Category: Shopping Tips

7 Ways to Buy Cute Clothes for Girls Without Breaking the Bank

cute clothes for girlsMoms spend more time and money buying clothes for their children than they do for themselves. The average back to school clothing expenditure per child per year is $131. That adds up!

Part of the problem is that there are so many cute clothes for girls. Gone are the oversized t-shirts and culottes of yesteryear. Girls go to school in moto jackets and tunic sweaters, chambray shirts and leather boots, and jeans in every cut and rinse available.

It’s easy to go overboard.

There are better ways to shop for your kids than succumbing to every impulse buy. Here are seven tricks for filling your daughter’s closet without going broke.

1. Borrow the Big Stuff

Some of the biggest ticket items are the pieces that only get worn once. A flower girl dress and shoes for a wedding, Christmas clothes, and snow pants. Borrowing these low-use items from another family saves you money and gives the clothes another life.

There are also places you can rent dress clothes, whether brick and mortar or online. Not only will you outfit your daughter more economically, but you also won’t have to face a wasted investment every time you open the closet.

2. Swap It Out

Reusing other people’s stuff is a great way to acquire affordable kids clothes. In the era of fast fashion, it also helps the planet by keeping clothes out of landfills.

Organize a swap among your friends or moms from sports and school. Spend a couple of weeks collecting items. Have moms drop clothes off at your house so you can sort them by size and style.

On swap day, it’s a free-for-all, and everyone takes what they need.

Keep an eye out for swaps or clothing bazaars at churches. It’s a similar concept on a much larger scale. They often have tons of gently used baby gear, too.

3. Buy Second Hand

Kid clothes can either get worn to pieces or not used much at all. Kids are picky and choose their favorites based on criteria parents don’t even consider. Shirts might get overlooked for itchy tags, pants get rejected for being too stiff.

Meanwhile, your daughter wants to wear the pilled pony dress every. single. day.

But what’s frustrating for one parent is gold for another. Those unused clothes end up at consignment shops like Once Upon A Child, where you scoop them up for a great deal. You’ll find like-new shoes, girls plus size clothing, and every Halloween costume imaginable.

You might even find a fresh replacement for your daughter’s favorite dress.

4. Shop Next Season

If you can think beyond the daily mom grind and prepare for the future, you’ll save a lot of money buying clothes offseason. Stores have to clear out seasonal stock regularly, which means you’ll save big.

Anticipate your daughter’s growth and buy jackets as they go on sale in Spring. Buy up shorts once there’s snow on the ground. Get in the habit of buying for next year at the end of every season.

Store your haul in clear plastic bins so you don’t forget what you’ve got. Make sure to label them by size and age, and switching out your kids’ closets is easier than ever.

5. Wait for Sales

Stop buying clothes at retail prices. Chances are there are similar cute children’s clothes on sale or even on clearance. You can save up to 70% sometimes.

Target has a regular schedule of sales, especially on holiday branded items. A Valentine’s sale could earn you a peplum top decorated with hearts, which can be worn long after February 14th. Sweaters with snowflakes might go on sale after Christmas but will stay in fashion all throughout winter.

Old Navy is always having store-wide sales. Stock up on essentials when they’re half-price. Always check the clearance racks. Some items get moved to clearance because they’re unworn online returns.

6. Get Less

If you buy less, you’ll spend less. It’s as easy as it sounds.

Instead of buying a pair of leggings in every pattern, get a handful of more basic styles that go with anything. Limit yourself to items that mix and match. If everything goes well together, it reduces the chance of garish, clashing kid-picked outfits.

When your daughter dresses herself, you won’t feel the need to make that disclaimer on your Instagram posts.

Get the most out of what you spend money on. You’ll get every penny out of a pair of shoes your daughter wears until they’re worn out. Invest in three good pairs: a boot, a gym shoe, and a dress shoe.

Size up on items like pajamas and jackets. They’ll last for years, and it doesn’t matter if they’re loose-fitting. Those bedtime bellies will stay covered longer, and you won’t have a stack of coats to sift through at the beginning of winter.

Spend more on neutrals that can be passed between sons and daughters. There are plenty of options all of your children will be happy to wear.

