Tips for the Frugal Fashionista: An Autumn Wardrobe on a Budget
As much as we don’t want to admit it, the gorgeous season of summer is slowly transforming into the cooler temperatures and shorter days of fall. While the fiery days and stuffy nights constantly evoke thoughts of tank tops and shorts, fall pieces are quickly filling the storefront displays of most major retailers. As someone who just returned from an expensive month-long vacation in Asia, I am on a personal mission to save as much as possible in order to save my dying bank account. What's more, I need some ready funds for an upcoming trip to Vegas at the beginning of October! So how to resist those tempting seasonal sales and stop oneself from buying a truckload of new autumn pieces when on an extremely tight budget?
Here are some tips that one should heed when in the saving mode:
- Build a Budget: I would regard budgeting as the most important and probably least fun activity to complete while stuck in the saving zone. When setting a budget for yourself, take into account significant factors such as your estimated income, monthly bills, and necessary expenses. Then carefully set out an allotted sum of money that you can spend for each expense, such as food, recreation and entertainment, bills, and of course shopping. In this area, you’ll probably find that you will need to cut down on unnecessary expenses, such as magazine subscriptions or other inessential spending. For myself, I will be limiting my shopping to about $100 per month (or $25 per week). If possible, I aim to spend less than that!
- Pick and Choose: Unless you are lucky enough to have an unlimited budget, you have to pick and choose in life. For instance, you can choose to either eat out at an expensive restaurant or buy that bag you’ve been eyeing for the last few months. Doing both at the same time would not be recommended, especially if you are already suffering on the financial front. In terms of shopping for fall, decide which items are the most necessary items and which pieces can be bought at a cheaper price without consequence. For example, you may choose to invest more money into something important such a winter jacket while choosing to spend less on a pair of flats that you won't be wearing often anyways.
- Avoid Temptation: This tip is difficult for me to follow as my current workplace is located near many major retail stores and I often pass many large, hard-to-ignore sales signs on the way to work. As a result, the best solution is to avoid walking into the stores during my break in order to prevent impulsive buying; instead, I occupy myself with other means such as reading a book.
- Reinvention: There are a million and one DIY projects now out there on the internet that teach you simple and thrifty ways to refresh your wardrobe at minimal cost. The possibilities are endless: you can do anything from creating new pieces out of old tops to creating incredibly cute shoes like this. If you’re not keen on crafts, try simpler ways to revitalize your closet such as adding in new, cheap accessories for a new look instead of entire pieces of clothing.
- Clothing Swaps: If you have the time, venue, and right friends, the clothing swap is an amazing way to obtain ‘new’ clothing and accessories, clean out your own closet, and have a fun time with close besties. The main rules of the swap: bring clean and well-kept items, be courteous to other swap-mates while trying on clothing, and be sure to bring delicious snacks to sustain yourselves while swapping. As well, you can donate the leftover clothing and other usable items to charity after the event.
- Delayed Gratification: Since I started working, I’ve come to realize that I’ve become increasingly worse at waiting to buy frivolous items that I do not need. When I was younger, I would wait several weeks until I had saved enough for an item; however, nowadays credit cards and ready cash result in me not waiting more than five seconds. My current goal is to not buy full-priced, non-essential items unless I have saved up an amount specifically for them and am not cutting into my savings.
- Thrifting: While many individuals may disdain the thought of secondhand clothing, you would be pleasantly surprised at the treasure you can find at the right thrift stores. While it may be rare to find true vintage pieces in such places, quality name brands from stores such as Aritzia, J. Crew, and Club Monaco can be commonly found among the racks of Value Village and other similar stores. Can you really complain when you can snatch up pricey items (in relatively good condition) for a fraction of their original price?
- Sales Savvy: The true frugal fashionista knows when a sale is worth it and when it is a mere gimmick. Back in the olden days, sales came around perhaps once or twice a year. Now, however, sales seem to happen on a bi-weekly basis and mostly feature items that have been reduced by about $5. In order to find the best deals that are actually worth the moola, you must also have the patience to wait until the very end of a season, which is when reduced items become even further reduced.
- Gift Card/Giveaway Greatness: This tip is a bit on the random side as it requires a bit of luck and a lot of dedication. As a blogger, I am privy to many amazing giveaways that bloggers feature on their blogs. While it is unlikely that you can make a killing from winning such contests, it is surprisingly what lovely perks you can win! For instance, I recently entered a giveaway from the local blogger Alicia Fashionista and managed to win a $100 gift certificate to the popular store Front & Company on Main Street! As a result, I was able to treat myself to a beautiful piece of clothing after picking up my easily-won prize. The bottom line? Start following some blogs and enter some giveaways-- what can you really lose in the end?
- The Shopping List: When immersed in a consumer culture is that constantly prodding you to buy the latest of everything, it’s hard to stay completely detached from those shiny new items that you’ve spotted in the storefront window. Therefore, if you find that you must have that new bag or pair of shoes, put it on a shopping list and try to get the best deal for it. Whether you buy the item during a future sale or find a similar item for a much lower price online, taking some time to think about the value of this purchase will go a long way in determining whether this particular piece is worth attaining at full price.
As someone is used to shopping on a daily basis, I find myself now counting every penny and looking for more strategies to save-- therefore, a post on such saving tactics seemed in order. If you have any good pieces of advice, please share them in the comments below.
Have a wonderful week everyone and enjoy the beautiful weather!