Now that my Puerto Rico vacation photos are done, I’m so excited to finally start sharing fall outfits, starting with today’s post.
I have been in such a mood to shop lately. Seriously, I’ve had to stop myself from hitting “complete purchase” on several occasions. But, fall is upon us and I am eager to shop and pick up some new pieces for this season. As much as I believe in budgeting and saving and all that jazz, I also know that sometimes the shopping bug takes over and you just can’t control it. I also believe that a little “treat yo self” moment every now and then is not only fine, but necessary.
So today, we’re back with another Shopping On A Budget 101 post and I’m sharing my 7 tips to shop, even when money is tight.
Shopping On A Budget 101:
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF WEBSITES LIKE HONEY & EBATES
I recently just discovered Honey after hearing about it from a few of my favorite Youtubers’ sponsored videos. Basically, Honey is a browser extension that helps you find the best deals wherever you shop online. So you basically install it on your browser, it lives where your bookmarks are and when you go to a website, like J.Crew for example, it lights up in orange with the number of deals it finds. When you check out, a pop up appears asking if you want to test the deals they find and it will then test everything to find you the best deals. It’s really great because you don’t have to do a lot of hunting, it will find the deals for you and it really has helped me save money. And if they don’t find any deals, a pop up appears assuring you that you have the best deals. Honey has found deals that I haven’t been able to find so it’s a great addition to my online shopping, plus it’s free.
In addition to that, Ebates is a website that features coupons and offers cash back on online purchases at select retailers. I personally do not use it because I take advantage of my affiliate websites, but pretty much every person I know who doesn’t blog uses Ebates and swears by it.
There are a ton of websites out there that offer resources to help you find the best deals (like, RetailMeNot & Honey) or get cash back (Ebates) so take time to look around if you’re serious about getting a great deal!
SUBSCRIBE TO RETAIL NEWSLETTERS
Am I the only one that has a serious email and then an email where all the retail newsletters I signed up for goes to die? Not to mention, when I’m in a bad mood, I go through and unsubscribe to pretty much everything.
But, when I’m in the mood to shop and get that glorious email about a sale or free shipping, I see how great these newsletters can be.
While some people may think subscribing to all these newsletters can make them shop more, I actually disagree. For starters, you should only subscribe and keep the newsletters of retailers you really like and shop at. So that one random newsletter you signed up for to get that 15% off first time orders, go ahead and unsubscribe. Also it helps you see the kinds of sales a retailer offers and helps you understand their patterns. You can see if it’s worth taking advantage of their 20% off sales or if you should wait for a 50% off sale.
Plus sometimes retailers include coupon codes in emails that they don’t feature on their site so it’s worth being subscribed!
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF END OF SEASON SALES
While you may not want to buy a new coat or sweater in March when all the spring new arrivals are hitting stores or a new dress or sleeveless top in August when everyone else is preparing for fall, that is really when you will get the best deals. End of season sales are the best because retailers are trying to bring in the new season arrivals and get rid of all the old stuff. Plus I’m a big believer that anything can be a transitional piece. It’s still hot in August so you can definitely still take advantage of that summer dress and when the weather gets cooler, you can throw a chunky sweater over it. Not to mention, you’ll have a semi new piece the next time the season rolls around.
A good practice when budget shopping is, always start with the sale section. You honestly never know what you will find. I’ve found great in season items that I’ve had my eye on in the sale section and some of my all time favorite wardrobe pieces came from a sale find.
KNOW WHERE TO SHOP
But, I think a good rule of thumb is, be open to looking for the best deals even at retailers you think you can’t afford, because a lot of the times you can get a better deal at those higher priced retailers that have sales than those retailers that don’t have sales, but market themselves as budget friendly.
SET OUT TO FIND GOOD PIECES, NOT BUILD A NEW WARDROBE
I can’t be the only one that when I get bit by the shopping bug, feel as if I need to buy an entire new outfit. Like if I like this sweater then I need a skirt to go with it and obviously shoes and obviously a bag and of course some accessories because I’m not a heathen. But, the reality is, that entire perfect outfit that you buy, you’ll most likely only wear once and call it a day.
