Ohio Living

Frugal Friday: Frugal Fashion


Frugal Friday: Frugal Fashion

Frugal Friday Frugal Fashion

It’s Frugal Friday!  Each week, I’ll share tips, encouragement, and practical ideas for living a frugal lifestyle!

When a newly-Frugal girl thinks about fashion, her thoughts often fall into two categories: 1. Sigh, I wish I could have that, but it’s too expensive…  and 2. I can’t afford anything cute, so why bother…   Thankfully, neither of these is true.

I don’t claim to be a fashion guru by any means.  As a work-from-home mom of four, I don’t always have to be all that fashionable…my goal is to have a couple cute things within my wardrobe just to show that I haven’t completely given up! 😉  Whether you spend lots of time in yoga pants or you need a professional wardrobe for work, here are some tips that can apply to anyone trying to stay frugally fashionable.

  • Budget for clothes:  Have a line in your budget each month for clothes for both the grownups and kids in the household.  It doesn’t mean that this budget gets spent every month–it could get stashed in a cash envelope for later use.  But it does mean that you’re setting aside a little bit each month so that it doesn’t hit all at once when clothes need to be purchased.  Obviously if the budget’s really tight, or you’re working hard to pay down debt, this is an area that can vary a lot, but still allow for something.
  • Ask for and use gift cards:  If you want to do a shopping spree (or have some wardrobe needs to address), ask for gift cards for Christmas or your birthday.  Relatives seem to understand that, especially for moms on a budget, it can be a fun and special treat to go shopping without worrying about busting the budget.
  • Know your favorite stores’ sales:  Work your shopping mojo in accordance with your stores’ best sales.  Kohl’s 30% off coupon + a Kohl’s cash sale?  This mama got some sweet new boots 🙂  All stores have sales and many have coupons, so combine them for your clothing shopping just like you would for toothpaste and soup!
  • “Invest” in the basics: My favorite pair of $70 Gap jeans gets used constantly.  Of course I didn’t pay full-price for them (got them almost half off!), but they’ve held up really well, and they look (and make me feel) better than something cheaper.  It’s OK to save up and spend a little more on something quality that’ll get a ton of use.  A great pair of jeans, some cute boots, flattering dress slacks…these are versatile pieces that you’ll wear for a long time, so don’t feel like you have to go completely bargain-basement.
  • Hit clearance for trendy stuff:  Trends tend to change like the weather, so it’s probably best not to go 100% super trendy if you’re being frugal–items might look dated after a short amount of time.  If you can snag something cute on a great sale, that’s the time to do it.
  • Accessorize!  You can get great deals on accessories on sale, and they’re a lower-priced way to stay current with trends.  A cute scarf or great earrings can dress up a pretty basic shirt.  This is one of my conscious ways to show I haven’t completely thrown in the towel fashion-wise…I might just be wearing jeans and a basic long-sleeved tee, but if I throw on earrings, a scarf, and some boots, it usually doesn’t look shlumpy 🙂
  • Don’t compare: If you’re truly being frugal, there will probably be some people you know whose wardrobes are way more fabulous than yours.  But guess what?  They spent way more than you did, and your budget probably looks more fabulous than theirs.  If you can be content with “good enough” fashion-wise, you’ll be able to focus on bigger priorities like feeding your family and building savings, but still look nice.  For more on this, check out another Frugal Friday post on Fighting Spending Envy

I’d love to hear your tips on how to look good on a budget.  What are your favorites stores that offer great deals on cute, non-frumpy clothes?  What items are worth a splurge for you, and which items are bargain-hunting treasures?  Start the discussion in the comments or join us on Facebook!

If you’re just joining the Frugal Friday series, check out these other posts:


Megan has been frugal most of her life, but has been really honing her frugal skills as the chief home economist for her family of six, surviving and thriving on a single (teacher’s!) income.  If she can do it, you can too!

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