Poor Girl’s (And Guy’s) Shopping Guide

"I looked at my somewhat empty, scarce looking closet. Well, it wasn’t scarce, it was full of clothing, but just because the closet is full, does not mean I always want to wear what’s in it. I wanted a new wardrobe, but thought about how broke I was as a student. I had to make do with what I already owned all year, but a new wardrobe was something I needed now, and I decided to treat myself to one as an end-of-semester gift."

While I am very fortunate to have a father who helps me pay for a majority of my things, I still truly understand what it is like to be a broke college student. And I understand how painful it can be, especially while longing for a new wardrobe.

As I sit here and write this post I think to myself, “How many other people have posted a variation of what I am about to post now…” But I think it’s important that there are some known things about shopping with a small wallet. We all have our do’s and don’ts when it comes to shopping on a budget, but there are a few basic things that I believe are universal.

1. Utilize what is already in your closet.

Too many times I hear people talking about their lack of clothing in the closet, but in reality, they just don’t want to wear what they already have. Yes, sometimes it’s important to ditch that old button down you’ve had for years, but that old button down can also be worn a million different ways. So, before you bash your old clothing, take the time to reinvent it and wear it in ways you’ve never worn it.

2. Do NOT be afraid of thrift stores.

So many people are ashamed to even look at a thrift store, but why? Yes, I agree that certain thrift stores are much better than others, but utilize that thrift store down the street! Thrift stores restock at the beginning of each week with the new donated clothing they’ve received. Some days, it’s a bust, but other days, you can really hit the jackpot. Thrifting in wealthier towns and cities is also a way to score some great, higher-end clothing and accessories for a fraction of the price. Some thrift stores are also known for having just generally better selections than others, i.e. Buffalo Exchange. 

3. If shopping at the right time, stores like Marshall’s and T.J. Maxx can be great.

I find stores like this more useful for accessory shopping, personally, but my roommate hits the jackpot almost every time she walks through the doors of T.J. Maxx. I’m sure all of you know the idea of stores like this, but when shopping at the right time, you can really fill your closet with great clothing without spending all of your cash. Head in at the beginning of each month or during the change of seasons (more so before the change of each season) while shopping at places like this; the stores restock their racks and you can really get lucky.

4. Also shop at the obvious places, such as Forever 21 and H&M. 

I’ve been shopping at these stores for years, and I’ve only seen them grow and expand over the years. Forever 21 can be a hit or miss when you walk through the doors, but when you take the time to search through the immense piles of clothing, you can end up taking home some great pieces. H&M is one of my favorite places to shop. They’ve seriously amped up their reputation these last few years by collaborating with well-known designers and using fresh-faced, up and coming models (and even celebs) in their ads. While H&M has gotten more expensive over the years, I believe it is well worth it. You can get anything from basics to stand-out pieces at H&M, and just like Forever 21, if you take the time to look, you can walk out feeling very happy with your purchases.

5. Splurge on staple items.

I know this is a post about saving and how to shop with little money, but splurging on staple items will save you money in the long run. My splurge item is a good pair of pants. A good pair of pants, whether it be jeans, ankle pants, a beautiful pair of leather cigarette pants, etc, they’ll last longer than anything you own, and can be paired with almost anything. Splurging on staple items saves you money for cheaper tops, accessories, etc, in the long run. I promise it’s worth it.

I always find these posts to be helpful and I hope you all find this somewhat helpful as well. If you’ve got any questions or comments, please feel free to post something in my ask - just click here. I will be sure to get back to you.