Frugal Shopping Tips

As an Asian girl there’s nothing we like better than shopping except for getting a great deal when we go shopping.  We may spend big money on big cars and big houses, but when it to everything else, honey we know there’s a deal to be had.  From free warranties on electronics to $170 worth of free makeup, here’s my list of frugal shopping tips for shopping in Vancouver.


European Fashions for Less than $50

Yes please.  Armadillo Boutique is the only place I shop for clothes because unlike chain stores that give thousands of women the opportunity to look alike, Armadillo’s European fashions are unique and are made for real women and not 90 pound toothpicks. You’ll also find plenty of clothing and shoes under $50 especially when they hold mad 80% off sales where I scored a winter coat for $30  The only bad thing about Armadillo is that co-owner Fay Yamamoto-Jensen (the other co-owner is her husband Lee) has a good eye for fashion and will dress you from head to toe so you’ll find it hard to leave without buying every fabulous outfit she finds for you.….

What’s Your’s is Mine

Shopping at second hand stores and designer consignment requires a lot of time and patience as it’s hit and miss to not only find something you want to buy, but to find it in your size. But when you find that steal of a deal it makes it all this effort worthwhile.  So the following are my favorite second hand stores:

  • I’ve bought quite a lot of clothes and shoes at My Sister’s Closet which is located close to Yaletown.  Proceeds go towards a good cause – Battered Women’s Support Services and they accept donations.
  • If you happen to be in Steveston, then drop by Bon Retour as I’ve managed to buy Joseph Ribkoff dresses for less than $60, linen dresses for $40 and more.
  • Turnabout has been around since 1978 and has five locations. Their Granville location has more high end designer fashions and when stock at that location doesn’t sell, it goes to the Kitsilano location for lower prices. My big finds here were a silk Escada jacket for $150 and a long grey suede jacket with a mink collar for $80.
  • Second Suit is another consignment store that is chock full of designer finds not only for women but for men. I’ve bought fabulous suits and dresses here.  So I drop in every once in a while when I’m in Kits..
  • I used to live a block away from the Value Village on Kingsway where I managed to find Simon Chang jackets and long leather coats for less than $40 because I only shopped on their 50% sales which usually happens every two months or less. If you sign up to be a Club Member, you can shop the sales a day early. Subscribe to their newsletter to find out when the sales happen.

Frugall Shopping Tips3$30 winter coat from Armadillo Boutique on Boxing Day 2016

Better than Boxing Day Sales

Everyone rushes out on Boxing Day, thinking that is the best day of the year for the greatest discounts.  Wrong. .Boxing Day sales stores usually offers 50% or less discounts but in January when everyone has no money and the malls are deserted, that’s when the retailers are desperate and so they offer an additional 30% off the 50% which makes it a great sale, Other dates for sales are as follows.

  • Buy winter boots in March or April as they are always the cheapest after winter is almost over, although I did manage to buy a pair for only $49 in July from Naturalizer..
  • The best deals for summer clothes are in July.
  • Chocolate Easter eggs go on sale for half price on Easter Monday;
  • Halloween candy goes on sale 50% the morning of Halloween;
  • Designer purses such as Guess and Nine West.are 60% off at the Hudson’s Bay starting the second or third week.  Check each Monday in January as they literally fly off the shelves at these cheap prices. I bought a blue floral Guess purse for $32 and a black stud  Nine West crossbag for $42..
  • Aritzia has their warehouse sale at the end of August.  I usually post a blog post on this on this site..
  • The Army & Navy has their huge shoe sale in April
  • Get new brand name runners for $6 during 50% sales at Value Village.  You can tell by the treads if they’ve been worn.
  • Subscribe to your favorite retailers’ newsletters to be the first to know when they offer sales.


Designer Sample Sales

If you love your brand names but don’t want to pay the big designer prices, then ;you’ll love the following:

  • Winners is one of those stores that is a hit and miss although on my last visit athree months ago in April 2017, I noticed  lot of Betsy Johnson purses than $50
  •  the  Sample Sale Guys as they organize a huge sale of all your favorite designer fashions about three to four times a year.  Subscribe to their newsletter to find out when their next sample sale is happening.
  • Subscribe to I Love Sample Sales as you’ll get an email about 4+ times a month listing ample sales from yoga wear,, ski clothing, shoes and more.
  • Beyond the Rack is an online site that slashes prices off designer brands of clothes, purses shoes, sunglasses and more. Sign up to be a member (free) and you’ll get emails when they slash prices
  • If you haven’t heard of ebay then you must be hiding in a nuclear shelter.  There you can buy whatever designer fashion you want from sellers, but it’s a buyer’s beware market and what you see in the photos posted isn’t necessarily what you get.

