This is the best time of year to find excellent deals on winter coats for women for one simple reason – the season is just getting into full swing but most people already have coats. This means plenty of overstock sales. If you’re a smart shopper, you could be able to find a great deal on a great winter coat with very little difficulty but just in case you need a little help, I’ve put together a quick list of ten tips to help made the bargain hunting process a little easier.
05: Give yourself a strict budget.
You need to decide exactly how much you are willing to spend on a winter coat before you even start looking. You may be tempted to raise that budget as you start shopping but avoid giving in to that temptation. There are tons of sales out there that focus specifically on winter coats for women that can offer excellent deals. If you give in, you could miss out on something great. If you find something you think is absolutely perfect when you start shopping but it happens to be a bit out of your price range, see if it can be set aside for you and then move on. Keep that perfect jacket tucked away in the back of your mind and go back for it if you can’t find something cheaper elsewhere.
04: Figure out what you need and what you want.
What you need and what you want are not always going to be the same. Before you begin shopping, envision your dream winter jacket and then come up with two lists – features you want and features you need. Needs could include things like the following:
- Bulk (something to bulky may be uncomfortable for some women)
- Weather proofing
- Functionality (pockets, zippers etc)
Warmth and weather proofing will be determined by the materials used to make the jacket. If you’re in a colder climate, you’re obviously going to want a warm winter jacket. For those in warmer climates, that might not be quite as important. Bulk is an important factor to consider because it will determine how comfortable the jacket is. All of these things are important considerations when looking at winter coats for women. The things on your want list aren’t quite as important. Your want list may include:
- Designer/Brand name
The best winter coats for women will combine the best of both worlds. They’ll be warm, comfortable, functional and stylish. Shopping on a budget doesn’t necessarily mean cutting out the wants but it may mean compromising on them. You might not be able to get the exact color you want but you should still be able to find something that is visually appealing while still being useful.
03: Hit up department stores in early to mid January.
Department stores are starting to try to clear out their winter fashion stock by the end of January. This is a great time to look for great deals on winter coats for women. Try out a few different stores to see what they have to offer. If you don’t really see anything, don’t be shy. Ask someone on the sales staff if they know of any upcoming sales. Not all sales associates will be willing to help but many of them will. You’ll never know unless you try. I’ve found some associates are wonderfully helpful (some have even offered to hold items for me until the sale) while others aren’t. It just depends on who you get or, in some cases, what kind of day the person is having. Be polite and friendly. Don’t gripe about the marked prices. You catch more flies with sugar after all.
02: Don’t be afraid of thrift stores or used clothing stores.
There are few better places in the world to find great clothes at great prices than thrift or used clothing stores and I’m not just talking about deals on winter coats for women. I love thrift stores. A fair percentage of my wardrobe consists of clothes bought second hand. The prices can’t be beat by major chain stores and the clothes are often very high quality. Before you buy your winter coat though, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
- Check the entire garment for rips and tears, paying special attention to the lining.
- Test all zippers, snaps and buttons.
- Check the outside of the garment for stains.
- Check the seams for signs of wear.
If you choose to go the thrift store route commit a bit of time to your search. Find a list of all the thrift stores in your area and visit them all. Most stores set aside a specific day for putting out new stock. Ask when and come back bright and early the day new stock hit the shelves so you can get your pick. If you establish a regular relationship with the store, they’ll sometimes let you take a peek at what’s going out before anyone else gets the chance to. Sometimes it pays to be nice to people. Remember that. If you’re looking to really get a good deal, find out whether or not any of the stores in your area buy clothes (some only take donations). Go through your old clothes and take them in to sell. You can take the total they’re going to give you for your clothes off the price of your jacket. If you’re lucky, you may be able to trade a pile of clothes you don’t wear anymore for a new winter coat.
01: Shop online!
Shopping online is a great way to save money on stylish winter coats for women. When I’m in the market for a new winter coat, my first stop is eBay. To be honest, whenever I’m looking for a new anything the online auction site is my first stop. Here are a few tips for smart shopping on eBay:
- Check feedback: people give feedback for a reason. If a seller has had a number of transactions and the majority of the feedback is positive, you should feel pretty confident doing business with that seller.
- Read the item description carefully: this is especially important when buying clothing. Check sized or check for any mention of damage to the jacket you’re interested in. If there’s a small tear in the left sleeve, check for a picture of that tear. If there isn’t a picture, move on to the next jacket. That “small tear” could be much bigger than the seller would have you believe.
- Watch the shipping cost: some eBay auctions offer free shipping. That is almost never the case with a bulky but not enormous item like a winter jacket. Read the shipping information. If the item itself is cheap enough, it can be worth paying a higher shipping price but do yourself a favor and take the time to figure out whether you’re actually getting a deal. If you can buy the same jacket in a local store for a dollar more than what you’d pay for it on eBay with shipping factored in, save yourself the wait time and just buy it in the store.
These days, Facebook is also becoming a great option for shopping with Facebook auction pages becoming more and more popular. I recently purchased a gorgeous Old Navy jacket through a local Facebook auction and paid only $2. Check for auctions happening in your town to save yourself shipping costs. There’s always a chance you’ll be out bid but if you pay attention to the auction and keep bidding, it’s likely you’ll only pay a fraction of what you’d pay for the same item in store if you win.