Score the Best Fashion Deals on the Social Web

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Just because the economy is still depressed doesn't mean you have to be. In fact, there are plenty of ways to live it up without seeing your bank balance plummet — especially if you know how to use social media to live the good life on tight budget.

Even the most reclusive social media shut-ins need to leave the house for some in-person networking at some point. And when you do, you don't want to look like the poor slob who just threw on whichever pants were closest to the computer screen. Nor do you want to be the designer diva who can't afford cab fare because she blew all her bucks on a brand name bag. Fortunately, thanks to a few online tips and tricks, high fashion doesn't have to come with a high price tag.

1. Smell the Savings

Coco Chanel once said, "A woman who doesn't wear perfume has no future." While Coco may have been overstating her case a bit, it's true that perfume and cologne are great accessories to any outfit. Of course, buying the good stuff can also be a great way to flush a fortune down the drain. That's why sample sizes should be your new best body-odor-fighting friend.

Don't let their small size fool you — one of these little bottles will still probably give you a good six months of sweet scents, depending on how heavily you use it. Sample perfumes start as low as $1.99 on Amazon, and because they're so small, shipping is extremely cheap. If you buy from a bigger retailer like FragranceNet, they'll also usually throw in other goodies like more perfume or makeup samples.

'Try Before You Buy' Online

2. Personal Stylists Are Out of Style

Before you buy any clothes to go with that signature scent, use a site like Polyvore or ShopStyle to be your own personal wardrobe stylist — no hefty retainer required. These sartorial social networks let you "try before you buy" by giving you the tools to put together looks online, so you can see how clothes and accessories will work together.

With huge databases of designer duds, this is a great way to test drive an outfit before you spend cold, hard cash on it, and a great way to keep track of what you already have in your closet. Plus, with everyone posting different looks, these are also great places to get inspiration for new ways to wear the stuff you've already shelled out the cash for.

Look for Rebate Offers, Private Sale Sites

3. Keep Your Cash

When you are ready to make a big clothing or beauty purchase, make sure you use a service like eBates, which gives you a percentage of what you spend on their partner sites back as a cash rebate. So, it's basically like you're paying yourself to shop — or at least that's what you can tell yourself to justify spending so much on shoes.

4. Sample Sale Sites

Of course, you can avoid spending full price on anything by signing up for a private sale site. These sites are the online equivalent of a sample sale, giving you exclusive access to amazing deals on designer looks. And, many of them will even e-mail you when a sale matching your particular preferences pops up.

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