Mexican Marta

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Back to School Part II : My favorite retailers

I'm always getting compliments on Ellies clothes. I love shopping for her and am so grateful she couldn't care less what she wears (so long as its not tight pants). She has her preferences, but for the most part I have free reign. She HATES shopping so I tend to do more online shopping or bopping into stores when she is with her dad. Here are my top five stores to shop as well as some of their pros and cons. I know this is more girl centered but all of the retailers below have a great selection of boys clothes too!

1. Gap/Old Navy
I think everyone knows that these two stores are a pretty obvious choice. More so Gap for me than Old Navy. The sales you can get away with are ridiculous and the quality is not compromised when the price goes down. When I purchase online I am able to tack on a few promo codes to save extra cash and if I go into the stores a few days after receiving my package of goodies and the prices are lower in store, they will do a price adjustment within 7 days. I tend to do that often for several reasons. First, larger quantity of sizes available online and secondly they tend to run additional 40% off sale items in store. I did this this past week. I returned one pair of pants and price adjusted three other items. The difference of the jeans plus the price adjustment allowed me to purchase another pair of jeans, three tops, and shorts for a difference of FOUR DOLLARS. Y'all... FOUR DOLLARS!? And the pair of jeans I bought were only $15. I seriously felt like  I robbed the place.

Pros: GREAT sales (additional 40% off sale items), Price adjustments, High quality denim, newsletters provide extra savings, Can leave reviews
Cons: minimum purchase of $50 to qualify for free shipping

2. J Crew
I LOVE J Crew. Like, obsessed with J Crew. HOWEVER, it is out of my price range 80% of the time. The other 20%? I stock uppppp y'all. Summer/Winter sales are the best time for J Crew and they almost always have an additional percent off sales. The J Crew outlet is also a gold mine! I bop in there when I am in the area and snatch up some goodies. I kept my student ID so I get an additional 10% off when I shop there and show my ID. They also almost always have an additional % off sale items.

Pros: Free shipping on kids and baby clothes, additional savings off sale items, student discount
Cons: Expensive most of the time, No reviews section

3. Zara
Zara is the besstttt. This retailer is like none other in the kids department. They do trends for kids so well and every collection is so cohesive I adore them so much. And the shoes!? Are you kidding me!? So. Cute. Their summer sales are even BETTER. When the summer sale at Zara starts then I know back to school shopping has officially begun. Their tops are super cheap but still good quality. My only complaint is they stopped shipping for free on all orders, they now require a $50 minimum purchase. HOWEVER, you can have them ship to store for free. When I am feeling extra cheap I will do this. Also, some of the clothing can have finicky washing instructions which is annoying when dealing with kids clothes.

Pros: Style, Shoes, $4.95 shipping, Free Ship-to-Store
Cons: Sizing is awkward at times, Washing instructions, minimum purchase to qualify for free shipping, No reviews section

4. Forever 21
I prefer shopping here in store because their sizing is also weird. A small is a 7/8 which is a medium elsewhere. Also, they do not allow returns or exchanges. Everything is final sale. I am not a fan of final sale! So, shopping here is rare but they do kids style right and I admire that. I just don't make it into the store often enough but when I do I never leave empty handed.

Pros: Style, Low prices without sales, Can leave reviews
Cons: Final Sale on all purchases, Minimum purchase to qualify for free shipping, no boys section

5. Target
DUH. Need I really say more? First off, get the debit red card, thats a given. Five percent back right there. Second, CARTWHEEL. And third? Do it all on tax free weekend. BAM. I'm kinda nervous of telling you guys what I do but I'm going to tell you anyway (it'll be our little secret). I show up to Target the Thursday before tax free weekend starts and make Ellie try on everything I want to buy. I write a list with all the prices of EVERYTHING I want then I narrow it done once I've calculated the estimated cost. I show up when the doors open at 8, greet my favorite lady at the customer service counter (her name is Sally and if you don't have a red card yet please go see her and get one cause she is the sweetest), load up my cart with the things I want, and walk right out. Best thing is? I still have time to hit up other shops before they open at 10am.

