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How I Get to Look Fabulous on a Strict Budget, Part I

June 6, 2012

There’s no denying that I love to shop!  In fact, I have shopped so much in the past years to date that I literally have no more room for clothes and shoes (or that my house is just too small and my daughter and I have no closet space), but that goes without saying with the fact that I did not spend a fortune except on a handful of items I can put my finger on that cost more than I would have ordinarily spent, in which case I call those my splurge purchases that I rewarded myself with. 

I like to good, and at my age, it’s important enough that I actually pay attention to what I wear, how much I paid for it and how long it’s going to last me.  Like I’ve said in previous posts and like you’ve read on other sites that “you don’t have to spend a fortune to look good and to have quality clothes” in fact you can shop at boutiques, swapmeets, and smaller retail stores and come out looking like a million bucks.  The only thing with shopping at some swapmeets…their clothes tend to look the same from one swapmeet to another. 

So, the big question is how do I do it?  How do I wear the clothes I wear and not have paid top dollar for?  Here are some tips and ideas that I used to keep looking fabulous without spending a too much money.  When you’re on a tight/strict budget, you become in tuned with bargains and major discounts that give you a bang for your buck. 

Keep Your Eye’s Out for Sales and Bargains:  I can’t stress this enough.  When you’re on a tight /strict budget, you have to research where the bargains and discounts are in order to gain a significant savings on what you spend.  You want to spend more than what you can actually afford because then that’s taking money from another source that’s probably used for bills, groceries, gas in the car, rent or some other need you may have.  Stay within your means to ensure you can afford to purchase items you’re looking for. 

An example of this is such that I have a teenage daughter, so I have to keep my eye on sales and know a good bargain when I spot it.  She’s s a girl with a healthy appetite for clothes and shoes, which I have to keep under control, hence having to be on the look out for good sales and bargains.  Ideally shopping online has become a huge part of how I do our shopping, and for her it’s mostly been shoes.  Online shopping has been the best resource for bargain hunting because I am able to do price comparisons, mostly on shoes, and come out cheaper in some instances.  I get an idea of what I’m looking for and go from there.  For my daughter, I have narrow her choices down to come up with specifics to get an idea of what the price range is going to be. 

I look for major discounts that offer discounts of 30% and up off purchases on their entire site.  Depending on the site, I don’t too much care about paying for shipping because the savings is significantly high.  Things I will not pay for online are jeans and T-shirts because I can go downtown or other stores and pay much less than what some of those sites are charging.   I get our shoes from three online shoe sources and Payless when they have a sale going on which is quite often lately.

Think Before You Throw Your Money Away at Major Department Stores:  Keep in mind that the economy has not fully recovered, so for many of us shopping in a major department store is not a luxury that we immediately have at our disposal.  Don’t get me wrong, I love major department stores just as much as the next person, but if your money doesn’t scream “you can afford that $650 dress” then why do that to yourself? 

You can go to stores like Ross, Marshalls, K-Mart and even JC Penny to take advantage of humongous sales, and you may even catch good sales at Sears as they tend to have really good discounts, especially if you’ve signed up to receive their alerts and have the rewards card. 

The object of the game is researching to see if you can what you’re looking for at a cheaper price, finding the same thing or something very similar else where other than where you were originally going to purchase it other than Nordstrom, Dillards, Bloomingdale.  An example of shopping around and doing price comparisons is I generally find Calvin Klein designs at Ross and pay more than half off of the retail cost.  We’re talking in the ball park of 50% to 60% off.  That’s huge when you think about it.  And anyone who is  Calvin Klein fan like I am, you know his designs do not come cheap.  But if you can buy Christian Louboutin, my hat’s off to you.

Consider Boutique Shopping So, the best deals I find come from some boutiques.  I talk about this all the time because it’s important especially with being the sole provider of my household — the breadwinner.  I have to account for every dime I spend, so when it’s time to go shopping for clothes and shoes, one of the things I do and sit down and think about what I’m going shopping for, ideal places to go looking, and how much I budget to spend.  I always try set a spending budget for that trip and set a course for where I’m going.  9 times out of 10 I’m fortunate enough to find what I’m looking for or something similar which is just as good at low and reasonable prices and still come out with quality goods.

Be Careful of Impulse Spending:  How many times have you gone shopping and something just caught you eye and you thought you just had to have it at that very moment because it looked different, fun and exciting?  Then you later discover it’s sat in your closet for months with the price tag on it because you have nothing to wear with it.  It’s happen to the best of us and we realize just how much money we’ve wasted on impulse buying; because we either have to give away to Goodwill or the Salvation Army, try to sell it, or try to pawn it off on our kids or friends, or family.  So sad! 😦

Best practice for being aware of impulse spending is asking yourself these questions when you see something you think you just have to have:

  1. Is that something I can wear on a regular basis?
  2. Do I have something I can wear with that?
  3. Am I going to wear it or is it going to just sit in my closet for months?
  4. Do I really need that?
  5. Can I afford to spend the money on that?
  6. Is that something I really need at the moment?

I find that asking myself these questions have stopped me from making costly mistakes by impulse spending.

So this is just some of what I do to afford to look the best I absolutely can.  Stay tuned for part two when I talk about how I shop for my daughter and how I taught her to be frugal with her money.

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