Is there any way to look stylish on a VERY tight budget?

(39 Posts)
VirtualAssistant2011 Wed 13-Feb-13 10:02:56

I want to have more up to date clothes, make up etc. I have £40 per month spare to cover EVERYTHING (clothes, make up, skin care, personal care, prescriptions if I need them etc.) If I ask family for gift vouchers for presents I can raise about £300 per year in vouchers.

At the moment I hardly have any clothes (just what ever bits I buy with my gift vouchers), have semi decent make up (no7, bourjois), hair care from bargains at tkmaxx, all which I spend my £40 a month on.

I would love either good quality items or up to date fashion items or a mixture of both.

How on earth can I achieve this on £40 a month and gift vouchers at birthday and christmas with a total of £300 a year in vouchers, what shops should I ask for vouchers from etc. How can I look nice on such a tight budget.

Help me!!!! x

Hopefully Wed 13-Feb-13 10:11:07

I would go on somewhere like Pinterest and really put together a look you fancy, don't worry about budget, just go for a look that you think will work for you (and for your lifestyle! Don't go pinning city wear if you are a SAHM).

Having done that, I would have a real weed through your wardrobe and see what you've got that will work for that 'look'. Think about dyeing old clothes to give them a bit more life.

Then hit ebay big time for whatever you need - you can pick up dirt cheap scarves, and lots of 99p clothes if you can be bothered to hunt. Worth trying stuff on in a few shops to find out which brands work for you (e.g. M&S skinnies or whatever). And be religious about re-ebaying anything that doesn't work when it arrives.

Skincare/make up. MUA in superdrug is apparently good for make up - I would just get a tinted moisturiser, tinted lip balm/gloss and mascara, if you don't have those things. Apparently lidl (or aldi? I forget) has a good moisturiser and body lotion.

Vouchers - go for somewhere you like lots of the clothes, and where you might be able to buy bigger purchases that will last a while, like a coat or shoes. Maybe John Lewis would be good - plenty of options, and sales are normally ok.

VirtualAssistant2011 Wed 13-Feb-13 10:15:26

Thank you for such a helpful reply, I have not heard of pinterest I will google it now.

Interesting you should say about the city wear, I normally go for that kind of thing as that was me pre DC, but I am a stay at home mum and freelance from home now so need a different style!

I think you will need some sort of 'uniform'.
I assume you aren't working? If you need work clothes too that will be harder.

Have a think about a 'look' that will work for you, and then pinpoint the holes and start with those - e.g. would a jersey blazer and a scarf add interest to other items?

I buy most of my clothes from ebay, using money that I raised by selling things which don't fit / I'm bored with / are unwanted gifts. I also sell things I might wear, if I can sell them for more than I would buy them for (e.g. my mother has a tendency to buy me black Wolford tights in TKMaxx. I smile gratefully and flog them on ebay for £20, which will buy me 2 pairs of lovely merino tights I will actually wear).

Accessories can be picked up quite cheaply from charity shops.

Pseudonymity Wed 13-Feb-13 10:29:34

Spend on accessories - bag, shoes, statement jewellery, scarf.

Was going to weigh in with suggestions, but with two image consultants on the thread you don't really need me!

eBay is a great suggestion. I won a pair of £200 Goldsign jeans for £1.99 the other day. Charity shops can also be brilliant. Try and target the affluent areas, on my last visit to my closest one I found Westwood, Raoul, Marc Jacobs and more cashmere than you can shake a stick at. TK Maxx also great for bargains. Don't worry, you can do it. Try and buy one 'nice' item a month, be it from eBay, TK or charity. You'll build up a cracking wardrobe before you realise it!

NickECave Wed 13-Feb-13 11:39:01

Charity shops are your friend. Don't know where you live but if you're anywhere close to south London I can thoroughly recommend Putney and Clapham. Particularly good if you're smaller (ie 8 -10) but I'm a 12 - 14 and regularly get amazing bargains such as brand new Kew blazer for £10

Hopefully Wed 13-Feb-13 12:40:13

Loving the advice from everyone else too - aiming to buy one nice thing a month (from ebay or charity shop) for, say, half of your £40 budget could work well. You could then divvy up the rest (£10 on beauty/skincare and £10 on other ebay stuff).

