A little while ago I was contacted by MoneySupermarket.com with a challenge that sounded too good to be true. They were looking for bloggers keen to show their readers how to make savings on their shopping. As part of the challenge, I was very generously given a £100 prepaid card to spend however I chose (to suit my blog) with only one caveat – I couldn’t buy anything at the full retail price. This challenge was all about discounts!
Given this blog is 99% about fashion, my aim was to hunt down some stylish bargains that would work for Spring / Summer 2012. So armed with my card and a few secret weapons, I hit the shops! I’m a bargain hunter by nature – I rarely buy stuff at full price if I can help it – so this was the perfect challenge for me and I couldn’t wait to get started.
My first stop was Debenhams. Through this blog and my job, I get the odd incredible perk, and until the end of March I was the very lucky owner of a Debenhams press card, which entitled me to a hefty discount on everything except concessions. I used it with my pre-paid card to snag two lovely pieces from Red Herring on the day my discount expired. That’s one blog perk I’m really, really going to miss, but the good thing is if you hunt around you can quite easily find discount codes of between 10% and 30% for most online shops.
My first purchase was the cat print shirt dress, which you may have seen me wearing in my holiday pics from Monaco. If not, here’s that not-so-glam photo once more. I have to say I’m pretty shocked this dress is now sold out online, suffering as it does from the worst model shot I have ever seen (what is going on with her breasts?). It retailed at £25 but I got it for £15. I love the cute print and the shirt dress shape is really good for daytime.
Next I took a dip into the rise and fall trend with the Green floral ‘Ultimate’ evening dress (£40). This is another one that I think is much nicer in real life than it looks in the pictures on the website – it’s far less shower curtain-esque! I’m saving this one for when the sun comes out, when I can wear it with my tan wedges and belt for a bit of Summer glam.
With the discount it cost me a very reasonable £24, bringing my total up to £39. Bargain city!
Next, I hit TK Maxx, home of insane savings. I managed to find the most amazing bargain that really shows what you can find if you shop around. I bought a sheer blouse by Clements Ribeiro for £16.99 – the RRP on the label was almost £200 and while it may not be worth that, it’s definitely worth what I paid.
I’ve only really been exposed to Clements Ribeiro at London Fashion Week before this, so it’s pretty cool to now own something from the mainline collection. Of course, there’s also the fab Evans collaboration currently on sale if you’re size 14+ but this top is actually cheaper than that diffusion line! This is definitely the best bargain of the lot.
Next up, I set my sights on a flamingo print maxi dress I’ve had my eye on for ages from Traffic People. I did some googling and found it on various websites at reduced prices, but the best bargain came from Get The Label, where it was reduced by a whopping £42. With delivery, it ended up costing me £26.99, a massive bargain. I finally got the chance to wear it a couple of weeks ago when the Sun finally came out. Please ignore the lack of makeup – it was just too hot for slap!
This makes the total £83, and while we’re on the subject of maxi dresses, my next buy was from George in their sale, a graphic print maxi for £8.50 (reduced from £14). If you look closely, you can see the print is oversized butterfly wings. It’s got ‘cold shoulder’ cutout sleeves which make it even slouchier. Please ignore the not-so-brilliant photo, it was a hastily snapped phone photo in the midst of the heatwave! The sunglasses are from H&M. They’re huge and I love ‘em!
So that brings my total up to just over £90. The card has a few load and transaction charges (between 50p and £1 per use) so I didn’t have exactly £100 to spend – at this point, there was approximately £5 left, and that final fiver proved a bit more difficult to spend. That was until I hit Primark on a quick post-work shopping trip!
As well as hunting down the fish print dress I wore for a piece in Grazia (plug plug!) I also found a pair of green pastel snakeskin jeans reduced down to £5 from £14.
I’m not 100% on the shape of these if I’m honest – I don’t really think they do anything for my legs, and I think they’ll get more wear in the Summer when I can cuff the hems and add heeled sandals, but I took this pic before the sun came out, when I was still very much in long-sleeves and closed toe shoes. For a fiver, I couldn’t resist the excuse to try something a bit different, but if I’m honest, it just reiterated to me the fact I prefer dresses and skirts!
It’s so easy with the escalating prices on the high street to spend £100 any not have much to show for it, but I hope this challenge proves that if you shop around, spend some time going through the rails in your local TK Maxx, and take advantage of the neverending sales and clearances that go on year-round, you can get much more for your money than you think. By shopping smartly, I got four dresses, a designer top and a pair of jeans for my money – not bad at all I don’t think! At RRP all this lot would have set me back closer to £500 than the £100 I spent.
Disclosure: The prepaid card was a gift to enable me to take part in the challenge, but all the thoughts are my own.