24/7 MOMS

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dress Your Best, For Less

Amy Hannold, 247Moms Frugal Living Editor
Looking your best, from head to toe can be done affordably.  How we look communicates a whole lot about us.  When we spend wisely to dress well, it feels good to us and our wallets.
Here are some budget-friendly tips:
Buy Quality, Not Quantity:  Utilize coupons, seasonal clearances, loyalty program discounts or other store sales to buy the best for your money.  Choose well-made items, on sale, which are more “classic” than “trendy” in style.  Less expensive accessories and tops can complement a suit or outfit separates you’ve invested in.    Buy quality once or twice and you will avoid the cost of more frequent replacement.  When you find good shoes, pants or other frequently worn favorites at a great price, buy two.  You then have a ready replacement or can alternate use of them.
Find Unadvertised Deals, Replacement Guarantees and Other Money-Saving Options:   Purchase an Entertainment (Coupon) Book for your area.  These books contain mall/outlet coupons.  Ask for teacher/student/military/AAA/birthday discounts or price-matching promotions.  Look for brands which offer life-time guarantees such as Lands End, REI, L.L. Bean and Sears.  Shop for less when you earn gift cards for shopping/web-searching through Ebates, Mypoints, Swagbucks, RecycleBank, and other sites.   Compare credit card offers, as some may reward you for shopping. Do use restraint and caution however to avoid multiply debt for a “discount”. 
Shop Second-Hand:  Consignment, Re-Sale, Thrift Stores and Garage Sales are great opportunities to buy quality at a fraction of the retail price.  Children grow quickly out of clothes, adults change clothes sizes and other are looking to make some money from their stuff.  Choose carefully, thoroughly looking for any signs of wear or damage.  Look for stores that are the most particular in what they sell and you should find the best for yourself.  (Note the brands you rarely find in second-hand stores – these are the brands you want to buy new, using the above money-saving discount options!)
Don’t Browse – Focus!  Overspending happens when we’re buying with the wrong emotions or less than our full attention.  Buying for “retail therapy”, boredom, or while distracted should be avoided.  Online shopping can be a better choice, if you don’t fall prey to using all the “great discounts” offered to you.  Use the “Review and Reconsider” option.  Wait a day or two before buying.  Give yourself time to find an adequate item in your own closet or another alternative to buying.  If you need a little help in restraint or style choices, ask a friend for their opinion. 
Swap for “New to You” Finds:  Start a clothing exchange between friends, groups, or  your community.  Locally, we have a “Great Giveaway Day” twice a year.  Our “Clothing Swap” has grown into an anticipated event.  Everyone loves to shop for free and share their “treasures” with others.   We use the local VFW building, advertise, recruit volunteer hosts/sorters, and organize the room with tables.  It costs nearly nothing to bless everyone with some “new” items. 
Craigslist, Local Classifieds, Ebay and Freecycle:   Locally or online, you can find deals on good stuff.  Buy from reputable sellers.  Facebook and local bulletin boards may also have “garage sale” or “for sale” ads offering you the chance to buy from someone in your community.

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