How to Look Great on a Budget

Dana is a 15 year old from Hi-nella, NJ. She loves to write and enjoys reading, singing, and  shopping. Her goal is to help others through her writing, and bring attention to important topics. 

Its pretty often that you hear your kids say “I have to have those jeans!” But its not very often  those essential- to-a-teenager jeans are under fifty dollars. I’d like to talk about getting affordable  clothing your kids. I’m definitely not saying buy them clothes at the dollar store. I’m talking stylish  quality clothing that doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg. If there’s one complement I love getting is  that I always look nice. Weather it be going out, or just another day at school. My family is just like  any other average income family and once in a while things are a little tight. I must say though I’ve  never gone with out. The key is this; its not if you shop, its how and where you shop; and Im  listing names girls!  

Buying used clothing, a yes? 
Depends. It is a definite NO if the clothing has any kind of stain or is faded; but if it looks fairly  new, is stain free, and you love it, go for it! I know I do. You don’t have to go to an old thrift store,  try more trendy places like Plato’s Closet. They buy and sell gently used designer clothing. I once  got a brand name Juicy Couture top there for ten dollars! Places like Plato’s are always good for  things like school shopping or buying in bulk. Or even if you just need a cute top, they’re a perfect  fit. Noone will know you bought it used, and you’ll have money left for other things. How awesome  is it that you’ll be wearing designer clothes with money left in your designer wallet!   
A lot of people are shallow and every time someone mentions the word thrift or used they  say “eww I don’t need to buy used clothes.” The image that comes to someone’s mind when they  hear of used clothing is a grungy corner store selling sweat stained clothing. That’s not at all the  case if you know where to shop. Of course I shop at trendy places like in the Deptford mall and  name brand stores; but sometimes its even fun to go to a place like Goodwill or Plato’s. Like most  stores, these places aren’t just the clothing one company decides to distribute for that specific  time of year in that particular store. You can find anything from Hollister to Joe boxer there. Its like  a treasure hunt, you never know what your going to find!
Buying used accessories? I personally stay away from used head accessories like hats and such. For me there’s that  paranoia inside me that whispers “head lice” every time I pick up a headband in a thrift store; but things like beads and bracelets are of course a yes! Accessories are a whole different ball game  then clothes though. They charge you out the you know what for what I call “extras” that can make the whole outfit. Because people go to such great lengths just to find a bracelet to match  their shoes, and will pay quite a bit for them; places will charge a high price because they know  some people will buy them. Even though they can get just as cute accessories new or used at  other places. I like going to places like Payhalf or Walmart for all my must have extras like  earrings, headbands, bracelets, etc. 
 What to buy? 
I’ve had my mom and two sisters all my life guiding me and telling me what a should always  have in my wardrobe. So now I’m passing it on. Don’t buy a fifty dollar pair of hot pink boots if all  you have is one pink or black shirt. When buying things like shoe wear make sure you have lots of  things in your closet to match them. Or like me, just go with a common color like black that  matches anything. For tops, I always have some special pieces with logos, designs, different styles, etc. But mainly I like to buy a lot of simple things like plain black or white polos or mini Tees along with tons of cheap fancy tanks. You can always pair that with a nice color tank top underneath. Then next week pair it with a different color tank and you’ve got yourself a whole new  outfit! These looks are timeless and never go out of style. Clothing trends will always go in and  out, but simple tees will always be your friend. Also, no matter what your style prep, simple, punk, etc. a plain pair of jeans can fit into anyone’s wardrobe. You can pair things like jeans and tees with anything, and create a casual or fancy clean look.
Now ladies, lets talk leggings and jeggings!  
Leggings have been back for quite some time now and I think every girl should have at least one lack pair to go with a long any color top; but the look I hope never fades is jeggings! I love mine and get quality ones for a good price. I go to Deb shop and Sears for mine but there are tons of other places that offer fair bargains on them. For me they populate my wardrobe but everyone’s different. I like them because I can wear them with any top and are fitted to my legs unlike flare outs.  

Basic Everyday essentials 
I have to tell you honestly, I could sit down and tell you all bras and underwear are created equal but its simply not the truth. Don’t skimp on the essentials like bras and undies, girls. I have two categories when I go school shopping: my necessities, and my must haves. They sound like the same thing, but they’re not. Necessities are things you cant get around. Sure you can shop around for the best price, but definitely don’t buy used bras or underwear. (For cleanliness and health reasons.) My must haves are things like jeans and shirts, but there are always more options when buying those kinds of things. 
Online Bargains? 
My family usually doesn’t buy things over the internet, but word has it dozens of stores offer their clothes cheap when your buying online instead of in store! I have never really looked and shopped around on popular stores websites but am very eager to try it. The one way I do save money on clothes over the internet is getting special sale notifications or personal coupons emailed to me! When at the check out in popular stores, the sales clerk will you usually tell you about their promotions then ask if you’d like to give them your email address. Instead of blowing them off, give your email address to them! I love getting notified about sales and print out coupons that save me money on my favorite items.  

Every girl likes to shop, but not every girl is smart about it! Don’t find yourself with nothing but the pricey clothes on your back. Shop around for the best deals and be smart about what you buy. You can still be stylish and keep up with the latest trends with out putting your parents in the poor house!  These helpful tips allow you to be stylish and sensible; they also save you some green!

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