7. Go Online

Your favorite store probably has an Internet presence. You can shop for sales online to access more sizes. Sometimes stores even run exclusive discounts online.

Have the items shipped to your local store to avoid shipping fees. Many websites offer free shipping with $50 purchase.

Amazon rolled out their Prime Wardrobe service with free returns or exchanges. The selection is vast, and prices are low. You’ll have to pay attention to reviews and size charts to make sure you know what you’re getting.

The best online deals happen midweek. You can save around 40% by finding Wednesday sales. Consider setting up an Ebates account for added savings or buying coupon codes.

Websites like ThredUP sell gently used clothes at significant discounts. A search on eBay for clothes NWT (new with tags) will get you a deal on brand name clothes.

There are also wardrobe curating sites for kids, similar to Stitch Fix. You’ll get a monthly box of girls clothes put together by stylists. If you decide to keep the clothes, you’ll save 30% off list price, or you can return the items at no cost.

Get Shopping for Cute Clothes for Girls

Now that you know the tricks, shop smart for cute clothes for girls. Borrow what you can, think ahead, and don’t overbuy.

Affordable kids clothes are just the start. You can save money everywhere. Find more tips for saving money in our Frugal Living section.

Small Wedding Bands: What to Consider to Find the Right One

small wedding bandsYou’re getting married! That’s exciting news! But now you’ve got a wedding to plan. And that means that there are a million details to plan and take care of. You have to book the wedding venue, the caterer, order the invitations, and the list goes on and on.

Don’t forget the wedding band! Not the kind for your finger, silly, the one that will keep the party rocking while everyone dances the night away.

Believe it or not, there’s plenty to consider when looking at small wedding bands. After all, not all bands are the same, just as not all wedding are the same. Let’s take a look at some things to consider before booking a musical act for your big day.

Small Wedding Bands: What to Consider to Find the Right One

Are you getting married? Congratulations! Before looking for small wedding bands for hire, be sure to consider the factors here.

What’s Your Budget?

Before you starting shopping around for a band to play at your wedding, you’d better know how much money you have to spend on music. The bigger your wedding budget, the more options you’ll have. And make no mistake, good bands generally aren’t cheap. So take a look at the numbers and decide how much you have to work with.

Do Some Research

Do some research online, and then start making some calls. Talk to your wedding planner and get some references. Talk to local bars and clubs that host a lot of live music. These are great sources for finding out the names of some good local bands. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn just by calling up and asking.

Decide What Kind of Band You Want

Keep in mind that the type of music you want will have a huge impact on the energy of the party. Hiring someone to sing Frank Sinatra tunes will be much different from a party band that plays 80s hits.

Knowing the kind of music you want will make searching for the right band much quicker and easier. Some bands play a wide range of covers from a variety of styles and eras, which always makes for a great party.

Ask Lots of Questions

Once you’ve narrowed your list, it’s time to make contact. You’ve gathered a few names and numbers, so now you need to reach out and talk to them.

Before making those calls, sit down and make a list of questions. You need to find out if they have a general playlist they like to work from. Do they take guest song requests? How much do they charge and how many hours will they play for that price? How many performers are there and what do to they typically wear?

This is an important conversation and should give you a good idea of what you can expect on the day of the event. And once you’ve narrowed it down to your top two or three bands, call around to other venues where they’ve performed and ask about those experiences.

To see a great source for booking live entertainment acts check out Alive Network.

Try to See Them Perform Live Before Hiring Them

Most small wedding bands also play other events as well as regular local gigs. This is a great opportunity to hear them live before booking them for the wedding. See how they perform live, the quality of the music, how they interact with the crowd, the kind of energy they bring.

And if you can’t manage to make it to a live gig, see if you can find any live performances on Youtube, or if they have a website with video samples from live performances.

How Far in Advance Should You Book Them?

The short answer to this question is, book the band as soon as possible. A good wedding band is likely going to be in high demand and will get snapped up quickly by another event.

Once you’ve set the date for your wedding, you’ll need to book everything needed for that day ASAP. Keep in mind that venues, caterers, and entertainment options go fast, so don’t risk losing your first choice by hesitating.

