How to Save Money With Online Sample Sales

By Linsey Knerl on 14 December 2010 (Updated 7 July 2014) 0 comments

Designer duds don't have to be reserved for the affluent or those with a large fashion budget. In fact, samples sales have been giving those of us with a “regular Joe” income access to names such as Marc Jacobs, Chanel, and Jimmy Choo for deep discounts.  Before you give up your dreams and rely on no-name numbers, check out our tips from our recent My Life Scoop article for using online sample sales to snag that bag, shoe, or dress – for less!

Join the VIP List

If missing the next online sample sale seems like a tragedy, you're best bet is to sign up for email newsletters from sites like SheFinds.com. SheFinds maintains a thorough list of online samples sales, and updates it regularly. In addition to offering dozens of hot items via online outlets, a digest of each week's picks will come to your inbox each Monday – provided you sign up, of course. Check out the Editor's pick for the most buzzed about deal of the day.

Hot tip: Shopaholics who tend to remain in motion will love the new Splendora app for the iPhone. This handy tool (called “SalesCast) lets users check out current and upcoming sales, bookmark your faves, and shop through your mobile browser. It's shopping bliss from anywhere you go! 

Meet Your Brands “IRL” (In Real Life)

Sizing is an enigma, especially when it comes to designer women's brands, and a size 4 in one style may be a size 2 in another. Before you blow your budget on items that don't fit (especially since many sample sites refuse returns), it's wise to know how a designer label will feel on your frame by visiting a brick-and-mortar store first. Try on several styles in your favorite brand, and make note of the sizing before attempting to purchase online. Assuming a great fit can be devastating to your wallet (and your self-esteem.)

Hot tip: Become very familiar with an online sample sale's customer service and return policies before you shop. Some allow returns under very specific conditions, and others only offer final sales. If you think that the thrill of the deal may be killed by the rigidity of the purchase terms, it may be best to move along to greener (and more accommodating) online pastures.

Are you ready to shop? These additional tips can help you get set to save:

  • Being the first to the party is key to getting the best deals. Many sales only last 24-72 hours, but the hottest items rarely last more than a few hours before running out.
  • Membership is a requirement to purchase from many of these online sample sites. In addition, a few of them won't allow just anyone to sign up. The good news is that getting a referral or invitation from an existing member is usually very easy. Check out Facebook or Twitter for feedback from satisfied customers and contact one to see if they'll invite you. (Existing members usually receive a shopping discount as a reward for referring friends, so this is a win-win!) 
  • Prices may not always be lowest at these sites. Before you get too jazzed about that 80% of price tag, do some comparison shopping at sites that you regularly shop (like Amazon.com or the designer outlets themselves.) If there is a seasonal sale going on, the prices may be just as competitive. 

Online sample sales could be a great way to introduce your wardrobe to some fresh looks without the sticker shock typically associated with these looks. What brand or style are you hoping to find via an online sample sale? Read more tips at our latest My Life Scoop article!

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