Trends We Love: New styles, next big things + all of our current obsessions

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Shopping on a Budget: Our Top Tips

by Jill Manoff

Always looking for ways to save a dime? We’ve got seven—catered to real girls, with stylish reps to maintain. (You’re welcome!)

Make a Budget



1. Make a Budget
The key to shopping on a budget is actually having a budget—so, do the work! Calculate how much money you have coming in, how much you have going out and how much you can afford to allocate to shopping.

Stick to it



2. Stick to It
The first month? Track every penny you spend. It will be a lot of work, but totally worth it: It will reveal just how much your small purchases add up and will help you prioritize in the future.

Pay with Cash



3. Pay with Cash
Converting your shopping budget to cash is a surefire way to stick to it; tell yourself, “Once it’s gone, it’s gone,” and you’ll never overspend. Feel uncomfortable walking around with cash? Consider a prepaid debit card instead.

Save on Shipping



4. Save on Shipping
We hate dedicating any portion of our shopping budget to anything other than fashions for our family—so we rarely pay for shipping. Our secret? We shop in store whenever possible and always take advantage of free shipping promotions.

Make Flexible Lists

5. Make (Flexible) Lists
We typically hit a store with two lists: one contains immediate needs, the other contains eventual needs. It helps us to maintain our focus, even when shopping clearance racks. Bonus tip? We keep our lists vague—as in “a spring jacket” versus “a khaki trench.” It opens our mind to trends we may not have considered and makes for a better chance we’ll find the perfect something on clearance.

Set a Time Limit


6. Set a Time Limit
Giving yourself 30 minutes to find a great dress will ensure you’re not bouncing from department to department, getting tempted by things you don’t need. Bonus tip? Pick a time when you’re at your best. Typically tired by four? Go at noon. You’ll be quicker to make decisions, so less likely to overbuy.

Be Patient



7. Be Patient
Before you buy, spend some time online. You’ll likely find the item is cheaper at another store or a promo code that will cut its cost. Another option? Wait until it goes on sale—or buy it, and monitor its price for a later adjustment.