For those – like many of us – who have champagne tastes but a beer budget, and who also have a family who need clothing, school books, after-school activities and more, it's not always easy to look stylish.
But according to Theresa Mason of Teachers Mutual Bank, it is possible to look stylish on a budget.
“Managing money isn’t all about mortgages, super and savings accounts; nor should it be. By taking the time to manage your money well, you can have more scope to enjoy life and give yourself some stylish treats in a responsible way. It’s a win-win, especially at this time of the year with Melbourne Cup Day work parties and then the Christmas festivities."
Theresa has pulled together some tips on how to acheive style on a shoestring for the money-conscious among us.
1. Do a Fashion Fast
Work out the dollars you can set aside on a daily basis in the lead up to a special event, whether it be the Spring Racing Carnival, Christmas a wedding or a special party. Maybe sacrifice a latte a day, cut down the take-away dinners Theresa says she has a separate, fee-free account to put this money aside each week which she calls her Shoe Fund.
2. Get on the mailing list
In the world of fashion, keeping your finger on the pulse is critical. And the best way to do this is to join the mailing list of your favourite stores or sales outlets, as this will allow you to stay abreast of current deals and offerings. It’s well worth using a budget planner. Most banks have planners online that are easy to use which allows you to set aside money for the essentials, and calculate how much expendable income you have left to grab those bargains as they come up.
3. The 60/40 rule
Try spending 60% of your money on classic, basic pieces and 40% on fashion pieces. As your number of classic items grows, you’ll have a timeless wardrobe that you can boost with cheaper trend-setting pieces. Investment is an important financial principle, and this isn’t limited to the fundamentals of life. When it comes to fashion, bear in mind the return – the cost per wear - you’ll get on each item.
4. One woman’s trash is your new trend
Swap your style with like-minded friends by having a clothes-swap party. One woman’s disastrous impulse buy is another’s great find. This is a great alternative to spending money – not to mention being great fun - and you can walk out with some great new pieces that cost zero!
5. Dress like a French woman
French women are synonymous with style, and their secret can be put down to the purchase of a few key high-quality (and often expensive) pieces that they wear frequently, updating with accessories. Just make sure you set a strict limit before you set out on your shopping trip. If over-spending is a risk for you, consider using cash or a debit card rather than a credit card, then you can only spend the cash you have.
6. Never go shopping on pay day
Stay out of temptation’s way and let your salary sit in your account for at least 72 hours before you decide what fashion purchase you’re going to make. If your credit card is your primary spending source make sure you keep on top of monthly payments. If you use your credit card wisely you’ll also be building up a solid credit history that will help you land bigger purchases like a car when you need to.