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Buying On A Budget

With an unsettled economy, budget living has become a priority for many. In fact, it's even a buzz-word among style mavens.

Thanks to a host of new magazines, cheap-chic TV programs, and a handful of designers, such as Todd Oldham and Michael Graves, who have signed on with discount retailers, it's easier than ever to find style at a bargain.

To get the most bang for your buck at a discount retailer, Christy Ferer has some supersaver tips for The Early Show.

Ferer says to consider quality only if you want the item to last a long time, such as a sofa or a classic blazer. If you are buying accessories or something trendy, you can skimp on quality.

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Ferer also suggest having a point of reference when shopping. Flip through your favorite fashion magazines or browse in high-end home stores to identify items you like and what they cost. When you hit Target, Wal-Mart or Kmart, you can try to duplicate your favorite looks for less.

Here are a few items Ferer featured on The Early Show on her visit to a Target store in Queens, N.Y. Similar prices may be found at other discount stores. The point of reference is a higher-priced version of the same look.

Point of Reference Items

Iron Nesting Tables, $59
Point of Reference: LL Bean; Gracious Home
Nesting tables are a timeless, furniture staple, so you want them to be well made. The set of three is made with real iron and glass and is a steal for its price.

Beanbag Chair, $19
Point of Reference: Pottery Barn
Beanbags are current home décor. This is vinyl, cheap chic, a smart use of your money, as you're likely to throw it into a room for effect, not as a timeless presence.

Lion and Tiger Prints With Bamboo Frame, $45
Point of Reference: Any print shop
Walk into any print shop and it's tough to get even a frame for $45. This includes print and frame. The wild animal design is a knock-off of a famous German print.

Silver Lamp, $24
Point of Reference: Any contemporary museum shop
Architect Michael Graves signed on with Target and his name is synonymous with good quality. His lamp is a lot for the money.

Alarm Clock, $14.99
Point of Reference: Any modern museum shop
The alarm clock is also by Michael Graves. It has sleek wood and stainless steel accents, and is a total steal.

Woolrich Pillows, $29
Point of Reference: Ralph Lauren home
If you love that Aspen-inspired, cabin-in-the-woods look you see in Ralph Lauren ads, this pillow with horse motif is an inexpensive way to salute the trend.

Drinking Glasses, $6.99
Point of Reference: Waterford
These are amazing quality glasses, heavy as real crystal, and they cost only $1.75 apiece.

Flatware, $19.99
Point of Reference: Georg Jensen
A direct knock-off of Georg Jensen, a Danish designer who is known for sleek, stainless steel looks.

Towels, $5.99/$1.99
Point of Reference: Any Italian linens manufacturer
Classic navy blue towels with white stripe is a direct replica of Italian designer linens.

Orchids, $12.99; Bamboo, $19
Point of Reference: Any florist, garden center, plant wholesaler
At the wholesale market in New York, bamboo is $8 a stalk, and at Target you have four stalks for $19. Orchids are hot in home decor, but they generally go for $50. At Target, they are $12.99.

Quality Check

Leather Jacket, $99
The jacket is a classic and made of genuine leather — not vinyl or pleather. It comes in a carmel color, trench style.

Corduroy, $29.99; Shearling Jacket, $99
The trendy navy corduroy comes with faux white shearling lining. An inexpensive knock-off of the Earl Jean brand version that goes for more than $250.

Quilted Reversible Jacket
This is a direct knock-off of Burberry. It has flannel lining and is reversible.

White Buttondown Shirt, $13.88
A classic shirt made of cotton and lycra, the same fabric combo that big name department store designers use. They charge upwards of $100 for them.

Black Blouse $8.99
A trendy, hippie-inspired garment with full sleeves, scoop neck, and embroidery detail.

Jeans $19-$24.99
You can't go wrong buying jeans at a discount store, whether you want the trendy, low waisted, boot leg jean or a classic fit. Denim is denim, and it's well made.

Velour Sweat Suit $19.99
Juicy Couture makes similar suits in real velour for more than $250.

Suede Fringe Boots $29.99
The boots are trendy sand colored suede with wooden stiletto heel and calf fringe. They are not quite Manolo, but they are not bad.

Faux Diamond Jewelry $9-$29.99
From classic stud earrings to trendier heart and cross pendants, cubic zirconia is worth every penny.

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