by Ivy Locke
In an age that seems to be marked by extreme situations and unforeseen circumstances, the uncertain nature of these times leaves most parents feeling a bit uneasy. Moreover, these feelings are typically magnified in the case of being either a single parent or a family facing financial difficulties. Indeed, given the dismal projections in regards to the job market as well as the general value of the American dollar, many are looking to cut corners every way possible. Although I may not be able to tell you how to save money on your mortgage (though, I am working on it) I can certainly tell you how to cut costs as far as clothing your family is concerned. Fortunately, given my extensive background in fashion and retail (I worked and shopped extensively all throughout college and several subsequent years), I am more than qualified to tell you how to look fab on a budget. That said, the following is an overview of some tips to help you keep your family looking super fabulous, even on the smallest budget.
Taking a page out of the book of Macklemore, thrift shopping has officially been introduced to the youth of the world. Honestly speaking, I was never much of a thrift shopper until recent years. I never had the patience to sift through those large piles of clothes, and I would hardly find anything worth buying. Times change! As I continue to mature, I have realized that thrifting is literally what you make it. For instance, you may spot a crazy looking top and think, “Now, who would wear that?!”, but if you try it on, you might realize that you are exactly the type of person to wear it! If you have trouble with thrift shopping, odds are, it’s because you don’t know what to look for. The purpose of thrifting is to find things that stand out rather than blend in. In other words, you will likely not find a lot of trendy new joggers at your local thrift shop, but you may find lots of jackets, suits, button down blouses, t-shirts, and the like. Thrift shopping is all about finding your personal style.
In addition to that, estate sells are an excellent way to keep your family looking great on a budget. For those who are yet unfamiliar, the terms “estate sale” refers to a massive sale of belongings that typically takes place at one’s home. Depending on the composition of the family, you could potentially find some nice duds for your entire family. Moreover, given that estate sales often take place at massive homes in which a family is moving, splitting apart, or has some other force driving them to sell as many things as possible, you can often purchase designer labels for pennies on the dollar. If you are interested in going to estate sales in your area, simply do a Google search for “estate sales in my area”. In addition to that, estate sales.net is an excellent resource which sends notifications detailing local estate sales, directly to your email.
“Gently Used” Stores
Furthermore, second-hand stores are an excellent way to clothe your family. In recent years, there has been a second-hand store revolution of sorts in which they have begun catering to the younger generations. Certainly, not your local thrift store, the new age second-hand stores carry nothing but popular designers and they only accept things that are up to a certain standard. For instance, in my town, we have a store known as Plato’s Closet that carries a lot of brands such as Pink, Forever 21, Abercrombie, and much more. Moreover, although the store more so caters to women, there is a decent-sized department for young males as well. In addition to that, there is also a store called “Once Upon a Child” which sells gently used clothing for babies and younger kids (up to size Y-20). Odds are, you have similar stores in your area. Simply do a search for “gently-used clothing stores” and see what pops up!
Yet another best-kept secret of frugal fashionistas, online boutiques are all the rage in this age. For instance, there is a community of boutiques on sites such as Instagram, which sell new and gently-used clothes at a decent price. Similarly, sites such as eBay, Bigcartel, Etsy, and others, also house a large community of thrift/resale sellers! Remember to take your time when it comes to online boutiques and search around to find a few sellers who share your personal style as well as your preferred price point.
Lastly, semi-annual sales are a great way to stay trendy all-year-round! While many just stop in to buy a few things, there are others who shop exclusively at massive sales. The reason semi-annual sales are mentioned specifically is due to the fact that they occur twice a year and typically feature the lowest prices of the year. This is because semi-annual sales are essentially spring (and winter) cleaning for the store. Therefore, the prices are typically amazingly low as the store is literally trying to get rid of the stuff so they can bring out the new, full-priced inventory. Either way, when shopping semi-annual sales, keep in mind that the items are typically off-season. Therefore, if you are purchasing something for you children, you may need to buy it a size or two larger to ensure they do not outgrow it the meantime.
Overall, shopping on a budget can actually be great fun. As a recovering big-spender, I have found that I get much more of a rush from finding things that are not only fabulous but are also friendly to my wallet. In addition to that, keep in mind that boutiques and sales are also great for finding unique gifts for family and friends. Either way, no matter who you need to shop for, this list of tips is guaranteed to help you uncover some fab finds and save a bunch of money!