Sunday, 22 May 2011

How to Shop and Be Fashionable on a Tight Budget

When you are on a tight budget it is easy to believe that you cannot be fashionable. These days that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are so many options available and tricks to know. You just need to know where and when you look.

Firstly, shopping on a tight budget is nothing to be ashamed of, it is actually quite smart. Fashion comes and goes so quickly you dont want to be wasting money on a quick trend. Secondly, sticking to a budget means you could have money left over to buy some accessories to match your new outfit.

Here is my guide to tight budget shopping:

1:   It really pays to know what is in trend and the look you are after.  This way you wont be walking from store to store aimlessly looking at every item that is discounted. Go shopping with an objective, even better, take a list or even have pictures of looks you are after. Also, check your letterbox catelogs and familiarise yourself with the general/average price in which various stores charge for thier clothes.

2:   It is also important to know if 'basic' pieces are needed to be worn with an item you are looking at buying. E.g. if your going for a faux fur vest, you are likely to need a tight long sleeve top to wear under it. You will either have it in your wardrobe or you may need to purchase one. Depending on your budget, this could be a deal breaker on whether you can purchase the item or not.

3:   If you realise you need your basic pieces, here are a few shops which are great for cheap basic items: Cocolatte (singlets $3), Tightrope (singlets $4), Kmart (long sleeve U neck tops $8), you may also see Cotton-On with cheap items, they are cheap but not the cheapest, unless you can get them on sale and cheaper than the above prices (occasionally happens). It is best to buy your basics last, after you have brought your main piece. You may get unlucky and be unable to purchase the item(s) your were after.

4:   Now you’re ready to look for the outfit that you are after. Go to the mid-priced stores first.  Go into the stores and go straight to the sales racks. Go there with intent to find the pieces to make your outfit, but keep an open mind as you may find that a similar, or slightly different, piece is on sale.  In effect, once you get home you will still feel like you got the look you were after and ultimately a new outfit.  The retail and fashion industry is suffering from poor in-store sale, and because of this, they are very regularly having large sales and marking down items which are still very much in season.  This is why going straight to the sales racks can be very beneficial J.

5:   If you have been unlucky while trying the mid-priced stores, here are my picks of how and what to buy from the budget stores.

a.              Kmart!! You will be very surprised with how much Kmart has picked up their game in their clothing department.  You will find some items that are a tacky rip-off of their designer counterparts, but if you have a good look you will generally always find a copy of something that you have seen in a designer store.  Quality is never as issue when buying at Kmart.  I have actually found that they have a very high quality of clothing standard.  A bonus of shopping at Kmart is that they have a very good returns policy if you do encounter a problem with an item that you have purchased from there.

b.              Tightrope.  Tightrope is a store that we have at several shopping centres/malls but you wont find one at every centre.  They have very in-trend clothing at crazy cheap prices.  The quality is mostly good, but there are a few threads that you may need to snip off.  If you by-pass the tacky rip-offs you will almost always find something in there.

c.              Cocolatte.  As above, Cocolatte is a store that you wont find at ever shopping centre.  They have similar clothing to Tightrope and at similar prices.  They are forever having sales on their ‘new arrivals’.

d.              Millers.  Millers, for older women, is great.  They often have all their tops on sale for around $15.00 - $20.00.  Keep an eye one these sales.  I haven’t noticed that these are too frequent though.

e.              Target.  I don’t consider Target to be a bargain store by any means.  When they do have a sale on clothing though it is generally worth checking out.  Particularly during stock-take.

f.               Valleygirl.  There is ALWAYS something in there! You will have to have a decent look though.  Check out their sale racks with tops for $9.95.  There is always one in every store.

g.              Diva.  Diva jewellery, in my opinion, is only worth buying if it is on sale, and when I say sale I mean 3 for $8.00 etc.  The quality is actually really poor if you intend on wearing the pieces daily.  You just wont be able too.  They are great for buying items that you will wear a few times or to jazz up an outfit.  When you see their boxing-day sale, buy up!!

The key to shopping on a budget is knowing when to shop.  Sales are about every month or so these days and they last for longer than they used to.  There is no need to wait for the stocktake sales anymore.  You can either wait for the item you like in the mid-priced stores to come on sale or you can wait for the cheaper stores to stock items similar to what you are after.  The cheaper stores don't tale as long as they used to, to get into the same trends as their higher priced counterparts.  Patience is the key!

Don't be buying items that are sale for the sake of buying.  If it doesn't fit in your budget or in the outfit plan then avoid them.  If you find that after you have purchased your whole outfit and you have some remaining money, then you can consider this.  If this happens, make sure you only purchase items that you will actually wear and ones that you can piece together with items that you have at home in your wardrobe.

Happy Shopping :-)

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