Downtown Bargains: What Can $40 Buy?

Buy an entire outfit, with quality goods and material, for less than $40. Is it possible?

What can you buy for $40? If you head to L.A.'s Downtown Fashion District, the answer is a lot, if you shop smart.

We put a bargain hunter to test. The goal: to buy an entire outfit -- with quality goods and material -- for less than $40. Can it be done?

We asked Julia Scott, known as "Bargain Babe" to her blog readers, to take on this mission. Scott publishes a daily blog on that spotlights the best deals in town on everything from clothing to restaurant meals to farmers markets to wedding sites.

The corner of Maple and 9th Street is where the fun begins. From there, in any direction, you can find all sorts of bargains, everything from $1 yard material to toys, rugs, clothes, shoes and blinged-out accessories.

Our first stop, one of the many dress shops. Scott scored a dress for only $19.99 plus tax. It was lined with quality cotton material. In a department store, that same dress could easily cost $75. Note to self: wear light clothing. Some stores do not have dressing rooms.

Next: shoes. Scott found cute sandals for only $6. You might suspect they're one step away from the trash bin, but they were well made with a strong sole. Across the street at an accessory store, "Bargain Babe" bought bangle bracelets for $1, and earrings for $5. A sunglass vendor sold her $2 sunglasses. Now, you'll want to consider the UV rating here, but for a fashion accessory, the price was perfect.

The total bill: $37.50. Money left over to put in the piggy bank, or spend on a latte.

If the same items were purchased at the mall, the bill could easily have been $100.

"Bargain Babe" says keep these helpful hints in mind. Have a plan. Know what you're looking for first. Next, search for quality. Just because it's cheap doesn't mean it's not worth buying. Touch and feel the material. If it doesn't feel right, then don't buy it. And, be armed with cash. It could win you a substantial savings.

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