If there are clothing items you don't need to see in person or try on - perhaps socks, underwear, etc. - you can often get much higher ebates points shopping online.
And if you like shopping in person, there's nothing stopping you from bringing your phone along and ordering the things you like online after picking them out in store - although that's a lot more trouble than most people would want to go to. (Personally I prefer shopping online)
To be fair, I didn't just buy work clothes - I also got new hiking boots, snow boots, ski pants, leather jacket, and a ton of other stuff that I won't be wearing on the reg. I wanted to just get my core shopping done with so I don't have to think about it while I'm there.
In which case I totally understand. Having built up a wardrobe of outdoor clothes in the past few years I know how expensive quality outdoor gear can get even when on sale.
I think the most expensive individual item I got was actually the leather jacket - $200 marked down from $900. But I don't really have an issue spending on things that can last a decade.
If you want serious savings consider buying discount gift cards. When I know I need to buy clothes, I keep an eye out for Penney's, Macy's, Nordstrom gift cards from cardcash, cardpool, giftcards, and raise etc. Savings can range from a few percent to 35+.
Are they perfect, no. I always check card balances before I shop. I've had a couple rejected, but money always refunded.
FWIW, I once had the Brooks Brothers card and found it offered very little beyond the savings I could get just by being on the mailing list.
So I suggest people skip that one.
Are you from San Francisco or familiar with its weather? I ask because you don’t really need “dress boots for rain” or an actual “rain coat” unless you plan on standing outside for hours on end. You just need a pair of good quality (Goodyear welted) leather shoes (RM Williams are a good choice if you wear your trousers slim). Those and an umbrella should be good enough for normal daily activities. The weather doesn’t change much throughout the year so you don’t have to have seasonal clothes.
I'm actually from Florida which is part of the reason my wardrobe is so inappropriate for most other parts of the country.
As I understand it, the weather is 40-65 Fahrenheit most of the year. I got three pairs of Cole Haan shoes for work (two loafers plus the boots) on sale and combined that with an Amex offer, averaging ~$70 a shoe after the discount and including tax.
I visited my friend in SF last December and we actually just got rained on for a week (and it wasn't warm rain like we get in FL). I got the boots I did because I'd like to be prepared if that happens on a work day. I also got a big beefy wooden handle umbrella from Macy's as well as a smaller, foldable emergency umbrella from the Eddie Bauer outlet that I can carry in my messenger bag.
I have a *very* light Nautica windbreaker than I use for the warm Florida rain, but I don't think that holds up well in 45 degree weather so I got a Michael Kors wool peacoat from Macy's on sale for about $90. I also got a Strellson jacket which is a bit heavier than my Nautica one but still functions as a raincoat for about $110 (vs $340 ish retail).
I have a Macy's Amex store card that's gotten me good offers on lots of stuff from the Macy's website, when combined with the sales they have, usually results in good savings (I don't think I've ever spent more than $100 for an item there). I got three Ralph sportcoats for $50-80 a pop.
I really like the quality of Brooks Brothers sport shirts and was able to take advantage of some offers they run to get 8 of them for about $340.
You likely won't be dealing with rain again for a few months, but assuming you'll be using public transportation for the most part (BART, Muni, Uber, etc.) You're going to want to make sure you have comfortable shoes for your daily "commute", aside from the dress shoes that your job may require. We had record rain in the SF Bay area last year, so that was a bit out of the norm, but not by too much. 2 summers ago SF had record breaking heat hitting 106°F a few times... in SF itself, so don't do away with your Florida wardrobe completely
Alas, I'll agree with watching your Amex offers. There are usually bonuses for Macys, Saks, and other clothiers. Chase Freedom Unlimited has been coming up on their offers as well, so sign into both cards and see what offers work for you. If your scores permit, you could try for the Ebates Visa, but with a 740 TU-8 I couldn't budge that card above a $1500 limit. YMMV.
BBVA Clearpoints lets you select a 3% and a 2% category every quarter. "Retail" being one of the categories, this would grant you more flexibility than Ebates while still giving 3% back, plus you can select whatever you want for a 2% category as well. There's a spend $1500/get $100 SUB and 0% for 12 or 15 months.
Getting the Target *debit* card costs nothing, does nothing to your credit files (as it's not a credit card), but will give you 5% off everything you purchase through it at Target. You won't find a Wal Mart on the SF Peninsula (closest is Mountain View, about 40 miles from the city.) So you'll probably do a fair amount of staple buying there. There are 4 Targets in the city. You could go for the Target credit card if you like, either way, the 5% will add up.
Welcome to the Golden State
I'm a recent college grad (22 y/o) starting a job that requires slacks and a button down at the minumum in August (financial district in San Francisco). My entire wardrobe was in pretty bad shape from my college frat boy years and a lot of it doesn't even fit anymore (dropped from a 34 waist to a 32 waist), so in the last few months I've probably spent around 2k entirely on clothes for my job and other accesories. I've gotten new shoes, dress boots for rain, long sleeve button downs, slacks, dress pants, sport coats, rain coat, belts, messenger bag, the works. I've gotten most of it heavily discounted (I look for for 40%+ off) at outlet stores but it still comes out to a lot overall. I've put most of this either on my Amex Gold or my CFU as those are my daily driver cards but I've been left wondering if there would have been a better option in terms of rewards on these purchases.
Any thoughts? Thanks.
Buy good quality ties. Brooks Brothers ties. You can wear the same everything with a different tie. Even if nobody else wears a tie. You will win.
Nordstrom Signiature Visa
Good luck! Since my geographic area lost every name brand store except Target and Walmart I will go to the Goodwill. Well with our more updated dress styles it will work out fine and if I look like I am panhandling and collect a few non-taxable dollars 'so be it' ? Enjoy your new job and geographic work environment as experiencing life is exciting!