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How To Live Stylishly on a Tight Budget

By Joanna Crain

I initially titled this post “Live Stylishly Within Your Means,” but upon further investigation, I found that little phrase had no less than 267,000 search returns in Google. So I went with a title with fewer search results. You’re probably saying, “So?” Here’s my point, at first, I really didn’t see any difference in the titles and was using them interchangeably as do many other authors on the internet, but after pondering it a bit, I realized they meant two very different things. You can aspire to and succeed in “living stylishly within your means” even if you make $100,000 a year which means your budget can be pretty darn big. On the other hand, “living stylishly on a tight budget” implies that you are working with a severely restricted income and you’ll need every ounce of creativity and ingenuity you can muster to pull it off.

So how do you pull off a fabulously stylish life on a tight budget? First, realize that in addition to fashion, there are other facets of your daily life that can allow you to live stylishly. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Stop trying to keep up with Ms. Jones next door and create your own style.
  • Remind yourself you don’t need a bunch of stuff to be stylish or chic. A few interesting and chic items mixed in with classic standards go a long way. This applies to not only dress, but to home décor as well.
  • Make shopping a hobby. Spend time researching sales and shopping resources and use them to your advantage.
  • Don’t be afraid of second hand goods. Consignment shops can be a constant source of drop dead terrific deals if you work them consistently.
  • Don’t feel you have to have your wardrobe complete or your décor done as soon as possible or all at once. Style is an ongoing and every evolving journey.
  • Look for simple ways to add style to your life. A vase of fresh limes and lemons are inexpensive and edible. A new hairstyle such as a side bun can add lots of style to your look for little effort. Beauty is all around you, just think of inexpensive ways to include it in your life.
  • Invest in the classics. Your wardrobe should consist of style basics such as a little black dress, a pair of black trousers, and a crisp white shirt. You should rely on classic furnishings too, such as a solid neutral colored sofa. Using the classics for the base of your style will allow you to add color and a few trendy pieces as your budget allows.
  • If you can’t afford the opera right now, consider going to outdoor concerts in the park to get your style on. Museums will enrich your life and are often free. Libraries are full of interesting books and annuals that will also increase your style quotient.
  • Keep a style journal to record ideas, musings and plans.
  • Create a clip file of pictures from magazines of looks you love and try to recreate them for as little as possible.

These are some very simple ideas. I’m sure with a little inspiration you can take them and run. Living stylishly is a true mindset, one that is ever-prevalent once committed to. Style isn’t about trendy or what’s in; it’s about how you perceive your life and how you approach it, even on a tight budget.

Do you have any ideas or suggestions to add?

(photo credit: noemi manalang)

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