NSale Series: Prepping for the Best Sale of the Year


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The best sale of the year is arriving in two weeks, people! The best sale of the year!

One of my biggest tips for budgeting while treating your closet is knowing how to shop sales smartly. With the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale right around the corner, I thought I’d share how I personally prep for a sale! Because like most people, I can’t just wake up one morning and think, “Oh! Sale! Let me grab my wallet and spend blindly!”

First things first, let me explain the NSale.

The reason I say this is the best sale of the year is because of the quality of the products. The NSale happens in July and it features new fall merchandise at a discount for a short period of time. When I think of most sales I think of them as the products that got called last to play kick ball. It’s a little sad or there are random sizes left! The NSale has all sizes and it’s new products, so you can be sporting a new designer bag that just hit the shelves for a major steal!

Early access starts July 14th and it’s so important because pieces sell out so quickly. I stay up all night to make my post for the NSale and by 8 a.m. so many pieces are sold out! In order to shop early access you must be a Nordstrom debit or credit card holder. I have a Nordstrom debit card and it just links to my bank’s checking account, but I earn points that come in the mail as gift cards!

You can sign up for a Nordstrom debit or credit card here if you want to shop early access! I believe I signed up 2 weeks before the sale last year and got my card right in time!

Now, here’s my sale tricks!

1. Know Your Budget and Do the 50/50 Rule

First things first, set a realistic budget. I save all year for the NSale so I can buy staple pieces like denim, outerwear, handbags and jewelry for myself and things like shoes, outerwear and leather pieces for Paul. It’s also an incredible time to stock up on Christmas gifts because my mom is so hard to shop for! She has everything and I always want to splurge on her, but I also need to keep a budget in mind.

Then I take my budget and I do the 50/50 rule. As women, it’s easy to see the word “sale” and go down the rabbit hole. You end up with 14 pieces you hate, return them all and wonder, “Should I have ever shopped the sale in the first place?” I also hate returning things [some weird personal conviction thing, like I’m hurting a store by doing it! I’m so weird, I know! haha] so it just puts me in a mood and I’ll be so mad at myself for purchasing so carelessly. However, I’ve also shopped sales and only gotten practical things and felt like I really missed out on special things for my closet that I could have truly loved.

So I take 50% of my budget and buy “for sure” items. Items that are my exact size, items that I know I will love and items that I know I need. These are things like booties, jeans, coats, handbags. Then I take the other 50% and buy those, “Maybe” items. Items that may not fit just right or that seem a little bit out of my style comfort zone. These always end up being my favorite pieces because I either find a product I love or a style I learn I really like! However, if they don’t work it’s okay! And I don’t feel like shopping the sale was a total flop and I’ll go return those items.

2. Search by Designer & Price

Because pieces sell out so quickly, the NSale has a bit of a rush to it! When you shop it, be sure to narrow by Designer and price point. If you know that you love J Brand jeans, start your search with those! That fits the first part of your 50/50. Then when you are finishing out your budget, categorize by price. Nordstrom allows you to do this on their site! No sale is worth going into debt for, and even if it is a beautiful handbag, if it’s out of your budget, it isn’t worth it! I promise! I’ll shop by price so I am not even tempted by pieces outside of my budget.

3. Make a List

Before you see what is going live, make a list of products you want for fall and winter! 5 popular things I’d put on my list are:

1.Great Pair of Denim

2.Field Jacket

3.Over The Knee Boots

4.Fall Handbag

5.Cashmere Sweater

When shopping the sale, fill your cart with these items first and then go for items you could stretch your comfort zone with! Then once you see your cart and everything together, narrow down your budget by seeing if you think these items create a cohesive wardrobe. A photo of each item will be placed in your cart, so you can see if one thing just 100% isn’t you or if you maybe don’t need that extra pair of denim.

4.Think of Birthdays

Make a list of birthdays and weddings you have to finish out the year. Weddings can be so expensive and I always find that birthday dinners fall after something really pricey happens! Write those events out and see if you can maybe get one or two gifts taken care of. I love to stock up on phone cases and makeup palettes for these scenarios. The NSale always has an amazing makeup palette each year for sale and it’s the best deal!

5.Clean Out Your Closet

Clean out your closet before a big sale that way you see what fits and what doesn’t! Last year before the NSale I thought I didn’t need any denim at all! I only bought one pair of denim and they were wide-legged so I rarely wore them. After the sale was over, I realized that only 3 of my 13 pairs of jeans actually fit me! My waist had gotten smaller and I lost so much money having to buy new denim at full price. Here is my post on cleaning out your closet. I try to do this the Saturday before the sale so I’m able to make an accurate list on what I truly need!

Here are the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Dates for you to know as well!

July 14th: Early Access Begins

July 22nd: Public Access Begins

August 7th: Final Day of Sale

And in the spirit of saving money, I wanted this post to feature a look for less! I pulled pieces in my closet that aren’t in stock and equaled a pricier outfit. This skirt was around $200 as well as the shoes and it all just adds up too quickly! To save money I found some similar items that are more affordable so you can recreate it as well! 🙂

Look for Less:

Top: Chicwish [c/o] – this is the exact top and only $42!

Skirt: Nordstrom – $34

Shoes: Nordstrom – $39 [these are more exact for $80]

Bag: Nordstrom – $48 [saw this bag in person and it is so chic!]

Have you ever shopped the NSale?! What is your favorite sale of the year?!


