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:
  1.       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!
  2.       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.
  3.       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.
  4.       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.
  5.       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.
  6.       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.
  7.       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?
  8.       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.
  9.       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?
  10.   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!


  1. Such a wise and inspiring post! I love your tips Debbie! ;)
    Have an amazing Sunday Miss!

  2. wow, thank you very much for your great tips! i love to read them and i like your hints. wishing you a wonderful sunday, debbie

  3. nice post!!

  4. Love your posts, all so informative! And you got an amazing taste.
    Win a 200$ giftcard now! Enter here > EAST DANE GIVEAWAY

  5. Oh I definitely needed this! I am so bad for impulse spending!
    Would love if you could check out my blog if you get a chance!

  6. Debbie! we are in the same boat haha I need to learn how to control my inside shopaholic so badly! this summer I've found myself buying way too many things!!! it is kind of ridiculous when I think about it and now that the warm weather is over and all the cute fall stuff is being displayed in stores.... I just want to go crazy and fill my closet with new warmer clothes :)

    These tips are amazing!!! I love the one where you inspire us to try reinventing what we already have with cool DIY - Pinterest has one for everything you can image for sure! (I think that is a great idea for sure!) and also thrift shopping! I used to do it so much more often when I was a full student. But, as you mentioned as well, since I got a job, I got crazy and buy a lot more than I should. Last week I found a super cute bag in an auction which I will show it in a post soon yay! (I don't know if you have those where you live but here they are pretty popular - even though more for furniture and other stuff... sometimes I find awesome vintage bags and hats! and I make my husband bit on them haha I don't like to spend too much time waiting but he likes to buy tools and other stuff so he takes those for the team).

    I also like your idea of a shopping list! in that way you can look for a good deal or even take a little bit longer to decide if you absolutely need to purchase that or not.

    Anyways, I hope you had a great weekend! thanks for sharing all these savvy tips :)


  7. Incredible post Debbie. So appropriate for me right now. And you are right, when i was a student i saved more now i am such a money spender. I need to find a way to keep my money where i can't easily get access to.

  8. i always always always try to keep those things in mind. but there are times that i just can't control myself on spending some good cash on gorgeous clothes >.< but thanks for the tips sweetie.

    xx Janelle
    Styles & Prints

  9. Hi Doffy, thanks for your useful post, it's really true that sometimes I have to admit I spend much that I really have planed to spend on clothes. anyway there are a good tips on your list.
    thanks you pretty.

  10. Oh Debbie I'm sure you helped a lot of desperate fashionistas out there with this post including myself.
    For now I've also setted a maximum for my shopping, food and other expenses. Because with a planned budget its way easier to prepare yourself for the upcoming sales and whatever.
    I also realize that I buy too much stuffs that at the end I won't even wear or use. So usually I end up putting it on re-sale or share it to friends. Which is a huge sacrifice!
    Nowadays I also tend to spend my breaks at my working place to avoid shopping on recent sales or whatever and it really worked.
    About second hand shopping an clothing swapes with friends or random people is always so much fun. You get the chance to meet new people and to shop some good stuff.
    I attended one clothing swap I guess last fall and made some very good deals and got some nice pieces for my old stuffs in return. It's like a win win situation anyway.
    There's also nothing about a shopping list, so you'll know on which things you have to save money and you have like a overview on things you have to buy. Btw need to do one for fall soon.

    Have a lovely day Debs!

    xx Lori

  11. Great post!

  12. I already apply quite every tips of this post, at least, I'm trying ;) You're completely right !

    Bisous !

  13. In love with the purse <3

  14. In love with the purse <3

  15. These are some very good tips! The part on delayed gratification also works in a way whereby you waited so long to buy something and then that burst of feelings slowly diminished and then after some time, you realised that you didn't really like that dress anymore or that you don't really need that additional bag anymore. How I wished Singapore has got more thirft stores like those in Western countries. Our flea markets here are totally different.

    Did you just come back from an very expensive holiday in Asia? Over here in Asia, we would find holidays in the West very expensive. Heehee...

    Jo's Jumbled Jardinière

  16. Great tips! Thanks for sharing!


  17. Great selections which are simple but very charming as they fit into the natural surroundings so well! Love the layering effect too which is so chic.

    asim jofa
    facebook / Google+ / pinterest


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