Thursday, June 28, 2012

When to Save or Spend: Use Your Fashion Money Frugally

Clothing comes in such a wide range of prices and trends change so often that it can be hard to know where to focus your spending. Crafting a versatile, stylish, and frugal wardrobe doesn’t have to be a mystery, though. Use these tips to save money as you shop.

  • Look for deals: Stay abreast of your favorite stores’ sale schedules so you can plan to shop when you’ll save the most.  Be on the mailing list for your favorite retailers so you’re notified when they have sales and look online at sites like Coupon Cravings for current promotions that the store may not be advertising. Check to see if you live near an outlet mall where you can purchase basics like sweaters, t-shirts, and underwear that don’t go out of style and at a much lower price than retail.
  • Shop wisely: If there is a buy one get one free or 50% off sale, see if a friend wants to shop with you for the same thing instead of buying more than you need just to qualify for the sale. If you are shopping when there is no sale, search the clearance section first. Marie Claire suggests befriending sales associates at your favorite stores and asking politely for a discount. You may be surprised at how much you can save just by being nice.
  • Look for value: More expensive clothing can be worth it if you’ll wear it often. Cheaply made clothing will typically wear and fall apart more quickly than higher end brands, meaning you’ll have to replace it sooner. For things you wear all the time, this ends up being more expensive in the long run than buying good quality items that will last, even if they cost more upfront.
    • Jeans, winter coats, work shoes, jackets, and suits are among the items CNN considers wardrobe investments; you should look for true, lasting quality and a classic style that won’t go out of fashion soon.
    • Buy cheap on raincoats, trends, and formal eveningwear. You will not likely wear these often enough to warrant significant spending.
  • Compare brands: According to ABC, high end products are often not that much better than low end products.
    • They found product testers preferred a $95 Neiman Marcus shirt over a $7 Hanes shirt, but when told the price most said it was not worth it. The Hanes shirt wears quicker, but not enough to spend the extra $88.
    • After testing, Wal-Mart and Target running shoes were more worn than Nike and Adidas shoes, however, not by enough to justify spending more on the brand name. High cost does not always mean high quality. Thoroughly examine the item, ask salespeople about its sturdiness, and read online reviews before purchasing. Compare quality to price to get the best value.

Building a balanced, cost-effective wardrobe is not as hard as it looks. Simply be mindful of your needs, learn to judge quality, and always be on the lookout for a deal.

Disclosure:  This is a guest post written for Shelly's Bits and Pieces!

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