4 Ways to Shop on a Budget

No, you don't have to be rich to be stylish.
1) Frequent thrift stores. Yep, I know everybody's thought at least once in their lives, “Thrift stores only have gross stuff that homeless people wear” and “I can never find anything at thrift stores.” Newsflash: in the past week I've scored five items that either still have their tags on them, look like new, or are only gently used. Plus I got this checkered blouse for only $2.79 at Salvation Army. (If you think it's impossible to find good stuff at thrift stores, check out the post I wrote last year about successful thrifting. Additional tip to that post: sometimes all you have to do is run your eyes down the aisle. If you don't see a fabric peeking out that interests you and you're short on time, just move on to the next rack.)
2) Red zoned items ONLY. If you're tight on money, forget the outer sections of the store and zero in on the clearance rack. (Hint: most of the time this will be far away from the entrances to the store because the owners want to expose you to the lusciously expensive items first.) Don't be prejudiced! I've found some beautiful pieces with slashed prices by flipping through red-zoned clothes.

3) Set a budget. I titled this “4 Ways to Shop on a Budget” but the fact is that a lot of us don't set budgets for clothing. According to some research I've done, the average percentage Americans set aside for clothes is right about 5%. If that feels too stringent to you, maybe go by a set allowance every month -- $20, for instance, or if that's too little (or your income is much higher/your job requires specific or fashionable clothing), you could up it to $50, $100, or even more if needed.
4) Reward yourself by adding a few dollars to your allowance every time you do something “right.” This could be getting 100% on a college exam, losing 5 pounds or a dress size, getting to the point of being able to run a 10-minute mile, or even reaching 100 blog followers -- anything that means a lot to you or your future. This way you're not rewarding yourself with food (which we all are supposed to think is really bad), but instead with new clothes! What could be better? ;)

I hope this post helps you all out. Let me know what your struggles have been with setting budgets, finding nice clothes for cheap, or even just what you wore today! I love hearing from you all.

Comments

  1. cool tips, m'dear. I get so excited when I score at the thrift store. (Like that polka-dotted dress on Wednesday, 13.95!! And in super super good condition. :)

    I have no budget. Honestly, it's because i have no fixed income, so it doesn't exactly make sense for me to budget... But i would like to learn more about how to make one and stick to one, so I ordered a budgeting book from the Library a few weeks ago and am really looking forward to reading it soon.

    I like the idea of rewarding oneself with clothes instead of food. :) Less dangerous. lol

    also, I cannot wait to see how you style that new shirt. :)

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    1. I am so excited to see that dress on you sometime! It sounds gorgeous and twirly and feminine and ah-mazing.

      I don't have a budget either, also because I don't have a fixed income -- though I try to limit "wants" to the 5% of what I earn/the $20 category (which I haven't been very good about recently . . . I need to get back on the bandwagon!) and try to divvy up my earnings into the 70/20/10 rule Dave Ramsay recommends. Speaking of budgeting books, I really want to read hisTotal Money Makeover. I gave it to Tim for one of his birthdays and I think it's helped him out a lot.

      I know! I'm surprised it took me so long to come up with that idea. Now when I get a good grade on the test I have an extra $5 to spend on clothes instead of buying a coffee or a milkshake or something else very high in calories :)

      I can't wait to style it! It's pretty big on me, but I like its looseness -- and the fabric looks luxurious, which makes it all the better ;)

      Thank you so much for commenting, my dear -- I really appreciate it!

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  2. This is a really good list. I always buy clothes on a whim, which is BAD. Because sometimes I don't know if I bought it because I loved it or bought it because I wanted to buy something. :P I need to plan better, both in terms of budgeting and in terms of what pieces of clothing I actually NEED.... Sometime you should do a post on something like minimalist wardrobe/building a wardrobe you actually like/wardrobe essentials. Or maybe you already have... ???

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    1. YAY I'm happy I have your approval.

      I would love to do a post on that! Except I'm not a very good minimalist . . . but here are two posts I've written already that might help:
      Wardrobe Essentials: Yes, You Can Go Wrong
      My Top 5 Wardrobe Essentials
      But I'll plan on doing another similar post that's longer and includes more/less stuff . . . whichever way you want to think about it :)

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  3. I am 100% backing this fabulous post. I actually did one very similar on my blog last week where I covered my basic 101 of Thrifting. It's something I'm extremely passionate about and I really try to flaunt my thrifty finds as much as possible. Though most feed back I get is "I don't have time to thrift." Which to me, makes absolutely zero sense to me. But hey, to each their own right? I mean at least we are racking up our savings. (;

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    1. Aw, thank you! I know, I love this topic -- I've always been very interested in financial security/welfare and since I'm interested in fashion too, we might as well combine them right!?

      Huh, weird feedback. I know, it does make zero sense -- if you have time to shop at a mall or regular department store, why not a thrift store? It's not like you have to invest too much time -- normally if I'm concentrated I can find several things in less than an hour! It's just exceeding my budget that I have to worry about ;)

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  4. I love tip numbers 1 and 4... I absolutely LOVE thrift stores! I try to go as often as I can because they're always getting in new things, which is great. If I'm short on time I usually just look at dresses and books. I've never really thought about rewarding myself with a bit more clothes money, but it's a really great idea!

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    1. Thank you, Ashley! I'm excited you took the time to read it :)

      I like thrifting a lot too -- sometimes I feel like all the items in the place are totally grungy, but when I look closer I usually find something :)

      Thanks -- I'm surprised it took me so long to come up with that idea, but I like it! What's better than getting some new clothes? ;)

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  5. Such good points!! When I used to actually go shopping (I'm too lazy now, haha!) I would beeline straight to the sale section. I was able to snag some pieces that I am still totally loving many years later!

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    1. Hahaha :) Good for you, Daisy! I love it when I get good deals.

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