A Penny Pincher’s Guide to Shopping in New York

A Penny Pincher’s Guide to Shopping in New York

Carrie Bradshaw shopping on a Hannah Horvath budget

By Caitlyn Spanner | 24th May 2016

You book your flights, organise your accommodation, pack your bags and check your bank account, only to realise you haven’t saved quite as much as you would’ve liked for your overseas trip.

That was me when I was about to fly to the Big Apple. There’s nothing more disheartening than wanting to shop like Carrie Bradshaw when you’re on a Hannah Horvath budget.

Speaking of Hannah Horvarth, look who I bumped into at the airport!

Since I knew shopping in New York was going to prove difficult with a measly few Australian dollars on my traveller card, I needed to think outside the box. So here is my loose guide to shopping in New York on a shoestring budget.

Image: HBO Girls, Giphy

Image: HBO Girls, Giphy

1. Outlet Shopping

Something I quickly discovered on my trip in New York was the crazy amount of outlet shops scattered throughout the city. Nordstrom Rack was a standout for me. I picked up a lot of essentials such as sneakers, makeup and workout gear for a fraction of the usual price. You have to be prepared to sift through the racks but you’ll definitely go away with something. Other outlet stores worth mentioning are Gabay’s Outlet and Century 21.

Image: HBO Girls, Giphy

Image: HBO Girls, Giphy

2. Outer Boroughs

If you're looking for lots of cool boutiques, Smith Street in Brooklyn is a must-visit location!

If you're looking for lots of cool boutiques, Smith Street in Brooklyn is a must-visit location!

Brooklyn was by far my favourite borough in New York thanks to its unique, laidback vibe. It doesn’t boast as many extravagant designer stores as Manhattan but that’s the beauty of it when you’re bargain hunting. You’ll come across pleasantly-priced boutiques with brands you’ve never heard of before.

3. Step Back in Time

The vintage shopping in New York is second to none. While I was there, I was lucky enough to stumble upon the Manhattan Vintage Fair, which features some of New York’s top vintage dealers. My favourite stall was held by Thriftwares, which stocked stunning vintage pieces from designers such as Chanel, Balenciaga and Celine. You can find them at the Artists & Fleas market in Williamsburg on a weekly basis. While you’re there, you’ll be overwhelmed by the eclectic mix of vendors selling pieces you wouldn’t find anywhere else in the world.

Manhattan Vintage Fair ?#thriftwares #manhattanvintageshow #nyc #vintage

A photo posted by Caitlyn Spanner (@caitlynspanner) on

Purveyors of the finest luxury vintage, What Goes Around Comes Around is another must-do! Located in Soho, it sells high-end vintage pieces and is a favourite of many celebrities.

4. Top up your makeup supply

Cosmetics are wayyyyyyy cheaper in the states. As in, you might find your favourite makeup for less than half price. I’m not a makeup fanatic but let’s just say I was on a first-name basis with the staff at Sephora by the end of the trip.

5. Time it

Visiting New York in-between seasons can be very beneficial to a fashion-loving Aussie. I visited at the end of winter, which meant SALE SALE SALE on winter clothes just in time for the Australian change of seasons. I shopped at Urban Outfitters for as little as US$10, found a gorgeous pair of boots from Barneys for a fraction of the original price and even scored some sales items from Saks Fifth Avenue.


In summary...

Image: Sex and the City, Giphy

Image: Sex and the City, Giphy


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Article by Caitlyn Spanner

Caitlyn is just your average fashion-loving, coffee-drinking, story-writing, narcissistic millennial on the eternal search for the perfect t-shirt. On weekends you'll find her hanging with mates, enjoying an ice-cold cider or strong piccolo (depending on the weather), and searching for said perfect t-shirt. She has a passion for sustainable fashion and expressing her creativity in any way she can.


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