1. Set a true budget
When I got my first “real job” I also got all of my real bills. So I learned pretty quick that American Express doesn’t accept IOU or take backs. So I set a budget up for myself. I calculated my monthly bills so I have a weekly amount taken out of my account on pay day, so I never even see the true amount each paycheck holds. I then have a set amount taken out for gas, groceries and other necessities and a fixed amount is put into my savings every week. Finally whatever is left over (which is typically not much) I put aside for various wants and needs. For example when I was going to Las Vegas, all of the extra money was put aside for vacation.
I do the same when I go on a shopping spree. Instead of buying a few pieces here and there I typically like to leave the area and go to some of my favorite stores, which aren’t located in my small town. Nothing against the shopping here but I would rather go to a bigger city like Philadelphia or Manhattan because they have so many options.
So basically I try to save up that “leftover” cash for anything I want. When I wanted my camera I put a little bit aside every week until I had enough. Whether it takes me 1 week or 8 months, I save until I can afford it.
Seasons play a big role in when I need to start to save and when I will spend. Right now stores are in between lines and they just have some filler items to hold them over until spring is in full bloom. So there is no need to buy right now. I usually try to shop before Fall ends and Winter begins and the same with Spring turning into Summer.
2. Stores that have style and deals
Target – God they have come so far with their clothes. They are partnering up with some big names to try and give people the fashion without breaking the bank. They are up to date with all of the latest trends, they even have a few groundbreaking items I have my eye on!
T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s– These stores are all about the timing but when you time it right, you’re in sale heaven! I find a lot of my basics there like leggings and tees but every now and then they have some amazing pieces, everything from blazers to boots to chic furniture! Plus, depending on location depends on the brands that the stores carry. So if you live in or near a bigger city check out their Marshall’s and T.J. Maxx to see what amazing deals you can find.
H&M- A store like Target that had really developed into a pretty fashionable place. They have some amazing pieces for every style. I have found some really cute tops there, ones that I wouldn’t normally wouldn’t even try on. They always have such fun colors too and designs.
DSW– AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING! They have the best shoes at pretty good prices. I always would go up after work on Friday and just look at all of the shoes, it was how I would unwind after a long week. Some people do yoga I try on shoes. Even better is the entire room dedicated to sales! Go back there (again time it right with the seasons) and see what they have in your size.
Goodwill and Consignment Shops- You never know what you are going to find here, sometimes it is just like the Macklemore and Ryan Lewis song, other times you can find some hidden gems. Since the vintage tee look is in I always go and try to find some tees that look like they came out of J. Crew’s Lookbook. Just give it a shot and as for Consignment shops, a good one won’t take anything that looks worn or used. So I will go and just see what they have to offer.
Etsy– I have found necklaces on here that originally go for over $200 for less then $30. I like Etsy more for accessories but check out what they have to offer clothing wise. I do a general “J. Crew” search sometimes and find some pretty amazing accessories that these little shops carry.
Sale Sections – As of late I have headed right to the back of the store to check out their sale section. It will be hit or miss but sometimes you find some pretty awesome deals! I was in Madewell and I picked up this amazing vest and grey long sleeve for 50% off plus I used my (old SHH!) student ID to get another 15% off! J. Crew has been upping the ante with their sale section but be careful, the price already listed is their sale price, DON’T take additional off the lowest. But overall they have great deals.
3. Next, get the basics.
Obviously your closet won’t only be made up of ALL these pieces but I would try to use this as a guide when styling your closet. These are basic and cover the necessities. Check out this awesome site for some “basic ideas”. Use these to develop your own style!
Once you get the basic idea down, you then can put your own flair in. Once you get “your style” in then the mixing and matching begins!
4. Look in your own closet
Like an outfit on Pinterest? Chances are you have something similar in your own closet. It doesn’t need to be the exact pattern or color that the model is wearing but it can be close! Look at the overall idea behind the outfit. More often then not its the colors and patterns being mixed and HOW they are being put together. It isn’t that she has designer clothes, it’s the fact that she knows how to mix and match colors and patterns. J. Crew is an amazing resource for mixing of colors and patterns. They go bold. Everything from 4 different pastel colors mixed together, to an Aztec print on both your shirt and pants. It sounds like a lot but they make it work.
Social Media is a huge resource because we can visually see what we like and then search the internet for a cheaper version of it. A lot of blogs will tag where they got the clothes and if it is an older piece, they give other and more current options.
5. More Emails??
I absolutely hate that I get 50+ emails a day and NONE of them are important. This is because I constantly give my email whenever I go into a store. Typically they give out more “perks” to people on their email lists. Sometimes stores release a line and send out a day early to their customers who are on the email list. Or they will have Flash Sales and for a few hours the entire site is 50% off. So try giving out your email address because you never know what might come through. If you hate getting all the junk mail just try limiting the amount of times you give out your email.
So these are just some quick tips! Budgeting is quite difficult, living with a CPA during tax season has really taught me that. In order to be fashionable you don’t need to wear the newest and most expensive jeans, instead use what you have and work it!
Need any help or advice? Or do you have more tips I can share?
Just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Until next time,