety of shapes, colors and styles. Try sites like Lot 26 Studio or Blik Wall Decals for some inspiring and stylish looks for every room in the house. Think about adding decals to unexpected spaces, like your entryway, bathroom or anywhere you're craving a change but don't want the cost or hassle of repainting.
Many sites will give you a better price when you order beauty products in bulk or subscribe (receive a product regularly), explains Swain. Overstock and wholesale sites are also good places to find name brands for less, like stockngo.com, which offers discounted prices and lets you order products by the case.
When it comes to nails, skip the manicure and buy nail shields instead. They're quick, easy to use and they last for weeks. Try Jamberry Nails, a site that stocks countless colors, patterns and designs. We're partial to the slate and white houndstooth ($15).
Babies grow fast, so buy inexpensive clothing rather than wasting money on a tiny sweater that's only going to fit for a few weeks (or less). Try online clothing swaps -- ThredUP offers a platform for online children's clothing swapping, or buy your baby goods at a thrift store where there's often a good selection of gently used items for your little one. One new mom we talked to got all of her new son's adorable outfits from thrift stores -- many of them name brand in great condition.
Many people are making the switch to natural food, lifestyle and beauty products, but their wallets are taking a hit. When looking for natural goods, try sites like Lucky Vitamin, a large site able to offer lower prices than smaller retailers. They frequently run deals on overstock items. Keep your eye out for these sales and stock up on things you use regularly or that you know you're going to need. Buying everything in one place also makes it easier to hit free shipping minimums and saves you time, Swain says.
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