This week I am happy to share with you a guest post written by Abigayle Estep. I met Abigayle through an online fashion course we both took and we still stay in touch through a Facebook fashion group. I admire the fact that Abigayle takes the time to look stylish whether she is in the house home-schooling her kids, or at a Sunday church service. On top of always making the effort to dress well, she also knows how to live on a budget and stick to it! I recently asked her if she would give us perspective on how she does it!
Me? an overspender? NEVER! 😉
I’ve never thought of myself as someone who loves to shop. Since childhood I’ve found it hard to find clothes that fit, let alone flatter! So, shopping, for most of my life, has been frustrating. Although in this age of online classes, Youtube videos, fashion bloggers and Pinterest you can learn your body type and tricks for dressing it appropriately regardless of height, weight or size.
For me, lately, I've enjoyed researching and finding what I like and what works for me. Shopping has become fun and I am choosy and deliberate in my clothes shopping. Shopping is very easy and stores make it so convenient. It can also be very addictive due to online stores which can be browsed in the comfort of your home, free shipping, free returns, percents off, and sales galore…all throughout the year!
Since we are a one-income homeschooling family and live debt-free, I have to be extremely careful not to get caught up in the buying frenzies. I’m no pro…there are times I overdo it, but for the most part, I feel I do a good job keeping my shopping in check. Here’s a list of ten suggestions for those looking to cut back and keep their buying to a minimum:
1. No online classes. Don’t get caught up in the online fashion classes. I’ve only taken one, and I was easily caught up in being dissatisfied with what I had, influenced that I needed to donate, and felt pressured to shop constantly. Classes are expensive enough as it is, and spending more money on clothes they recommend can really start to add up. I know for me it was very frustrating to constantly feel like I needed to shop this sale or invest in these jeans just because the class was recommending them. Spending could easily get out of control! Fortunately, I’ve realized I could find what I was looking for in a class by researching online and finding info for free. So “shop” around and be aware of the total cost of classes.
2. Limit trends. Don’t allow the latest fashion trends to consume you. Trends come and go and sometimes don’t stay around long enough to spend a lot on. I sometimes get one or two pieces to add to my wardrobe to update it a bit, but I never splurge on a trend. Not becoming obsessed with trends can help you to keep spending in check.
3. “Less is More.” If you love your clothes, be creative and spend time putting new outfits together with what you have. You don’t need to spend a lot of money just to fill your closet. The more clothes you have, the less likely you are to wear them often enough to warrant purchasing them in the first place. I feel it’s better to have a small closet with clothes that fit well and that I love than to get frustrated with a larger closet of clothes that don’t go together thus, making you feel you must buy more!
4. Make a list. I go thru my closet at the beginning of each season. I make a list of pieces that need replacing or something I would like to add. Then, when shopping, I only look for and buy what I listed.
5. Limit credit cards. Only keep one or two credit cards. I have one credit card that I use. This helps me not to overspend because I’m not using the store specific credit cards. That being said, always pay your credit cards off at the end of the month. I have never paid interest on a credit card but I know it can really add up and hold you hostage!
6. Free shipping and returns. If I make online purchases, I make sure I will get free shipping and that I will also get free return shipping/or I can return in a local store. Many times this keeps me from making purchases on a whim. On the other hand, don’t spend more in order to get free shipping! Many times, I forgo the purchase because I don’t meet the minimum for free shipping.
7. Budget. Make a clothes budget and stick to it! Don’t spend money if you don’t have it in the budget to spend.
8. “Test Drive”. Try on clothes that you buy before deciding to keep them. Don’t remove tags or throw away receipts until you have spent some time wearing the clothes for a few hours at home. This way, you will know if they are comfortable, if they fit, and if you like them!
9. Alterations. If you love something and know it should be tailored, be sure to factor in those costs. I’ve put something back on the rack because I knew having it tailored would be more costly than the piece was worth. This not only helps to keep costs down but helps to keep from having clothes you never wear taking up space in your closet.
10. Ponder. Lastly, think about what you want to buy before you buy it. Most times, if I am really honest, I know if what I am buying is something I need or just something I want. Occasionally, buying something you really want isn’t necessarily bad, but don’t let it become a habit. It helps me to think about my purchase…ponder over it several days before I “pull the trigger”. Many times I end up removing things from my online cart. Sometimes, I leave the store and go home to think about a purchase. This helps me keep spending in check every time!
Like I said, there are times I spend more than I should, but this list helps me keep from overspending on a regular basis. Life is busy, and none of us have time or energy to worry about how much we spend on clothes. It takes discipline. I know I struggle not to feel like I need to buy something I see recommended on a blog, capsule wardrobe or a fashion essential “must have” checklist. Please know that it takes time…be gentle with yourself if you slip. If you are spending too much, do a shopping fast where you don’t go shopping for several weeks or a month at the time. Don’t shop in a hurry…make shopping deliberate. Know what you like and only buy what you love! Be your own person regardless of what others are buying or say you need! In the end, you’ll be so glad you did.
It’s hard to live in a world where so many things seem to be out of our control, but spending money on clothes is something we can have control over. I am determined to do it to best of my ability! And I know you can too!!