5 Tips to a Stylish and Budget-Friendly Year

Many of us have set pretty big goals for 2014. Along with those goals, I'm sure we all want to look or be ready for the part with a beautiful wardrobe to match. But how do we build that chic wardrobe without spending a fortune? Follow these five tips to ensure you stay stylish without breaking the bank this year.

  • Set a monthly shopping budget and stick to it! January is a great time to set budget categories for all of your monthly expenditures and commit to sticking to them. There are a ton of advice on personal finance sites like Learnvest and Mint to assist you in creating a budget if you’ve never created one. Figure out how much money you can comfortably spend on clothing and accessories while meeting all of your major financial goals (i.e. saving, paying down debt, investing in retirement).  If you have a big ticket item you’d like to add to your wardrobe this year, commit to saving up before making the purchase so you're not tempted to go spend more money than you should.
  • Utilize the "Rule of Three." It’s so easy to see something you love while shopping and not give much thought to how the item will be incorporated into your existing wardrobe. To prevent multiples and unnecessary purchases, only commit to an item if you can think of a minimum of three outfits that you can incorporate the piece with in your existing wardrobe. If three outfits can’t be created with the new item, put it back on the rack (or empty your online shopping cart).
  • Evaluate your closet, gather inspiration and create a list before shopping. While you shop, don’t forget to take advantage of end of season sales and use coupons! Signing up for company newsletters or using apps like Retail Me Not are a great way to be in the know when it comes to upcoming sales. January is also a great time of year to purchase items that were too expensive at the beginning of the winter shopping season. Brick-and-mortar and online shops are having tons of sales right this very moment that would allow you to stock up on winter staples at an affordable price. Creating pin boards on Pinterest is a great way to organize your style inspiration by season or occasion as well.  You can  create wish lists on your boards or use an app like Evernote to keep track of the items on your shopping list.
  • Follow trends only when they work for your body type, lifestyle and budget. If you see a beautiful Olivia Pope-inspired white wool coat that would blow your monthly budget and rarely be worn, realize that it’s really not worth making such an impractical purchase to occasionally look cute. Being stylish and on-trend is fun, but living within your means and splurging when it really matters will feel even better.
  • Have zero funds to spend on a wardrobe refresh? Swap with friends! If you don’t have the extra funds to shop because of saving goals or other financial commitments, schedule a swap with friends. Swaps are a fun and eco-friendly way to add gently used items into your wardrobe.  You also have the added bonus of getting trusted advice on how items really look on you from your friends!

Have a style-on-a-budget tip of your own? Let us know in the comment section what they are so that we can share with our readers!

Have an awesome and stylish 2014!