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Ladies, We’re Killing Our Bank Accounts

How to give-up on name brands, save major money, but still look like a knockout.

I can remember being in college, that looking forward to the weekend was the highlight of my week. My best friend and I would plan all week where we were going to go shopping, we always ended-up deciding on Santa Monica because it was the no-brainer for good shopping. Nether of us had jobs at the time, yet we still somehow managed to find some extra cash and blow it all in a few short hours. Any girl who’s ever gone shopping knows it takes one step into a Victoria's Secret, an American Eagle, or into a Guess to easily drop a couple hundred dollars on clothes.

All throughout college, and some years after, I became guilty of these endless spending on clothes sprees. That is until I asked myself, ‘Why?’ Why am I spending all this money on me, I don’t even like spending money on myself, I’d rather spend it on other people. As women we're taught that spending that much money on clothes is the norm. And quiet frankly, it is the norm. But what if we could change the norm? Spend less money, but still look amazing?

We’ve all heard it said that saving every penny can add up; well just think what saving every ten dollars could add up to. What if instead of spending $30 on an item you spent $20 on that item? Or how about spending $30 on an item instead of spending $60? But money isn’t everything, I’m not only talking about saving money, but I’m also saying you could get these items at the same high quality you thought you were paying for before. Remember, just because it’s more expensive, doesn’t mean it's better quality.

Here’s the part where I hopefully blow your mind, but more importantly, here’s the part where I pass on my secrets to you. They are simple ideas that maybe you’ve just never thought of. But lets change that thinking right now. Listen close.

Being a knockout shouldn’t cost you a fortune.

I’m sure you all are familiar with a quaint place called: H&M. Some of you I’m sure love their clothes just as much as I do, and they are all reasonably priced. However, have you looked at their lingerie section? I discovered this about a year ago when I walked over to check it out and frankly I was tired of spending a fortune on Victoria Secret bras that lasted a couple months before they fell apart. I’ve bought bras from H&M for $25 that look, feel, and last even longer than my $60 bra from V.S. I love feeling and looking sexy, just as much as the next girl, and by switching to H&M bras, I saved money without giving up being a knockout; well, hopefully, I’m a knockout, I’ve never really asked.

Amazon really does have everything!

If you ever run across something that you really want (or need) but you don’t want to pay full price for it, just search for it on Amazon. Chances are they will have it and chances are it will be immensely discounted. In college I paid the high costs of using ProActiv, and don’t get me wrong, it works beautifully. However, in my last year of college I found it on Amazon for half of what I had been paying for it. I’ve been buying it on Amazon ever since and have saved a fortune without giving up a product I love so much.

Shop in your own closet.

While working on cruise ships for more than a year and a half, I’ve learned to pack everything I need for six months in two bags. Its not easy, but I’ve mastered the skill of doing it without certain clothes and making outfits look different. My favorite thing is to come home after those long 6 months and go through my other clothes. It’s like going shopping without spending a dime. I forget about all the clothes I had and wearing them again after so many months make them seam like new to me. It's something I now recommend to people, don’t keep all your clothes in your closet at once. Pack some of them away (the off season clothes) then after a few months, unpack them all. This also helps you to not wear out your clothes so fast by only wearing them for that season, like they were intended.

Shop when you want, not when you need.

I know it doesn’t make sense and it seems like the opposite of what you’ve been taught, but remember that’s what we are doing: nothing of the norm. If you think about it, if you go shopping for something so specific and are so determined not to come home without it, you will spend whatever you need to, to get it. On the opposite side though, if you have a list of things that you keep an eye out for during a month or so long period, you give yourself the time to find the one that is the better deal and the one you really want. Don’t settle so easy, after all, you deserve the best, and the best price.

Shop in the off-season.

Growing up, I knew a family that celebrated their Christmas in January for the sole reason that they could get all the presents and Christmas decorations for up to 75% off. I felt bad for the kids and still feel that was a little extreme. However, if you keep that in mind, it will reflect in your bank account. If you buy swimsuits in the fall, you can get some of the best deals you could imagine. Winter coats in the spring go on sale so many times, if you wait long enough, you can get a $200 coat for $50. I don’t know about you, but I could do a lot with an extra $150.

Always shop with cash.

I’ve always had a debit and a credit card and have used them for necessary things; food, gas, bills, and so on. However, I’ve made it a rule to never go shopping with a card. I always bring cash; I put exactly what I am willing to spend in my wallet. I do it for two reasons. Reason one: when I pay for a clothing item with cash, rather than a card, I pay attention to how much I’m spending, I see it go from my wallet to the cashier. And reason two: It’s a known fact, they have done studies and have proven it, that when you can physically see the cash going, you will spend less and appreciate the item you purchase more. With a card, you simply see it on your statement later, and later is too late not to purchase, if you’ve already worn it and fallen in love with it.

As I wrap this up, I’m about to throw a lot of numbers at you, but before you panic, let me promise you I’ll make sure they make sense in the end. Believe me, I hate math, but as much as I dislike it, numbers don’t lie. If we put this all into perspective with some cash, I think you’ll be convinced and more hesitant next time you’re spending major money on clothes.

If you bought 10 non-Victoria's Secret bras at $25 each in one year instead of 10 V.S. bras at $60, you’d save approximately $350 a year. If you bought your winter coat on sale at $50 not $200 and two swimsuits online for $30 each, not $60, you’d save another $210 a year. And last example, if you bought ProActiv online four times a year for $40 each, instead of $80, you’d save another $160 a year. Just those examples alone (we know there’s more) could save you an average of $720 a year!

From these numbers, I hope you see that we as women could save ourselves a lot of money that could be used elsewhere. All we have to do is be smart about our money and remember that brands aren’t everything. Quality comes in different dollar amounts; we don’t always have to buy the most expensive one. Hope these tips help, I have many more, if you’d ever like them. Just let me know.

Hayley McMinn
Hayley McMinn

My love for writing and reading spans from westerns to poems to self-help tip columns. I love it all and don't like to limit myself. I write fiction and non-fiction. I grew-up on a farm, but my heart is in the ocean and I live in the city. 

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