Oh god, I am tempted to try this too - I am on a major budgeting drive at the moment. I have a clothes budget of precisely £0 for this month, but wonder if I could challenge myself with £30 or £40 for the next couple....

Ilovemyteddy Wed 13-Feb-13 13:32:26

Definitely charity shops are your friend. I've picked up loads of bargains recently, and I'm not in a very affluent area.

WRT skin care, Superdrug vitamin E range is cheap and just as good IMHO as the Liz Earle that I had previously been using for years. They often have offers on it, so it's worth checking out.

QueenCadbury Wed 13-Feb-13 13:54:11

As others have said think about what you really need in your wardrobe. I definitely spend less this way and it means that pretty much everything goes together. I wear a 'uniform' of jeans and neutral tops and the add in colour with cardigans.

Pinterest is fab and there's loads of us on there to follow with lots of inspiration.

KatyS36 Wed 13-Feb-13 14:26:01

Agree with everyone else, but want to add sales can be your friend!

I almost never buy full price, but target shopping to the 50 to 75% mark down stage (white stuff is instant, Jigsaw takes a bit longer).

Have picked up some beautiful items doing this and I think it allow you to get to most from your vouchers.

I like rummaging and am a size 14.

Also recommend ebay if you have time to hunt.

Good luck

Katy

jumpyjan Wed 13-Feb-13 14:55:25

Watching with interest. Sorry to hijack but I am really curious about the pinterest thing. How do you do it/find inspiration on there? Is it just a case of searching or can you sort of follow people. The blog thread the other day mentioned using Pinterest instead of following a fashion blog but I cant figure it out (thick).

Hopefully Wed 13-Feb-13 15:46:05

When you've got a pinterest account, it's basically a case of searching for looks you like, or just scrolling through the women's fashion bit - I quite often start by doing this, then click on an image I like and find that the person who pinned it has lots of other images I like, so then I maybe start following them, looking who they follow and so on and so on. It's not an instant process, but it's a good way to pull together lots of looks you like and start to recognise the pieces of clothing that might work for them.

VirtualAssistant2011 Wed 13-Feb-13 15:47:17

Yes I would like some more info on the pinterest, I have joined now but do not really understand it?

Waiting for the sales to use the vouchers is a good idea, what shops have the best sales? At the moment I have been getting all my vouchers for primark and try to make them last the year, but I end up spending a lot of it on pjs, underwear, socks, slippers etc. so not much left for every day clothes as what ever is left I usually end up spending on an evening outfit to wear once on the odd time (about twice a year) I go anywhere like a wedding or birthday party.

colditz Wed 13-Feb-13 15:49:15

There is one very easy way - be a size ten, then scour the charity shops. Everyone grows out of a size ten when they have their first baby, then in a fit of temper they give all their lovely single-girl work clothes and party clothes to charity!

VirtualAssistant2011 Wed 13-Feb-13 15:49:30

Maybe I need some kind of capsule wardrobe. I used to have one when I worked in an office but now I need one that is mostly casual with one outfit that is suitable to meet potential clients for my freelance work and an evening outfit. If I go with the idea of buying one item a month I could maybe build the capsule wardrobe over time as I could not afford to do it all in one go.

I have to say I've never found any decent adult clothes in a charity shop (very envious of those who have!) But you can get some bargains on eBay - I got some Gap jeans which were almost new for about 7 quid a few weeks ago and have had others things from White Stuff, Monsoon, Jigsaw etc. You get the odd turkey or something that doesn't fit, but you can always re-eBay it!

