As much as I love to stay current with fashion trends and adding new things to my wardrobe my biggest priority is financial freedom. As much as I love that quote from Carrie on Sex and the City where she says I like my money hanging right where I can see it...in my closet, I don't live by that quote. Nice clothing is great but only if you have your priorities together and are saving as well as spending. Here are some things that I do to save money and stay stylish.
I had my share of lessons I had to learn about shopping vs saving and these are some tips I learned along the way:
- Make sure you have a minimum of 1,000 at all times saved in the event of an emergency. If you don't have at LEAST 1,000 in your savings account put yourself on a spending freeze. Only buy necessities until you can save that amount. Rainy days are inevitable and we should try to be prepared at all times. 1,000 is by no means a rainy day fund but it's a great start.
- After you save your first 1,000 work on saving enough to live 2-3 months comfortably in the event that you lose your job. 1,000 is great but don't stop there. Save as much as you can as often as you can because with this economy you NEVER know what is going to happen.
- I know what you are thinking...it's hard to save money. It's not as hard as you think to save. I love the 52 week Money Challenge. It is a great way to save 1300 a year and also get you used to the idea of saving as much as you can.
- For those of you who are on a super tight budget try the 365 Day Money Challenge. You will save at least 600.00 a year and that is better than nothing.
- Have your job direct deposit a certain amount into your savings account from each paycheck. This is easier for some people and when you get your check the amount of money you want to save is already taken out once you start spending. I do this in addition to the 52 week money challenge to save more money.
- Even if your job provides retirement benefits, get an IRA as well. Talk to your financial institution. It is NEVER to early to start planning for retirement. My biggest fear is being retirement age and being too broke to retire. I see it all the time in the workforce.
- Buy more basics. I had to learn this in my late 20s. The more basics you have the more outfits you can create vs buying a bunch of hot right now items that you will probably only wear once or twice and never look at again. We all fall victim to some trends but your closet should be a ratio of 80 percent basics/classics and 20 percent "trends".
- Try not to pay retail price. Being plus size sometimes it's hard to not pay retail price for things we truly love but I encourage you to shop sales, clearance racks, wait on prices to drop etc, before spending your money on an item.
- Before you buy any item...search everywhere you can to get a cheaper price on it. I am notorious for this. When I see an item I love, I search everywhere online to make sure I get the cheapest price on it. I'm only loyal to my bank account. If my favorite boutique has it for one price and ebay has it cheaper...guess where I will purchase that item from? Everyone is out to make a dollar and my priority is saving as much as I can. A lot of stores carry the same items so if you can get it cheaper elsewhere GET IT CHEAPER.
- Higher Price Points doesn't all the time = quality. Some people think because they spend more for an item it's better quality. Not true. I've had clothing from cheap stores like Forever 21 last just as long as some expensive items I've purchased. It's all about how you take care of your items and how you wash and clean them. I prefer to dry clean most of my clothing but most times with cheaper items I would wash them on a gentle cycle in the washer to help them last longer.
- Don't Shop for Entire Looks. Shopping for entire looks is not only stressful but it makes you spend even more money. When you buy more basics it's easier to only have to add a new handbag, or a new pair of shoes, etc to make new looks.
- Shop Your Closet Or Try Thrifting. When you absolutely cannot afford to shop, shop your closet for new looks. A lot of times we think we have nothing to wear and we have a plethora of items we can mix and match for a new look but were too lazy to do so. Do a closet purge so you can see what you have. Get rid of too small items or things you haven't worn in over a year so you an focus on things you DO wear. Also, thrift stores are great places to search for new items without breaking the bank. It takes patience and time but it's worth it.
These are just some of the things that I do to ensure that I stay looking stylish but most importantly I keep my bank account sitting pretty. Don't be the girl that looks like money but is dead broke. It's not worth it. The best lesson I learned in my life was to live within MY means. You know never how the Jones are getting their money or what their bank accounts really look like so never try to compete with anyone except who you were yesterday.
Until Next Time,