Saturday, July 6, 2013

Saving Your Pennies: Style

I've known some people that have always been really bad with money and I've noticed that difficulty saving money is becoming a more common trait among people in general. I understand that things have gotten dearer, that the economy isn't fabulous and that small businesses are suffering. I understand all this and I know that I am not exactly the model citizen to be doing this kind of post seeing as I live with my parents and don't have to pay for a lot of things that adults have to pay for. I do think that I can do an okay job at finding bargains though and it bothers me when people spend money on overpriced things when they obviously can't afford it (but, you know, if you have enough money do what you want). I've been Inspired to write this because of those people, even though I know they probably won't read this post. That's just how it is.

When my sister did her graduation I had heard a few girls boast about how much their dresses cost. It was kind of ridiculous that they thought the price of their dress meant that it was going to be better than any other dress. On the night there were girls with dresses from many different price ranges. The expensive dresses in comparison to the ordinarily priced dresses? Not much difference. some of the styles were very similar. And, I couldn't understand purchasing a dress for "that" price for one night. A dress that will probably be subject to closet moths or tissue paper for the rest of eternity. 

In this post I'll talk about, what I know about dressing nice for a reasonable price. I'll talk about places to buy from , what to buy, mixing and matching and DIY. I'm hoping that I can link you to or suggest some ideas that will keep you looking stylish without costing too much money. I don't believe that an outfit should have to cost a fortune and it can be surprising what you can come up with on a budget or how you can update your wardrobe with only a few small purchases.

- One of my favourite places in my town to go shopping is the Op shop. Here's the Op shopping guide I wrote  a while back. Or, here's another post that shows my love for Old People's Clothes. I got some of my favourite clothes from our local charity stores and love that they are affordable, pre-loved and often last longer than department store goods (strange but true), they also tend to fit better as the older styles were more about the waist than the hips. Things to consider: you may need to alter the clothes, you will have to check for stains, missing buttons, holes etc. If you are buying an evening dress in a small town you may need to consider the possibility that someone will recognise it. Obviously, some clothes will be old-fashioned or out-of-style. And, they aren't all gems. Thrifting is a special form of treasure hunting.

-You can also get vintage at garage/yard sales, markets and from Nanna's closet. 

-Another one of my favourite places to buy is Online. It can be a bit of a risk sometimes and there can be a few disappointments along the way, but it is fairly cheap and there are some really cool things available. Here's an Online Shopping Guide that I wrote a while ago. My favourtie stores are vintage re-pro stores such as Modcloth and Lace Affair. I also really like the Cotton-on store and department stores or department store brands (like Mix Apparel). The downside: some things have to be tried on and shouldn't be bought online, it takes time to arrive, it may be slightly different than you expected and damage can occur in the post.

-I know I have already mentioned online shopping, but shops like Etsy and Ebay are different again because there are so many different sellers using the one store. I always adjust the filters on an ebay search to "Price+Postage = lowest" and to "buy it now" because I can't be bothered with auctions. An item that starts of at 5c can quickly become expensive if there are a few bidders interested. There are many cheap accessories available on Ebay that cost a lot less than the same item in another store. I'm not just talking knock-off items either. Many of these items aren't even branded. I'm talking plain patent hand-bags, sunglasses and scarves. There are also a lot of clothes from Asia available that are really cheap. Unfortunately these are usually one-size items that are quite small. I do fit some of these in the looser styles, but I don't fit any of the shoes because my feet are too big. The downsides of ebay are: not always the best quality, sizing can be an issue, arrival time and your usual online shopping issues.

-Your local news agency. It sounds suss, I know, but some magazines come with free stuff that is actually pretty decent. I've scored a beach bag from a Vogue mag, a black scarf, two shirts from a Dolly mag and two basic skirts. Again, some of these things won't fit everyone, but the accessories are cool.

-Department Stores. For underwear, sleepwear, basics etc. Sometimes you can find some pretty cool things at a discount/department store. 

-There are some items that just shouldn't cost too much money. Shoes for example. They are close to the ground, they are going to get dirty, get wet, get scratched. If you pay a lot of money for a pair of shoes they should be comfortable, durable and work appropriate.

-Quality vs Quantity. I am all for a good bargain, but I am not excited about buying something that is trashed upon arrival or the first wear, because depending on what it is I may be needing to purchase another item and paying more in the long run. After a while you start to learn about the quality items. For Example, I try to buy the Sheer Relief hosiery because it tends to last.

-Sometimes you've just gotta wait for the sales. And, I guess this is why I generally gravitate towards the sales sections of a website or physical store.

-One of my favourite things to buy are accessories. If you buy them online you don't need to worry too much about the fit (except when it's a belt) and they can update an old outfit. I did read an article once where an old lady said that she loved scarves because you could buy a scarf that would allow you to wear items together that you couldn't previously. The scarf would have a pattern of two or three colours  and could be worn with plain coloured basics in those colours. 

-Another Idea is to wear your more expensive items with your thrifted ones. 

-Everyone should have basics in their wardrobe. A little black dress or three, a good pair of shoes, a sensible pair of shoes, a comfy pair of jeans etc.

-I have this really old Home Economics text book that belonged to my aunt. In the book it is explained that if Sally (or some other generic name) were to buy/make Three button up shirts and Three skirts using matching colours she could create a variety of outfits. I think there was a green leaf print fabric, a beige fabric and a khaki. Sally made a skirt and shirt out of each. I like to take the same sort of approach to creating a wardrobe and I think it works. Obviously in this day and age, if you are more of a printed shirt and shorts kind of girl you can do the same; buy plain shorts in different colours and printed shirts that have similar colours in the print. etc.

-I am a bit of a crafty person and I do occasionally attempt a DIY project. Depending on what it is a DIY project can save money. A DIY project is an original and if made well can last a long time. There are plenty of sites and books dedicated to DIY fashion. The downsides: DIY doesn't always work out.

-A few basic techniques, like stitching on a button can help you keep your clothes for longer. 

This is hopefully going to be the first in a series of guides on saving money. I hope it's helpful and I hope you all understand that in no way am I against people purchasing expensive items that they can afford. I am thinking that I will do a post about Entertainment, a post about lifestyle and then maybe some about general saving tips. Thoughts or suggestions?

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Jessica Cangiano said...

Excellent post and array of points. I've always been a bargain hunter - to the point where it's often actually challenging for me to spend above a certain point on various items (which can be a dilemma when you need to make an investment type purchase, such as for a winter coat that will likely see you through several years), but I am getting better with that as time goes on. No matter what though, more often than not (even if I had Bill Gates' money), I know I'll always gravitate towards bargains and try to stretch my budget as wisely and as far as possible the vast majority of the time.

Again, really marvelous post, dear gal - you clearly have a great head for finances.

♥ Jessica

Natalie_vintage_girl said...

Thanks :) Yes I find the investment purchases such a struggle too!