How to Shop on a Budget (and Look Super Cute)


How to Shop on a Budget and Look Super Cute | Shopping on a budget doesn’t sound fun, realistic, or destined to produce great looks. But with a bit of strategy and planning ahead, you can shop on a budget and dress better than ever.

Developing your own style is fun, powerful, and does wonders for your self confidence. How you look does not define you, but it can help you express who you already are in ways that are kind of empowering.

That said, it’s not always cheap. Clothes are expensive, and adulting costs a lot money.

I love fashion. I always have — my mom always tells the story of 12 month old Anika, grabbing hold of a hand-me-down designer sweater, andm, looking my mother firmly in the eyes, declaring, “Mommy, I love clothes.”

Apparently, I had expensive taste even then, and in the last few years, I’ve had to get creative in finding ways to indulge my love of style with a tight budget. I’ve learned how to shop on a budget, save money, and buy from brands I love — and today, I’m gonna tell you how to do the same thing.

This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase items through these links, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you.

How to Shop on a Budget and Look Super Cute

how to shop on a budget

Figure Out What You Actually Need

Options are good. Options are great. But realistically, most of us have more clothes than we could possibly ever wear. Building a seasonal capsule wardrobe is a great way to figure out what you actually need, build a collection of pieces you love, and save a ton of money. Lookin cute for that instagram picture isn’t worth the $200 you spent on the outfit if you can never wear it again. 

Determine what basics & staples you’re missing, as well as what seasonal pieces you want to add for each season!

Buy Your Basics

Just as you have to spend money to make money, you have to spend money to save it. Investing in high quality basics will save you SO MUCH — versatile pieces that work with any outfit, any season, will make your life so much easier. You might spend a bit more initially, but in the long run you’ll be extremely grateful.

I bought this black long sleeve top from Lululemon over a year ago. I’ve worn it with jeans, a cute jacket, and some booties in the fall, a cozy coat in the winter, and statement shorts in the summer, and it’s worked with all of them. It still looks brand new, and I’ll have no need to replace it for quite some time. 

style snakeskin booties

Plan Ahead

What do you need to buy this year? What essentials are you missing? Each season, do an inventory of what you have and what pieces you want to add to your collection. You might not have specifics, but you’ll likely have an idea of the cute jacket or two you’d love, a couple more dressy tops for going out, another pair of shoes for work, etc. 

Planning ahead gives you the opportunity to keep your eyes open for the perfect thing. It’ll make shopping an easier process and help you create outfits in advance.

Shop the Off Season

At the end of each season, stores will mark down all their unsold items from that season’s collection. This is your moment of glory. Be ready for those moments to take place, hop online, and purchase the items you were missing this year. Next year you’ll have so many more options that you purchased for half the cost. I’ve gotten some of my favourite clothes this way. American Eagle, Target, and Lulu’s tend to have really great sales.

Regular Sales

Similar to the last point, when you’re going to buy something, keep in mind where you are in the calendar year. For example, it’s November 1st, and you’re dying for a new winter coat. You’ve got a couple different options that you’re excited about. If you can wait three and a half weeks, Black Friday sales will hit, and you may be able to save a ton of money. Shop smart. 

If you regularly shop at the same places, sign up for emails from those companies. They’ll often give you unique discount codes and first-look previews at sale items. 

Buy the Loves, not the Likes

If you don’t love it, you won’t wear it. If it’s a maybe, don’t get it. One practice I’ve found helpful has actually been to implement never buying something at first glance. If I see it, think it’s cute, but I’m undecided, I’ll walk away. Either I go home and can’t stop thinking about it, or I forget it existed. 

Use Pinterest & LiketoKnowit.

Get inspiration from other people! Not only do these platforms alert you to sales, great stores, and new options, but they may help you find new ways to wear what you already have. I regularly pin and share fashion tips on my Pinterest, and post lots of outfit pics on Instagram. LikeToKnowit is also a great platform to use — tons of bloggers sharing outfits, sales, and deals on a daily basis. It’s designed to help you find exactly what you’re looking for, and will make your life so much easier.


Cannot stress this one enough! Hit up regular thrift stores often and go through what they have. They may not always have exactly what you’re looking for, but you can find great deals on beautiful pieces if you’re consistent in your looking. For more specific shopping, shop secondhand sites like Poshmark, Depop, or Thredup. 

Fashion shouldn’t come at the cost of your life savings, and it doesn’t have to. Shopping on a budget is doable, effective, and can still leave you looking super cute.

For more fashion & style blog posts, click here or sign up for my email list!

Explore Next


Comments Off on How to Shop on a Budget (and Look Super Cute)

View on Instagram


Follow Along

About me