Clothing Swaps

Clothing swaps are better than consigning your gently worn clothing to second hand stores because you don’t have to wait for your items to be sold before being compensated. Instead, you have an opportunity to swap your item for another.  The following are some notable swap events:

  • The Burnaby Youth Sustainability Network has a Summer Swap every year where you purchase a ticket for $8 submit your clothes at a certain time and then return to the event to take home as many clothes as your want.
  • The Young and the Restless Clothing Exchange is a consignment store that sells clothes and shoes and allows people to bring in their gently worn clothing for cash on the spot or will be given a swap card to use at any time.


Frugal Shopping Tips4$170 worth of makeup redeemed from Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum Points

Free Makeup

There are only two ways (as far as I know) to get free makeup.

  • I’ve gotten plenty of free lipsticks from Back to M-A-C Program 0 by bringing ix empty containers to a MAC counter or MAC store to get  free lipstick (except for the VIA Glam lipstick/gloss).
  • Whenever I reach the maximum Optimum Points for Shoppers Drug Mart which is 95,000 with a cash value of $170, I redeem it for expensive makeup such as Stila and Urban Decay at the South Granville location.  Note that different locations of Shoppers Drug Mart carry different makeup brands.
  • Sign up to be a Beauty Junkie on Urban Decay’s website to get rewards when you shop that ca be applied towards future purchases.
  • Sign up to be a Beauty Insider on Sephora to get rewards towards future purchases.  On your birthday you get free samples with a purchase.


Get Paid to Shop Online

You’ve probably seen the TV commercials for Ebates where you get money to shop. Well I signed up since Amazon is one of the retailers listed that I shop at. The cash back wasn’t a big amount as it was only 4% but hey, if you shop enough, the pennies will start to add up.



Get Free Stuff from Shoppers Drug Mart

When Loblaws bought Shoppers Drug Mart, they added more groceries and introduced the Optimum Rewards which I love as I’ve used it to get $170 worth of free makeup.  Yes you heard me right – free!  Here’s how to accumulate points quickly:

  1. Download the Shoppers Drug Mart App and input your account number;
  2. Click on the app each day to see new offers;
  3. When you see  “Spend $___ (amount changes each time) and get 20X the Optimum Points” offer on app download it to your account;
  4. Go through the other offers to find products that also offer 10X 15X or 20X points and download that offer to your account;
  5. .or example if Bevita Cookies (10 points) have a 20X offer that’s 1,000 points times the 20X which gives you a grand total of 4,000 points. But when you load  two or three products that have a 20X offer, the points add up significantly and I usually average between 10,000 – 12,000 points every time I shop;
  6. Don’t redeem your points until  you reach 95,000 points as the higher the points, the better the rewards.  I redeem my maximum 950,000 ($170 value) for expensive makeup that I normally can’t afford;
  7. Shoppers also has special weekends where if you redeem 95,000 ($170), you get a extra $30;
  8. Some Shoppers Drug Marts have flt screen TVs in the back so you can hone ahead to reserve one for your points.  But beware that if the TV is on sale for $230, you can only use 95,000 points ($170). .

Loyalty and Reward Programs

If you have favorite retailers, it pays to join their loyalty programs because you will be rewarded the more you buy.  Some of my favorite loyalty programs are as follows:

Amazing Amazon

You’ll never have to leave your house ever again to shop because Amazon has everything imaginable that you can buy from men in speedos wine charms, kitchen bakeware and more.  And did you know they’re listed on Ebates so you can get cash back for shopping.  The one thing I do like is that if you shop a lot, then you can join Amazon Prime which gets you free shipping..

Extended Warranties for Electronics

My friends ask me why I buy extended warranties for electronic device when there is already a manufacturer’s warranty of one year.  Well time and time again, I’ve had my iphones and computers malfunction after the manufacturer’s warranty has run out year and if I hadn’t bought an extended warranty, I would have been out of pocket for a new device. That was before I got the VISA Avion credit card.  This credit card doubles the manufacturer’s warranty and covers everything under the original warranty.  All you have to do is pay for the repair, call the warranty department of VISA and then submit the repair receipt and VISA statement that proves you paid for the device on VISA.  Did I mention its free.



Editor in Chief of Fabulously Frugal in Vancouver.

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  1. Silas Knight    

    You’ve got some great tips for shopping with a budget. My wife loves to shop, but I admit she’s normally really good at sticking to her budget. I’ll be sure to tell her all of the sales you mentioned here, like buying winter boots in the spring/summer. She’ll want to try those out.

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