So you love the looks from the runway, but your checkbook is saying otherwise? Looking fabulous can seem like a challenge when the hottest items are all over $1,000. What do you do when the extra cash isn’t there but you want to look like a million bucks? Great news! There are savvy shopping secrets I’ve learned over the years that will help you have a star-studded look even on a budget.
1. Polish up
One of the easiest ways to upgrade and add some spice to your style while on a budget is to change your nail lacquer. It’s something that’s inexpensive and can be done instantly. For a more elegant look, go for a soft pastel or nude shade. If you’re aiming for more of a grunge or rock look for a night out on the town, try a black or dark blue. It looks great on every skin tone!
2. Score designer discounts
Let’s face it: Though we’re on a budget, there still may be a desire for some great designer pieces. The good news is you don’t have to break the bank to do so. Places like Saks Off 5th or the online store Trendlee are great places to find designer goods marked down — tremendously.
3. Shop smart
Buying can be fun even when you’re watching your money. I love scoring my next fashion finds at places like Zara, H&M and Topshop, which have a variety of quality clothing picks. Many times these stores will have designer-inspired pieces that will keep you right in trend without breaking the bank.
4. Buy versatile clothing
Shop for items that can go with anything. Things like a black leather jacket, jeans, black slacks and staple pencil skirts are items that are interchangeable and can make a whole new outfit when mixed and matched. Great places to get staple items for your wardrobe are Express and Gap.
5. Mix and match
One of the best ways to look like a million bucks without spending it is to mix high- and low-cost pieces. This means having at least one great-quality piece — designer or not — and pairing it with lower-priced items. For example, you could take a designer item like a Gucci bucket bag and pair it with a budget-friendly chiffon dress — here’s one under $30! — to achieve a super feminine, posh look.
6. Have a closet sale
Take some time to go through your closet and analyze what you need more of, what you dislike or pick out things that don’t fit. I know this feeling all too well, as it can be hard to let go of certain items because of the attachment to them — things like a sweater from a friend or jeans you hope to fit back into after losing those 15 pounds. It’s time to just let it go and make space for the new. Places like Plato’s Closet sell your used clothes for cash. Another, Poshmark, allows you to sell your clothes right from your phone. With this site, I have found you are able to get more cash for your used items, especially for higher-end pieces. Either way, both are great for getting additional income to shop for things you need in your wardrobe.
7. Use discount codes
Don’t be afraid to use discount codes when shopping online or in the store. Retail Me Not is an amazing site that allows you to search current coupon codes. You can also Google discounts happening at your favorite stores.
8. Sign up for email lists
Take some time to register for email alerts from your favorite retailers. You’ll be first to know about discounts, specials and exclusive offers available only to subscribers.
9. Shop outlet malls
Outlet malls give you a great opportunity to shop some of your favorite stores at a discounted price. Special days, like Black Friday, offer extra savings that make shopping on a budget serious fun.
10. Follow discount and budget blogs
The Budget Babe and Penny Chic are both great blogs to watch for fabulous finds on a budget, with items usually under $100. These trendy shoppers take the frustration out of finding discounted and affordable items by posting links on where to find amazing pieces for your wardrobe.