Life is made up of all the little moments. There are all these small sensations you get every minute of every day. Things like the feel of fabric against your skin, the depth of the scent in your perfume, the feeling you get when you slide your foot into a really great pair of shoes make a big difference. Get the mixture right and you look “lush” walking through the door; quality speaks for itself – but when bargain shopping and discount grocers are a way of life it can seem like a real uphill battle to look lush on a budget.
The trick is getting it right – and this can be especially challenging on when money is tight.
It just takes a little effort and a little know-how.
When you stop spending money on buying quantity, you can focus on buying quality. For instance, you may be able to get a couple pairs of fun heels from Nine West for $75 each but for $150 you could have a pair of Frye pumps and for $500 you could have a pair of Louboutins or Manolos. It sounds expensive but it is really the equivalent of 6-7 pairs of Nine West pumps. How many pairs of shoes do you have in your closet?
When it comes down to it, you simply don’t need 20 completely different outfits. You need about 20 pieces (shoes included) you can mix and match to create different looks. That’s it. So start by simplifying your purchases.
WHAT YOU ACTUALLY USE
Now, take a look in your closet. Pull out anything you don’t wear or wear less than twice a year. You can get cash for these items at consignment shops, used clothing stores, Etsy, or eBay. It will be a little work but your closet with thank you. Not only will it be easier to find things but you can use that money to buy better stuff.
If you come across a couple things you simply can’t bear to apart with because they would be perfect if they were a little (looser, tighter, darker, a different color, more fitted, shorter – insert appropriate adjective here), do something about it! Most dry cleaners can do minor alterations, like a hem, and can even dye your clothes (or shoes) for you. For bigger jobs, call a seamstress. You can find many online but if you’d rather go with someone you know, visit your local bridal shop. Most all have seamstresses on staff.
KEEPING A LUSH HOME
Clothing and shoes are easy examples, but the same is true around your home. If you are like most people, you spent $20 for a saucepan you use daily and probably 5-10 times that for a juicer or other small appliance you bought and never use.
Think about your lifestyle and prioritize accordingly. If you do have pricey items collecting dust, why not sell them? Use the money to buy better versions of the things you use all the time, buy clothes, go out to eat. Whatever you do, don’t waste your money by not maximizing it.
Once you are ready to upgrade your wardrobe and home, it is time to go shopping. Tempting as it may be to hit up Macy’s or Nordstrom, don’t do it. Or, at least not yet. Turn your attention to bargain retailers. Think Amazon, TJ Maxx, and outlet stores. Your money will stretch much further and while some things may be past season you can find great basics and sometimes luck into really great deals. Sometimes this means buying “seconds” – items with small flaws sold at a discount – but just as often bargain retailers are selling the exact same things as their full-price brethren.
COMPARISON SHOP (AND WRITE IT DOWN)
Next step, get a little black book. Seriously.
Keep it with you and every time you happen upon a really great everyday price on something you use all the time, write it down. It is too easy to forget these things but this is one of the ways you can save the most while still maintaining that “lush” lifestyle. For instance, I know that a wine store near my flat sells my favorite wine for $7.47. Most places charge $14 for the same bottle. I have similar notes for where to get my favorite groceries, the best price for leggings, and who has the best happy hours.
You don’t have to write down every bargain – that would just be boring and you probably would never reference it – but it really doesn’t take any effort to jot down a few notes for things you buy often.
Living on a budget is easier than you think. It takes a little legwork and before you know it, you will be living well and looking lush.
Featured image via ShutterStock