Back to School – Maximize Style, Minimize Splurge

Thu, 23 Aug 2012

It’s that time of year again. A time of new beginnings, lots of homework, and waking up before dawn. But let’s not forget back-to-school budgeting. Economic forecasters predict that each student will end up spending somewhere around $600 on back to school items, which is mostly new clothing. I remember the confident feeling I had when I walked into school on the first day with a new outfit. I just think that we don’t necessarily need to go for broke this time of year. That certainly doesn’t mean anyone should be sacrificing style. Here are a few tips:  


Set a Budget

Decide on how much money you can afford to spend on this wardrobe. This simple step can help set you up for success. Take inventory of your assets and dedicate a little time to decide how much you want to spend vs. how much you can afford to spend so you don’t break the bank.  


Quality & Value are the New Black

summer fun in the sun

Sometimes a better value means spending a little more money on a quality product, but not always. A good quality pair of shoes, belt, or pair of jeans will go a long way and you will likely be able to wear them for years to come. Still, be sure not to overspend on brand names. Although a brand might have a reputation for selling quality goods, a bigger price tag won’t always pay off. Also, think consignment for these types of items.  


You’ve Got Mail…and Savings!

Pay attention to the deal emails you get from your favorite stores. I used to be a little bit annoyed with the frequency of these emails, but sometimes they can offer great savings and free shipping, too. When I am looking for a deal, they can be a great way to save.  


Wait for it…

In the words of my mother, “You have to zig when everyone else zags.” That really just means that when you follow the crowds and shop when everyone else is shopping, you are more likely to pay higher prices. There will be great deals to be had after school has already started and most folks are done with their back-to-school shopping. Stores will have loads of extra inventory. Suddenly what was 10% off, is now 60% off.  


You are Your Own Brand

Leave your ego at home. I mentioned that you shouldn’t let a brand name steer you in the wrong directly previously… but seriously. There are great, non-brand name clothing items that you can mix and match with your super-expensive pieces without anyone noticing. Why buy a necklace for $25 when you can get it at a kiosk in the mall for $7? What are some other tips for the fashion forward?


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