It's the Economy, Stupid

August 18, 2011

The economy for the last four years has been a helluva rollercoaster ride for most people. At some point you or some you know has dealt with underwater mortgages, foreclosures, unemployment, or a drained 401K account. Our financial senses have taken a beating, and we have been forced to reexamine our outlook on how we spend our money.

I am lucky to have learned early on what I consider the golden rule when it comes to finance: do not spend more than you have. It seems simple enough, right? Well, with credit cards and enticing financing options and the idea of always having to keep up with the Joneses, we've become a nation of financial nincompoops. Sure, we all want things, but do we all need them?  If you don't have the money to buy that fabulous designer purse that you see in all the magazines, then don't buy it.  If you can't afford to makeover your kitchen like you saw on HGTV, then starting saving money and do it little by little. And, if you feel like you have to eat out at that new restaurant, then wait a little longer until a smoking deal come up on Groupon.

You can blame society, peer-pressure or The Real Housewives reality shows, but honestly the only one to blame is yourself. You can be fabulous and cool and oh so chic without spending thousands and thousands of dollars on things that mean nothing more than: "look at me, I am broke, but I still managed to buy this ridiculously priced pair of shoes." If you truly insist on having an overpriced designer wardrobe or that expensive Pottery Barn leather sofa, then plan for it: sacrifice, save, and savor the fact that you worked hard to get something you wanted.

In the meantime, the best way to start saving for those big ticket items is to start making wiser decisions on the items you can be more frugal with. There are tons of clothing stores that offer designer-inspired looks at a bargain price, and in my next posts I'll be highlighting a few of them. These stores offer a lot of great basic items that can last you a while and some trendier items that can be fun for a season. Whatever styles you choose, I guarantee they'll be a perfect addition to any bargain chic-ette's closet.

First up is Old Navy. A great bargain store for t-shirts, jeans, and flip-flops,  but also a fantastic place to find items that you can wear to work, to after-work shindigs, and to weekend fetes. Here's an example of an outfit I pulled together from items on the Old Navy website. It's classy, it's sexy, and it's priced oh-so-nice!

Total: $106.85

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"One cannot consent to creep when one has an impulse to soar." ~Helen Keller