Welcome to my Budget Fashionista series. A series that I aim to help you build and maintain a stylish wardrobe without breaking the bank. Tips and tricks for keeping with current trends and balancing that shopping budget! Because times have changed and being all woohoo and throwing money around is a thing of the past. For most of us, anyway.

A Budget Fashionista is someone who lives within their means when it comes to fashion. It means limited or no credit card debt. It means making the most of what you have and not consuming for consuming sake.  It takes a little resourcefulness and effort and a healthy dose of personal style. 

This series is aimed at helping you kick-start your Budget Fashionista wardrobe, build and maintain it. How do you do that without spending money you don’t have?  Staying on trend and stylish without sinking your financial ship? That’s the question and hopefully these posts will answer it.

So to kick us off in the right direction it’s time to clean house. Time to take a closer look at how much you are spending monthly on clothes, what you have and what you actually feel you need. Open your closet and your purse ladies, it’s time. This first section is either going to be really easy for you or really hard. I’m asking you to add up how much you spent on clothes this month, and the month before.

For me, I shop online solely from my Paypal account. So if I want to know how much I spent, I check there. Otherwise I keep any receipts in my wallet. It’s pretty easy to total up the amount I’ve spent over the month. There was a time when I was still working full-time that by the end of the month my wallet was bulging with receipts and I had no idea how that had happened. I still didn’t have anything that I wanted to wear.

Sometimes loitering in the shops or buying something online can just be a crutch for being bored or feeling bad. We’ve all done it, picked up that amazing dress because you couldn’t live without it only to find it was the sads talking. So start the count. How much are you spending? Can you afford that? The reality is that if you are using credit to pay for purchases then you can’t afford them.

It also must be said that if you have existing store or credit card debt today is the day you start to pay it off. Check out my Fashion Blogger who doesn’t DO credit post for more information on how we kicked our cards to the curb. Paying off those cards will take you doing something differently. But it’s worth it.

With all of this in mind, plan your household monthly spend. I use Excel and create a spreadsheet. Make a list of all your income and your expenses for a normal month. Use last month’s bills as a reference and plan for everything. Include play money, clothes money, take-out or anything else that realistically you won’t go a month without.

Now you have a budget. How’s it look? Usually, a little tight. Consider now what you could reasonably afford to spend building a wardrobe given your current income and budget. This will depend on how much you need, what you already have and if you enjoy the whole shopping thing as a sort of entertainment.

I advocate putting at least a little bit of money for a rainy {none clothes related} day. Are you doing this? Maybe your budget was going to be $300 a month {or whatever, that’s not a suggestion!} but you would rather put aside $50 of that into your rainy day account. Do that instead. Make it an e-saver or something so you can’t access it easily*.

Once you’ve made your decision you have to stick to it. No matter what. There are ways to get creative with making sure you don’t miss out on the deal of the century but for the most part, this is your budget. Review it if your circumstances change, of course.

Next you’re going to take a look at EVERYTHING in your closet. Sort out what you have. I suggest jotting down a list for future reference. When I went through my wardrobe I found that I owned 6 pairs of dark denim jeans. SIX. I barely ever wear jeans so that seemed a bit ridiculous when added to the dozen pairs of black or coloured jeans.

So do your audit. Pull everything out, it’s the only way to do it properly because if you’re anything like me, leaving it there for any length of time will drive you bonkers. Get to know what you have, donate or sell anything that doesn’t fit you now. Make a pile of items you have doubles {triples?} of.

There are some great posts out there about sorting out your wardrobe so I’m not going to reinvent the wheel here. You know what there is to be done. Once you’ve sorted through, and have an idea of what you have, you can’t start to decide what’s missing.

At the moment I have a pretty short list, I am missing slim fit long pants, a trench coat, black wedges and a white blazer. There are a couple of things I wouldn’t mind replacing with better quality items. But all in all my list is pretty small. That’s the advantage of knowing what you have.

plus size city chic tunic and leggings 009

Check out the following posts to get your wardrobe in ship-shape;

Tasks for Budget Fashionista {Part 1}

  • Work out how much you are spending monthly on clothes.
  • Set yourself a clothing budget.
  • Do a wardrobe audit. Use the links as a guide.
  • Make a list of the clothing you have now that could form the basis for your new wardrobe.

Pop over next friday for Part Two: Defining your Budget Fashionista Style.

* I am NOT a financial planner or expert in YOUR finances. Please rely on your own judgement and be guided by experts that know YOUR situation in this regard. I’m just a woman who has spent a lot of her life learning money lessons and wanted to share. Okay? Moving on.

  • Great post Hun, looking forward to reading the others in the series. Even being thr op, vintage shopper I am, I’ve still got a strict way of approaching buys, the whole, need vs want vs desire comes into play despite the fact what I’m spending is fractional to others budgets.

    • Thank you. I’ll probably be hitting your inbox for some advice before week 4 for some tips for those wanting to add thrifted and op-shopped pieces to their wardrobe.

  • Awesome tips Mel.

  • Amy Wells

    This part is like suuuuuper easy for me. I spent maybe $20 last month on clothes, and none the month before that. We just don’t have the money. That being said, my favourite new addition to my wardrobe this summer was a maxi-skirt I made myself, and the fabric cost maybe $9….winning!

    • Great job! That is a small budget but still workable and I’m really proud that you’re not spending more than you can afford. That’s a win. Sewing skills are something that I’m really envious of.

  • Elizabeth Findlay

    Love it all and totally agree that you got to know what is in that wardrobe. xxx Elizabeth @_allthatisbeautiful_

  • I live in shorts and singlets but love to have great pieces on hand for big nights out. I op shop for occasion dresses (scored a $200 Mr K dress for $20 last time), Kmart for basics like dark jeans ($7!!!) and white Ts and underwear ($7 bra!). For better quality clothes I go to the sales after Xmas in Jan/Feb when they often have great items at 70% off.

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  • I think in the last 12 months I spent €30 plus $60. So… probably hoping you make some tips for making do with a ZERO shopping budget! Lol!

    • Next week I’m talking reusing, recycling and restyling so that is probably similar! Keep an eye out for that baby!

  • Pingback: Budget Fashionista: Reuse, Restyle, Recycle & Sell {Part 4}()

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