With the holidays approaching and all the added expenses that they can bring, you might be starting to wonder if you’ll have to show up at all the festivities in your same old outdated outfits. On the other hand, you know that if you’re not careful, you could end up paying off credit card debt well into the new year — not a fun prospect.
But staying on budget doesn’t mean you have to give up looking fabulous and projecting a stylish image. You can still look like a million bucks on a shoestring budget with these frugalista shopping tips.
Find Deals in Unconventional Venues
Sidewalk vendors and craft fair peddlers often carry imported or one-of-a-kind items that are far less expensive than boutiques and department stores. Also, these types of vendors are usually more open to bargaining. Be on the lookout for something you love, and try to buy two for the price of one.
Invest in One or Two Classic Pieces
You can put together great ensembles by avoiding super trendy items, and investing instead in a classic piece or two that is well made and won’t go out of style. For both genders, a great jacket is the ticket. Women can pair it with a pencil skirt or pair of jeans for a smashing look. Men can add a tie and nice trousers and have a dressy outfit.
Beware of Designer Knockoffs
When it comes to designer knockoffs, you have to know what you’re getting. Basically, if the price is too good to be true, it’s because the fabric or material isn’t genuine. Look at labels. What’s the item made of? What’s the lining made of? With today’s synthetic materials looking more and more like real leather, silk, or velvet, it pays to really examine any clothing item before buying it. A well-crafted fake could save you a fortune, but a poorly made forgery is always a waste of money.
Know Where to Find Bargains
A lot of shoppers think outlets are the place to go for good deals. However, 90 percent of merchandise sold in outlets is manufactured specifically for the outlets, so it’s usually lower quality than the regular brand. If designer clothes are what you love, go to a big department store and walk straight to the sales rack in the designer section. Print out coupons from your favorite stores for additional discounts before you leave the house.
Take Advantage of Social Media Shopping Perks
Designers and stores love their social media followers, and often reward their loyalty. Does your go-to designer have a Twitter feed? Follow her! Does that cute shop around the corner have a Facebook page? Be sure to like it. When you’re part of their social media following, designers and stores will make sure you’re the first to know about sales, presales, trunk sales, and friends-and-family days.
Look Spectacular in Your “Power Color”
If more than three people tell you that you look amazing in that rust-colored sweater, chances are you’ve stumbled onto your power color. Find accessories — a scarf or earrings, for women; maybe a shirt and tie for men — in that color family and you’ll turn heads.
Don’t Spend on Things Others Don’t See
A lot of fashion items are invisible, or nearly so. You can save money by not splurging on things such as underwear, socks, gloves, hats, and coats. Believe it or not, formal attire is another “invisible” category of clothing. That’s because people assume if you’re at a fancy cocktail party, your dress is expensive. Buy an inexpensive party dress but spend money on your shoes. For both men and women, expensive shoes can make any outfit look like a million bucks.
Host a Swap-Til-You-Drop Party
Invite some friends who share your taste in clothes and accessories to a swap meet. Ask them to bring items they no longer like or rarely wear that they’re willing to swap. Serve up some spiked punch — and let the swapping begin. You’ll get rid of pieces you never wear, and you’ll acquire new items that will spiff up your wardrobe. Best of all, it’s free.
**Originally published at Businessing Magazine