If you are anything like me, you are a shopaholic. Ever since I can remember, I have loved shopping. It’s quite a habit and when you get older and have to save for bills and other important “adult” things, you realize that shopping should be last on your list of “things to do”. But over time, I have learned to budget myself. I have learned that I can still make time for myself and buy things I really want. But also make sure that I am not over-spending or just buying things simply just because.
I thought I would share with you guys some of the ways I have learned to maintain a budget while still going for my obsession with shopping. Truth is, you can STILL look fashionable and on a budget. You just have to know what is important and what isn’t.
Here are 10 tips I’ve learned that have helped me with looking cute but also not breaking the bank:
How much do you LOVE it?
It is easy to go to a store and see things that you think are really cute or you need. But ask yourself ‘do I really need this?’ chances are it’s a NO. One thing that has helped me stay on budget is buying things I REALLY love. If I’m second guessing it, then chances are I’m not that interested in the item and it’s better to just save your money for something you truly love.
So many people go into stores and picking up a bunch of cheaper items thinking it’s more reasonable to do that than to buy ONE expensive thing or the one thing they really love. It’s actually easier for you to stick to a budget if you actually are buying the things you truly want. Don’t waste your money on items that you think you need and start actually spending your money on things you truly want. Take time to think about that particular item and if you are still thinking about it, then get it.
Review Your Closet
Often people just buy and buy and buy. We accumulate things and often end up rarely wearing those items. They just sit in your closet and you may wear it once or twice to some event but for the most part, you don’t really make any use out of it. It’s time to face your closet!
Ask yourself a few questions:
-do you have a ton of floral but no basic colors?
-do you have tons of dresses but nothing for a casual day?
-do you own 50 t-shirts but nothing that is date-worthy?
-do you own too many sandals and not enough heels?
-do you own 20 tennis shoes?
-do you own 10 of the same jeans but never wear them?
I always ask myself these questions whenever I go shopping. The key to sticking to a budget is to actually buy things you don’t have. Stop spending your money on things you already own a lot of. This way, not only is your wardrobe getting an upgrade but you also start to see variety in your closet, instead of the same 10 t-shirts.
Do you own a lot of things you rarely wear? You should consider selling them, giving them to a friend/ family member or giving them to Goodwill.
A little trick I’ve learned is, I’ll go through my closet and look at everything I own– what I wear often and what I don’t. I’ll make three different piles– 1. for the items I LOVE. 2. the ‘maybe’ items and 3. the items I never wear nor will I ever. This way I know what to keep and what to get rid of. If I’m second guessing it, that usually goes in my maybe pile. Truth is, that ‘maybe’ pile generally ends up being a NO pile. But it’s nice to take the time to think it through. For the maybe pile, I will take a sticky note or blue tape and wrap it around the head of the hanger. I’ll put these items back into my closet, however, I make a rule for myself. If I don’t wear these items within 3-4 months, then I’ll toss them. It’s a great way to maintain an organized closet and to not hoard things for longer than you should.
I’ll admit it, I’m a hoarder of clothes. But with this system, I’ve gotten really good and keeping the items I absolutely love and tossing the ones I don’t. Plus, it feels really good giving these items to Goodwill– I know I’m helping those in need and that’s a plus in my book.
For me, I love classic pieces. Being a blogger you feel like you always have to maintain a great sense of style and helping those around me stick to their budget but dress fashionable is more than anything I can dream of. Usually, I will look at my closet before I go shopping and see what I have. This helps because I’ll know what I shouldn’t be buying and what may be my wardrobe could need more of.
A little tip is making a list of what types of fashions would make up your absolute dream wardrobe. Maybe it’s that classic LBD, maybe it’s those motocross pants, maybe it’s a trendy romper/jumpsuit, maybe it’s those stylish boots. Whatever it is that you feel is missing from your closet–that’s most likely what you should be buying.
For me, classic pieces are my skinny jeans. The best part about these is that you can dress them up or down. Put a cute top with a colorful belt on and some booties and you’re ready for a night on the town or a fun girls day.
Also, owning an LBD (Little Black Dress) is perfect… it’s so simple yet you can add so many embellishments.
Creating a Budget
This is a given. But creating a budget for yourself will really help you spend less and actually spend more on quality pieces. It’s key to set a goal of how much money you can spend for the month.
Let’s say your budget is $100, $50, $300 for the month. Whatever it is, take that much cash-out and keep it on you. That way you are less likely to just swipe your card and you know that once you run out you can’t buy anything else.
