Today’s frugal fashionistas know a thing or two about creating an enviable wardrobe at a fraction of the cost of buying retail and they do this in a number of ways. Some shop deep discount outlet malls to pick up their brand name attire while others dig diligently through the racks of the secondhand store in hopes of acquiring the precise type of apparel that they are looking for. Other, more creative types, sit down with a sewing machine and a pattern and whip out designs all their own. College students looking to recycle last season’s fashions, clear out their closet and host clothing swaps where each participant walks away from an evening full of fun with an armload of new attire and accessories to wear. Families with small children shop yard sales and online auction sites to buy lots of gently used clothing for their little ones to wear. Rather than replace items on a whim, these parents wait to buy new clothes until their children wear them out or outgrow them.
Like past generations, a majority of today’s population works hard to reduce, reuse, and recycle the items that they purchase or acquire for free. You can learn a thing or two from these individuals by learning how to look like a million bucks for less. Here are a few secrets that they would like to share with you.
Don’t Overlook the Potential of the Thrift Store
On a regular basis, people find amazing brand name, quality items that are still in the box or have the tags hanging from them while shopping at a thrift store or secondhand shop. I once purchased a brand new pair of Doc Marten boots for less than a dollar at the Salvation Army. And don’t forget the other side of the coin as well. If you have clothes you no longer wear you can basically put money in your pocket by donating it or even selling it at a second-hand store like Plato’s Closet.
Get Your Hair Cut, Colored, and Styled By a Student
Visiting a school that specializes in Cosmetology has its benefits. In addition to helping a student acquire the hours that they need to graduate, you can have your hair cut, colored, and styled for next to nothing. Don’t be afraid of a bad haircut. Chances are you’re going to get a great cut or style and pay a fraction of the cost of going to a regular salon.
Join the Do-It-Yourself Bandwagon and Learn How to Alter and Reconstruct Clothing to Make It Look New Again
Ill-fitting or otherwise unattractive clothing can be cut, sewn, embellished, and repurposed into amazing shirts, pants, skirts, belts, handbags, and headbands. Craft store sell yards of fabric, spools of ribbon, patches, leather fringe, beads, and buttons specifically designed to update the look of old duds.
Buy the Best Items That You Can Afford and Take Advantage of Life-Time Guarantees
Many companies guarantee the items that they sell you. Take advantage of these policies and buy the best garments that you can afford. A high quality item purchased from LL Bean carries a lifetime guarantee. Although the initial cost of a new coat may seem overwhelming, it pales in comparison when you consider the cost of multiple new coats over the course of a few decades.
Familiarize Yourself with Freecycle
Free is the way to be. Get to know your local Freecycle group. Post items that you no longer want and request items that you know you will use. Not only will you reduce costs, you will also help the environment by keeping perfectly good items out of the landfill.
As you can see, you don’t need to blow your budget buying all of the latest designer fashions, getting expensive hair cuts, or buying junk you’ll only use once or twice. Frugal is the new black, and if you’re smart with your money you can look like a million bucks without spending more than a few dollars.
Charissa Arsaoui is a freelance writer for ChickSpeak, Buzzine, DisFUNKshion Magazine, Student Stuff, and a guest contributor for Wisebread. She loves thrift related topics and can spot a bargain a mile away.
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About the Author: Jeremy Vohwinkle is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor® and spent a few years working as a financial planner. Today, he helps people make the most of their money by writing about personal finance here and elsewhere on the web. Jeremy is also Coach at Adaptu and a regular contributor for other publications such as Intuit, and American Express. Be sure to follow Jeremy on Twitter or Google+.