Fashion On A Budget

One of the most expensive parts of life can be the amount that we spend on fashion and clothes. It can be incredibly frustrating for some women who want to be current with the latest trends and up on the newest styles but don’t have an unlimited source of money to spend on clothes, shoes, bags, and accessories. Fortunately there are plenty of ways that we can stick to our budgets and still be able to look our best and all it takes is a little creativity and planning.

The first step is to outline your budget. If you know exactly how much you have to spend you’ll do much better with your budget then if you’re spending without really having a clear idea of what your limits are. It’s also a lot easier to make your purchases and your money really count if you know you have a stopping point.

A great thing to do before you begin shopping and budgeting is to erase any thoughts that say that having a budget means you can’t have all the gorgeous in style clothes that you want because those thoughts will only limit you and prevent you from having fun with you’re clothes and fashion shopping. Worrying that you wont be able to have the nicest, prettiest, most up to date clothes because of your budget - and feeling like your finances are restricting you will only ruin the fun of buying the clothes that you can.

Instead, once you have your budget worked out, take the time to decide how you want to spend the money you have set aside for your clothes. Are you looking to revamp your entire wardrobe or just add a few new high end pieces? Do you already have a style picked out or are you looking for something new? What stores do you want to shop at and why? Are you looking for timeless pieces or seasonal trends?

Knowing what you want to get out of your budget can prevent you from wasting any of it on impulse purchases or falling back into old spending habits that may not be the best use of your budget. It can also keep you on track with your goals for your budget and what you want to get out of the money you have to use. So taking an opportunity to get clear about what you want from the money you have to spend on your clothes can make  a big difference in how much you enjoy your shopping experiences.

So once you know where you want your money that you’ve set aside for your fashion budget to go then you begin to set out and make your purchases - but of course you want to do so in a thrifty and economical manner. Now this doesn’t mean that you can’t have the gorgeous designer pieces you might want and it certainly doesn’t mean that you’re sentenced to shopping at dollar stores either. However, you want to make your money count so here are a few suggestions to do just that.

First of all, when deciding what purchases you want to have take time to consider if you can get the same item at a different store, or perhaps under a different brand for less. Sometimes we get the idea in our head that because of a label it means it’s nicer or better quality and that isn’t always the case. There are plenty of brands that charge much higher prices and don’t match those prices with quality and there are plenty of labels that are just as adorable but don’t cost an arm and a leg. My solution is that for classic pieces I buy brands that I like for both quality and price and then for pieces that I’m specifically buying for a brand I just look for a deal or a sale to get them at. I usually end up loving my less-expensive pieces just as much as my designer pieces, and I don’t feel bad when they get worn out because I didn’t spend an entire paycheck on them.

This technique works great across the board when it comes to fashion. A lot of times you can put together a really cute outfit without spending any serious amounts of money and then splurge on one really nice piece that completes the look and gives it that ultra-couture feel. A lot of times this can be the right pair of shoes, a cute bag, or even some really classy earrings that add just the right touch to the whole ensemble.

Another way to go about this is to spend less on looks that mimic current trends for way less money. Stores like Forever 21 and H&M accomplish this really well with nice clothes that can do a great job of disguising themselves as designer pieces while costing you next to nothing. These are places where you can stock up on basics and pieces that you can layer and alternate and mix with more high-end pieces. You can spend very little money getting things such as leggings, camisoles, pajamas, and other such things without breaking into your budget very much which allows you to save the rest of your money for other pieces that you really want.

There are also plenty of resources where you can get “designer” pieces that come directly from the factories where all the high-end brands are made but because of a slight error (which most of the time is something that we, the average consumer, can’t even see) they’ve been discounted and given to other sellers. There are lots of outlet stores and malls that provide these kinds of pieces but if you want to go even farther down the line still there are other options as well. One of my favorite things to do in this area is to go shopping when I travel. Now if you do this in Europe or North America it won’t save you anymore money than if you were to simply head down to your local mall. If, however, you travel to other parts of the world like Latin America, and Southeast Asia where items such as these are produced you can save a ton of money. Countries in these regions can be phenomenal places to find bags, shoes, and clothes (many of which can be custom made) for pennies on the dollar. It may seem like a stretch to be shopping in another country for clothes this way but if you’re going on vacation anyway or if you can tag along with family or friends you can find some really great items for rock-bottom prices.

Another great way to save money in your fashion budget is to plan ahead for sales and seasonal shopping discounts. We all know when Black Friday is, we all know when the holiday sales are, and it’s not difficult to save up some money in advance to put towards these sales and if you already know what pieces you might want to buy and what stores you want to shop at. Just planning a little bit in advance can help you keep an eye out for when things you want go on sale or when the most advantageous times to buy certain things are.

You can also save money by buying certain clothes in their off seasons. Swimsuits will always be much cheaper in the winter months, and on the opposite end, coats and sweaters will always be cheaper during summer when everyone else is buying shorts and sandals. By taking advantage of these opportunities you can save money and still get the pieces you want - you may have to wait a little while to wear them but it’s more than worth the money you’ll save.

It’s also worth taking the time to ask friends and family if they know of certain stores or times where discounts and sales go on. Be aware that most stores restock their merchandise the same time during every week - which means that their items go on sale the same time of every week. If you’re prepared you might be able to get some really cute things for a great deal.

Invest in things you really want, as opposed to spending money on a bunch of things that you only sort of like. I would rather have one pair of boots that I love than six pairs of flats that I only feel so-so about. If you wait and save for items that you really really want instead of buying a few items that you only sort of like right now you’ll end up much happier with your purchases over the long run - and the money won’t matter.

It’s also important to invest in quality over quantity. It’s common to believe that the more you have of something the better but with clothes that doesn’t work well. It’s great to have a lot of clothes but it doesn’t do you any good to have a whole bunch that you don’t really like. It’s far better to invest in one piece that’s going to last you a long time, that you can wear with anything, and that you really really love, as opposed to a whole bunch of mediocre pieces. If you continue to do this, over time you’ll build up a collections of clothes that you really like instead of filtering through a bunch of clothes that don’t really last very long or look very good on you.

Which is another thing to remember when sticking to a budget. Buy clothes that look good on you all the time, in any season, at any time of the year, day or night, and so forth. If that little black dress only fits after you’ve been starving yourself for a couple of weeks then don’t buy it. It’s just going to hang in your closet and make you miserable. Buy clothes that look good on you and you’ll have a much better wardrobe over time that won’t have to be updated and replaced nearly as often. If you buy clothes that flatter you and work for you then you won’t have to worry as much about seasonal trends - instead you’ll just be able to stick to a look that works well for you and wear it like a pro.

When it comes to budgeting there are plenty of tips and ways you can save money but the most important things to remember are that how you shop is far more important then when and where you shop. If you pay attention and get smart about how you buy your clothes and spend your budget you’ll be able to look fabulous all the time without ever going over your budget.