On a tight budget?From understanding how the sales work, to frock swapping and hunting for bargains online (as well as learning how to practise self-control), follow our top tips on saving money while you shop and you'll never pay full price again.
1. Work the Sales
The number one rule for anyone who wants to shop on a budget: always shop off-season, on weekdays and at sale-time. Your winter bargains are best bought in March, April, and May; snap your spring buys at a snip of the price in June, July and August; your summerwear in September, October and November and your autumn collection in November, December and January.
Weekdays (particularly Thursday evenings) are the best time to hit the shops. this is because shops have a much better selection on weekdays. "On the weekend, you'll only get picked-over stuff because the stores don't have time to restock," she adds. By Thursday, many of the weekend sales have started but everything is available. Sale-wise, the best time to buy an item you like is six to eight weeks after it arrives in the shop - this is when it will have dropped to its lowest price in its season-end clearance.
2. Know Where to Shop
Trendy clothes don't just belong in the top designer shops, or even the popular high street shops. Keeping your mind open and your peepers peeled really will allow you to unearth a multitude of hidden fashion gems.
Move out of your shopping comfort zone and venture into the unknown; be that the cheaper high-street shops you usually wouldn't think to go in, vintage shops, charity shops, flea markets - hell, even shops that are renowned as being unfashionable! Though you may cringe at the thought, you never know where you might dig out your greatest, cheapest fashion find, that doesn't break the bank. Happy scouting!
3. Shop Online
Shopping online can be the best move to make if you're looking to save the pennies. Below are just a few ways in which online shopping could save you money. Most online shops offer discounts on multiple purchases as well as in-store returns. Money-savvy shoppers can take advantage of this by buying enough to qualify for the best discounts and free delivery, and then cut costs on returns by taking unwanted items back to the shop.
4. Fashion Freebies
If your budget is non-existent, don't rule out the forgotten purchases at the back of your wardrobe. As fashion trends constantly return, keep your old clothes and dig them out when you're bored of your newer things. You'll be amazed at what you find, and won't have to spend a penny to change your look.
5. Wear it Well
Varying the way you mix and match your clothes is another way you can create a new look for free. Though you might be fed up of your clothes, even the plainest items can look amazing when put together well. The smallest alterations, such as the roll of a cuff, or the turn-up of a collar, can also make a big difference to your overall look.
6. Sell or Swap Unwanted Clothes
Now I know we just stressed the importance of hoarding, but if you know you'll never wear that hideous dress again, you may as well get something for it – be it money or material goods - rather than just chucking it away. If you're after cash, then you can sell your unwanted items either at a car-boot sale or online. You'll be surprised at how much others are willing to pay for something you'd actually pay them to take off your hands! One girl's fashion disaster really is another girl's treasure.
7. Buy the Basics
Though it may seem boring to spend your budget bucks on basic clothing, it really will do your pocket a favour in the long run. Neutral colours, staple items and decent fabrics, such as black or grey trousers, white shirts and navy jeans will last you all year round (and probably for the next 10 years too!) A simple cardigan or plain pair of jeans will never go out of fashion, and can be worn anytime, anywhere.
8. Use Accessories
Investing in good accessories is a great way to jazz up your wardrobe without spending a fortune. They change an outfit immediately - you could wear the same pair of jeans and plain T-shirt for a full week, but with different accessories, and no one would know. Look out for statement pieces of jewellery - such as oversized necklaces, unusual scarves, or eye-grabbing belts. Anything that'll alter the appearance of an outfit and add that 'wow' factor is what you’re after.
9. Quality Not Quantity
It's better to buy the best you can afford and wear it for years and years, until it literally falls apart, than to buy a load of really cheap clothes that won't last a week. When on a budget, think quality, not quantity. For a little extra money, good fabrics will last a lifetime, and won't lose their shape and colour like cheaper alternatives quickly do. Spending just a little more really will result in being more cost-effective in the long run.
10. Avoid Impulse-Buying
Impulse-buying is a bad habit that often results in the regretful purchase of ill-fitting, ugly clothes we simply don't want.