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If you’re prone to adding to your wardrobe, fashion is likely to be one of your bigger expenses each month. We all know about voucher codes and sales, so my wife Becky has helped out here with some alternative tips on looking good for less.

Do you catch yourself daydreaming of a world where you’d been born as one of those lucky bitches people that can afford to keep up to date with the latest trends and buy whatever items of clothing, shoes, and handbags they want whenever the whim takes them? I do.

So if, like me, you are a Financially Challenged Fashion Fan (or FCFF for short) the following ramblings might help give you a few pointers on how to stay sartorially ‘on it’ whilst also not going into the red (so last season).

1. Rent high end items

In the last decade it has become possible to rent almost any item of clothing online, just as you would hire a car – for a few days with the promise to return it undamaged. But if you’ve seen Sex and the City 2 you knew that already.

It’s possible to rent the Mulberry Del Rey ‘It bag’ with a RRP of £895 for just £85 per month from Fashion Hire. Genius!

Also check out Girl Meets Dress and Rentez-vouz (where you can also rent your gear to others!).

2. Share and swap clothes with friends

If you have a friend who is a similar size to you in clothes or shoes and you have similar taste then why not agree a budget, go through the collections you like, pick out the items you both love the most, decide who buys what and then agree to a timetable of who gets to wear what when.

Voila – you have a whole new wardrobe of clothes available to you and you only had to buy half of them!

Alternatively you can set up a clothes swapping party. I went to my first one of these before Christmas and came home with a fantastically sparkly top and a lovely pair of Dune leopard print shoes while some of my old faves found new homes.

3. Get cash for your old gear

If you’re left with anything after the swapping party, head to H&M where you can get a £5 voucher when you hand in old clothes.

If you’ve any M&S clothes you no longer want you get down to your local Oxfam branch where you can swap them for a £5 M&S voucher to spend on spangly new things.

>> More details on getting vouchers for your old clothes

Of course, you can also try selling on ebay, though don’t make the mistake I did and not set a reserve price. Someone got a bargain pair of hardly worn patterned leather Clarks for 99p – hardly worth my time!

4. Scavenge TK Maxx and outlet stores

I used to turn my nose up at TK Maxx and its ilk. But you can truly find some wondrous things in what admittedly might at first glance look like a particularly messy car boot sale.

For example, Andy found some lovely Peter Werth and French Connection goodies for way less than half price.

This advice also counts for out-of-town shopping villages, Bicester Village is especially good. And don’t ignore the outlet stores on ebay either.

5. Head to charity shops

Ok, so most of the time I look there’s nothing for me, But since I regularly give away some nice clothes which either don’t fit me anymore or are too similar to something else I’ve got, other people must too.

If you’ve got a posh neighbourhood near you, any charity shop there is worth a look as you could happen upon some hardly worn designer garb for next to nothing. And you’re giving cash to good causes at the same time!

6. Low price doesn’t mean good value – or ethical

Despite it being the cheapest of the cheap, I try to avoid Primark if I can. I admit that when I was about to go for six months travelling to hot countries I stocked up on £1 vest tops and £2 pairs of sandals as much as the next girl but I didn’t feel good about it.

As soon as I was back in regular, salaried work I decided to spend just a few pounds more using the tips above than buy throw-away fashion from Primark.

Primark and similar stores are a false economy – it might only cost you a £3 but it will be lucky to survive the washing machine more than a few times without serious fraying, buttons falling off, seams coming apart etc.

Sometimes you really do get what you pay for and investing in something that will last you a decent amount of time and not make you feel guilty about where it came from is worth it in my book.

>> Read Andy’s post about struggling to be ethical and saving money


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