The best thing to do is call the band at the top of your list and have a conversation. Let them know your intended date. This way, even if they are booked for that date, they might be able to move some things around on their schedule in order to accommodate your wedding.

Things to Consider Before You Sign the Contract

Before officially booking the band, give some serious consideration to the fact that your wedding is one of the most important days of your life. It’s a momentous event that takes lots of planning, and where many of your closest friends and family will be gathered to celebrate.

Thus it’s important to know the band you hire is going to show up as scheduled. Can you trust them? Here are some red flags to watch out for:

  • Do they offer a contract and require a deposit?
  • Are they easy to reach by phone or email or return calls promptly?
  • Do they have a high turnover among band members?
  • Do they ask any questions about the event or what you expect from them?
  • Will they bring all of their equipment or is there something you’ll be required to furnish?

Final Details to Consider

The size of the venue also impacts the band size of the musical act you book. You’ll also need to consider the layout of the room, as well as power sources the band will need to plug in their equipment.

Get The Party Started

There’s nothing better than a party with a great band, with everybody dancing and having a great time. Small wedding bands can take a memorable experience to the next level.

Wedding band costs might seem expensive, but ultimately it’s money well spent when you consider the priceless memories that will endure for a lifetime.

Click here to learn 10 essential tips for buying an engagement ring.

Engagement Rings 101: 10 Essential Tips for Buying an Engagement Ring

tips for buying an engagement ringThe average couple spends almost $6,000 on an engagement ring, making it one of the most expensive purchases you will make in your lifetime.

But too many people end up overspending on rings that aren’t worth what they paid. Don’t let a crooked jeweler take you to the cleaners.

Check out these tips for buying an engagement ring and learn to make the best selection for your budget and bride.

1. Think Classic, Not Trendy

When you are selecting a wedding ring, you have to remember that this is something that you will be wearing for the rest of your life. Don’t go for the latest trend unless it’s exactly what you want.

Choose a ring that has meaning for you won’t go in and out with trends.

2. Spend for the Right C’s

Most people know that when you are shopping for a diamond, you should pay attention to the cut, color, carat, and clarity. The nicer those are, the more expensive your ring will be.

For the average person, buying a stone with no imperfections, perfectly cut, clear, and of any carat will be out of the budget. So focus your attention on spending your money in the right areas.

The thing you should consider the most is the cut of the stone. That’s what is going to make it catch the light and give off a great shine.

Next up, you should consider the clarity. While you don’t need a perfectly clear stone, if you want a good sparkle, you need the light to reflect through it well.

Next should come the carat, you need to choose something that makes sense with your chosen setting.

Finally, you should consider the color last. To the naked eye, with a high-quality cut, most diamond color differences will be hardly noticeable.

3. Source Your Stone Properly

Jewelry can be a shady business. Between warlords with blood diamonds and shifty store owners who mark up poor products, there is a lot of opportunities for you to do business with the wrong person.

Make sure you go to a jeweler that has accreditations and good recommendations from previous couples. Also, make sure your stone has been certified and ask to see the paperwork as well as the matching inscription on the diamond.

4. Consider Your Setting First If Possible

While it’s nice to have a very high-quality stone, in actuality your setting will have a bigger effect on the overall look of your ring. Make sure you choose a setting that allows light to get in behind your diamond so that it can shine its brightest.

By choosing the stone secondarily, you can pay for one that fits perfectly into your chosen setting and use the remainder of your budget on it. The last thing you want is to buy a gorgeous diamond, only to find it won’t work for the setting style you fell in love with.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Take Your Own Path

It used to seem that every woman wanted a diamond for her engagement ring, but this day and age women feel more empowered than ever to make their ring match their personal style.

Instead of spending thousands on what you think your ring should look like, take a look around at some of the more unique options on the market. Many couples like getting wooden rings, morganite stones, rose gold, and more.

6. Don’t Get Overcharged

In a jewelry store, rings can be marked up as much as 5x the price they are worth. And unfortunately, if you get taken advantage of, there is little you can do to remedy the damage. Make sure that you take your time when you buy a ring.

Go to multiple stores and then take time at home to do your research and find out what the rings you saw that day are really worth. That way, even if you still want to buy the in-store ring, you will be on a firmer foundation to negotiate.

