The term of frugalista may not appeal to every woman out there that makes fashion a priority, but when you’re working with a budget, as most of us are, you should be proud of the fact that you paid a fraction of the price for the same designer garments that other women got at full price. Not only are you wearing the fashionable items you love, but you’ve got money left over to accessorize, not to mention pay your rent and utilities each month. This is a healthy attitude to adopt when you have something of a shopping addiction, and with a few simple tips you can become a smart and savvy frugalista that saves on every item. Here are some guidelines that will get you on the right track.
- Save vs. splurge. As every savvy shopper knows, there are going to be times when you find those must-have items that are not on sale. So when is it okay to splurge? For one thing, you need to have the cash on hand – if you buy on credit and can’t pay it off, you’re going to end up paying a lot more thanks to interest charges. Beyond that, you should only splurge on items that are going to get a lot of use and remain in your closet for years to come, so look for items like a comfortable and classic pair of neutral pumps, a fitted blazer, or the perfect LBD. Wardrobe staples with timeless appeal will pair with all kinds of outfits and last you forever, so splurging on quality and fit here will ensure that you don’t have to replace these items annually, saving you a ton of money in the long run.
- Sample sales. When designer labels want to clear out seasonal inventory to make way for new items in their show rooms, they host sample sales. However, these sales are rarely advertised, so you kind of have to be in the know if you want to be at the right warehouse location at the right time in order to take advantage of the steep discounts offered on haute couture samples. Luckily, social media has made the prospect of actually finding such sales a lot easier. When you follow designers or join groups of fashionistas in your region you may have a much better chance of getting the 411 on sample sales in nearby areas.
- Consignment stores. Digging through bargain bins at thrift stores is unlikely to produce much in the way of designer labels unless you live in Beverly Hills or Manhattan. But if you can find high-end consignment stores or vintage shops in your area you may be able to nab gently-used designer duds at a spectacular savings. If you can’t find any independent stores nearby, look for a Buffalo Exchange near you. They accept trade-ins for store credit and sometimes feature unused overstock from designers like Calvin Klein and other labels.
- Coupons and clubs. If you already use sites like Coupon Mom to save on groceries, you’ll be happy to find that sites like Coupon Loco and WebCouponCodes can provide you with savings at retail stores you visit regularly. You can shop by store or in some cases by item and get the coupons you need to make your real-world and online shopping sprees a little less expensive.
- Fashion rentals. If you love to wear haute couture but you’re working on a ramen budget, you might want to consider renting the one-of-a-kind items that you could never afford to buy outright. Rent the Runway can help you find the perfect garment for special occasions (all you have to do is send it back in the prepaid package when you’re done) while Bag Borrow or Steal can give you the fashionable totes you crave for a low monthly fee.