The Sample Sale Rundown

Times are tough. Tax season looms. Your accountant is not your friend. And would Visa please stop calling?

We have four words for you: Retail Is For Sissies.

They’re all the rage in New York, but word is that even in L.A., sample sales can yield a gracious plenty.

What: Billion Dollar Babe Sale
When: Saturday, March 23, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Quixote Studios, 1011 North Fuller Avenue, at Santa Monica Boulevard (323-969-9791)
Why: An invitation-only affair, Billion Dollar Babe offers high-end stock from seconds and overruns at serious discounts. Vivienne Westwood, Plein Sud, Joseph, Joe’s Jeans, Yaya, Mayle, Rebecca Taylor, Grey Ant, Catherine Malandrino, James Perse, Chloe, and Costume National. R.S.V.P. to bdb@couchnobelius.com .

What:California Mart and New Mart
When: Friday, March 22 (usually the last Friday of every month), 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Insiders insist it’s only good until 3 p.m.)
Where: California Mart, 110 East 9th Street, between Main and Los Angeles Streets (213-630-3600); and New Mart, 127 East 9th Street, between Main and Los Angeles Streets (213-627-0671)
Why: These twin nerve centers of the burgeoning L.A. fashion scene are offering their wares for up to 50 percent off retail. Who are you to refuse? Designer names are under wraps, but trust us. A warning: Cash only, and dressing rooms and shopping bags are not part of the gig.

What: Planet LuLu
When: About twice a month; next sale is March 23
Where: Variable
Why: For nearly three years, this fabulous invite-only sample sale has been providing frugal fashionistas with designs by Trina Turk, Velvet, Lili Rose, Milk Fed, Buzz Jeans, Beautiful People, Pierre Urbach handbags, and even Seven jeans on occasion. Usually closed to the public, Planet LuLu sells top designer overruns and boutique over-buys to L.A. stylists. But once a month (and sometimes more), the doors are flung open, and they sell samples for 50 to 70 percent off retail (prices range from $10 to $120). Best of all, getting “invited” is a snap: Just visit planetlulu.com, sign up, and they’ll email you with the address and date of the next sale.