7. Make Sure There Is a Good Return Policy

While you hope that the ring you choose is a hit, sometimes you miss the mark and need to take it back. Be sure that the store you choose to shop at has a good return/exchange policy. While you may not want to think about that now, it’s important.

8. Choose Your Metal with Care

Most women choose to buy engagement rings in gold (white or yellow), silver, or platinum. While it’s nice to choose your metal based purely on appearance, you also need to consider your lifestyle and how durable your ring needs to be.

If you really like the look of a platinum band and are considering spending more for that metal, you may want to rethink it if you have an active lifestyle. Silver is a lot more durable of a metal and will stand up to scratches, while your platinum ring would need more upkeep.

9. Don’t Break Your Budget

Marketers have told the American public that men should spend three months of their salary on an engagement ring. But in actuality, that’s all a racket.

Spend what you can afford right now on your engagement ring and save some money for your honeymoon. The last thing you need is to go into a new marriage with a lot of debt over your head. Stay within your budget, you can always upgrade on a later anniversary.

10. Order Way in Advance

When you order a wedding ring, even if it isn’t customized, it can take a while to come in. Make sure you place your order way before you plan to have the proposal. Two months should ensure your ring arrives on time.

Summarizing Tips for Buying an Engagement Ring

When you buy an engagement ring you should order in advance, do your research, and stay on budget. Choose a quality, durable metal and don’t overthink the 4 C’s of diamond buying.

Now that you have read these tips for buying an engagement ring, you’re ready to make a purchase that rocks! (Pun intended.)

For more helpful articles, check out our blog today.

10 Things Furniture Stores Won’t Tell You on How to Save Money on Furniture

buying furnitureWant to save money when buying furniture?

Of course, you do!

Read on for 10 ways to get great deals when buying furniture!

10 Tips to Save Money When Buying Furniture

You can’t expect furniture stores to let you in on the best money-saving secrets. But, not to worry. We’ve got you covered.

Furniture can be expensive. But, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Here are tips to get the furniture you love at a price you can afford.

1. Hit Your Local Thrift Stores

Don’t count out local thrift stores just because their furniture is used. After all, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, right?

When shopping secondhand stores, look for quality name brands and durable materials. If it’s high-quality furniture, chances are it still has a lot of life left.

2. Check Out Yard Sales

You’re bound to find a bounty of great finds just by scoping your neighborhood’s yard sales. And, if you wait until the last few hours of a sale, you can usually save even more. As the clock begins to run out, hosts often will slash their already-low prices.

3. Compare Prices

Look for stores that offer a low-price guarantee. One discount furniture store Sydney even promises to beat others prices by at least 5%.

4. Money Saving Apps

There are tons of great money-saving apps available for penny pinchers. Download a few before your next shopping spree and watch the savings add up.

5. Cut Coupons

Often, you can save a bundle just by browsing online or looking through store ads for best buys before making a purchase.

Many retailers offer money-saving coupons online or in their sales paper ads that are yours for the taking. Just print or clip to save wads of cash.

6. Look for Markdowns & Discounts

Many stores have an open-box or bargain area filled with perfectly good merchandise. Sometimes, retailers may mark down returns or last season’s favorites, resulting in drastic savings for you.

7. Trade in Your Old for New

Some furniture dealers, like IKEA, will let you trade in your unwanted furniture collection to earn cash towards a new purchase.

8. Do It Yourself

Popular craft sites have made it possible for anyone to learn how to build their own custom furniture. Just check out the Pinterest site for tons of ways to create a do-it-yourself piece using practical items that you probably already have lying around the house.

9. Negotiate Prices

No matter where you score your next furniture find, you should always attempt to negotiate the price with the seller.

Negotiation skills will go far when haggling with yard sale hosts and resale shops. But, it’s a little-known secret that you can also often negotiate prices with many top-brand retailers.

10. Browse Online Resale Sites

In recent years, resale sites have taken off. Now, hundreds of resale communities have joined the likes of eBay to offer you limitless options when buying everything from kitchenware to coffee tables.

Want More Money-Saving Tips?

Once you see how much money you can save buying furniture that you love, you’ll be hooked. And, luckily, we’ve found lots of ways to save on practically everything you purchase.

