Monday, May 17, 2010

10 Tips for Being Fashionable on a Budget

Photo Courtesy of Packaging Source

We're all feeling the pinch in our wallets right now.  But just because the budget is tight doesn't mean our wardrobes can't still turn heads.  I myself am a major cheapskate when it comes to my clothes.  I don't mind paying a little extra for quality clothing, but for the most part, I won't buy things full-price.  Here are my 10 Tips for Being Fashionable on a Budget.

1. Join Email Newsletters.  Does your favorite store have a website?  If they do, join their email list.  Many store send coupons and sale announcements through email.  It's a great way to be on top of what's going on, what's on sale and get special "members only" coupons.

2. Host a Swap.  I did this with my friends in New Mexico and it was a ton of fun!  Every person brings their gently used clothing, shoes, jewelry, whatever and you swap!  We drew names so everyone took turns choosing an item that they wanted.

3. Consignment Stores.  These are great places to pick up like-new clothing.  I'm a huge fan of Plato's Closet.  I picked up 4 shirts for $4 total the other day!  Some of those shirts were only 75 cents!  They're also great places to get cash for your gently used clothes and shoes.

4. Coupons.  I like the ones that are good for your ENTIRE purchase.  Kohls frequently has 15% or sometimes even 20% off your entire purchase coupons.  Also, Coupon Album is a great resource-it finds all of the store coupons and online discount codes that are available and sorts them and stores them all in one place for you.

5. Shop Online.  This can often be a test of will power, but it can also have benefits.  Lots of places have online-only sales.  Look for places that have easy return policies, though.  Many stores offer free shipping if you spend a certain amount, too.

6. Buy Smart.  Look for pieces that go with items you already have in your closet or that won't go out of style in 3 months.  Look for those classic shapes and colors that you can still wear 5 years from now.  I seriously have shoes still from high school.  If you find a shirt you really love that goes with lots of things, buy it in a few colors.  If you work outside the home and need "work" clothes, look for pieces that can be worn both at work and at home, so you don't have to buy 2 wardrobes.  Shop off season-stock up on sweaters at the end of winter, bathing suits in the fall-when things are on sale!  If you have an outlet mall near you, use it!  Most major stores have outlet centers.  But buyer beware-just because it's at the outlet doesn't mean it's cheaper.  Shop smart!  

7. Buy for Your Shape.  When you're in the middle of losing weight is not the time to go shopping for a new wardrobe.  Of course, you'll need things that fit until you're at your desired weight.  But don't buy things that don't fit-that are either too big or too tight, thinking "They'll fit someday."  Look for things that fit well and flatter your figure.

8. Accessorize!  A necklace or belt or scarf can jazz up any outfit easily and can be used for more that one outfit.  And they're generally much less expensive!

9. Read Your Labels.  Nothing ruins your clothes faster than not following the care instructions on the label.

10. Don't Be Complusive.  Don't just buy to buy.  You should never have buyer's remorse.  Unless you love it, don't buy it!  Know what you'll wear, what you won't and what's worth spending a little more on.  Some pieces are investments-like a good winter coat or a pair of boots things like these should last longer and are worth buying a better quality so that they do.   

What are your tips for saving money while still dressing fabulously?
*This is an example of a Fashion Friday giveaway entry!

Author's Note-I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Gap Outlet blogging program to be eligible to win a $20 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

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