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How to be a frugal woman - part 1

Published 3 November 2011 by

Many of the tips here could equally apply to men as well as women, as we all wear clothes, but it has to be said that women generally enjoy fashion more than men! Naturally, the frugal woman enjoys wearing clothes that make her feel good but wants to spend her money wisely, making her feel equally good.

If you simply must own the latest trends, and you have the bank balance to do so comfortably, then that's wonderful. If, on the other hand, you have other things that you want to spend your money on, there are many ways to keep your clothes in good condition as well as getting creative with your wardrobe for less. If this sounds like your kind of thing then read on…

Keep clothes in good condition

The way you store your clothes is really important for their longevity.

  • When storing your out-of-season clothes, check for damp where you keep them, invest in mothballs and keep them wrapped in something sealed.
  • Invest in some good-quality hangers - wire hangers can ruin the shape of certain fabrics.
  • Keep a pair of driving shoes in your car. You'll find that driving can damage the backs of your shoes, so don't drive in your favourite pair!

Ban impulse buys

A practical and money-saving wardrobe is well thought out.

  • Before you buy an item, consider whether it complements anything else in your wardrobe; otherwise you might have to purchase a whole new outfit to wear with that bargain, or as Gok Wan has coined it - the 'capsule wardrobe'.
  • Quality and well-made clothes last longer. If you can go without cheaper purchases for a while, you could save enough to buy an item of better quality that should last for longer. The same is generally true of shoes and boots.
  • Always read the care instructions before you buy - if it's dry clean only, be prepared to spend that money regularly.

Make do and mend

Your grandma did it and so can you!

  • Keep the buttons that come with your new clothes together. You don't want to throw away a shirt just because you lost one button and can't find another to match.
  • You can re-hem clothes if they become frayed at the ends. Losing half an inch from the end of your trousers shouldn't make a massive difference. If you've never done it before, just ask someone to show you how to or watch one of the many 'how-to' videos on Youtube.

Vintage / retro

When you want to own something completely unique, vintage or retro often works well.

  • It's generally said that charity shops in more affluent areas have better-quality donations.
  • If you want to make extra savings at Camden Market or second-hand shops, don't be too shy to haggle.
  • Raid your mum's / gran's / aunty's / sister's / cousin's / mate's wardrobe or jewellery box for unique items - but ask their permission first! Offer something in return, naturally.

Other ways to be frugal

  • Samples are clothes that fashion companies use for marketing and advertising. If you keep your eyes peeled, have a friend in the know, or join a mailing list, you could find out about sample sales in your area. Samples are generally limited in size, but if you're lucky enough to fit into them, you can find they're much cheaper.
  • If you're a real fashion guru, why not start a blog or website dedicated to fashion? If it's good enough and gets lots of visitors, you may find fashion suppliers offer you free products to review.
  • Clothes-swapping parties offer the opportunity to get rid of clothes you don't like anymore in exchange for other people's clothes that you do like. Either look online for clothes swapping parties in your area, or organise one of your own with friends.

Men, if you're feeling a little left out, keep your eyes peeled for our money-saving ideas for the frugal man next week.