Want to learn how to score even more great buys?

Check out these hot deals to save big bucks on all of your favorite brands!

Good Cheap Alcohol: How to Save Money When Buying Drinks

good cheap alcoholThe average American household spends about $565 on alcohol every year.

While that may seem like a relatively small number, it can really add up over time. This kind of splurging could be detrimental to a household’s budget. But are there any foolproof ways to save money on this particular vice?

If you’re interested in learning more ways to save money on good cheap alcohol, keep reading!

Stop Buying Name Brand Booze

One of the best money saving tips is to stop buying the more expensive, name brand alcohols.

For many of us, there’s not much of a difference between a $60 bottle of tequila and a $20. The occasional at-home margarita is going to taste just as good after a long day at work, as a top shelf beverage at a bar, right?

While it may be tempting to buy name brand, it’s not really necessary for most people. Skip it and get something a little cheaper that tastes about the same.

Buy in Bulk-But Keep This in Mind

Like most things, buying your favorite alcohol in bulk can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Big bulk stores like Costco and Sam’s Club will offer deals on alcohol that you should absolutely research before making a purchase. It’s always important to check the individual unit purchase, of course, to make sure you’re actually saving money in the long run.

Buying your favorite red wine in a box will give you more to drink and it will last longer in your fridge! Definitely a great money saving tip.

Online Shopping for Good Cheap Alcohol

One of the best parts about the internet is online shopping. We all love to do it. There’s nothing better than getting a couple packages full of goodies on our doorsteps.

Conveniently, you can now buy your favorite beers and wines online now too!

Websites like Amazon even offer pantry deals for your favorite liquor. This allows you to save anywhere from 10-15% on your monthly alcohol purchases.

If you’d like to buy red wine online, visit this site for some great pricing and unique flavors.

Make Wise Bar Decisions

It’s happened to all of us at some point in our lives.

We go out for drinks with friends, the alcohol starts flowing and…Then we wake up the next morning with an unusually high charge on our credit cards.

Saving money on liquor in the bar is one of the easiest and most effective ways to keep your alcohol costs down. Limiting yourself to one or two drinks is always a good idea when out with friends.

It’s also a good idea to stop drinking top-shelf liquors. Much like shopping for your home beverages, you probably aren’t going to notice the difference between a very expensive, high-end vodka and a lower shelf, less expensive liquor.

Need More Money Saving Tips?

Just because you want to live a more frugal lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to give up some of your favorite things.

Finding ways to save money on good cheap alcohol is going to help your yearly budget in the long run. Just remember, when grocery shopping, make sure you pay attention to sales and keep to a strict list.

Sweet Dreams on a Small Budget: A Mattress Buying Guide for Thrifty Mommas

mattress buying guidemattress buying guideMaybe you wake up tired because your current mattress is uncomfortable.

Perhaps you just want something bigger. Or perhaps you’re moving away and don’t wish to carry your old mattress along.

Whichever the case, you want to know how to choose a mattress so you can make the right decision and not pay a cent more than you need to.

A mattress is arguably the most important furniture item in your house. However, many of us pay little attention to our mattress as well as how it affects our everyday lives.

In this comprehensive mattress buying guide, we’re going to teach you how to pick a mattress without necessarily going broke. So, sit back and learn everything so you can make an informed decision.

Know Your Options

There are many kinds of mattresses on the market, but the three most common ones include memory foam, innerspring, and hybrids that fuse the two. Other fairly popular options are adjustable air mattresses.

Each kind of mattress comes with advantages and disadvantages, so it pays to get clued up on them before going to the store.

Memory Foam Mattresses

These are quite expensive but are ideal for relieving aching muscles or sore joints. However, they can be hot and not that romance-friendly.

Innerspring Mattresses

These are usually the most common and least expensive types of mattresses. They provide solid support and a broad range of firmness levels and are perfect for romantic liaisons. One drawback, though, is that they aren’t really durable.

Hybrid Mattresses

These have springs and a foam overlay. Good hybrid mattresses provide the best qualities of both innerspring and memory foam varieties, but poor models are more likely to combine the worst of both.

Air Mattresses

These mattresses let you personalize your firmness, and many allow bedmates to customize their side of the bed. However, this convenience is not for free.

