How to shop small on a budget

I love shopping small and supporting small businesses as much as possible, especially when it comes to baby clothes. Well, baby anything really. I mean, not only do you get unique, well made products, you also are supporting a small business. In the case of most of the small shops I buy from, they are fellow mamas working to help support their families.  There is one catch to shopping small, it can get spendy… I mean really spendy. I can buy a basic t shirt from gap or target for $5 but if I order from a small shop they could range from $10-25 (on average). Now I don’t mind paying for quality but I also have to be realistic. Here are some of my top tips for staying within budget when shopping small.


1.       Create a budget. Like I mentioned earlier, even items like basic t-shirts can get pricey when purchasing from a small business. I really did my research on how much shops sell similar items for and create a maximum amount I am willing to spend on each item. For example: I will not pay more than $25 for a romper, $12 for a t-shirt, $20 for pants, etc. Keep in mind this is the MAXIMUM I am willing to spend, most of the time I try to keep all items under $15 apiece.

2.      Do a little research (or just follow me, I'll do it for you). With budget in mind, most things I really like are more then I’m willing to spend. What can I say? I have expensive taste…I blame my mom. So I am  always keeping an eye out for good sales. Most of the small shops I purchase from, I have found through Instagram. If I find an item that I really like I will follow the link to the shops website (through the link in their bio) and see what their typical prices are. I also look through their feed to see if they ever do sales and if so for how much. (10-15% off doesn’t really cut it for me, unless the items are already within budget.) Some shops will do sales anywhere from 30% all the way up to 60% off at the end of the season to make room for new products. Holidays are also a great excuse for sales and most shops will do at least 20% off. It definitely pays to follow your favorite shops on social media. Plus, you get to see their newest inventory and I always look for how items fit on customer posts so I can gauge what size to order. I also look to see how interactive they are with their followers and what kind of feedback they get in their comments. I want to know the shop is reliable and that there is a good face behind it. 

3.       Pay attention to shipping! There is nothing worse than having something awesome in your cart and then going to pay, only to find out there is a $7 shipping fee. I also have a budget for shipping and it’s free. Ok, I’m willing to spend $2-3 on shipping ($4 if I’m getting multiple items) if it stays within my item max. I always look at the shipping charges when I’m looking at a shop’s website. This can be a make or break as to whether I decide to follow a shop or not.

4.       Search Etsy. I love Etsy!! I have found so many of my favorite shops here. You can search an item you are interested in (I typically get my inspiration from a small shop I find on Instagram but is out of my budget.) This is an easy way to filter out items by price. If I find something I like, I search the shop on Instagram to see if they have any current sales, etc. I have bought everything from air plants to baby clothes on Etsy and never had a poor experience with service or quality.

5.       Sign up for email lists. I know, I know, they’re so annoying and you already get a million emails. I have my older email setup for these types of emails and other things that I want to check occasionally but do not need flooding my regular account. But this is a great way to get discounts and early access to sales. Especially around black Friday and other peak shopping points early access can be crucial to snagging the items you’ve been eyeing forever.