Fashion on a Budget: Good for Your Wallet & the Planet

After becoming a mom, my priorities changed a bit and I found myself avoiding purchases for myself. I mean really, who can walk through the kids clothing section at Target, the Gap or any other store for that matter, without saying to themselves how cute everything is? My heart used to literally skip a beat when I would see all of the adorable kids clothes come out each season.

It became so easy for me to shell out a ton of money for my daughter as she grew quickly from one size to the next. Spending money on her and everything that she needed (not really) was easy and came without any guilt. Years went by until I realized that my closet had hit a serious slump and I needed an overhaul more than my daughter did. That’s when things shifted.

I had to slow down and re-focus the priority on our clothing budget. I like nice things. Nice things come at a price. How was I going to be able to afford cute, comfortable, good quality clothes for her and myself without going seriously broke?

Enter my new obsession: BARGAIN HUNTING

When you find that pristine Lucky Brand shirt with the tag still attached at a consignment store for a fraction of the original cost, it is euphoric! Here are a few of my favorite places to find the best deals around town (and online):

My Sister’s Closet

My beautiful, fashionista friend who always looks like she stepped off the cover of a magazine swears by this place. I have been shopping here for years and I love it too, but her entire closet is built from items at My Sister’s Closet! This locally owned business was started in Phoenix in 1991. Their four valley locations carry designer pieces from Prada, Jimmy Choo, Alexander McQueen, Tory Burch, Luis Vuitton, Stella McCartney and beyond. They also have a “favorites” section with brands such as Free People, Johnny Was, Joie, and many others. You can find unique, gently loved (some even brand new) handbags, jewelry, shoes and accessories in addition to clothing at y Sister’s Closet. Some of my very best buys have been at My Sister’s Closet, where they truly have something for everyone.

Photo of My Sister's Closet, courtesy of


You will find everyday wear here. Some of the brands that I have found at TurnStyle are Ann Taylor, Calvin Klein, Lucky Brand, Banana Republic, and White House Black Market. There is a good selection of women’s clothing, handbags, shoes and jewelry at any of their five valley locations. At TurnStyle, I like to consign my clothes that I’m phasing out of my closet, so that I can cash it in for new goods. When you are consigning here, make sure that your clothes are clean, pressed and come in on hangers.

I loved this necklace from the second I saw it at TurnStyle. Purchased for $5 (during a sale)


I get so excited when I know that a half off Saturday is approaching! I think of all the fun items I might find and get a little twinkle in my eye. Yes, this actually makes me giddy. Every other Saturday, your local Goodwill store will sell everything at half off (excluding holiday items)! This is the ultimate treasure hunt and it is not meant for everyone.

I grew up going to garage sales on weekends, looking for treasures and deals with my mom and her best friend. Here in Arizona, half off Saturdays at Goodwill beat garage sale hopping (because it’s all indoor).

I have found beautiful pieces of clothing (some with the tags still attached) for myself and for my daughter. One of my favorite purchases was a huge, like-new doll house (with a working elevator) for my daughter that I bought for only $1.50! Another Goodwill purchase that I am proud of is my solid wood, made in America dining room table that I bought for only $20! I used Annie Sloan paint and turned it into a farmhouse table that even Joanna Gaines would approve of. Attached is a photo of a beautiful corduroy Christmas dress that I purchased for my daughter for only $2! Finding a good deal, especially when you have to hunt for it, gives you a little “high” that is hard to describe. All I can say is that I keep going back.

Perfect, like-new Christmas dress from Goodwill

Once Upon A Child

This is a fun little store to find some great deals on gently used, good quality children’s clothing. I also consign at this store to turn in gently used clothes that my daughter has simply grown out of. The nice thing about their consignment is that they give you cash up front for your items, instead of waiting for each piece to sell. That way I can turn around and spend the money right then and there on new clothing. My mission is to find the brands that I know wash well and stand up to the test of time, like Hanna Andersson, Gap kids, Tea, and Mini Boden. Shopping at second hand stores for kids just makes sense. They wear a few pieces of clothing only a handful of times before they grow out of them. I’m happy that we have places like these around the Valley. The one I frequent most often is in Scottsdale.

Gap Kids cable knit sweater in like-new condition from Once Upon A Child


The ultimate place to buy and sell clothing online! I was skeptical at first, but after buying and selling a few times I am a firm believer in it. Each seller has a “closet” of stuff that they are selling. Some items are brand new with tags, and other items are gently worn or like-new. The seller lists the item at a certain price, but as a buyer you can make an offer. The seller can then accept the offer or they can counter. Kind of like E Bay but more fashion-based. You can search for specific brands and items according to size and even color. You can collect your “likes” and watch items that you may not be ready to make an offer on just yet. So far I have purchased a few nice items that I am very happy with, such as a pair of brand new Toms wedges for only $20 and a brand new Lucky Brand top (tag still attached) for $18. I use the app on my phone for the most convenient way to shop the site. All sales go through PayPal so there is no exchange of credit cards. Additionally, all items are guaranteed by Poshmark, so if clothing arrives not as described by the seller, they will assist you in returning the item for a full refund (that is their claim on their site, although I have not tested this out myself).

My brand new cute & comfortable Toms wedges, $20 from Poshmark

Nordstrom Rack Online

Shoes, shoes and more shoes! This is the place to buy good quality shoes for kids and for yourself. I find the best deals here. I want my daughter to wear supportive shoes but I cannot spend a ton of money on them if she grows out of them every few months. Not only do I find great shoes for her (and myself) here, I also find some beautiful pieces of clothing for pennies on the dollar! The best part? Free shipping (I refuse to pay for shipping) on all orders over $100. So, order the shoes in several sizes and order a few items that you would like to try on, because all of it can be returned to your local Nordstrom Rack store without a charge or hassle.

Sparkling gold ballet flats for my daughter, only $15 from Nordstrom Rack

This is just a small list of a few of my favorites. Bargain hunting is not for everyone. It requires patience and determination. I’m not always in the “mood” to hunt, but when I am, look out! I have found that this new obsession is not only friendly on our family budget, but I also appreciate items a lot more than I did before. I worked hard to find that item and I was so proud to find it at such a great price! Also, buying gently used clothing is an environmentally friendly practice. More than 15 million tons of used textile waste is generated each year in the United States alone. Buying second hand definitely helps to reduce this staggering number. So, not only are you being kind to your budget, but you are also helping our planet. I call this a win-win!

For more information about textile recycling facts and figures:

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