Choose Your Firmness

There’s no standardized measurement of firmness in the mattress industry. This means one maker’s “firm” might be another manufacturer’s “extra firm”.

So these descriptive terms aren’t an absolute but a guideline. This is another good reason why it’s essential to actually try out a mattress before buying.

Also, a softer mattress doesn’t mean it’ll be more comfortable, or having back pain doesn’t mean you buy an extra firm model. Most of us sleep best on something that falls somewhere in between, but firmer rather than softer.

Know Your Size

You don’t have to buy the same mattress size as your current one. Perhaps you purchased a king-size mattress back when your entire family and pet got together for Sunday morning fun and cartoons.

But now the children are older and you have a new dog. You can gain considerable bedroom space by downscaling to a full or queen mattress. Or perhaps you’re moving out alone and you need something larger than a twin.

Consider your present lifestyle before going out to buy. Of course, changing the size your mattress means you’ll have to get a new headboard or even bed frame. This might be the perfect time for your bedroom makeover.

Start off with Shopping in Brick-and-Mortar Stores

You may ultimately buy a mattress over the internet. But since choosing a mattress is a matter of personal preference, no amount of research online can replace the experience of testing out a new mattress.

After settling on a mattress, do a bit of comparison shopping online.

Look for Discounts Online

If you liked a mattress in your local store, try to find it at a discount on an online store like US Mattress or Overstock. Warehouse clubs like Sam’s Club and Costco are also good options.

There’s now also a wealth of new mattress-in-a-box retailers online offering generous return policies and trial periods, as well as free delivery. Most ship the mattress to customers in a box.

It’s also vital to read several mattress reviews, like this purple mattress review, online before buying.

Try it out before You Buy

It’s awkward, we know. But you really need to lie down and try out the mattress before you reach for your credit card.

This step is far too important to skip–so give the mattress a proper try to feel its firmness. If you have a partner you share your bed with, they also need to test it out, ideally both of you together. If possible, take at least 10 minutes trying out the mattress you’re considering.

If you’re ordering online, go to a store and try out the same mattress you’re considering.

Try to Bargain

Once you’ve chosen a mattress, try to negotiate a lower price. Many businesses, including warehouse clubs, charge fixed prices and will not budge.

However, some retailers do negotiate–especially specialty chains. Their huge markups enable them to reduce prices during their regular sales.

Our suggestion: At any time of the year, insist on a price you’ve found for the model you want. And be ready to walk away if you suspect that you’re not getting a good deal.

Check Return Policies

Ensure that the retail store offers a credit or full refund toward another mattress. Different stores have different return periods, which range from 14 to 120 days. Certain retailers, including Sears and Macy’s charge a 15% restocking fee.

Certain retailers provide free transport if you need an exchange or refund, but otherwise, you’ll need to take the mattress back yourself or pay for pickup. And you’ll be liable for any damage.

Understand the Warranty

It may range from 10-25 years and only covers manufacturing faults like broken or lose coil wires and sagging. Coverage is regularly pro-rated, which means it reduces over time.

Summarizing Our Mattress Buying Guide

There is plenty to think about when looking for the focal point of your bedroom. However, your shopping experience shouldn’t be a nightmare as long as you understand what makes a good mattress and follow this mattress buying guide.

For more frugal living tips like saving money and snagging deals and freebies, please browse our blog.

A Judicious Jeweler’s Guide to Spotting Fake Jewelry

fake jewelry

You’re shopping online for the perfect gift for a loved one–or maybe even yourself. Suddenly, the perfect watch or earrings appear on the screen.

Your eyes open wide–what a fantastic price! In fact, it almost seems to good to be true.

Have you ever been in this situation? Before you pull out your credit card, you need to be sure the jewelry you’re looking at is the real thing.

Sadly, fake jewelry has flooded the market in recent years. One current scam in Ontario has taken unsuspecting buyers for hundreds or even thousands of dollars for fake gold jewelry.

Whether you’re shopping online or in a store, it takes a trained eye to spot fake jewelry. Read on to learn 6 expert tips for spotting fake jewelry that looks real.

