Urban Suburban Mommy

My 5 Bargain Hunting Tips for Moms

I remember the first luxury bag I ever purchased. I paid cash from the back of a panel van in a deserted Shoppers Drug Mart parking lot. It came in a grey dust bag marked “Chahel”. That night, my cat clawed it to death. Thinking back on it, I’m thinking: a) it wasn’t a real leather bag, let alone a designer one, and b) my cat thought I was dirt.

While I’ve evolved from a traditional hunter/gatherer, the instinct to seek and find remains unchanged (I’ve also retained the sloping Cromagnon brow and slack jaw.) My search for pretty things has always been tempered by a restricted budget. Rarely do the two intersect. However, as I grow older and (marginally) wiser, I’ve found ways to circumvent the wallet drain by bargain hunting. While my curated collection is unenviable by Kardashian standards, it satisfies my love of lovely (and affordable) things. Here’s a list of my fave haunts and awesome sites. Now get shopping!

  1. Winners: love them or hate them, Winners has a plethora of chic finds and designer duds at every price point. Yes, you need to wear your patient panties. Yes, you need to hunt. Yes, you need to wear elbow pads and, the odd time, carry pepper spray. You can thank me when you find a pair of designer jeans for 60% off and there’s one left in your size. Winners.ca
  2. Facebook: I’ve joined local buy/sell/trade groups and have scored some incredible deals at a fraction of the price. Most sellers require pick up only, but because it’s local, you won’t have to go far.
  3. Thrift shopping: My favourite thing to do on my birthday? Spend an afternoon in Kensington Market. I’ve haunted that ‘hood for 30 years. From Exile and Courage My Love to Vintage Depot, the finds are one-of-a-kind. I found some of my favourite items there (Guess leather knee-high boots, “like new” for $35? Burberry trench for $85? Yes please!) If you’re skeeved out by wearing second-hand goods, just go for the Dim Sum and Vietnamese coffee.
  4. Sample sales: I used to work on a street in the west end that housed dozens of fashion distributors. About twice annually, they would release their off-season samples at ridiculously low prices. You can sign up for sample sale notices and quite literally fill your closet with high-end finds without the high-end prices.
  5. Haute Look: There’s a ton of member sites out there offering discounts on luxury brands: Zulilly.com, Overstock.com, etc. Haute Look is my favourite. It’s a veritable Nordstrom clearance rack. Premium denim, kids’ stuff, menswear and home décor (even beauty products!), this site has it all. They have an excellent return policy and all shipping is tracked. Hautelook.com