How to be a chic, chic girl on a tight budget
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By Sarah Lippman, CNNMoney Managing EditorSarah Lippmayer, a 20-year-old college student in San Diego, had been eyeing the best-selling book “How to Be a Chic, Chic Girl on a Tight Budget.”
It offered tips on how to budget for fashion, makeup, hairstyles, and accessories, but she had no idea how to do it without breaking the bank.
“I’m a pretty strict budgeter,” she said.
So when she got a call from a friend who wanted to buy a few items for her and her husband, she decided to go with the friend’s suggestion.
She and her friends, all in their 20s, packed a few outfits for a trip to a designer boutique.
They walked in, and the store looked exactly like the one where the book was set up.
But, after checking the price tags, they discovered the items were going for $20 more.
“We felt like we didn’t get what we paid for,” she recalled.
“You know, the way we live our lives, I know we spend way more than what the books said.”
In the book, author Kate Kelly explained that the goal of the book is to help shoppers save money and be more flexible.
The first step is to get a sense of your budget.
“In the book it was a pretty comprehensive look at the different types of budgeting, so you’re trying to figure out what your budget is going to be,” she told CNNMoney.
“And then you can kind of sort of start to see what the savings are.”
The book suggests spending around $300 for an outfit, and then $600 for an accessory, like a hair bra or lipstick.
The next step is figuring out how to split the difference.
“It’s not like I have a budget, so I don’t know what I want to spend it on,” said Lipp.
But Kelly explained there are other ways to make that difference.
For example, the book recommends purchasing items that are inexpensive, like gift cards, and more expensive, like an expensive gift card.
So if you are planning to buy three items of clothing, then you could save $5 on each item, which would give you a savings of $60 on each purchase.
Kelly also recommends using coupons, because they are often cheaper than actual prices.
So, for example, if you spend $200 on a pair of jeans, you could get free shipping for $10 if you use coupons.
The third step is finding the perfect item.
“There’s some great advice in there that basically says you should go to a certain retailer, and you should only go to one place,” she explained.
“So it’s kind of like shopping for a dress — the first step to that is you know where you want to go.”
It’s a little bit like trying to find a home in the real estate market, where you have to do research before you buy.
“A lot of times, people think, ‘I’m going to look for a good place, but if I go to that one place, it’s going to cost me more,'” said Lipmayer.
“But it’s actually the same thing.”
To find a good deal, shoppers should also consider how they will be spending their money.
For Lipp, the most important part of shopping was finding an item that would be of use to her, like her hair.
“For me, it just comes down to how I feel,” she continued.
“Like, I really want to have a good hairstyle, but I’m not really into it.
So it comes down, really, to, ‘Do I really need to buy it?'”
Kelly said that, like many shoppers, she did her research and came up with the best deals before buying.
For her, this includes buying clothes that she would like to wear to a concert.
“Because my friend and I have such a great time, I would definitely want to wear a certain color to that,” she noted.
Lipp said she was initially hesitant to buy clothing that was expensive, but then realized the items she was buying were a good value.
“Now that I’ve been shopping, I have more of a feeling for what I’m going into the shop for,” Lipp explained.
The second step is how to make the best possible purchase.
“The book has a whole chapter on how you can save money,” said Kelly.
“One of the main points is to buy items that have a high return rate.
I think that’s a really good tip.”
And that includes using coupons to save money.
“Coupons are really great,” said Laura Toth, an analyst at Pimco, which owns Ally Financial Services, the largest mutual fund company in the US.
“They allow people to make an easy purchase, get the item, and it’s a great way to save.”
Kelly said her favorite part
By Sarah Lippman, CNNMoney Managing EditorSarah Lippmayer, a 20-year-old college student in San Diego, had been eyeing the best-selling book…