1. Examine the Website

Let’s start with the assumption that you’re shopping for jewelry online. This is the easiest place for scammers to sell fake jewelry since you can’t physically inspect it before you buy.

If you see a great deal online, does that automatically mean it’s fake? Not necessarily, but you need to proceed with caution.

Take a good look at the website.

Are the photos high-quality? Are there any spelling or grammatical mistakes or strange wording? This is often the case with websites made in a country where English isn’t the first language.

Next, compare the price of the item to similar websites that feature the same item. Look at sites known to sell high-quality gold or silver jewelry. If you see something advertised for $20 that sells for $100 on other sites, there’s a good chance it’s fake.

Here are a few other warning signs to watch out for when shopping online:

  • Extra words in the URL such as “sales” or “deals”
  • Vague or absent contact information
  • Sites that don’t accept credit or debit card payments
  • Unclear or unstated refund policy
  • Poor reviews from other buyers

When in doubt, go with your gut. If necessary, do some research on a site like the BBB’s Scam Tracker to ensure the company is legitimate.

Remember–a deal that seems too good to be true usually is.

2. The Seller’s Reputation

Let’s consider another scenario. What if you find the watch of your dreams advertised on a site like eBay, Gumtree, or Facebook Marketplace?

True, plenty of legitimate users sell authentic jewelry on these sites. But because anyone can sign up to sell anything, you need to exercise some caution.

Your best bet is to check the seller’s reputation. Read reviews from other buyers to see how satisfied (or dissatisfied) they were with their purchase. Steer clear of any seller who received a lot of negative feedback.

Another thing to consider is the photo(s) of the item. Did the seller take a photo of the actual item he’s selling, or did he pull a stock image from Google?

A final factor to consider is the seller’s return or refund policy. It’s standard to offer anywhere from 7-14 days to return jewelry you’re not satisfied with.

If the seller lists a zero-refund or return policy, beware. Otherwise, you could end up with a piece of fake, worthless jewelry and no way to get your money back.

Because of the risks associated with buying jewelry online, many savvy shoppers choose to make their purchases in-person. Read on for some more tips to ensure you make a wise purchase.

3. Check the Hallmark

All authentic, high-quality jewelry is required by law to be “hallmarked.” This is true whether the piece is silver, gold, platinum, or palladium.

Common examples include a “stamp” of 14 Carat Gold or 950 Platinum. These stamps certify that the metal of the item is pure and authentic.

Keep in mind that scammers often “stamp” fake jewelry with such a hallmark to make it appear legitimate. They may also stamp something with the name of a known jeweler, such as Cartier or Tiffany & Co.

Take a close look at the font, spelling, and layout, as many of these stamps appear authentic from a distance. If in doubt, take the piece to a reputable jeweler for a professional opinion.

4. Check the Construction

Next, examine the actual construction of the jewelry.

If it’s a watch or bracelet, how do the links appear? Do they have a solid, uniform look, or have they been pinched together?

If the piece has a stone, such as a ring or a pendant, take a good look at the setting. Is the stone properly mounted, or is it glued in place?

These may seem like obvious points, but they’re easily overlooked at first glance.

5. Check the Stones

When shopping for jewelry, it’s vital to remember that real gemstones aren’t perfect. Even high-quality diamonds or gemstones will reveal tiny flaws when examined closely.

In contrast, fake gemstones (including cubic zirconia) are made from a mixture of plastic and glass. They often appear perfectly smooth and unnaturally shiny.

That’s fine if it’s the look you’re going for–lots of women rock costume jewelry. But beware of dropping big bucks for a shiny gemstone that turns out to be a fake!

6. Check the Paperwork

Any legitimate piece of jewelry you purchase should arrive with some certification and other documents.

Diamonds, for example, are always accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. Many jewelers also provide manufacturer details and instructions for cleaning and care.

Examine any such documents for the quality of printing as well as any spelling or grammar mistakes. Low-quality documents are a sure sign of a low-quality product.

How to Spot Fake Jewelry: Now You Know

You work hard for your money. Don’t make the tragic mistake of spending it on fake jewelry!

Before you make your next purchase, review these tips to ensure you’re buying authentic jewelry at a fair price.

Looking for more helpful beauty and fashion advice? Check out our latest posts for more money-saving tips.