Like most college students on a budget, most of my money goes toward school tuition, school supplies, gas, and food, which leaves me with little to no money for pleasure activities such as my favorite, treating myself to new clothing every other week. However, I don’t let my limited budget stop my shopping habits. Despite limited funds, I have found a way to still shop regularly and you can too. Here are my five places I recommend you to shop while on a college budget: 

Despite limited funds, I have found a way to still shop regularly and you can too.

New York & Company

Founded in 1918, New York & Company offers a little bit for every type of girl because of their Soho and 7th Avenue Suiting Collections, which are currently on shelves in their stores. A reason why New York & Company is worth at least a window shop is their constant deals running in their stores. For example, I bought three identical shirts in different colors for $5.99 each from their Soho collection. Pretty much every week, the store has a new deal and new products on sale ranging from $1.99 to $50.00. Another great aspect is that each clothing piece usually comes in multiple styles, meaning shoppers can bundle and buy something that fits well in many colors.

TJ Maxx and Ross

Put into one section, TJ Maxx and Ross have similar store concepts: each store carries a little bit of every brand (such as Ralph Lauren, IZOD, NIKE, and American Eagle) for a discount price (TJ Maxx is typically a little bit more expensive, has more variety, and also better quality clothing.). In addition, they offer more than just clothing and accessories, making them both more of an independent department store. Why TJ Maxx and Ross are constant stops for me is that they save me from spending big dollars at the mall in chain department stores while also helping me get basic buys all in one place. I can also buy stuff for my dorm (aka bedroom because I commute) for a relatively reasonable price. Recently, I went to both places, spent roughly $60, and bought four pairs of lounging pants and two light jackets.


Another one of my top places to shop on a budget is Aeropostale. Although Aero is typically labeled as a tween and teen store, Aero is perfect for twenty-somethings as long as they avoid buying anything with the big “AERO” across the chest. Plus, since Aeropostale’s recent file for bankruptcy, the brand has actually updated most of their stores away from their tween and teen vibe making most of their locations now factory stores and more similar to a New York & Company, GAP, Old Navy, or H&M. As a previous employee at Aeropostale, I frequently saw great products come and go that all ages bought. In addition, the not discounted prices at Aeropostale are also reasonable. For instance, skinny jeans at Aeropostale run around $20 even, and they are identical to the $40 jeans at American eagle. It is almost as if Aeropostale is the BOGOF of American Eagle. One of my purchases lately that were too great was two pairs of skinny jeggings and a tank top for $21 totally on clearance.

Goodwill/Thrift Stores

My last stop to shop on a budget is Goodwill and other thrift stores (This could also include used clothing apps such as eBay, Vinted, and Poshmark.). Although used clothing may be a turn off for some, others have caught on to the value and trend of thrifting. For me, I try to check out my local thrift shops for a variety of items. From my experiences at thrift shops is that although the prices may vary by store location, usually everything is priced less than $10, except for name brand purses. In addition, most thrift stores do weekly specials where everything is half off! In this past year, I bought three pairs of Sperry’s at my Goodwill for $10 total, and just this past week I bought a Summer 2015 Vera Bradley collection purse and wallet for $21.00 total. After buying the purse, a hipster, I priced it on the Vera Bradley website and it was still priced at $42. I saved $27 on a bag somebody may have used a lot but was still in perfect condition.

Although some stores and company chains are limited to specific areas of the country or world, these five places can be found mostly everywhere, which makes them accessible to most students like me who are on a budget. Even though college is expensive and clothing should not be a priority, I recommend clothing shopping. Not only is clothing shopping considered a form of relaxation, retail therapy, but clothing shopping can also update your campus style and raise your overall confidence, all while staying within a limited budget if done right.

066b13_68fc36bad91f4317a64dd42110ca5205-mv2Ashley is a senior in college at the University of Pittsburgh (Johnstown) triple majoring in Communications, Writing, and Multimedia & Digital Culture. During her free time, she can be found helping out with her hometown sports teams, attending sporting events #steelers #panthers #pirates & #penguins, or writing for The Tab & Odyssey. You can connect with Ashley at her website, Tumblr, Linkedin, or Twitter.


5 thoughts on “5 Places to Shop on a College Budget

  1. I love shopping for fabric at thrift stores. I have a sewing machine, which I use to make my own clothes!

    I get my food from Aldi’s, and basic kitchen supplies from Target or the Dollar Tree.


  2. Another great place to shop is Plato’s Closet always find good deals there and designer too. Especially, if you want to clean out your closet and make some easy cash sale your clothes and keep it for gas money or food or spend it and buy fashionable clothes. They have everything from clothes, purses, shoes, accessories and men clothes. Check it out you will not be disappointed.


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