Monday, 23 April 2012
HOW TO: SHOP ON A DIME
The trick is to keep all of this in mind while you're shopping. What do you need to complete your wardrobe? Is there something that you've had your eye on for a while? Try keeping a wishlist on your phone or in your day book. This will remind you of what you really want to spend your money on and prevent any impulse buys that you may regret later. In short, you can save money by keeping your eye on the prize.
Remember, some things are worth going into temporary debt over (houses, children, traveling overseas to de-worm orphaned babies, etc.), but other things just aren't worth it (shoes, bags, a really cute leather dress that you swear you'll wear more than once, etc.)
If you have limited funds (or even if you don't!), you want to conserve your money for the things that matter. So no matter how low the price or how big the sale, don't buy it unless you love it.
Outlets are great for several reasons. Firstly, they tend to be grouped together in malls, which gives the frugal shopper a 'safer' place to shop. Secondly, they offer brand name items at discounted prices. For instance, I really love the Banana Republic, J Crew and Club Monaco, but I can't begin to afford their regular prices. Their outlet prices, however, are much cheaper, so I can get the clothes that I want for a price that I can afford.
For those of you who live in the Toronto area, check out these outlet malls (all less than four hours away):
Vaughn Mills, Vaughn, Ontario
Dixie Outlet Mall, Mississauga, Ontario
Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls, New York
So what can you do about it? If you want a certain product but your local store is out of stock or doesn't carry it, ask them to check nearby stores and give you the address of a store that does carry the item. Then just drive over and pick it up, instead of having it shipped to your door. If they don't ship to a store near you, then skip down to rule #7.
Take a moment and acquaint yourself with a variety of stores. Check out high street stores and department stores like Zara, Top Shop and Forever 21 before you bust the bank. Chances are that you'll find a similar style that is equally suitable to your wardrobe for a fraction of the designer price. Then, if you really can't find anything that meets your demands, you can invest in the big ticket item with a clear conscience.
here), that sell items through individual vendors. You can also check out small-scale vendors on Etsy (find it here), who might be making something similar for a more affordable price.
A fabulous resource for the budget-savvy fashionista is group discount sites, such as Zozi (find it here), Groupon (find it here) and Beyond the Rack (find it here). These sites cut deals with companies by providing them with large amounts of business. All you have to do is sign up and you can browse their wares from the comfort of your own home! Last but not least, you can always use your computer to go straight to the wholesaler and see if there is a discounted price when you buy it from the source.
Keep in mind that people have different gift budgets, so if you're nervous that your item might be too expensive for someone, then ask them to give you money to put towards the purchase. People tend to be wary about giving cash because it seems impersonal, but if you show them the piece that you've got your eye on, then they'll be able to connect their cash gift to something tangible. It works out best for both parties, because you get your dream gift and they get to give it to you!
How To: String Bracelets" post for a quick and easy (and cheap!) jewelery overhaul.
If you're feeling adventurous, you can even try making clothes! Start small with a flowy skirt or a simple dress and then move on to more tailored pieces as you gain experience. Your sewing skills will also come in handy when you need to tailor your clothes - but make sure that you buy clothing that only needs a tweak here and there or else it could end up adding up.
Better yet, most airports carry a variety of high end brands and designer boutiques, which allow you to buy items that would normally be very expensive without paying sales taxes. For instance, when I bought my Tissot watch (which was a graduation present from my parents), I bought it in the Athens airport on the way home from my summer vacation and ended up saving a bundle.
If you want more tips and tricks about how to shop on a budget, check out these great websites:
The Budget Fashionista
The Budget Babe
Broke and Beautiful