Stitch by Stitch
If you don’t know how to sew yet, this is the best time to get into it and learn all you can. Making your own clothes is a fun, expressive activity and you can create them according to your own personal style and taste. It is best to start with basic patterns and experiment with different styles as your sewing skills improve. Make sure that you use cheap and easy-to-handle fabrics in your first attempts so as to not waste too much while you are learning the craft.
Cotton is a great raw material to work with. You can also mix pieces of old clothes that you no longer wear to create an entirely new outfit. On the other hand, if sewing sounds too hard or boring for you, you can always buy basic items like tank tops and plain shirts that you can decorate with beads, pins and ribbons.
Thrift shops and second-hand stores often hold style treasures like vintage items sold at a fraction of the cost. Previously owned clothes are usually dry-cleaned or sterilized before they are put on display, so hygiene will not be a concern. Don’t be disappointed if your first visit to such stores leaves you empty handed; they restock regularly and you will soon get more options to choose from.
Remember to always check the items you intend to buy for stains, tears or broken seams. Flea markets are also great places to search for cheap clothing. Finally, you can organize swap parties with your friends or neighbors. They are fun and you will get new clothes without spending any money. Freeing up some space in your closet is an added bonus.
Out of season, not out of style
If you prefer to buy new, shopping out of season can make a huge difference in the amount of money you spend on clothes, shoes and even accessories. Sale seasons are also great for buying expensive items at reduced prices. These periods are ideal if you want to experiment with a new style, but don’t get overwhelmed by huge sales percentages. Ignore flashy trends that will probably be outdated by the time you wear the clothes.
Instead, you can stock up on basics and classic pieces that don’t go out of fashion. Items that are one or two sizes bigger can be brought down to your measurements by a tailor. Keep in mind, though, that it is not cost-effective to buy low-quality clothes with the intention of getting them altered.
Online shops often feature special offers that you can’t get in stores. Coupon codes are also available for various items. Check the store’s return policy to find out if you can get an exchange or refund if the item doesn’t fit or if it looks different than you thought. While looking for a specific piece, you can check E-bay or other auction websites to see if you can get it for less. You may be surprised to find out that prices may be significantly lower in online shops, even if you have to order the item from another country. Be wary of scammers and knock-offs, and always research the seller’s reputation.
Good advice when shopping online, regardless of the store, is to avoid revealing your personal information online unless you trust the merchant. If your bargain hunting takes you to smaller or lesser known websites, try using Paypal or pre-paid credit cards instead of your personal daily debt or credit cards.
Look before you swipe
Being budget-conscious is mostly about what you will (or will not) buy next and it is always good to take into account what you have already spent your hard earned money on. Before adding a new item to your closet, take a moment to think whether you really need it. If you already have something similar in your closet at home, it is too expensive for your current budget, or you have nothing to match it with, you shouldn’t buy it.
Impulse buys are notorious money-drainers. Consider accessories to spruce up an outfit; they are much cheaper alternatives to transform an outfit.
Do you have any tips for the budget-conscious? Feel free to leave them in the comments below.