If you’re anything like me, you picked a weird major, worked your ass off in college, and then accepted a soul-sucking job afterward. Congratulations! I am to understand that this is called, “The American Dream.” For real though, my career life post-collegiately can be summed up as: nights holidays and weekends in retail, or banking. -___- Let me lay this all out for you.
- A sweet 20% discount on non-clearance merchandise. Derp.
- Mall rats. There’s no other bond quite like that of people who are sleep deprived and contemplating buying a cot to leave at work.
- You don’t need excuses to dip out of family events or special occasions. You are unavailable.
- No sleep. No social life. No fun. No nothing. (In this con, you eventually reach a relationship stage called: “I can’t remember what my boyfriend looks like? Do I even still have one?”)
- Your soul starts to match the night sky.
- You begin to wonder if being fully stocked in, “Gray, size medium,” is the true meaning of life.
- 98% cons. Dude, it sucks.
- The hours are a cakewalk.
- You are dealing generally with an older crowd, and their curse word vocabulary is far less developed than that of youths.
- Though your job is embarrassing in actuality, you are far less embarrassed to talk about it.
- Unless you are upper management (and sometimes even still) you are dirt poor.
- Business casual apparel is not in the budget for said, “dirt poor” people.
- Excel is hard.
- ………. Oh! Sorry, where were we? I fell asleep.
So, because retail makes me want to physically harm myself and others, I have presently opted for my other go-to, banking. If I didn’t spell it out clearly enough for you, there is no money in banking. Oh, the irony. I have successfully taken three consecutive pay cuts since graduating college! My parents are so proud. Consequently, I have had to learn how to save, budget, cut corners, and overall be frugal and fabulous (insert diva emoji here, whichever skin color you prefer).
In today’s installment, we’re going to address what’s on every financially struggling girl’s mind!
How to Dress Like A Somebody When You Ain’t Got No Dough
*Disclaimer: If you think the first direction I’m going with this is thrifting, think again! I envy those who have the patience and uhhh… gumption to go thrifting. Unfortunately, I know what my armpits do, and to reassure myself that I am normal, I assume other people’s armpits do similar things. Therefore, I cannot thrift. I promise to bring this incredibly specific and strange issue up with a licensed therapist next time I see one. Anyway, moving on…
1. Scope out your existing wardrobe. Last weekend, I decided to sort through my dresser while putting up some Christmas gifts. Not only did I discover some things I wanted to get rid of, I also uncovered some things I love but had forgotten about (bottom of the drawer), AND some shirts that still had tags. Taking the time to sort through my own stuff actually revealed some cute and neglected things. It goes without saying that the best way to save money on clothes is to realize that you don’t need to buy them.
2. Speaking of getting rid of clothes, wouldn’t it be nice to make some money in the process? The best way to do that is to have a yard sale, but because it’s cold, I suggest something that requires less time outdoors. Consignment stores and resale apps! Google some local consignment shops that will actually buy your gently used clothing from you, on the spot! I have the best luck here with Plato’s Closet. When you stop by, ask them for a style guide, and they will likely provide you with a list of hot items for the season. If you’ve got some time to spare, but would like to make more than a few dollars, download a resale app like Poshmark. I’ve been using Posh for almost two years, and while the users can be… agitating to put it kindly, I’ve made several hundred bucks over time. You can put your extra cash to good use!
3. Sign up for text alerts! Text alerts can be super annoying, but many companies give you the option to choose the frequency with which you receive texts. Pick two or three of your favorite stores and sign up for text alerts. You’ll be notified of sale promotions and hopefully catch some deals on items you’ve had your eye on! On thanksgiving day, I got two sweaters, a t-shirt, and a pair of jeans from Hollister Co. for under $70.00.
4. Learn where to cut corners. I could kick myself for continuing to buy name brand expensive items that are the same, if not worse, quality than some cheaper lookalikes. The usual culprits? Victoria’s Secret, GAP, and strange as it may seem, Target. (Just hear me out. For the record, I LOVE Target a lot, but I have a little bit of beef here.)
Vicky’s- I can’t tell you how many bras I own from Victoria’s Secret (four) that are ruined now because after washing they develop that weird flip on one cup that can be seen through t-shirts. Lately, I’ve taken to aerie (when they’re running a bogo) and TJ Maxx or Marshalls for bra shopping. At these places I can sometimes find bras for a third of the cost, that last just as long, or longer!
GAP (Banana Republic, Athleta)- If you didn’t already know, I’m letting the cat out of the bag now! Did you know that Old Navy is the sister store of the vastly overpriced Gap and Banana Republic? Furthermore, did you know that Old Navy is actually cool? Thanks to a BFF of mine, I was recently reminded that Old Navy exists. When I took this new banking job, I scored an ENTIRE new work wardrobe, I’m talking clothing by the double digits, for under $300.00. The stores are giant, and you can find everything from makeup to gifts to baby clothes to athletic wear, to, you guessed it! Affordable business casual attire.
Target- Man, do I love my long strolls through Target. I’ve noticed lately though that as far as clothes and shoes go, there is very little bang for your buck. (Unless it’s swimsuits. Damn you Victoria’s Secret for putting such an outrageous price tag on stretchy triangles! Target is killing the bikini game!) I purchased several pairs of work appropriate sandals from Target over the summer, only to have them fall apart after a couple of wears. And while I think the clothing quality is decent, the price points are pretty evenly matched with some more popular, trendier shopping mall brands like H&M and Forever 21.
DUDE! Speaking of H&M, did you know most of their jeans are in the ten to twenty dollar range, and they have no design on the pockets, aka: big girl jeans?!?!
5. Fifth and final, don’t be afraid to be a Wal-mart shopper, so to speak. If you’re in the market for some basic solids, layering tanks, plain cardigans, etc., there’s no shame in your bargain game. Not one person will know your solid v-neck was part of a 5 for 20 deal you got at Wet Seal. You’re welcome for that, BTW.
Happy frugality! (? Is that a word?)