VirtualAssistant2011 Wed 13-Feb-13 15:53:57

OMG I used to be a size 8 before I had DD and in a tempter gave all my nice items to the charity shop lol. Now I am a size 12 (but will get bigger as I am 4 months pregnant), so have no idea what size I will end up after the next DC is born. I had noticed there is more selection in the smaller sizes but do not think I could ever be a size 8 again!! (only in my dreams!!!) smile

You never know - I never thought I'd get down to a size 8, but I weigh less now than I did before I had my ds1!

jumpyjan Wed 13-Feb-13 20:42:37

Thank you hopefully - off to have a go now smile

Murtette Wed 13-Feb-13 21:21:09

Is it worth you getting vouchers for somewhere where you can't get as many clothes but they may last longer? Also, its probably very easy to pick up socks & PJs etc in primark as they're so cheap and give you the instant hit of having bought something new but are they the most crucial bit of your wardrobe?
Can you gradually build up a set of jeans, black trousers, denim skirt & black or grey skirt which you then wear different tops, cardigans & accessories with. I've noticed some of the mums at DD's pre-school do that and seem to create a whole range of outfits out of not many clothes so I'm now going to try that myself.

Corygal Wed 13-Feb-13 21:39:53

1. Never pay opening price. Stores put stock on sale every 6 weeks, so when you see something lavly, stalk, & buy it half price the following month. Lone exception: Primark supersoft skinnies, cost same as fags, heaven = 1 dark, 1 bright pair for yer morning options. Look at PR shots website online to see what is coming into Primark soon to whet your appetite for the rest of your vouchers.

2. Set up ebay searches for the stuff you want, so it comes to you via email.

3. Charity shops work best little and often. Nip in when you pass and check the rails of what you need only - eg dresses, jerseys.

4. TK Maxx, which is superb, ditto 10-min check for rail flicking is all you need. They reduce on Tuesdays.

5. Always buy from shops that take stuff back so you never waste money.

VirtualAssistant2011 Wed 13-Feb-13 21:48:13

Thanks for all the great tips. Ive decided to alocate my budget £20 for toiletries and make up per month and £20 for clothes per month plus the £300 worth of vouchers per year for clothes. After reading the great tips above I'm thinking to get the vouchers for better quality shops that do good sales so I can buy some investment items and the £20 per month to spend in charity shops, car boot sales, ebay, primark.

Thanks so much for all the great tips, I have some inspiration now to look good on my budget! Let the challenge begin!! smile

INeedThatForkOff Wed 13-Feb-13 23:15:45

Ooh, Pinterest or blog your progress!

VirtualAssistant2011 Thu 14-Feb-13 10:30:38

Starting a blog sounds fun but I have no idea how to do that? If I can figure it out I will! x

KristinaM Thu 14-Feb-13 20:02:30

£20 a month for toiletries is quite a lot, even assuming that you are including toothpaste, tampons etc. if it were me I would split it £30 and £10 and buy superdrug and aldi products

I love the tips on this thread BTW

VirtualAssistant2011 Thu 14-Feb-13 21:19:02

At the moment I spend the whole £40 a month on toiletries and makeup hence why I have no clothes hehe. £20 will be cutting back a lot. I do not buy expensive products just No7, Loreal, Aldi, a mixture really, I get through a lot of conditnor as I have very dry hair and a lot of pressed face powder as I have shiny skin. There are some products I don't want to change such as sensedine (sp?) toothpaste, bio oil, and loreal hair products as I have tried others buy my fine dry hair suits loreal much better. So the toiletries just seem to add up each month. £20 a month will be a bit of a challange but I am willing to do it to free up the extra £20 a month for some clothes.

OK, for toiletries, can you use less? So, every other day, do 1 shampoo instead of 2, get some cheap deep conditioner so you don't need to use so much of the every day one. Only buy specific products when they are on offer. With the toothpaste, try using normal toothpaste and then dabbing a bit of the sensodyne on as a treatment (this is what my mother does).

What are you using bio oil for? That is really expensive.

And, re the pressed powder, can you instead get some better moisturiser and some primer, rather than using so much powder?

marthamydear Fri 15-Feb-13 01:21:41

Just to let you know that bio oil is cheap in primark atm ... £5.00

I have a large bottle of unopened bio oil if anyone wants it? It smells of ham to my nose.