Pros: Cartwheel App, Red Card savings, Free shipping online with use of Red Card
Cons: Its Target. There are no cons, EVER.

Honorable Mentions: H&M, JC Penney (they've stepped their game up recently), Cotton On (online only)

What are some of your favorite places to shop? Any special places to find great boys clothing?

EDIT: I forgot NORDYS! Nordstrom is running their anniversary sale which is the PERFECT time to shop. LOVE their kids shoes selection! Oh, and FREE SHIPPING!

The Mexican Marta

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Back to School

My favorite time of year is upon us! BACK TO SCHOOL SHOPPING! It's that one time of year where I don't have to ask for permission from my husband (and baby daddy) to SPEND SPEND SPEND on our little one. You know what else I love about back to school shopping? Shopping SMART and celebrating all the SAVINGS! Sure, many of us here in Texas get excited when tax free weekend comes around but for me, I enjoy saving throughout the summer and behind my computer. Here are a few of my tips for back to school shopping on a budget!

Kindergarten haul

1. Take advantage of End of Summer sales.
The sales start at the end of June and go on until late August. I don't usually purchase when they first start because they are the least amount of savings, I usually wait it out and just keep my eye on the things I love. My target is usually 40-60% off the original retail value and then I hit 'em with the extra discount code like BAM! So, at the end of it I'm saving around 70-80%. I stock up on lots of tees, shorts, and skirts. Items that are versatile throughout summer and winter. For girls its so easy to throw on a pair of tights or a cardigan to handle the cooler weather. For boys, well, ask me in six years when my boy starts school, its still a foreign thing to me!

2. Subscribe to E-Newsletters and Social Media
I know how annoying these things can be but I kinda love them. I get the scoop as the sales happen and the newsletters will most likely contain all your promo codes to add additional savings. In addition to the newsletters, I follow a lot of my favorite retailers on instagram and "like" my local stores on Facebook (like the Lakeline store for Gap). The local stores will usually let you know when they are running an additional percentage off sale items. Thats usually about the only time I show my face in store. I've actually been previously known as the Clearance Clearer. Yeah, that's right, you better be taking my advice!

3. Ebates!
Don't have an ebates account? GET ONE! As soon as I am even THINKING of spending money online, I hop on over to ebates, select my shopping destination, and get on my merry way. Then, in about a week, I check back and watch my savings accumulate! All you have to do is register once and it saves all your information. Depending on where you shop, you receive anywhere from 2-8% cash back on your purchases, and sometimes even more. When you are ready to collect, they mail you a check. Super simple!

4. Free Shipping
This is kind of a no brainer. During sale times, I love spending my money at places who offer free shipping because I can simply pick up an item at a time as they go on sale. I absolutely HATE paying for shipping, it pains me every time I have to do it. I am the most loyal to the places that offer free shipping all the time no matter what. Unfortunately these places are hard to come by. Piperlime used to be my ALL TIME favorite place to buy Ellie shoes. They had free shipping and often had promo codes to tally on additional savings in a realm of children's retail that is very rare. Unfortunately the kids section of Piperlime shuttered last winter and I am still crying about it over here! Where are my tissues!??!

5. When you think you can save more, YOU CAN!
Have you ever sat at the checkout screen and contemplated if what you are paying is really worth it? I do it all the time! I'm not a cheapskate by any means but I am pretty good at sniffing out the bottom line costs. When in doubt, simply Google "(Insert store name) discount code" and lo and behold, a website or two will offer a few extra codes to unlock more savings. I do this all the time when shopping through Gap and Old Navy. Usually I'll come across the discount codes meant for people who are celebrating birthdays that month that the retailer gives them as a gift to celebrate. Sometimes there are even free shipping codes you might've missed.

Hopefully you find this information useful. I've already scored a few things for the coming school year. The hunt is on!


The Clearance Clearer