To me, personal style isn’t buying a whole new outfit or copying an outfit someone wears, it’s about how you mix high end pieces with low end pieces and how you mix new items with older items already in your closet.
Rather than setting out to buy all these pieces, look for things that you can wear multiple times and things that will fit in with your already existing wardrobe. You can either, evaluate your closet and see what you’re missing and go from there. Or what I prefer is, shopping around and seeing whats out there and then asking myself how an item will fit in with my wardrobe and if I’ll really wear it again and again. There have been so many times where I have fallen in love with an item, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that I have nothing to wear with the item.
So as much as you want to buy everything new, if you’re serious about shopping on a budget, look for go-to pieces rather than just one brand new outfit.
PLAN AHEAD & PLAN OUT YOUR SPENDING
There are a ton of sales that are constantly going on, some you can’t predict and some you can. You always know that if there is a holiday then there is probably a sale. There are also some sales that happen around the same time every year that you can predict like the bi-annual Sephora sale or the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. So there is nothing worse than when you blow your shopping budget before a big sale shopping weekend and either have to sit it out or throw yourself more into credit card debt. One year I went crazy on my shopping before Black Friday. I repeat, BEFORE BLACK FRIDAY!! So many sales and I couldn’t take advantage of them!!
So be mindful of the calendar before shopping. And while you’re at it, learn how to plan out your spending. I like to plan out when I get paid and work around that. For me, the beginning of the month is the worst. Pretty much every bill is due plus I have to refill my metro card and pretty much every single thing I spend money on, comes to collect so I know it won’t be a big shopping time for me. So the next paycheck, I know I can maybe treat myself.
While the term “living paycheck by paycheck” isn’t seen as a good thing and instead pushes a narrative that you’re struggling with money, I don’t think you need to take it as a negative. Instead use it as a guide. I plan out how I’m going to save, when I can treat myself, when I should be super tight with my budget, etc.
BE REALISTIC WITH YOUR SPENDING
Okay, now for some tough love. Be realistic with your spending so you never have to second guess if you can actually buy something.
This is what my mother taught me, every time you get paid, pay off all your bills first. She always says, and I quote, “I rather be poor than owe people money.” And honestly I agree. I rather pay off my bills so I can be realistic with my spending and so that I can save money in the future. You can’t save if you owe money. After that, move money into your savings. For me, I like to set a goal of a set amount and every paycheck or every month try to put that money into my savings accounts. Whatever balance you may have, you can put that into your checking account and have that be your spending money. Your checking account will definitely hold you accountable because if you spend outside of your means then you’ll have an overdraft fee.
Also, if you don’t have any money leftover, then tough luck, you can’t spend, but it will also get you thinking where your money went. I know we love to justify our purchases with pretty much every excuse in the book, but I’m a strong believer in having some kind of budget and making sure you’re adding to your savings account.
This isn’t me sitting on my high horse. I feel so passionately about this because I’ve been in moments where I had no spending money at all and was barely paying bills and couldn’t contribute to my savings account. I wasn’t only riding on the struggle bus, I was driving and leading the struggle bus! I’ve also had moments where I got too excited with my money and spent so much that it put me in a bad position. So I think, truly teaching yourself self control and being tough with yourself will help you and it’ll encourage you to save more. Instead of wondering if you can buy that $30 sweater, you could instead, eventually buy that designer bag you have been eyeing.
Cami: Nordstrom (sold out, identical here). Skirt: Asos (currently on sale). Sweater: J.Crew (picked up over the summer on sale, still available online, I recommend waiting for a sale!). Shoes: Madewell (sold out, similar here and here). Bag: Henri Bendel (picked up at a sample sale, this is the exact shape though and I love it, also love this option and this option). Sunnies: Gentle Monster.
Thank you so much for reading! Any shopping on a budget tips or thoughts? I would love to hear!
Shop My First Fall Outfit of 2018!