Tips for Budget Shopping Success

Nothing is better than bragging about a good deal to friends (except maybe a good kosher pickle). But often, the process of finding that deal is excruciating. I’ve had to return so many items because they were the wrong color, size or look, so here are some tips I learned for avoiding the pitfalls of budget decor. Feel free to share your fav tips in the comments!

1. Always carry a picture, fabric swatch or paint sample. Something that will help remind you of the look you are going for. I keep mine in a ziploc bag in the front part of my purse, just in case I find a deal on my lunch break.

2. Match color. You may have jacquard, toile and paisley patterns in one room, but if you unite them with a single color the look will come together. This also makes it easier to shop, because you can keep your eye out for the color, which will free you to consider other items in varying styles.

3. Match patterns. While shopping, look around for something that matches your favorite pattern. Often, you can incorporate a new color or new accessory, just by coordinating patterns.

4. Always be on the lookout. I have a big purse. Probably too big for a 24-year-old, but I have to be prepared with my digital camera to snap a picture of a look or item I am coveting. A lot of times things are too expensive for me at the moment, but if I take a picture I can try and find a similar item on the web.

5. Good deals don’t discriminate. I found a toile trashcan ($14.98)  at a hardware store, a sleek set of modern mugs at a coffee shop ($20 for a set of 4)  and while suffering though painful hours in a quilt store with my mom (the idea of sewing makes me exhausted), I found lovely plates from Moda home ($20 for a set of six). The lesson: Always be on the lookout. Unique pieces are in unique places.