Minding My Money: How I Transitioned from Employee to Grad Student

Photo Credit: Geert Reitzema via Compfight cc

When I first relocated back to Washington, D.C., I was gung ho about being a frugalista.

And I’ve got to admit, making the transition from a fashion-loving full-time employee to a penny-pinching grad student has been an adventure–and then some!

As I reach my one-year anniversary of living in the nation’s capital, here are five frugal shopping habits that got me through the past twelve months.

1. Marshalls & T.J. Maxx


These sister stores, part of the TJX Companies, have been a life saver. Marshalls was a godsend when I was furnishing my apartment. From kitchen utensils to cushions for my couch, I found just about everything I needed. I’ve had the same kind of luck at T.J. Maxx where I find all my fave beauty brands like The Body Shop, Joico and Mizani.

2. Nordstrom Rack


I’m a huge fan of Nordstrom–when I’m earning a monthly paycheck! So the department store’s budget-friendly alternative, Nordstrom Rack, has been a delight to shop. I’ve scored deep discounts on everything from Neutrogena products to NYX cosmetics to designer clothing every time I’ve visited.

3. Retail Me Not


The Retail Me Not website and app taught me that bargains aren’t only found at self-proclaimed discount stores. I especially love this tool because it shows me where the best sales and promotions are, based on my location, and because it has a great balance of mainstream and less-known brands.

Fear not, it’s available for both Apple and Android users.

4. Target 


Target–always a favorite–has been like a second home. (No, I’m not kidding).
It’s where I get everything at great prices: groceries, stationery, cleaning supplies, home decor, clothing–and the list can go on and on. It also helps that the store is open super late, which fits with my crazy student schedule.

And here’s a tip, for a further discount on Target purchases, check out the REDcard and save an extra 5% when you shop. Also, sign up for mobile coupon alerts here. Every penny counts!

5. Ulta


A girl’s gotta have her beauty products. And here’s what I love about Ulta: it seems like there’s always a coupon or promotion available.

Just visit their Special Offer Center and you’ll see what I mean. Plus, the store has a Rewards program that pays back and makes shopping at Ulta even more worthwhile.

Now tell me, what are some of your favorite frugal-friendly places to shop?

2 thoughts on “Minding My Money: How I Transitioned from Employee to Grad Student

  1. All of these stores (websites/apps) are my go-to places! I check them before I go anywhere else :). You better add Hautelook to the list and MyHabit (from Amazon) ;)


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s