Beauty and a Budget

We have just a few days left in our LLB Fashion Week and we hope that these last few days have been a blessing to you. We want to equip you not just to look great in your clothes - but to honor the Lord and approach your wardrobe with the Gospel in mind. 

I was raised by two God-loving parents that were very intentional to save their money so they could bless others. They were quick to give or help anyone with a need. And the importance of saving far outweighed the cost of trends or superfluous items. So I saw early on that saving here or there could help me bless or surprise someone else - and I loved that concept. I want to be a good steward of the funds I've been given and have the flexibility and freedom to take coffee to a friend, help someone fundraising for a mission trip or adoption, or take a meal to a family with a new little one at home. One way I've found some extra funds to do that is by saving when it comes to what I spend on clothes. I've learned to get a little resourceful and creative to save in this department!

We all want to look and feel great in our clothes, but sometimes our bank account just doesn't allow for that new top or weekend shopping. We've all been there - where we want to go get a few new special items - but there just isn't margin in the budget. Some seasons may be tighter than others, but if you do find yourself with a little wiggle room and want to stretch your money as far as possible, here are some simple, budget-friendly tips for shopping.

  1. SHOP SECOND-HAND: I’m a huge fan of thrift stores like Goodwill, Salvation Army or Consignment Shops. Thrift stores can be full of hidden gems that are in great condition, but someone passed along for whatever reason. I’ve found items with tags still on them that someone just didn’t want to keep! Plus, when we recycle pre-loved items, we are cutting back the demand for fast fashion. We are reusing items instead of purchasing the new trends that keep the need for more-clothes-now on the rise.
    • If you find an item you love that doesn't fit quite right, you can always modify it yourself if you sew, or find a friend who knows how! Take it in, add some elastic, sew on a ruffle - don't be afraid to get a little creative and make it work for you!
    • There are also a ton of online secondhand options these days like Facebook Marketplace, VarageSale and you may even have some local sites for your area!
  2. SHOP GARAGE/YARD SALES: This time of year it’s hard to go a weekend without seeing a yard sale sign! I often think of yard sales as a space for finding knick-knacks or used furniture - but I've also found clothing items, accessories and purses as well! I found amazing quality baby clothes for $1.00 this weekend and an adorable purse for myself. Just toss them in the wash if you’re wary of pre-worn and you’ve got new-to-you items at a fraction of the cost.
     
  3. BUY OUT OF SEASON AND END OF SEASON: When it’s 90 degrees out, any store will be hard-pressed to sell their heavy sweaters and bulky cardigans. That’s when I swoop in and snag them all up! Look for clearance racks, close-out sales and items that didn’t get sold in the last season. Summer is a great time to stock up for colder weather and you may even find some gifts to tuck away for the holidays.
     
  4. SKIP THE TRENDS: Trends are constantly changing, coming and going, and it can be frustrating when they go out of style and you’re stuck with a closet of outdated items. Basics are a great place to invest your money. Items like a simple cardigan, a nice pair of jeans, and a flowy blouse in your favorite color will never go out of style. Learn what you love and invest in those pieces that you won’t be tired of next month.
    • You can spruce up your basics with accessories and jewelry to add some color.
    • Read more tips on dressing creatively here!
  5. SHOP SALES: I subscribe to a few select newsletters that pop up in my inbox when a sale is coming. I also anticipate around the holidays, a lot of people will have holiday specials, so if I am eyeing a piece I love - I will wait until the next holiday sale and see if it gets marked down. At Target, I head straight to the back of the shop and see what’s on sale before getting sucked into the new stuff. I also love stores apps like Cartwheel that help you find any extra deals.
     
  6. SWAP TIL YOU DROP: I organized a clothes swap a few weeks ago with some college girls for a girls’ night that was so much fun! I borrowed a few clothing racks and told the girls to bring a few items on hangars - clothes, shoes, accessories, purses - nothing was off limits. Then after dinner, we shopped and swapped and everyone walked away with a few quality pieces they loved that were new to them. We donated the remaining items to a local charity!
     
  7. SAVE A LITTLE EACH MONTH: Instead of going on a huge shopping spree, I’ll tuck away any extra money that comes in from side jobs or miscellaneous opportunities to have on hand if an event comes up or I find a great deal. I’ve gotten in this habit of only purchasing one or two items a month that I really love, and then incorporating those into my wardrobe to keep it feeling exciting.
     
  8. GO BACK TO YOUR CLOSET AND TRY EVERYTHING ON: I’m serious. You’d be shocked at the things you’ve avoided grabbing because you remember them fitting poorly, being too short, etc. but then you put it on and realize, “Oh… I actually like this!” Maybe you didn’t feel great when you wore it last, or maybe you needed some different pants to match it - and all of a sudden you’ve found a few items you actually love and already have.
     
  9. SHOP IN THE UNEXPECTED PLACES: My mom has this amazing way of finding the cutest clothes at Sam’s Club! I’m serious. It’s amazing. She also has this magnetic ability to pull out every cute item secondhand, so much so that 9 times out of 10 when I ask where she got that cute top, dress or outfit, she replies: “Salvation Army - two bucks!”
     
  10. DIG FOR DISCOUNTS: If you have a little time, discount shops that gather overstock inventory like Bargain Hunt or Dirt Cheap will often have great items in good condition that just ended up not selling in their initial run in-store. If you’re willing to do a little digging, you can find some great pieces at a fraction of the cost.

This list is definitely not exhaustive, but hopefully it helps you get started. I've subscribed to the idea that if I love a piece and I like how I feel in it, I'm sure to get more wear out of it than trying to chase trends. I've learned to layer, add accessories, and get a little creative with the few items I have that I love!

One of my favorite places to shop is an online boutique called Bo's Boutique. They're offering all our readers 20% off when you use the code boslovesllb at checkout! Some of my other favorite places to find inexpensive but cute items are Target, Kohl's, Old Navy, Jane.com, and TJ Maxx. I love GAP and can usually find great items on the sale rack. And of course I love to dig a little at secondhand stores and get creative when I find something with potential!

I also have to regularly remind myself that contentment cannot come from any item of clothing or any amount of money we spend. Contentment is a condition of a satisfied soul at rest with Jesus. The clothing we put on is merely a reflection of the beauty we can only find on the inside! We pray this reminder is a helpful way to view fashion - in a way that honors Jesus and takes your focus off the trends that come and go!

your frugal-fashion-friend,

rachael