Budgeting Insider: Style Savvy on a Shoestring Salary

Your guide to managing everyday finances

Style expert Daisy Lewellyn says you don't have to skip shopping to budget.

The dreaded ‘b word’ can be the bain of any fashionista’s existence. If you’re a shopaholic, leaving behind that perfect designer shoe or bag because of money constraints can be a major downer. But what better way to feed a love for fashion—without eating up your finances–than by incorporating it into your budget?

“Look at your shopping as an important expense or bill,” says Daisy Lewellyn, style expert and author of Never Pay Retail Again: Shop Smart, Spend Less, and Look Your Best Ever ($15; Gallery).

Here are some tips on how to keep your finances on track and remain stylish while doing so:

Say no to impulse shopping: “It will run your credit cards down to the ditches,” Lewellyn says. Assess your finances and plan in advance. Then put aside a set amount according to your salary and discretionary income.

Find ways to save in other areas and use what you saved for shopping. “Instead of eating fast food or getting pricey coffee every day, make your lunch and coffee at home, and contribute the savings to a shopping fund,” Lewellyn suggests.

Get an ‘accountability partner’ and put her (or him) on speed dial. “My best friend Joelle loves to shop. She sends me picture texts of things she wants to buy, but won’t purchase until I give the approval,” Lewellyn says. “I am her shopping support, and help her avoid wasting money on items that she can either get for a lower price or will not really use.”

Make a calendar for special events and shop in the off season for deals. “Wedding invites are sent months in advance; every year is the annual Christmas office party; and the family vacation is always somewhere tropical. Since you know what is coming up, shop off-season for added savings,” she says.

For more on scoring great shopping deals, see Amazing Savings from the August 2010 issue of Black Enterprise magazine.

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