Alright people. Here it is. My first blog post. Ever. Starting a blog has been something I’ve considered doing for the past five years or so, then let excuse after excuse hold me back. But, since you’re hungry for some advice, it’s high time I got out of my own way and just started already!
Since inspiration can come out of the most seemingly mundane and I’m lacking a better segue, let’s do this! Shopping on a budget. I don’t know about you, but any time I hear the word, “budget,” I cringe from the deepest depths of my soul all the way out. Visceral doesn’t begin to touch the disdain most have for this two-syllable word. Here’s the thing though, we have to retrain our brains—me included. While living within a budget doesn’t come naturally for most and defining where our money goes every day/week/month/year/etc is hardly second nature (ME! All the way; just ask my husband); allocating funds for each area of our lives, including shopping (promise I haven’t forgotten) can be incredibly liberating. If you don’t believe me, give it a try for a few months. See which debts you can pay down, or off! If you’re already debt-free, how much could you save or invest or put in a vacation or big-massive-dreams fund? Or, gasp, a shopping fund?
What?!? Shopping? Yes, shopping. Even within a budget, you can still shop. Maybe it’s not a ton at first, or you have to save a few months to get where you want to be; but, purchasing clothes (stylish and work-appropriate, no less) on limited funds is possible!
Hands down, my favorite place to shop for myself and for clients (even those that don’t have a budget), is TJ Maxx. Over the years, I’ve lost count of the number of unexpectedly fabulous pieces I’ve found. Coats, sweaters, pants, tops, dresses, skirts, shoes. Heck, even pots and pans (my husband and I started our All Clad Copper Core collection with pieces we found at TJ Maxx. But I digress..). All this to say, it’s a great place to start. You do have to be patient though because it takes some time thumbing through the racks; but, it’s totally worth it.
Another budget favorite is Goodwill. There are so many hidden gems waiting to be found. Again, patience is key. Heads up though, try on your clothes at Goodwill, or anywhere really. Doing so helps you focus your spending because you’re not going to take home pieces that don’t work. I’m sure there’s a study out there; but, almost every single client, and people I’ve asked in general, have admitted to taking clothes home without trying them on first, found they didn’t work then never returned them. Thus wasting valuable money. Besides, at Goodwill, you can’t return items for credit or money back. It’s Goodwill. You shouldn’t expect that.
One last shopping suggestion, because not everyone has immediate access to a TJ Maxx (or Marshall’s) or Goodwill, is an awesome online consignment company called ThredUp—and you can make returns within 14 days with some stipulations. Shop ridiculously good prices on designer or brand-less and anything in-between for women, girls, boys, juniors, maternity and shoes, bags and accessories. Plus, you can send in your closet-cleansed, cough-cough, clothing to sell on consignment or donate to a charity through ThredUp! Check out everything they have to offer at thredup.com
If TJ Maxx, Goodwill and ThredUp aren’t enough, I’ll leave you with this last morsel to keep in your back pocket for the upcoming year. Shopping the after Christmas sales a few weeks ago, I had a lightbulb go off which I’m going to implement next Christmas, at least for myself. Since virtually everything is on sale after the holidays, figure out your favorite place to shop, ask for gift cards for your presents, then shop the sales a few days after Christmas or right after the New Year. Your gift cards, and money, will go so much further.
Of course, if you get enough in cards for that one item you desperately desire, that doesn’t go on sale and you know you’ll wear for years to come, absolutely treat yourself. Just make sure you don’t break-the-bank in the process.