3 Tips for Building Your Summer Wardrobe on a Budget

By Amanda Cohen on June 3, 2019

As I write this article in humid 88-degree weather, I am reminded that summer is upon us, which means that a wardrobe change is more than necessary. If you’re in a mood where you want to ~treat yourself~ but your bank account is in the mood to slap you in the face for that ridiculous thought, I have a solution for you: shop on a strict budget!

Whether you’re a student or a working gal, you deserve to indulge every now and then. However, many people believe that indulging means dollar signs… WRONG. You can indulge yourself with new clothes without emptying your entire wallet and going into debt. Don’t know how to do that? That’s where I come in. Here are some tips on how you build your summer wardrobe on a budget!

Image via. https://pixabay.com/photos/closet-clothing-walk-in-3615613/

Before you buy new clothes, clean out your closet. You are probably thinking why you would do that, well I’ll give you some great reasons why. First, whatever you clean out, you can sell and donate. You will have more money to buy need clothes, or just put away in the bank, and you can brighten someone in need’s day by providing them with lightly used clothing.

Cleaning out your closet is so relaxing and, if you tend to hoard items, you can make it a social activity with food and drinks with one or two of your friends so they can give you some guidance (just think back to the “Sex and the City” movie when Carrie was cleaning out her infamous closet before moving in with Big. Create four piles: (1) keep, (2) sell, (3) donate, and (4) toss; by doing this, you will be organized, efficient, and can go shopping much sooner. In addition, you will see what summer clothes you have and what summer clothes you truly need/want to treat yourself to, which will prevent you from spending more money than needed.

The next best way to build your summer wardrobe on a budget is to head to the mall and boutiques with only cash in your pocket. No credit cards. No debit cards. If you don’t allow yourself to have access to supposed unlimited funds, you will be much more conscientious about purchasing items. If you know that certain stores have items that you definitely want to buy, make sure you budget for those purchases.

Image via. https://pixabay.com/photos/bank-note-dollar-usd-us-dollar-941246/

Depending on the stores you want to go to, plan accordingly; allow yourself a certain amount of money for each store and do not deviate. If you end up not buying anything at one store, you can go back to a previous store and use that extra unused money to buy something at a store that you really wanted, but initially did not budget for. Depending on your financial situation, I would bring anywhere between $200-$600; your budget is also dependent on the items you are looking to purchase, how much you looking to buy, and the stores that you are going to.

The final way to build your summer wardrobe on a budget is to plan your shopping spree/shopping sprees around holidays in which many stores offer sales and discounts. You can buy clothes over the next two holidays, Fourth of July and Labor Day, or you can start planning ahead for next summer and use Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, and more to start stocking up your summer wardrobe.

Obviously, I’m not saying that the holidays are all about buying clothes, but most stores, both online and in-person, offer deals over the holidays, so you might as well take advantage of these days. In addition, on non-holiday weeks, look up promo codes online and look up sales that various stores are having to be as successful as possible during your shopping endeavors. I know that signing up for e-mails from an online store can be annoying, but you should deal with the constant flood of mail into your inbox so that you are the first to know about sales, promotions, discounts, deals, and when new items are posted on their website or in their stores.

Image via. https://pixabay.com/photos/shopping-mall-shop-windows-1316787/

I hope that this article gave you some insight on how to treat yourself to an updated summer wardrobe without draining your savings. Some smaller, but effective, tips, is to save the links of items that you love online and then check back every now and then to see if the items go on sale.

Another tip is to sell other items that you don’t need that are non-wardrobe related so that you have more spending money. Lastly, you can always start asking for money, or a specific clothing item for your birthday or on holidays so that you can either buy your own stuff or get something for free. I hope this article helps! Happy summer and happy shopping!

I am currently a junior at the University of Michigan.

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