BUILD A WARDROBE THAT YOU LOVE, WHILE STAYING AT YOUR BUDGET
Budgets are important for most people. Your wardrobe budget is one of the things that can quickly eat into your budget. You can add items to your closet or start fresh. It is easy to lose track of your spending and wonder what you should spend instead. As I have said many times, we don’t ever, ever, ever get in debt for clothes. What about a house? Yes, for most people. What is a car? Sure. Shoes? Never. I love shoes. Many of us have a budget that governs our spending. The number one source of guilt for many people is how we allocate our resources.
How can I maximize my purchasing power and spend my budget? How can I replace an entire wardrobe? How do you stay within your budget and get the clothes you want? How can you stretch your dollars to buy the things you love? These are my top tips for getting great deals. But, they won’t work if you don’t know these first.
It’s the season when we begin to think about wart wardrobes. It sounds crazy, it’s still hot outside. But it’s back-to-school season. It’s much easier than you might think to get started on your winter wardrobes. These tips will help you save money on clothing, whether you are shopping for yourself or your children.
AVOID THE “GOOD DEALER GREMLINS”
How many times have we said, “Oh, this top is on clearance!” or “This designer is only $199!”? If you are anything like me, you feel like you’re turning your back to the shopping fairies who gave you the deal. We can’t offend them, or they will abandon us. Here’s the problem. Is it something you really like? Do you love it? Would you be willing to pay full price?
It is so easy to spend your money in a way that doesn’t make sense. $25 here, $10 here, $50 with that. It’s gone before you know. There’s a big difference between shopping fairies, and good deal gremlins. Even if bargain shopping is an Olympic sport. It’s okay, soul sister. I love it. You might be spending more on clothes than you actually wear or love.
Take a look at what you have to purge. The items that are still attached with tags and give you shame every time you go in. These are the ones you only wore once. These were great deals that you couldn’t resist and they ended up in your closet. They weren’t because you loved them. It’s hard to resist an incredible deal on a skirt in a crazy print. Are you comfortable wearing skirts in colors that don’t suit your body? Is it compatible with other clothes or do you need to purchase something?
Isn’t that top adorable? It is. It is perfect for you, or anyone else. What about shoes that pinch your feet but look great? Do you want to sacrifice style for comfort? You might. I sometimes do, I confess. Many women won’t. Is this a shoe that you should wear regularly? We can manage pinched toes on special occasions, but not every single day.
It is important to know your limits. My first tip is to stay away from the “good deal” gremlins. Ask yourself why I am so tempted to purchase this. Don’t be tempted to buy something just because it is cheap. After you find the item you love, you can examine the price tag to determine if it fits within your budget. Do not buy something just because it’s a great deal. You can win the lottery if it’s a great deal that you love. You are supported by the shopping fairies! If you don’t, the shopping fairies are with you and will eat your budget.
SHOP WITH A PLANNING
This tip may make you squint your eyes. Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote, “If you fail plan, you will fail.” Although it is often overused, it is still very true. Shopping blindly and buying “anything” is the fastest and easiest way to accumulate too many clothes, not enough to wear them and an empty bank account. Do you have a cohesive wardrobe? Are your pieces easy to mix and match? Or are there a lot of odd-numbered items that you can’t combine with each other? Do you have the right wardrobe staples? Are you aware of what you have and what you don’t need?
This is possible for anyone, but it’s also possible for you. Did you ever return home with a brand new top and realize that there are three more just like it? This has happened to me many times. My closet was so stuffed with clothes I didn’t like or wear, that I couldn’t see what I had. Then I got another one, and had less money.
You can buy many great things (or not) but not what you actually need when you shop without a plan. Even if you love the item, is it going to fill a void in your wardrobe? These items will make your wardrobe more versatile. My second tip is to plan your shopping. This will help you save so much time, frustration, and money. You’ll also be able to bring home what you really want and need.
CHECK YOUR CLOSET FIRST
Next, I recommend that you go through your closet and find items that are in your style. Take out all the clothes you love and that you like, as well as any clothing that fits your lifestyle. Start by taking inventory of your possessions. Next, take a look at the special pieces that you own. There are hidden gems in every closet that just a few of you don’t know about. They are waiting to be discovered and loved.
Place them all in a closet. We aren’t going to be doing a purge. This is a story about me. I know what I am talking about. Don’t let this spiral into an overwhelming project that overwhelms and causes you to give up. It doesn’t need to take you hours. You can just go through the list and decide what you want based on your gut reaction. Don’t think about it too much. These things can be pulled out and put in your closet. You will then feel great in outfits. If you wish, the rest can be added later.
FIND THE GAPS
Tip number four: Find the gaps. What’s missing from your love and possessions? Are you willing to buy what you don’t want or just think you should? There are lists that list 50 things every woman should have in her closet. You wouldn’t believe how many women have been frustrated by these lists and come up with an “ideal” wardrobe that doesn’t suit them. You are not a clone. A list of 10, 20, or 50 items will not work for all women.
What do you really want to put in your closet? Do you think it would be something you would wear often? Is it something you love and would you wear it often? These are great, but you shouldn’t start with a complete wardrobe. These items could expand your options and provide you with some variety. Are there any items that could be used to tie together other pieces of your wardrobe? These are the areas we want to fill.
SHOP WITH INTENTION
Tip five is to shop with intention. This is what I am doing this weekend with my kids. Once you have identified what is missing, you can create a shopping list to help you shop with intention. This will allow you to build a wardrobe you love and be able to make outfits easily. You can go shopping and buy whatever you like, but you don’t have anything to wear.
Many women are guilty of impulse shopping, which can lead to a wardrobe full of clothes that don’t fit. You’ll be able to get the most use out of your basics and have the most versatility in your wardrobe if you prioritize your pieces. My clothing budget is the same as it was seven years ago. Instead of being the clearance queen, I buy more quality, higher-quality clothes that I love.
While I love clearance sales, I won’t lie and say I don’t go there. But I know my priorities so I can let go of the items that aren’t going to work. If it isn’t what I need, I can leave good deals behind all day. Because I shop from a list, I can spend more money on quality and less expensive items. I don’t just buy what I like or think is a great deal. Quality is more important than quantity. I don’t just mean the quality of construction or fabric. I also refer to what I love and will wear again and again.
Is there a better deal? Do you prefer a $20 top that will collect dust in your closet, or a $60 top you love and wear for many years? It’s clear. Although it might not appear so, a $60 top is still a great deal. The $20 top was only $20 when it went to the toilet. It was never worn and the $60 top is still worth its value. The quality of the garment is excellent and it can withstand regular wear.
You get more value when you are more selective in what you purchase. You’ll be able to wear the pieces more often and get a lower cost per wear. You won’t have to spend more money on filling the gap you didn’t fill with the $20 top you don’t like.
It isn’t worth the money if I don’t use it. No matter how cheap, I’m willing and able to spend on things I will wear again and again. Does this mean that I don’t love great things? Yes, I do. Does this mean that I have to pay full price for all products and want the best brands? No. However, I will not buy anything just because it’s cheap and I’m willing save money for what I need. The price tag doesn’t have to be 100% of what you buy. You should stick to your budget. However, if you are more careful about how much you spend and don’t waste your money on things that you don’t love, you can make the best of your budget.