Budget Shopping with Snubnose


I used to be the queen of budget shopping during my college days in Chennai. The place where I lived – Besant Nagar was and still is surrounded by export reject stores. Export reject? What’s that? These are stores that specialize in selling goods that have been rejected by big-name brands that get their clothes manufactured in India.

This means that you get labeled goods, which have only a minor defect – a stitch dropped, or incorrect sizing for rock-bottom prices.

I could walk into a shop with a Rs.100/- (less than 2 USD) note in my hand and walk out with 2-3 clothes that were better quality than what we could get in the big-name shops. I still have a pair of shorts that I picked up during my college days for Rs.20/- (30 cents). I used to live in those shorts during the Chennai summers, and still have it. It has aged better than me, I have to say 🙁 .

The thing though is this worked during the days when I was rail thin and when anything I picked up looked good on me. These days, sadly that is not the case. In addition, export reject shopping requires a lot of time and patience – going through bins, looking for sizes, searching for combinations, these days I just don’t have the energy.

However, this weekend I made an exception. Snubnose and I were meeting friends for lunch, when someone mentioned a teeny, tiny little store off Ali Azkar Road that had the most incredible bargains. Immediately, my bargain-shopping antenna went up and all of us made plans then and there to visit this place post lunch.

The shop called T2T was actually a small house filled with box fulls of stuff and once I entered I realized I really have gotten out of the habit of bargain basement shopping. There was just so much stuff to sort through. I also realized that I wouldn’t fit into even a quarter of those clothes there.

So very sensibly I shifted the focus to Snubnose, and it was so much fun. Practically everything she tried on looked perfect on her. With great difficulty we edited our haul to just these 4 things, and stumbled out into the sunlight a bit dazed with our unexpected shopping.

Budget shopping - so much for just a little expense

Budget shopping – two frocks, a skirt and a pair of shorts for just a little expense

This crazy little place also had crates of mangoes for sale, which meant that all the clothes we got smelt of ripe mangoes. We really had to give the clothes a good wash at home to avoid Snubnose smelling like a ripe fruit.

So were the rates as reasonable as they used to be? Of course not, with inflation and all that, the prices weren’t rock-bottom but it was much cheaper than stuff in the regular stores. Also, the styles are more subdued – not the shiny, glittery, sequined, and branded things that make Snubnose look older than she actually is.

Just look at the detail in this butterfly print below – so sweet and innocent.

Close-up of the butterfly print

Close-up of the butterfly print

We had a great time. Do you love budget shopping? Which are your favorite haunts?

  • Katy Blevins

    It’s strange! I do this non-stop for my kiddos, but never for me! I really need to dig in and check out some budget hot spots for my own wardrobe! Thanks for linking up with the #smallvictoriessundaylinky! You have been pinned to the group board!

  • I’m TERRIBLE at budget shopping. I definitely lack the patience of rummaging through the bins, etc. What I do try to do is buy the clearance items at the end of winter/summer for The Girl a size up from what she’s wearing now. The problem is that she’s almost four and still wearing sizes designed for a large two year old…

  • Avada@ashscerebrations.com

    Haven’t done budget shopping in the past, but looking at snubnose’s haul, looks totally worth it. I loved the print too.

  • Some great new clothes! I hope your daughter loves them – well, she should! When clothes are very cheap we sometimes worry about them being made by children in bad conditions. I must say, I don’t always make sure the shop I buy from gets its clothes from a “good” place, but I know I should. Do you think about this?

    • Nishita

      @JudithLeeswammes:disqus I would worry about it if I knew that money spent on expensive clothes actually goes back to the factory or the laborers but I don’t see that happening not in India anyway.

      I must also add that I don’t know what the conditions of the workers were in Bangladesh, but here the conditions are not too bad. In fact, whole towns thrive because of the money that is made through this. If these towns lost their cost advantage, then the people there would be in even worse shape.

      It’s pretty complicated!

  • The Bride

    I’m 50-50 on budget shopping. As you said, it’s hard now that one doesn’t easily fit into everything. Also, I prefer the experience of shopping in an air-conditioned environment where everything is nicely ironed and hanging on rails.

    But there’s something to be said about the excitement of a good bargain and the amount you can buy as a result. These export surplus places also suit me because one doesn’t actually have to bargain – they have a set price, which is cheap. I hate bargaining so this is win-win for me.

    Like you, I’ve mostly shifted to kids clothes in the budget shopping department. My favourite place to do this is Hill Road in Bandra, Mumbai. The clothes are dirt cheap anymore, and the sellers won’t bargain much, but they have really cute things which are a steal for their design and quality. I’ve also picked up a couple of things for myself which worked out very well.

    • Nishita

      @The Bride: oh, yes, the pleasures of AC, and proper changing rooms, and decent lighting. Honestly, I can’t do export reject for myself anymore, heck, I can’t even bother with proper shops. It’s mostly online for me these days.

      But for kids, export reject stores are awesome.

  • dreamzandclouds

    I love budget shopping too (who does not right?) 😛
    And I love Snubnose’s haul of the day 🙂

    • Nishita

      @dreamzandclouds: it’s awesome right :), I was just sighing at those pink shorts and striped skirt. Too bad, I no longer look presentable in such short stuff 🙁

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