5 Ways to Shop on a Budget

Ever since I started blogging, I noticed that the amount of money I was spending on clothes was gradually growing bigger by the month. Since I unfortunately don't have infinite funds to spend on shopping sprees, I really have to make wise choices and maximize my purchases when it comes to crafting my wardrobe. Lately, what has really worked for me has been to do large hauls from less expensive stores, like H&M and Forever 21, and to pair them with one or two designer accessories. Before I went to London, I decided to do my first Forever 21 haul in order to save the majority of my spending money for the trip. I ended up finding five outfits and a pair of shoes for less than $250! This was an impressive moment for me, as I used to try on piles of clothes there and never come out with anything I was happy with. 

Shopping at big stores like Forever 21 used to be so exhausting to me. As a result of the anxiety that came with a place like that, it was really not on my shopping radar until recently. This brings me to my first tip for shopping on a budget, which is:

1. Be Prepared

What I did this time that I hadn't done in the past was to browse online and on their Instagram page before I even stepped foot in the store. This way, I knew exactly which items I was looking for without having to wander aimlessly. It's nice to have options, but when there are simply too many, you need to have a plan. I definitely would have overlooked this dress had I not saved a screenshot of it on my phone for two reasons: 1. It looked much better in the picture than it did hanging on the rack, and 2. It was squished onto a rack of dresses in a tiny corner of a huge store.


2. Give Yourself Time to Look

I consider myself a serious power shopper, and when I go to the mall, I am always on a mission. Even for someone like myself, it takes time to go through heaps of clothing, and if you do it when you're in a rush you will only stress yourself out. I like to go when I have a large chunk of time, and preferably not during peak shopping hours (i.e.: weekends.) As I mentioned above, I had to go to several stores before I found the last item on my list, and I actually found it during my second look-around at a three level store. Patience and perseverance always pays off in the end!

3. Mix and Match

One of my favourite ways to style myself is to mix my lower-end labels with my designer accessories (or vice versa.) It's an old trick, but one that always works when it comes to making your outfit look more expensive than it is. I wore this dress with a designer bag to the grocery store, and when the cashier asked me where I got it, she was completely shocked when I told her it was from Forever 21, responding "Wow, I thought you were going to say it was from somewhere really expensive!"

4. Invest in Quality

To build on my last point, the reason why I would choose an expensive handbag over an article of clothing, is because I find you get much more use out of a handbag than you will out of a dress or pair of pants. Unless I've fallen in love with a piece, I will rarely spend more than $100 on something that I know is only going to be in style for the season. When you invest in a classic handbag, you will be able to pair it with so many different outfits for many seasons to come.

5. Shop Overseas

Ever since I discovered that designer items are a little cheaper when purchased in Europe, it felt silly to me not to take advantage of it. Due to the fact that most high-end designers are based in Europe, you don't have have to pay the import fees that are included in the price here in Canada. In England, you can also get an additional tax refund at the airport, saving you even more money. Now I know not everyone has the opportunity to take a Eurotrip, especially not for the purpose of shopping, but I find I always know someone who is abroad that I could ask to bring me something back if necessary. If you look on your social media and see which of your trustworthy friends or family members is currently there on vacation, I can almost guarantee you'll find someone who can help you out. I picked up this Diorama wallet-on-a-chain during my recent trip to London, and I saved over $300 in buying it over there as opposed to in Canada. It makes me never want to buy designer goods in Canada again!

No matter what your budget is, there is always a way to look stylish and classy without breaking the bank. If you put in the extra effort, you'll find that budget shopping will just come naturally the more that you do it. And trust me - you'll never want to go back to paying $200 for a dress when you know you can find something nice for $30.

Shop the Look: Dress - Forever 21 // Shoes - Forever 21 // Bag - Dior (Diorama Crosiere Wallet in Powder Pink)

All photos by my talented boyfriend, Sean Vesely.

With love,

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