October 06, 2015

Smart Shopping

I’m not going to help you resist the glorious temptation to shop. This is a broke girl’s blog. I’m broke and I’m broke for good reason.

I could save $28 a week, $112 a month or $1,456 a year if I didn’t buy coffee… but I want to live a happy life. My caffeine addiction isn’t going anywhere, similar to my obsessive shopping habit… and my very little budget.

We don’t all have talents fit for a show (or savings fit for high interest earnings), but I do have a knack for finding great bargains and making smart purchasing decisions (if I do say so myself).

Here are my top 5 tips to save when you shop (you’ll almost feel like you’re making money… almost):

1. Cost ≠ Quality:

The price of an item does not reflect the quality of the product nor the brand behind it. I am sure we have all fallen victim to an expensive piece of jewellery or a dress with a little too many dollar signs (that’ll make you cringe just thinking about it) that has fallen apart after the first time you wear it… or even during. I am an advocate for brands that are on a broke girl budget, but quality and uniqueness is just as important to me and low cost does not mean substituting quality. Don’t dismiss a brand based on the fact there may not be a reputable name behind it, broaden your horizons and I guarantee you will discover some beauties in some unexpected places. My top 10 trustworthy and budget brands are Therapy Shoes, ASOS (the label), Spurr Shoes, Target, Topshop, Missguided, Zara, Shilla, Eight Slate and Glassons.

2. Bang for Buck: 

It’s all about the sale section. It can often be neglected, but you’d be surprised the hidden gems you will find in a sad sale section. Warning: this requires time. You are not going to find the winning pieces in the first couple of pages. Get comfortable, get your snacks ready and get scrolling. My top 5 sale sections include Beginning Boutique, Missguided, The Iconic, Bardot and Tony Bianco (when you want to snag designer for a killer price).

3. Recycle & Upcycle:

Firstly, nothing bloody beats eBay and don’t even attempt to knock it before you’ve tried it. Some of my most beloved pieces in my wardrobe are from eBay. My number one love is my leather jacket. Some people spend their whole life searching for that one true love and sadly, some don’t find it. I found the ultimate leather jacket online on H&M. Much to my dismay, it was from their UK range, not available in Australia. ALAS, eBay brought together this match made in heaven. 2 weeks and a joke of a price later, Lennie the leather jacket was all mine! Beyond having access to brands worldwide that you aren’t ordinarily able to purchase, eBay is a goldmine for top designer wear at a fraction of the price. My top designer searches include Bec & Bridge, Maurie & Eve, Sass & Bide, Zimmermann and ManiaMania. You can snag their most recent collections for half of the price.

Secondly, if you love something… don’t let it go. Some of our favourite items are the first to look tired BUT most of the time it’s nothing your local alterations store can’t fix. Rips and broken zips are an easy fix. If you find your favourite item looking a little drab or ill-fitting, have it taken it or change up the design. My favourite fixer-upperer was a long sleeve midi dress I purchased in Melbourne. I had it taken in, the hem taken up and shoulder pads added to create a more structured, fitted look. Instantly the dress went from something I would maybe wear once, to something I have worn throughout the last 5 years.

4. Cost Per Wear:

I’m all about the cost per wear. Yep, even a little math is being added to the equation. To work out whether or not a piece is worth your hard earned cash money, you’ve got to get down and dirty and do a little division. Scenario 1: Shopping for a cocktail dress for a 21st birthday. Cocktail dresses have a very high cost per wear, because most of the time they are worn once, so unless you’re reselling the piece for a reasonable price it generally isn’t worth the once-off wear. You’ve got to be more savvy when shopping for items like this, avoid designer and stick to your broke girl budget brands. Scenario 2: Shopping for everyday basics is a whole new story. I have 3 boyfriend tees I practically live in from ASOS which were all $20 each. I have worn them all hundreds of times. The cost per wear is incredibly low, it’s closer to zero than it is $1. Items like this are investment pieces. You can afford to actually spend a little bit more on these because you are going to get a lot of wear out of them. If you are going to splurge, make sure it’s on items you can see yourself wearing a lot. That’s how you’ll make the most of your money and have good return on investment (yep, shopping just got serious).

5. Rentals:

Last but certainly not least, sharing is caring! Firstly, steal from your friends. That’s a given, but keep doing it. Secondly, there is a whole new world of rental designer out there just waiting for broke girls like us. You have the chance to wear designers like Alex Perry, Josh Goot, Carla Zampatti – brands, broke girls only dream of – for a freaking fraction of the price AND you simply return it after. You don’t even have to worry about the dry cleaning. My top 3 rental sites are The Secret Garment, Your Closet Hire and Runway Dream.

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