I have an addiction. Support groups have been erected in my honor because of this illness, and my friends and family are continuously stressed and living in fear of my safety. No matter the number of interventions they perform or countless appointments with a shrink, I can’t seem to shake the thrill and desire I experience from this sin.

Hello, my name is Katie, and I’m a discount shopaholic.

You all respond: Hi Katie…

When I get a discount from a once-regular-priced item, I experience the type of high I would imagine an addict would get from drugs or alcohol. It’s an adrenaline rush! I feel as though I have cheated a system somehow! Look at that girl sitting across the restaurant with her designer jeans that cost half of a month’s rent. I then look at my jean choice for the day and remember I bought the same jeans $70 cheaper from TJ Maxx. I won!

Take pleasure in the small things, ladies. For me, getting a few bucks off of an item that used to be super expensive is a small thrill that helps me appreciate the finer things. It has also taught me that my money is valuable and I must carefully select my purchases. I also believe in quality materials that will stand the test of time. Some things might break the bank at times, but if it is a piece of clothing you believe you NEED (like an interview suit), spend the money wisely. I have become pretty handy with balancing my money so I can buy those necessary staples for my wardrobe at a fraction of the cost. Here are my go-to-places and how to shop like an addict.

TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Stein Mart: These are places where you can shop on a relaxing weekend and you have nothing else to do but wander around a store and shop. TJ Maxx is my go-to favorite, where every time I visit, I score the most notable name brands at awesome prices. My tip: don’t go in looking for something specific. Wander around and pick what jumps out at you.  What’s my latest find? A Rebecca Minkoff,  black studded shoulder bag at 50% off retail value.

Ann Taylor & J. Crew: Brands such as these are great for business and work attire. I frequent their sale racks often. Everything is moderately priced and the items are great quality. Things are also easy to find in such stores and there are sales several times a year. Visit these stores because their clothes are more practical than fashionable. Twenty-somethings must remember that work attire should be fresh and classic, not trendy and attention-grabbing. Stores such as Ann and J offer affordable, everyday business attire that are also versatile with all wardrobes.

Belk, Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Saks: Beware of the department store allure. Everything is perfect and organized in a way that makes clothes and accessories scream out to you, “You need me!” I do not fall for their taunting. Items you see in department stores stay in the store for longer periods of time than other stores. Wait for the “must-have items” to go on sale. You will find those same Kate Spade pumps on Memorial Day when the whole mall is having a sale. Register at the stores for catalogs and look books. These will save you from purchasing something full price. And, always remember: holiday weekends = major sales.

Local Boutiques: My favorite places to shop are at local boutiques. The customer service is friendlier and it’s an easy way to help boost your local economy. The first thing to do is get on the store’s email list so you will be alerted about their sales. Boutique prices can be a little high, so you need all the extra percentage you can get. Also, make friends with the sales girls. In my experience, if I know the girls working there, they will pull special items they believe I will like for the next time I visit. It’s like having my own personal shopper!

A Final Thought: Every girl must have a “Rainy Day Fund.” This is the extra money you save for when an emergency comes up. What if an unexpected girls trip happens? What if your boyfriend forgets to tell you about his friend’s engagement party that’s tomorrow night? Always have extra money for when these emergencies happen so you can make a last minute trip to find something amazing, without the stress. The fund ensures that when something comes up, you won’t experience what we fellow addicts call “a bender” and you bank account calls “overdraft.”

What places do you find the best savings at?