Diary of a Budget Diva: Tips for fashionable, cheap shopping trips

Being a college student with a passion for fashion and an unfortunately low budget, I don’t always have the money to splurge on designer clothes. Plus, I’m admittedly a little cheap. So over the years, I’ve found ways to find really cute and trendy clothes at bargain prices.

I always see celebrities’ outfits and think, “Man, I really want that,” but I already know I can’t afford the actual look. So I go find the look myself and put it together from what I may have in my closet, or buy it on one of my shopping trips and combine it with my own personal style.

Here are the tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years that will get you cute clothes at an affordable price:

1.) Plan your shopping trips.

When I say plan your trips, I don’t mean strategically plan what stores you’re going to from beginning to end. I mean plan a date to go shopping. I generally do a big shopping trip every three months.

2.) Save money with a goal in mind.

This one you would think would be the easiest, but it can actually be the hardest. Since I’ve started working, I save $10-20 out of my check every other week. That money goes to my shopping trip. I might also save a little more money, depending on how much I want to save as a whole.

3.) Track when the best sales are.

I’ve worked in retail for about four years now, so I can tell you that the best sales are during or after holidays, like Labor Day weekend, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Fourth of July weekend and the day after Christmas, but sometimes stores have special promotion days. For example, Plato’s Closet has a day during the summer where everything in the store is a dollar. You just have to keep an eye on the stores you like and wait for their sales.

4.) Last but not least, my favorite, thrift stores.

Now, most of the time when you mention thrifting, people run screaming for the hills, thinking you found your clothes in a dusty store and had to wash it 50 times just to get the smell out. Most thrift stores aren’t like that. Using Plato’s Closet as an example again, it’s a thrift store that buys and sells gently used name brand and trendy clothes for 50-70 percent off retail price.

I’ll be writing about how to get the look you see on celebrities, and find the season’s trendy pieces at a low cost. Today’s outfit was inspired by Beyoncé.

My outfit details:

Shoes: JustFab, $39.95

Jeans: Old Navy, on sale for $15

Tank top: Dots, $6.99

Bathing suit top: Thrift store, $3.99

Gold Necklace: Forever21, $10.80

Bracelets: from a jewelry show.

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