20 August 2012

How to be a budget fashionista

Spend hours virtual shopping online drooling over the pretty dresses in topshop and wishing you could afford those shoes that you don’t really need but want anyway? Do you walk into boots and find yourself reaching for the benefit counter but end up at the cheapest make up stand you can find? I hear ya. I work full time but when the responsibilities of adulthood take over I am left with a measly amount to play with, but that doesn’t mean I can’t buy nice things and my wardrobe isn’t necessarily empty. Growing up I always worked, I had my first job at the age of 15 and I was only given a small amount of pocket money a month which I quite rightfully had to earn. I think one of the most valuable lessons my parents taught me was how to be careful with my money and my mum’s thrifty ways have definitely rubbed off on me throughout life. I am not going to lie; I do get a kick out of telling people that my sexy new shoes were from the bargain bin at New Look and cost me almost the same as a  Mcdonalds meal !!

Here are a few of my thrifty shopping secrets.

1.      Venture out of your comfort zone……..
Don’t be afraid to look in places you wouldn’t usually shop. I am quite lucky in the fact that I’m reasonably small (5 ft 3) and can sometimes get away with wearing kids clothes. H&M is a classic example of acceptable children’s fashion, next time you’re in there why not take a mooch down to the kids department. You never know what you might find and the clothes are a lot cheaper and fun J 
Trendy clothes also don’t always hide in the popular high street shops. Keep an open mind, if the have the patience step away from your usual shopping routine, take a look in shops you would never usually shop in. You never know what you might find. An example of this was when I was wandering through Chester Precinct whilst holiday shopping, I walked past a tatty looking market shop and for some reason something drew me in. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular but I ended up at their shoe section, most of it was horrendous but amongst all the junk was a beautiful pair of nude wedges screaming my name, the £5.00 price tag made them even more appealing. Needless to say they made their way into my life and I left the shop feeling rather smug with myself knowing I had a lovely new pair of shoes for my hol and my bank hadn’t suffered.

     2.      Shop around for treasures……..

I rarely buy full price jewellery unless there is a specific item I am wanting to buy. High street shops these days have such high turnovers when it comes to stocking jewellery so will almost always have items on sale. When a trend becomes popular, rather than going out and buying it straight away I wait until the next jewellery ‘obsession’ comes into the shops and then I can grab yesterday’s news in the sale. Shop around, Topshop don’t always have jewellery sales on but Dorothy Perkins might, or maybe even New Look. One of my favourite places to buy jewellery is Outfit; they almost always have sales on and in the past have bought some beautiful pieces for next to nothing.

3.      Poundshops are definitely your friend……

The likes of poundland and home and bargain used to terrify me…for what reason I am not quite sure but it’s safe to say now they are now on my shopping itinerary almost every time I go. I have found some absolutely amazing things in Poundland, you have to persevere but take your time and you will be rewarded. Deep amongst the cheap tat is a sea of treasures waiting to be put in your shopping basket. These kinds of shops are particularly good for make up; I have found products such as stila, sally Hansen, Olay and Rimmel all for the glorious price of 100 pennies. Buying make up from Poundland is also a good way to try out new brands without breaking the bank, especially if you end up not liking them. I recently bought a stila foundation from Poundland which I didn’t get along with but I didn’t feel guilty about putting it to the back of my make up draw.

4.      Don’t shop at weekends………

Besides fighting crowds of hungry shoppers and tripping over mounds of clothes in Primark, weekends just aren’t the best time to shop in terms of securing yourself a bargain. Thursday evenings are the best as this is when most weekend sales start, if you go on a Saturday there might not be much left. Items also tend to go on sales 6 to 8 weeks after they enter the shops so hold out. Patience is a virtue my friends!!!

Lastly think ahead, buy your winter bargains in March and put them to the back of your wardrobe in preparation for when the chilly days start rolling in.

5.      Shop your stash………..

Wardrobe shopping is a great way to save money. Remember, trends go in cycles, what was fashionable in Winter 2010 might just become fashionable again in 2012. Don’t throw things away, put them to one side and don’t be afraid to mix old trends with new trends. I have managed to create some really cool outfits with clothes I have had for years by just adding a new accessory or a new pair of shoes.


You don’t have to tell me….Primark is pretty dam scary at the best of times but get it right and you will not be disappointed. Go either super early in the morning or late at night in the week. Take your time, sale items are not always necessarily on sale rails. Take this dress for example, it was only £2.00

When you do get to the sale rails but prepared to trawl through a load of crap but you never know what may find lurking at the back, also try things on. Things may not look great on the hangers but think outside the box, they may look great on.

Lastly, before you head to the tills with a basket full of goodies, take a look in the men’s section. Remember this season’s trends are not just for women and sometimes men’s clothes can be quite feminine, I have seen a few bloggers buy some amazing t shirts from the men’s section in Primark and have created gorgeous pieces by customising them.


  1. Oh god, town on a Saturday is so bloody scary. I don't mind crowds, but people are lethal! I tend to stick to Primark on evenings too, less people means you can actually see the shelves. Your dress was an absolute bargain, too!

  2. This is definitely one (if not the only!) advantage of working pretty much each weekend, so having to do any shopping during the week. Although with it being the summer hols at the mo, it doesn't make much of a difference! My friend once got a Primark dress in the sale for a pound... I was so impressed but sooo jealous it wasn't me!! x


Thanks for your comments :) xx