Being fashion conscious while trying to stick to a budget can seem like a war that you can’t possibly win. Doing so is even trickier when you consider every new season provides an alternative raft of items that you are advised to purchase.
We all want to look good, and we want the items in our wardrobe to be in line with the ever-changing trends that invariably come our way. It can be something of a delicate balancing act between holding on to old favorites that you hope will one day become retro styles that have been a long-awaited comeback.
For many, the act of buying clothes and accessories comes some way down the list of priorities and can seem like luxuries that have to be pushed aside in favor of more pressing needs.
However, there are ways to make sure you can look effortlessly stylish while still keeping your credit card bill at a reasonable level. Here are a few pointers.
1. Shop Online
This should be a given, but it’s worth reminding yourself nonetheless. Shopping online will almost always be cheaper than at a local fashion outlet. The range of items is far wider, and if you find what you are looking for but the price doesn’t suit you in one particular site, then you just visit another until you get what you want for a price that works for your wallet.
It should also be noted that some facets of the industry are particularly cheaper than their on-street competition. Take jewelry, for example. For far too long, stores on the high street have played up the luxury element of what they sell far too literally—often making customers pay over the odds for their products. However, shopping online for jewelry is far more competitively priced, and as such, you can find some great items, like the elegant personalized necklaces here that will go with just about any ensemble.
2. Check Out Thrift Stores
Given that fashion is cyclical, shopping in second-hand or thrift stores is logical to stay on trend while keeping your costs down. In other words, you may pick out a stunning item from two decades ago that is now very much in. You’d be surprised at what you can find in these stores, and frankly, the searching itself is a fun activity.
Visiting the best thrift stores in your neighborhood is a pastime that can often throw up fashion treats you never envisaged when you walked in. Yes, it’s true that even in the best second-hand store there will be a lot of items that are not suitable, but there are always bargains to be found, and it’s often an interesting way to consume fashion.
When you visit a typical clothing store, everything is a little stale and predictable. You know you are basically being led to a decision by good marketing. Much of what you buy is satisfactory but not spectacular and certainly isn’t unique. Finding that one truly inspirational item when on a hunt in a thrift store will provide you with a far better shopping experience and not just in terms of the cost.
3. Wait for the Sales
When you are on the lookout for new styles for your wardrobe, make sure to do so during a sale season. This is especially true for online sales, such as events like Black Friday. On these occasions, be careful not to buy items just for the sake of it or because the cost is amazing.
Go into these sales with a plan of action. Jot down what you are looking for and stick to that list. Often the way stores and online outlets make their profits on big sales is because we tend to get greedy and buy on a whim.
Be smart, set a budget for the relevant sale day, and stick to it. Get what you want and then get out.
4. Spend On Luxury Items…That Last for Years
Sometimes it is okay to spend big. When it comes to high fashion items, the right ones, the value of the item to the buyer is the length of time they last. Getting, for example, a designer bag that costs you hundreds of dollars may seem (on the face of it) as something of a budget killer, but it doesn’t have to be the case.
Knowing that such an item will last you years makes the investment a sound one. This is particularly relevant to accessories. Because you won’t be using or wearing them every day, maybe saving them for special occasions, you know that the amount you spend will be far more worthwhile than spending a much smaller sum on something that will start to fall apart within weeks.
5. Bin the Credit Card Payments
Try to avoid buying your items with a credit card or in split payments. You’ll end up paying far more for the item than if you just paid in one go. The use of credit cards for fashion binges is well known, and it can be the kind of thing that spirals out of control. In any field and not just fashion, spending within your means is key to staying within your budget.
Often you’ll find yourself paying for items long after you’ve stopped wearing them, and it’s the kind of cycle that never seems to end. This can not only hit you financially; it can be mental stress your life can do without.
6. DON’T Follow Trends
Every new season brings with it a raft of new ‘must-have’ items, and it never ends. Yes, being fashion conscious can be fun and make you feel as if you are ahead of the curve, but much of it is wholly irrelevant. Buying and wearing something JUST because someone tells you it’s in fashion really isn’t a healthy way to look at fashion.
By all means, follow trends that fashionistas and stores tout, but ONLY if you actually like what they represent. In other words, when you tried that dress on that was suggested to you, did you actually like it? Or were you just going with the flow? Following the crowd?
Shopping according to trends will end up costing you a fortune, and it’s not necessary. Every two or three months, there’ll be another list of items you have to get, and then what, yet more a few weeks later…
We suggest that you shop according to your style and not just to fit in with the crowd. Also, if you winter fashions from last year, you can reuse them this winter; it’s not a crime and is far more ecologically friendly, so not only are you saving your cents, you are helping to save the world.