Photography by: Angie Garcia

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  1. Jessica wrote:

    I have worked for Nordstrom the past two years and this is the first year that I can actually shop the sale with my Nordstrom card! From the retail perspective I can tell you that most of the pieces are purchased within the first few days, but eventually are returned because the sizes didn’t work out. A lot of people buy the pieces and try them on at home because the sale can be so chaotic sometimes. I worked in Denver, Colorado in the BP department and my goodness it was insane how fast we would sell down on items. But sure enough a few weeks later the items would come back in.

    I definitely agree that this is an awesome sale because it works “backwards”. The merchandise comes on sale and eventually goes up to full price. Side note: If girls sign up for the Nordstrom card on the day of they can still shop without the card. They will either receive a temporary pass or the sales associate can call in to get their card information. That should definitely not be a reason girls do not shop the sale or a worry they should have!

    Nordstrom prides themselves on customer service. It is basically engrained in me! Also, you probably know this because you have friends in retail, but Nordstrom is a commission based environment. So we appreciate you not returning clothes because it affects our paychecks!

    Published 30 Jun 16Reply
  2. Thanks for sharing this! I wait for this sale all year as well but hate to admit I’m not as good at saving for it like you! #oops You always have the best advice and I truly value and listen to your opinions. Keep it up, girl!!

    Hope you’re loving Florida!!
    xox | Tess
    Sequins are the New Black

    Published 30 Jun 16Reply
  3. Alex wrote:

    I love the skirt you’re wearing so much more! Where is that one from?

    Published 30 Jun 16Reply
    • Katey wrote:

      Hi Alex!

      It’s about 4 years old and no longer available! Xo

      Published 30 Jun 16Reply
  4. Hannah wrote:

    I am in love with this top! I actually saw it on Chicwish the other day and almost bought it! I am so excited about the sale. I definitely know I want a pair of jeans. These were great tips. Shopping the sale can be so overwhelming!

    Published 30 Jun 16Reply
  5. Roxy wrote:

    Do the Diptyque candles go on sale?

    Published 30 Jun 16Reply
    • Katey wrote:

      Hi Roxy!

      Those typically don’t go on sale, but sometimes they come in gift sets on the sale!



      Published 30 Jun 16Reply
  6. Jaime wrote:

    I picked up a bunch of fun pieces for fall last year and was so excited because I didn’t have to return anything. I stalked a pair of over the knee boots FOREVER and never was able to snag them in my size. Maybe this year! As you can tell, I’m definitely excited for this sale.

    Published 30 Jun 16Reply
  7. This skirt!! Seriously the cutest <3


    Published 30 Jun 16Reply
  8. Torey Beerman wrote:

    I definitely wait for this sale all year and get a but overwhelmed the second it opens up so thank you for sharing your tips and tricks on shopping such an incredible sale! I can’t wait 🙂


    Published 30 Jun 16Reply
  9. Torey Beerman wrote:

    I definitely wait for this sale all year and tend to get a bit overwhelmed the second it opens up so thank you for sharing your tips and tricks on shopping such an incredible sale! I can’t wait 🙂


    Published 30 Jun 16Reply
  10. Caitlin wrote:

    Love your outfit girlie, so chic! Especially that leopard print skirt! Also, thanks so much for sharing your NSale tips, can’t wait for the best sale to begin!


    Published 30 Jun 16Reply
  11. Ashley wrote:

    Awesome post! Great point about planning in advance the items you know you want or need to get! I missed the early access to the sale last year because I thought Nordstrom only had credit cards, and I hate store credit cards, but I just applied and got approved for the debit card! Yay!

    Published 30 Jun 16Reply
  12. Lauren wrote:

    Can’t wait!!! If you’re a Nordstrom debit/credit card holder, are you required to use them during the early access sale?


    Published 30 Jun 16Reply
    • Katey wrote:

      Hi Lauren!

      I’ve used Nordstrom gift cards before during the sale! I don’t believe you are required, but that may be the case!



      Published 01 Jul 16Reply
  13. Tori wrote:

    Katey, Can you do a post in saving money/financial stuff?

    Published 30 Jun 16Reply
  14. Dee wrote:

    I love this post and am excited for the sale……
    I am sure I am missing it somewhere but where is the button on you blog to go to older post like in order if i want to just read back?

    Published 30 Jun 16Reply
  15. Yes!! My sister and I discovered the NSale around the age of 16, we happened across it and the sales associate told us about it, from that day on we waited for the sale every year! We would save and use it to buy just one watch. Now that we are grown, we still wait for the sale, but we buy more than one watch haha! ….that was the start of a beautiful tradition! Thanks for sharing your tips!!

    Published 01 Jul 16Reply
  16. Mel wrote:

    Such awesome tips!! The Nordstrom sale is my version of the Super Bowl. I have been saving up!!

    Mel | http://www.thegossipdarling.com

    Published 05 Jul 16Reply
  17. Holly wrote:

    Are the Tory Burch Millers or purses discounted during this sale?

    Published 07 Jul 16Reply
    • Katey wrote:

      Hi Holly!

      I’m not able to say what is on the sale vs. what isn’t just yet! 🙂 But I’ll be sure to share soon!



      Published 07 Jul 16Reply
  18. Michelle wrote:

    Would you mind sharing who makes the skirt you are wearing? I see it’s no longer available.

    Published 13 Jul 16Reply