It’s no secret that I have a slight major obsession with shopping for clothes. Mostly clothes for my kids, truth be told, though I’m proud that I’ve also made a point of investing in quality clothes for myself over the past couple years. I guess I got sick of them being so much better dressed than me. In any case, it’s simply not possible to buy every style I want when I spot it, so I have to be smart about what I buy and when to make it work in our budget.

I’m excited to team up with H&R Block to spread the word about the Emerald Prepaid Mastercard while sharing  tips for getting the look for less and the best emerald style for the whole family.

The Look for Less

It is through years of intense shopping practice that I can share five tips for getting your favorite looks for less.

1. Avoid impulse style purchases. 

This is easier said than done, I know. And, it is admittedly easier for me because we don’t have the temptation of shopping malls and Target and racks upon racks of clothes to thumb through. Approach in store shopping as a form of research. Use the time to identify looks you like and pieces you want to track online.

2. Create a Pinboard to watch favorite styles.

Pinterest is great for finding new nearly impossible crafts and tasty dinners, but it is truly your virtual pinboard. Create a board of styles you want to buy and use the board for practical purposes rather than inspirational. Check the board every week or every couple of days to see if the items you’re watching have been marked down. Or, when you get notice that your favorite store having a sale or offering a discount code refer back to your pinboard to purchase things you truly want rather than impulse purchases.

3. Never pay full price.

This tip may seem obvious, but it bears repeating. If you pay attention to your favorite styles and your favorite stores, there is no reason to pay full price for any fashion, ever. Many stores offer discounts for simple things like signing up for a newsletter or following on social media. And, of course, once you’re receiving the newsletter and keeping up to date on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram you’ll never miss notice of a sale.

4. Shop designer collections at discount stores.

One of our favorite trends in fashion is designer collaborations at affordable stores. For example, you’ll find Lauren Conrad and Vera Wang at Kohl’s. The limited edition designer collections for Target are a great way to get hot designers’ duds for a fraction of the cost. Now there are even baby and children’s designs by celebrities and designers.

5. Shop after holidays.

While it may not be as cool on adults, we love dressing our kids for each holiday. If you do, too, plan ahead and shop after the holiday. There’s no doubt, the best time to stock up on the emerald St. Patrick’s Day themed clothes is after St. Patty’s Day. Even more exclusive stores that don’t readily mark down items will be eager to free space for the next holiday collection. Don’t worry, as babies grow into toddlerhood, it’s much easier to estimate the clothing size a year in advance.

Kate – The Shopping Mama’s pin on Pinterest.


Emerald Style Board

Okay, so Pinterest may not be the best thing that ever happened to my free time, but we are willing to over look the fact that it is a huge time suck because it is such a great organizing and inspirational tool. And this is certainly true when it comes to style and fashion. Inspired by St. Patrick’s Day, the H & R Block Emerald Card and the green money we like to save, we put together an Emerald Style for Less Pinterest board.

Follow Kate – The Shopping Mama’s board family style // emerald for less on Pinterest.

The Emerald Card Advantage

So now that you’ve got some ideas for how to spend less on the clothes you want, we have another great idea from the folks at H & R Block. The prepaid Emerald Card is a great told to help you stay on budget. It’s simple: add money from payroll or a linked checking account, shop (and earn instant cash rewards at some stores), and when you reach your spending limit you’re finished shopping. We like the idea of loading a style budget for every season or every month and using the Emerald Card to keep you accountable.

Quick Emerald Card Facts

  • The Emerald Card works year-round and there are no fees to get a card
  • You can easily add money and avoid check cashing fees with Direct Deposit of your payroll, unemployment or government benefits and have immediate access to your money on payday
  • You can send funds from linked checking accounts directly to your card and use it anywhere Debit MasterCard cards are accepted
  • H&R Block Emerald Cash Rewards gives you instant cash rewards offers at your favorite stores. All you have to do is shop with your card. No coupons to cut, or points to track – ever
  • You can keep track of your account 24/7 using our online and mobile tools — your money is FDIC insured up to $250,000, and the U.S. MasterCard Zero Liability policy protects you from unauthorized purchases, theft and fraud.

Win! A $200 Gift Card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

H&R Block has asked me to help promote the Emerald Prepaid MasterCard. The prize was provided and may be shipped to the winner by H&R Block, but all opinions expressed in the post are my own and not those of H&R Block. Entrants must be 18 or older and located in the US only. No purchase necessary in order to win prize. Winner to be chosen at random.



Kate started The Shopping Mama™ in January 2009 when, after graduating law school, she traded in online legal research and writing for locating the best products for children. She shops for three kids ages 8, 6 and 3 from their home in Japan. Her military family is making the most of back-to-back overseas assignments by traveling every chance they get.

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  1. 1.
    Melissa M

    I shop the after season clearance sales

  2. 2.
    Amanda Sakovitz

    I love shopping the clearance racks for great deals!

  3. 3.

    When I find something I like, I never pay full price. I keep my eye on it until it goes on sale or gets marked down.

  4. 4.

    Clearance sales are always great…. keep an eye out for big sales… and I’ve found some awesome finds at thrift stores.

  5. 5.

    Shopping sales and using coupons!

  6. 6.
    Beth W

    Thrift shops are my way to save on complete looks. You can find great deals and most of the time when you buy it supports an even greater cause.

  7. 7.
    Lisa Brown

    i buy during sales and on discount racks; use coupons whenever i can

  8. 8.
    Mary Happymommy

    I shop off-season to get the best deals.

  9. 9.
    Janet W.

    My strategy is to always shop the clearance racks and try to use coupons whenever possible.

  10. 10.
    Wild Orchid

    I often shop at thrift stores and clearance racks to find items at rock bottom prices.

    Thanks for the chance to win!
    wildorchid985 AT gmail DOT com

  11. 11.
    Sonya Morris

    I shop online and sales when I can.

  12. 12.
    Denise L

    I like to buy used gift cards from my favorite stores, sometimes at big discounts. Then I combine those with sales and/or cash back sites like Ebates or Shop at Home.

  13. 13.
    courtney b

    i usually try to find things on ebay first…

  14. 14.
    Julie Wood

    I use coupons to get discounts and money back and shop off the clearance racks to get the best deals!

  15. 15.
    Tammy S

    I like to shop the clearance racks, use coupons and watch for sales.

  16. 16.

    I usually try to find clearance items, or I try to find coupons for my purchases! That is how I get the look for less!
    Thank you for the giveaway!

  17. 17.
    Jennifer T.

    I shop off season when I can. I try to buy only if I have a coupon or discount.

  18. 18.

    I shop clearance racks!

  19. 19.

    I shop on sale days like Day after Thanksgiving in order to save money on the clothes I buy.

  20. 20.
    Julie Lynn Bickham

    To shop around to find the best deals!

  21. 21.
    ellen ross

    Shop the sale rack and reuse what i already have by layering

  22. 22.
    julie rmr

    I shop off-season, online. e You can get some great deals that way!

  23. 23.
    Thomas Murphy

    I shop the clearance racks.

  24. 24.

    eBay! I’m always surprised when mamas don’t use it.

  25. 25.

    I shop the clearance rack & use coupons.

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