I'll put it in the post... also - a little bit odd - but if anyone would like Aptimil follow on milk powder (6 months plus) unopened. Let me know.

Intersat Fri 15-Feb-13 07:21:55

Sorry to interrupt the thread. My fine dry hair is a nightmare. Which L'Oreal products do you use? blush

CambridgeBlue Fri 15-Feb-13 08:16:37

I've noticed 'Bio Oil' in the £1 shop as well, no idea if it's as good as the real thing - probably not but may be worth a try for the saving.

TheOneAndOnlyAlpha Fri 15-Feb-13 08:29:24

Ooo. I love this thread as I'm on a tight budget too.

I bought the MUA undressed eye palette recently - 12 shades for £4 - and they are really good. I also bought the mascara but tbh it's rubbish, so I'll be going back to max factor. I also got a great scarf in primark for £4, which transforms my jeans/jumper uniform.

merrymouse Fri 15-Feb-13 08:36:57

You don't mention hair?

I would blow the lot on regular hair cuts and ensure that I looked really fit and healthy by walking everywhere. (Easy with 1st baby, not so invigorating when you are with walking toddler...).

LittleFriendSusan Fri 15-Feb-13 08:39:33

'Genuine' Bio Oil also regularly in Home Bargains for less than a fiver. They do their own brand too for £2-3 but not tried that one.

Primark good for accessories: scarves etc; Dorothy Perkins often have nice jewellery in the sale. Also subscribe to all the voucher websites / apps: I rarely pay full price for anything any more!

Agree with the TK Maxx & charity shop recommendations, although my local charity shops seem to be mainly full of Primark stuff for more than it cost originally... Not sure why, as everyone I know takes their old clothes to charity, so they should have nice stuff!

Gingersnap88 Fri 15-Feb-13 09:29:00

I used to use bio oil but now use jojoba oil which is cheaper and doing more for my skin- you can use any oil really, even olive oil, and it will do wonders for your skin. That's why they often recommend it for babies.
So that's my cheap beauty tip! (Oh and you can use it to give yourself a hair mask too)

Also, sign up for emails from feelunique.com and other beauty / shopping websites as they often have great deals on beauty products / clothes. I recently got a bare minerals kit for £27 instead of £150!

I am an eBay fiend. I buy nearly everything from eBay or in the sales, I try to buy better quality pieces that will last longer without creating too much demand (silly hippy I know).

VirtualAssistant2011 Fri 15-Feb-13 09:41:25

Intersat The loreal hair products I use are the shampoo and conditnor, intensive conditnor, and the elixir (sp?) oil. They are the ones in the white bottle, called full restore 5. I have very long dyed hair and my hair is super dry but this stuff has transformed it, it is great.

merrymouse I get my hair dyed and cut every 6 weeks but luckily my friend is a hairdresser so this does not cost me much (and comes out of the family budget with the kids haircuts!).

I am currently using the bio oil to avoid stretchmarks as I am pregnant, I am a bit scared to change to anything else at the moment buy will once DC is born. I will have a look at the jojoba oil that sounds really good.

Intersat Fri 15-Feb-13 10:40:08

Thanks VirtualAssistant2011 smile I am going to give that a try as your hair seems a lot like mine.

Gingersnap88 Fri 15-Feb-13 10:52:20

Ah I completely understand! I used it religiously throughout and avoided stretch marks altogether (ended up with a big scar instead though confused)

Congrats by the way!

Messy but, an avocado and olive oil hair mask can work miracle on your hair!

VirtualAssistant2011 Fri 15-Feb-13 11:02:47

I used it first time round with DD and did not get any stretch marks. This time I got stretch marks at about 12 weeks on my legs before I had bought the bio oil sad So I am using it after every shower now, I have no idea if the bio oil helps but I don't want to run the risk, the ones on my legs look awful sad

Where do you get the jojoba oil from? I will try that mask they sell avacados really cheap in my local aldi.

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