Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Full-Figured Frugalistas' Guide To Great Style Without Going BROKE!

It's no secret...times are TOUGH! And with the ever fluctuating economy going from bad to worse, the average households' total income is depleting at a faster rate than ever before in the US! After taxes, groceries, rent/mortgage payments, bills (electric/gas/cell phone/car insurance/credit card/etc.), gas/transportation costs and savings (...if you're fortunate enough), the net amount for fringe activities (such as shopping) are pretty much non-existent.

A few days ago, I was strolling along on my blog roll when I came across a fantastic blog entry by the fabulous Jules of BOOM...BOOM...POW all about "Budget Conscious Fashion Blogging", where she gave some really great tips about how to save money when shopping and how to weigh out an item before you reach the register or click the nifty, thrifty (ehhh...not so thrify sometimes) "CHECKOUT" button. And I completely related to alot of the tips and tricks that she gave. You see, you may not know this about me, but I am a self-acknowledged SHOPAHOLIC (no lie...I get a natural "high" of sorts when making purchases...yes sad, but true...BLEH) and at times I have literally had to put my debit card down and back away slowly. But there are a few neat tricks that I've learned in order to control my spending habits. So in lieu of Jules' post, I've decided to divulge the tricks that I personally use to save money and psychologically weigh out potential purchases...

  • There IS a difference between "Want" and "Need"...Probably one of the hardest decisions you'll have to make when shopping. I oftentimes would go into a store, pick up an item and say "OMG, I NEED THIS!" when in actuality, I didn't...and that very same item is probably sitting in my closet collecting dust at this very moment...sigh. When shopping, ask yourself, "Do I REALLY need this or would this just being a compulsive buy because I WANT it?", "How often will I wear it?", "Is it something that I will be able to use over time?" Now I'm not saying, not to splurge every so often and grab that multi-colored sequined little number that you DROOLED over in the window of a store or spotted at an online boutique, but be smart about your purchases. One thing that has really helped me is when I find an item that I really think I NEED/WANT to own (after asking the above questions to myself), I will leave the store/website and if I'm thinking about that item over the next few days or weeks, I will go back for it. And if it is still available, I will go ahead and purchase it. BUT if I've forgotten about it or the item is unavailable when I go back, I count it as something I REALLY just didn't NEED.

  • Have Coupon? Will SHOP! ...Coupons are like money in the bank! And at one point in time it seemed as though it was almost in poor taste or tacky to utilize them. Well toss that concept right out the window, because coupons are as fashionable as a pair of platform nude pumps for spring! With stores/e-commerce trying to generate capital, coupons are being tossed around on a daily basis! Let's just put this into perspective...Coupons = FREE MONEY, so why not use them??!! As for me, when shopping online (I do the majority of my shopping online), I will immediately search for coupons online (i.e, "Forever 21 online coupons") and websites such as RetailMeNot and Coupon Album will pop up with all kinds of promotional codes for discounts like free shipping to 25% off your entire purchase! I literally WILL NOT purchase anymore if I DON'T get some sort of discount! If you are a little leery about shopping online, no worries, you can also find printable coupons to use in stores! Whatever the case, coupons are a must have item when shopping!

  • DUN DUN DUN DUNNNNN...STORE CREDIT!!! (EEK!!)...I, like everyone else, used to be so afraid of store credit. My philosophy was STORE CREDIT = BAD CREDIT. But, if you are good at managing finances then store credit can actually BUILD your credit. Now, I am NOT telling anyone to go out and apply for 10 store credit cards and go have a shopping spree, but if you can manage your finances, then store credit cards could be a GREAT way to play now and pay later. I personally have two store credit cards (Torrid and Lane Bryant), which have very low limits ($500 and below), which means that my monthly payments are extremely manageable ($10 - 12 per month). And every month, I always try to pay over the minimum amount due (i.e. Amt due = $12.00, Amt paid = $14.00) to stay in good standing. Beware though, if you know that you are usually late making payments, then store credit is probably NOT for you. Not only will your interest increase, but late fees will also apply.

  • Incorporating into your Wardrobe...Alot of times, when shopping, we tend to forget what our wardrobe actually looks see something that catches your eye immediately. You have visions of grandeur and ultimately purchase it. Then you get home and trying to pair it with something - ANYTHING - in your closet starts to give you a throbbing headache. UGH! When shopping, be mindful of the items that you already own and how you can pair new items with your existing wardrobe. As much as I am a girl all about branching out and "pushing the envelope", I oftentimes see ladies who make the mistake of stepping WAY outside of their fashion comfort zone, and end up just looking a hot, crazy mess...sigh.

  • How will this affect my bank account in the future?...Let's be real here...if you have $1,000 in the bank and that fabulous Miu Miu Oversize Paillette Clutch that you've been eyeing costs $995, then chances are you probably shouldn't buy it at the moment. The theory here is..."Man cannot live on FASHION alone!" It's just that simple. Don't go broke for the sake of style! :)

  • Thrifty gals = Nifty gals...From vintage dresses to platform shoes, you can find almost ANYTHING in a thrift shop! Not only can thrifting be TONS of fun, but it can also save you LOADS of money! I have found countless pieces in thrift shops, from jewelry to designer handbags all the way down to rare records and home decor. As they say, "one man's trash is another man's treasure."

  • DIY...Love that Chanel skirt? Why not try to replicate it yourself? For just a FRACTION of the cost, if you or someone you know has the ability and time to sew, grab some fabric yardage and off you go! Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in labels and stores that we forget that sometimes it's just as simple as doing it yourself...I mean SOMEONE had to sew that Chanel skirt in the first place, right? So it can absolutely be done! Fortunately, I've been sewing for the majority of my life, so just by eyeing a style I can usually replicate it without using a pattern. But if you haven't the first clue of what to do with a sewing machine, why not take a look at an online tutorial on Youtube, buy a pattern (between $5 - 7) to follow step by step and try it out! Not only can you own something one of a kind but you can put your own little twist on it! Hey, you'll never know unless you try! I've been able to update old clothing this way and make it into something fresh and's like getting new clothes...FOR FREE! And who doesn't like FREE???

(top to bottom: A leather, cropped, three-quarter sleeved jacket that I DIY'ed from an old, long, leather trench style coat that was sitting in the back of my closet; Out and about at a friends' birthday dinner earlier this year in my " brand new" cropped jacket!)

Well...with ALL of that said...:)

Until Next time F5's and Skorch dolls alike...

Stay D'lish


P.S. Be sure to check out the NEW xoxoskorch!!!!


Janeen said...

Love this. Since I discovered those coupon sites. I have to search before I buy anything. Another thing is I always buy bras from because I usually am able to find 90days defered credit. So I get up to 90 days before I am charged for an item and there is no interest. I have also been able to get a free bra if I purchase 5 bras within a 12 month period. I've been totally happy with them.

Sarah said...

These are some super tips, which definitely come in handy in these tough times! Asking whether something you're about to buy is a want or an actual need is key, though let's face it sometimes temptation gets the better of us. That's why whenever I shop online I always look for coupon codes before hitting that buy now button. It's amazing how easy these things are to find, even just by searching on Google, and even more amazing the savings you can make!

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