So, you want to look en vogue all the time but your bank account is… um… lacking? Well, you’re not alone. You don’t need hundreds and hundreds to be a mini fashionista, you know? There are loads of ways you can save your money while getting clothes that you honestly do love. From buying second-hand items to grabbing yourself loads of discounts, here are some money-saving hacks that you need to know.
1. Shop at the end of the ‘season’
For those of you not in the know, the fashion world works in seasons. It doesn’t take an actual genius to notice that the clothes in high street shops change as the weather does. So, if you want to nab yourself some real bargains along the way, there’s just one thing that you absolutely have to make sure that you do. Shop at the end of the season!
Right before a new line of clothes come into a store, you will find that there are some major reductions going on. It’s worth heading into the shop a few times over the course of a week (especially if you have your eye on something in particular!) to see how much the price gets reduced. Of course, a whole load of this is down to luck. You have to be cautious and wait it out to buy something until the last possible moment.
So, when do the seasons start and end? Well, there’s not an exact science to it, actually. We all know that the stores tend to get rid of their summer lines as soon as September comes around. Following the same trend, you should find that as spring sets in, the winter clothes will come down in price. It’s well worth keeping your eye out for some deals!
2. Always get a student discount
If you’re shopping for clothes without getting a student discount, you’re honestly missing a trick along the way. Here’s the thing: You don’t need to be a student to get a discount. You can get an NUS card online for just £28 and start spending right away. All you have to do is sign up to a course online and then buy a dedicated NUS card. Yes, it’s a little cheeky, but doing so will unlock some truly fabulous discounts that you wouldn’t be able to get elsewhere.
So, what deals can you nab the moment you’re a ‘sort of’ student? Well, many retailers (including Topshop, ASOS, and Burton) offer a nice little 10% discount as standard for students who present their cards. Still, they aren’t the best deals out there. You can also grab a whopping 15% off at French Connection.
Now and then, retailers will also have special ‘sale’ periods when they will likely offer you a larger discount, in the region of 20% off. It’s worth checking out what different stores have available throughout the year so that you can get the very best deals. After all, you don’t want to spend £28 on a card for nothing, right?
Read: How to get an NUS card
3. Head to a charity shop (NOT a vintage shop)
Is it just me or are vintage shops a massive rip-off? No, it’s not just me – it is a rip-off. The fact of the matter is that thrift stores, vintage shops, and the like are terribly overpriced. The popularity of ‘preloved’ clothing has gone through the roof recently, what with hipsters refusing to wear anything but the oldest of old clothes. Because of that, vintage shops have taken advantage of the trend and hyped their prices up to a near-astronomical level. When you walk into one of these shops, you will soon notice that the prices are basically the same as what you’d pay for new clothes on the high street. Forget that!
Rather than wasting your pennies there, you should go to charity shops and dig for some real bargains along the way. Here’s the hint you’ve been waiting for: You need to head to shops in ‘posh’ areas if you want to get some real deals. It might sound a little obvious, but few people use this rule when it comes to shopping. Think about it. When you need to get rid of clothes, you head to the nearest charity shop. That means that the shops in richer areas will stock the clothes from richer people. It’s not rocket science.
4. Check out Shpock and eBay
Another place that you may not have considered checking is eBay. It may be counter-intuitive to buy second-hand clothes online but it could save you an absolute fortune. If you know just what you’re looking for, all you have to do is search for it online. You might find that someone is selling just what you need online for next to nothing.
Here’s why: Much of the time, when people clear out their wardrobe, they want to make a few extra pennies from it. Who can blame them, right? So, rather than heading to the charity shop, they will pop stuff up online. Having a quick look before you hit the high street might just be the best thing you ever do.
Failing that, you might want to try Shpock. You’ll have seen the adverts already – the app makers claim that this is the ‘bootsale app’. What that means is that it’s a place where people can sell their old things for cold, hard money. It’s worth checking the app now and then to see whether there are many deals out there. You should know that most of the items will be ‘collection only’ which means that you’ll have to go to someone’s house to get the thing. If that’s the case, always make sure that you take someone along with you. No, seriously…
5. Go to a ‘weigh & pay’ sale
If you happen to be sold on the idea of vintage clothing (and don’t feel like traipsing around the charity shops), there is another way you could find some deals. Weigh and pay sales are becoming more and more popular these days. In fact, there are a few companies out there that set up markets around the country you can attend. So, what’s the deal? Well, rather than just paying for one item, you can buy a whole host of things for a set price. For example, one kilos worth of clothes may cost you £15. That means that you can choose a lot of different items, weigh them, and simply pay for the weight. Easy, right?
If you do plan to attend one of these sales, it’s worth keeping your head screwed on. When things don’t have individual prices, it’s all too easy to get carried away and end up buying just about everything you see. Don’t do it! Our advice is simple: Choose items that you adore, weigh them, and then decide if you think they are worth the weight price. If the answer is no, put them back ASAP. You don’t want to buy a load of things and regret it later, after all.
Check out: Judy’s Vintage Fair Kilo Sales
6. Switch clothes with your friends
If you happen to be the same dress size as one of your mates, use it to your advantage. One of the best things you can do is organise a clothes swap among your friends. The idea is pretty simple. All you need to do is bring a bag of (usable!) clothes that you no longer want or need. Your friends should all do the same. When they bring them to your place, you can put all the clothes on the table and see what you’ve got. You can then start switching some of the clothing items so that people have nearly new things to take home with them.
It doesn’t have to be boring! You can make this whole thing a bit of an event. Bring a bottle of wine along with you and have a good old natter while you trade threads. The best thing about this idea is that it literally costs you nothing and means that you all get to go home with a new-to-you wardrobe. Bonus.
7. Don’t check-out online… yet!
Online shopping can be addictive. Make no mistakes about that. Let’s say you’re at home and feeling a little bored for whatever reason. It’s all too easy to check out some stores online and see what they have on offer. We’ve all been there. You toy with the idea of buying something for a few minutes and then ultimately press ‘check-out’ before you can talk yourself out of it. It’s an instant reaction, but perhaps it’s one that you should try to control just a tad
If you pop things in your ‘shopping bag’ and don’t actually buy them, you could find that you get a little extra off! Why? Well, many retailers actually track shoppers online to see what they are buying. If they see that you’ve not quite made that final purchase, they will want to push you to go for it. If you leave something in your bag, you might find that the retailer sends you an e-promotion with a discount! (Of course, this doesn’t happen all the time, but it’s worth a try. If you’re considering buying something online, trying this little hack before you spend your money could save you pennies in the long run!)
8. Buy ‘staple’ pieces
Finally, here’s a tip that every aspiring fashionista really needs to know. ‘Staple’ pieces should make up a whole load of your wardrobe space. Following fashions season by season will leave your bank account looking bleak. If you want to make the very best of things, you should have some pieces that you can wear with almost anything!
So, what are so-called ‘staple’ fashion pieces? Well, they are usually plain items that you can wear with more ‘out there’ pieces. For example, you should invest in a good pair of jeans, some strappy tops, and a pencil skirt. Owning these items means that you will be able to create full outfits that are on trend just by jazzing up what you have already. It’s worth buying quality pieces so that you know they will last and last. Once you have these things, you will never have to buy a whole new wardrobe again!