$20 a Day in the Closet: 10 Tips for Cheap Clothes

$20 a Day in the Closet

 

$20 a Day in the Closet: 10 Tips for Cheap Clothes

I am a long way from a fashion icon, but I’m not completely frumpy, either. It’s sometimes a struggle trying to be both cheap and cute, but I believe it can be done. Here are my tips for how to maintain a pretty great wardrobe without making your wallet cry.

1. Don’t buy a ton of crap

This almost too obvious, but if you want to save money, you just can’t have a ton of crap. Sorry, it just doesn’t work. When I go to the mall, it’s more like visiting a museum. I look, sometimes I even try on, but I rarely ever buy. 100 years ago, average people were lucky to have like five outfits, so just learn to live with less.

2. Don’t throw anything out

Just the other day, I got several compliments on a top and a skirt I’ve had for probably 10 years. If your clothes still fit you and aren’t torn, stained, or otherwise inappropriate, you can probably hold onto them and figure out ways to give them new life. Most people aren’t going to care or even notice that you’ve been wearing the same dress forever.

3. Buy classic pieces

 Pencil skirts in black and tan, black pants, white and black button down shirts, and comfortable but awesomely hot black heels will never ever go out of style. You don’t even have to spend a bunch of money if you’re patient enough to find good stuff at discount stores like Ross or TJ Maxx. Take good care of them, and you’ll be able to make a million outfits for years.

4. Go shopping with a plan

Before you step into the shop, think about what you actually need. Don’t just randomly shop impulsively. It’s the same effect as going to the grocery store hungry. You end up spending money on things you don’t actually need and will probably never wear. 

5. Try on in store then shop online

If you’re buying from a major chain like Old Navy, they’ll probably send you a bajillion emails with all kinds of great coupon codes. It’s kind of annoying until you need something. There’s a pretty good chance you can get 20% off or more if you can be patient.

6. Don’t buy stuff just because it’s on sale

If you spend $20 on a $50 piece that you never actually wear, you didn’t save $30, you actually wasted $20. A sale, in and of itself, is not a good enough reason to buy something. I mean, if you need something and can get it on sale, that’s obviously good, but I think you get the point.

7. Always try stuff on

If you’re anything like me, there’s a good chance you’re too lazy to actually take stuff back to the store if it doesn’t fit right, so make sure it’s going to work before you get it home. 

8. Don’t buy stuff unless it makes you feel awesome

Similar to #6, if you buy the cheap version of something you need, but you don’t love it, you’re probably not going to wear it. Money wasted. It’s worth it to spend a little more on something that makes you feel excited about getting dressed in the morning.

9. Have fun with accessories

I’m a scarf and hat girl, personally, but you can pick up a few fun accessories to add a pop of color to your wardrobe and stay on trend. You’re gonna have a lot of classic pieces and old stuff, so play around with the little cheap things.

10. Don’t feel guilty

You deserve to look good, even if you can barely afford a fashion magazine, let alone all the stuff inside. If you want to save your pennies and splurge on something that makes you feel like a movie star, don’t beat yourself up about it.  We all know that material things aren’t what really matters, but you don’t need to feel guilty about buying something beautiful every now and then.

You deserve to feel awesome. With a little patience and creativity, you can collect a wardrobe of reliable pieces, throw in a few trendy accessories, and look and feel totally rad. Everything is possible.

The Rule of Second Cheapest

Feeding and entertaining three people on $28 a day is proving to be pretty damn challenging. Every penny counts. Luckily, I have a few tricks up my sleeve the make those precious few dollars stretch a tiny bit further without feeling like everything you pick up is the worst thing ever. They’re probably terribly obvious, but hey, you can’t think of everything.

veggies

The rule of second cheapest

We’ve been following the rule of second cheapest for a few years now. This basically means that when you’re making selections at the grocery store on something where quality counts, things like olive oil or peanut butter, we allow ourselves to buy the second cheapest. It’s not the pricy stuff, but if you stay away from the absolute bottom of the barrel, there’s a better chance that you won’t get something that actually tastes of generic. Sometimes if you buy the cheapest thing on the shelf, it ends up tasting so bad you don’t want to eat it anyway, which defeats the purpose of food. I don’t want to spend money on something I’m not going to enjoy. The fifty cents is usually worth it. Sure, you can’t afford the really expensive high quality chocolate, but you don’t have to buy the absolute worst one, either.

Bulk is the baker’s friend

I don’t buy in bulk very much, partly because I don’t have a lot of space to store 48 cans of black beans, and partly because I don’t ever know what I’m going to want to cook from one day to the next. I do, however, save a lot of money by stocking up on baking staples, especially butter, cream cheese, sugar, and chocolate chips. The butter and cream cheese can be frozen until you need them, and by weight, you end up spending sometimes half as much. I can’t get a bag of flour at my Costco in anything smaller than a 50 pound bag, and where the hell am I supposed to put that? But I have also bought vanilla, brown sugar, and berries there and saved a bunch of money. 

When shopping in a foreign country, just buy the item with the funniest name.
When shopping in a foreign country, just buy the item with the funniest name.

Take the time to go online

We live practically next door to Safeway, and we go there at least once a day. Safeway has one of those annoying club cards, but what makes it worthwhile is Just for U. If you go to their website and register your card, you can have even more coupons and discounts automatically loaded onto your card. You don’t have to clip coupons and remember to take them to the store. And since your club card tracks what you buy, a lot of the deals are targeted at things you actually want. I’ve gotten some pretty great deals when I actually remember to go online and load up my card. It’s totally worth it. Check your neighborhood store and see if they have something similar.

Grocery shopping can be such a drag, especially buying things like toilet paper. What a drag. But if you save enough on the boring stuff, maybe you can afford to buy some ice cream. Ice cream never lets you down.

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