If you want to be able to spend more on clothes, then consider all the other things you have to pay for. For example, if you tend to eat out a lot but you really one that super adorable outfit that you’ve been eyeballing for so long– figure out what is more important. Consider, not eating out and cooking all your meals at home in order to be able to buy that outfit.
Knowing your budget and how much you can actually spend will benefit you in the long run and help you not overspend, especially if you are the type to just buy things just because it’s there and you think you need it. Chances are you don’t need it. Only spend money on things you truly love.
Shop Thrift stores/ Consignment Shops
If you are trying to stick to a budget, thrift shops are great because you can find some really great quality pieces but the price point is definitely going to be in your favor. Some of my favorite statement pieces in my closet are the ones I’ve gotten at a thrift store. Thrift shops could be a gold mine–but just be aware of how much time you want to spend sifting through everything. If you are trying to shop on a time frame then a thrift store isn’t for you. But if you are trying to keep your budget in check–then I highly suggest going to any local thrift store or consignment shop.
Small tip–but I HIGHLY suggest skipping Outlet shops. Often their prices will be higher than any other store. And often, the quality isn’t the best. Just be sure to compare to other shops and the quality of other stores before purchasing anything from an outlet.
Checking the tag
Not many people think about this– but checking the tag on what material and how to wash is important. If you end up purchasing an item that says “dry-clean only” you are going to be paying for it every time you show up at the cleaners. Stick to clothes that say machine wash and this way you’ll save your money.
Best thing ever! But when it comes to taking photos for the blog, often it’s easier to purchase an outfit and return it afterward. This will definitely help you save money. Have you ever found something you really want but you know deep down that you will only be wearing it once? There’s a simple answer for that. You can purchase from the store and return it after that one event. Also, another great thing is borrowing from a friend or family member. You not only save money but you won’t have these items piling up in your closet.
Limit your Online Shopping
It’s so easy to see something online and instantly want it. But you run the risk of that item not fitting correctly or it doesn’t look like it did on the site. If you are anything like me, I absolutely HATE returning things. Which is why I’m very cautious about online shopping. I limit myself to only buying things online that I know my size for sure. Even though I have had moments where I’ve purchased things that I thought I knew my size and it just didn’t turn out that way. I rarely shop online and this has definitely helped with saving my time and money. Humans are lazy by fault– and we tend to sit in the comfort of our homes and shop online rather than going out and actually taking the time to try things on.
Some online stores can have great deals. So don’t get me wrong– I’m not saying don’t ever shop online but just be more aware of what you’re buying and if it’s worth it. If you are someone that knows your sizes, then it may work out for you. But for those that don’t, you are risking a lot for something you could be spending less time and money on if you just went to an actual store. Stick to shopping online through stores you have purchased items from– you are most likely to know your sizes and end up finding things that actually fit you.
Another tip is to shop for online stores that have free shipping and the option to return to the local store.
Go Out To Shop
You know that list I told you to make? It’s time to take that list with you and go OUT to the stores. I know some of you are probably rolling your eyes and dreading the part of human interaction and crowds and waiting in dressing rooms. But the truth is, you are most likely to spend less if you actually take the time to go to a store. This way, you are trying on the items and see how they fit.
If you need basic items I would suggest going to Target. For something on the fashionable end of the spectrum try Forever21. Most of the items in my closet are from Forever21 and have lasted me a very long time. If you are looking for items that are the higher-price-point then try to catch these stores when they are having sales. Like Neiman Marcus, Last Call, or Nordstrom’s rack– these items will be some you can wear for a very long time and they will last.
I’ve also found that shops such as TJ Maxx and Ross have some really great pieces. Bear in mind it’s often a hit or miss at these stores–but if you know where to look you can find a lot of great items. When I was in Montana, we went to a Ross and I found this Steve Madden Madden Girl Red cross body purse. It was on sale for $12.99 which is a steal in my book! You can find top quality brands for less at these stores.
Bonus Tip: If you have trouble sticking to your budget when out shopping then bring a friend (Someone who you trust won’t pressure you) and have that friend or family member keep you accountable for your purchases. Don’t bring someone that is going to do the opposite. You want to bring someone who is good at budgeting or someone that will tell you “you have reached your limit time to go”. The best thing to do when out shopping is to leave your credit cards at home and only bring cash. I cannot stress this enough– our generation has become accustomed to the “swiping method” whether it’s your credit card or debit card– you are still spending money. It’s better to have your cash with you, as this limits you from overly spending.
I hope this has helped! And if you have any other questions or comments feel free to email me using the contact below or you can reach me at SoCal_Charm.
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