Top tips for buying on a budget

Saving money is not easy when you are a girl who loves clothes, shoes and make up. I’ve tried most of the tricks from giving yourself a limit to only buying what you REALLY need (who doesn’t need a new lipstick to brighten up their life). None of them have worked for me. This year I started with a challenge – which was super hard but the benefits and behaviour change was incredible – let me tell you about my No Spend January journey.

2016 saw me start my year as usual, budgeting and a shopping trip. But I didn’t buy anything I didn’t need and I decided I would try and do it for a whole month. I found a diversion of food (a girls gotta eat right?) which really helped. It was hard and I very nearly caved on the final weekend of January. But using browsing online to decide what sort of thing you need vs what you want helped once you go shopping. I didn’t attack the sales, which was the oddest part of the whole thing, but with a shopping date in the diary it helped keep any urges of Oxford Circus at bay.

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I have pulled together my top tips and shopping code that I beginning to live by, it’s perfect if you are trying to save money, be more sensible on what you are spending your money, or generally being frugal. There is no set order to it, I’ve just outlined it in the way that works for me, but it could be different for you.

Do I need it? 
Yes, this might seem like the obvious question and one that a lot of you may skip over but it’s one that is just important as those to follow. The answer is likely to be no but that’s when you have to define what you might need it for in the future.

How much will I wear it?
This one gets me into trouble. I often think loads and then I actually don’t wear it all that much but I also consider what sort of use do I want to get out of the item. For example, I’ve just bought a pair of heels, which I’m planning to wear to a wedding but I probably won’t wear them all the time so these were an investment piece.

Can I afford it?
This has killed so many of my purchases but sometimes for the better. I budget at the beginning of every month to know roughly what I have and don’t have to spend and although I hate to admit it, it actually helps. It makes shopping trips less guilty when you know exactly where you are with you finances. I know that this isn’t always possible but there’s where ‘How much do I like it?’ can really help. Carry on reading to find out more!

How much do I like it?
This one is just as important as the others. Combined with the above it can be the determining factor for a spend. Don’t just give yourself a ‘yes, I like it’ or a ‘no, I don’t like it’ as an answer – give yourself a scale. I find that 3 works a charm to helping keep down the number of items sat in the wardrobe and unworn…

1. Meh, I like it but it’s not screaming BUY ME. 
Do yourself a favour and walk away. You quite simply don’t like the item enough to buy it.

2. I like it, but I don’t know if I like it enough OR whether I can afford it OR I would like another opinion.
All valid reasons to question a purchase. Quite often if I have an item I’ve said is a 2 it’s generally come around because of ‘Can I afford it?’ but I leave it, come back and reassess. If the item is no longer available it wasn’t meant to be. You could also use this time to think why you don’t like it. For example, I’ve just got a dress which I love the pattern but I felt like it was too long. I kept it at a 2 until I thought to check the hem, tried it on when I got home and decided to give the length a go but then take it up if I still don’t like it.

3. I LOVE IT. MUST HAVE IT NOW.
The amount this has happened recently has definitely decreased, purely because even if it has been the lucky number to get a 3 doesn’t mean it’s a guarantee. It has to have wiggled it’s way through the other questions before I buy it.

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Remember that although dressing with the latest trends is awesome (and trust me I love it) you might not be able to afford to do just that. My top tip is to limit yourself. For example, for Autumn/Winter 15 I focussed on the sleeveless jacket as a staple and then styled it with cheaper items or items I already had in my wardrobe. It means I get just as much wear out of it whilst feeling completely on trend.

What tips do you have on maximising your shopping on a budget? Are there any items you want me to style in multiple ways? I would love to know!

Bye for now! x

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