Be strategic about your style & your money


For those of you who have been around me, you undoubtedly know that one of my very favorite things is telling random people how to find something I'm wearing that they like. Yup. Conversations commonly go as follows, "I love your (let's go with dress)."  

"Thank you so much. I got it at (let's go with Target). You should go get one. They have several colors and it was only $28."  

I live for this stuff. I suppose this explains why becoming a personal stylist was an obvious transition. 

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE a Kate Spade coat or a Vince sweater. But, you aren't always able to swing the full price on higher end style- and still pay the rent.... or even less likely the mortgage.  

Today I was the very lucky recipient of a shout out from one of my favorite personal finance gurus- um, I mean, the only one I'm really into, Mindy Crary.  

Check it out. In honor of this post, I thought we could focus on a few tips for looking amazing on a budget. 

 Merona Women's ponte crossover neckline dress. Target. $27.99


1.  Keep your returns in the trunk or at your office. 

We've all been there. You buy something and you quickly realize it wasn't the smartest move. But then, the worst thing ever happens, you neglect to return it... for months... until it's too late. Keep your returns easily accessible so you will get them back to the store and get that money in your pocket. If you drive, the trunk is best. Keep the receipts with them. If you work and shop downtown, keep them at your desk AND make a calendar appointment to return them.  


2. Find your personal balance of high and low.  

Personally, I like to invest in accessories and shoes. I'll pay full price for them. But some of my most memorable jewelry was found on sale at Anthropologie, for instance. I can rock a dress from Target and a designer handbag with high quality shoes. Suddenly, the Target purchase isn't so obvious anymore. High end items can elevate your entire look. The same is true for low end. So if something is too cheap or is the low quality item is a focal point (like a coat that is always covered in lint because of the quality) it can bring down everything. Be strategic. 


3. Pay attention to your favorite retailers. 

If you love Banana Republic, for instance, you should NEVER be paying full price. They have 40% deals frequently. Receive emails, download the retailers app or check the website before you go in. Often just googling the retailer and "coupons" can find you something to cut costs. If you are loyal to a certain retailer- see if it has a debit card that works to your advantage. For example Nordstrom helps you accumulate Nordstrom Notes (which also work at the Rack) and Target gives you 5% off of every purchase with 1% going to the school of you choice (although you must select the school online first). 


4. I beg of you, go to the Rack.  

I know, for those of you who hate shopping, it is overwhelming. But, if you are in the market for a handbag, for instance, it's the place to go. Leather jackets and designer items are at the Nordstrom Racks, right now, too. And, they just launched the Rack's app. If you are someone who dreads this experience, go in with a goal and get out. If you push yourself and buy because you are exasperated, you'll end up needing to keep your returns in your trunk or at your desk:)


5. Pay attention to the return policy

I know, you think I'm going to tell you to only shop at retailers that offer a full refund. I am not. Lots of small boutiques aren't able to offer full refunds and shopping local is always a gratifying experience. But, do make sure you are comfortable with the return policy. If refunds are not an option, make sure you can see yourself shopping there again, that it is accessible to you so that you'd actually get back there AND that you can afford the purchase. Buyers remorse is even worse when you really shouldn't have spent the money.  

Need more tips? Mindy's blog is sort of addictive and it's free.