How To Be a Fashionista Without Going Broke

by @kugzz

Mapping Major Purchases (aka Conscious Spending)

You have an eye for the finer things in life. Does “I can spot the most expensive item in any store” sound familiar?  You have been ready to step up and bring your fashion A game for a while but it has been a challenge with your current spending limits.

Here’s the good news: If you are willing to make few sacrifices, the object of desire could be closer than it appears. If you have set bigger than life goals for yourself in the past, well honestly, who hasn’t really, you are perhaps beating yourself up, wondering how you can keep your eye on the prize, so to speak.  Consider it like a road trip, first you need to know your final destination (item you will be saving for), duh!  And short breaks (your small indulges) along the way before reaching to the final point, would make an exciting ride. Let’s try to map your next big purchase without breaking a bank.

Ready to dive in? Have your target in mind while you read this article, it will be so much fun, I promise.

Objects of desire.


For fashionistas on saving-to-splurge-mode right now, it may be hard with the changing seasons; the craving to buy colorful, pretty summer dresses, bags, shoes and accessories is going to start soon or has already started. If you didn’t indulge yourself with some kind of retail therapy, let’s face it – you are going to break, it’s a little push to make it to the finish line. In short, reward yourself, this will cause a confidence and motivation boost. Going cold turkey is never an intelligent way to do it.

Summer also means lot of pool parties, bbqs, visitors, weddings – some cultures have 5-7 days long events – which translate to more outfits with matching shoes, accessories…sigh, basically cha-ching dropping faster than you would make it back.

Summertime @kugzz

Get Cracking on the Savings

Considering you have already accounted monthly bills, rent/utilities/mortgage/car payment/insurance/student loans etc. not to mention, a buffer for emergencies. You are not going to start purging when it comes to finances, instead keep all the significant documents (what you have and what you owe) knowing where you stand financially should pave the future buying decisions.

The superficial purchases we are talking about must always fall at the bottom of the pile.
• Set up a savings account and have certain amount automatically withdrawn every time your check drops in the main account
• If your corporation offers shares/bonds, most match up to 7%, take advantage of this low hanging fruit
• Get yourself a good credit card that would earn you points. It accumulates faster than you know it

How to maximize purchasing power
• You could score an equal payment option for a year at times, certain stores offer these promotions, brilliant way to take advantage of interest free option, be vigilant, as it’s for the strong will powered, somebody who could commit to that specific time period, there is always a catch if you missed a payment not to mention bad credit score, read terms and conditions in the fine print and ask tons of questions before you sign up
• Sales! Stay away from the items that weren’t on your wish list to begin with; even steep discounts are not worth it. Only buy “wish list stuff” on sale, if you did – major savings, you go girl
• Have a wedding(s) to attend this season, gaze inside your closet before making big shopping plans, borrow a dress from a friend if you girls wear the same size (ensuring you return it dry cleaned) and let’s be honest; most of those fancy dresses sit inside our closets begging to see the light of the day again
• Don’t take pre-loved market/consignment shops off your list. Do your due diligence, occasionally brand new/almost new pieces show up, which means significant savings. Patience is power
• If you are on the East coast, summer only lasts 3 months, well if fortunate enough, don’t spend awful lot of dough on a summer wardrobe, be diligent. There are lot of contemporary labels with extremely good quality and cuts
• Go easy on expensive purchases, make-up and fragrances, if you must, strategize around The Bay, Neiman, Saks or any major store- gift card, triple points, promotion events
• The dreaded price increases. Once you are close to 80%-90% savings, keep track of the next price increase. Why only watch when you are close to certain amount of savings? It will only give you heart palpitations, you are still on a saving mode, why torture yourself
• Fake it till you make it? Not in this case. Ironically, scientists reported in an issue of Psychological Science that wearing counterfeit items not only fails to bolster ego and self-image the way people hope, it actually undermines the internal sense of authenticity. Faking it makes people feel like phonies and cheaters on the inside. Yup, just don’t
• Focus on your target. Don’t get caught up on what you see on IG, every new color that Hermès is rolling out, the unique limited edition Chanel, Gucci, Dior etc. Stop running after expensive trends. “A girl who is determined and calm must be able to manage a successful life. That’s how I see it” I quoted the exact words of a young and wise fashionista I know through IG.

Ask yourself

Can I afford it?

Do I need it?

Do I have a lifestyle for it?

While “trust the process” is commonly associated with former Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie’s patience-required approach to building the team; in this case, building a minimalistic wardrobe.

It’s not about depriving yourself but striking a balance that would save you all the stress and anxiety that comes with financial/debt problems in future.

Long term mapping.

Intelligent friends/Support system

The key to success is the people in your support system, trust me on this. I am blessed to have handful people in my life that I could fully rely. In this category, I have friends with similar interests and also few on the total other end of the spectrum, in a good way.

According to a study published in the New York Times, scientists have found that the brains of close friends respond in remarkably similar ways. The researchers could predict the strength of two people’s social bond based on their brain scans alone. Interesting huh?

I would take an example of buying a handbag to explain this.

Friends with similar interests – you have to be cautious here. You could drive each other on that same level of energy to somewhere unpleasant by cheering each other on. I am certain you have seen this happening on certain threads, IG pages “girl, you have to get every grey bag from <insert brand new here>” An intelligent friend would see right through you, whenever your latest obsession/phase, will stop and ask the right questions and probably disagree to whatever doesn’t make sense and assist you to snap out.  True gem right there! Gets you out of a malicious circle and not get deserted in there with you.

I also have few friends with different philosophy. The collectors, number is not their game and if we ever looked at each other’s closet, passing out is guaranteed.  I have asked for their valuable advice at times, especially when I fascinated over something similar to their taste, and instead of luring me into their world, flat out, I have been told “Rami, yellow bags and big rings, not you” with a hint of eye roll. These people are as important as the ones with similar interests, keeps you level headed as you develop the appreciation of diverse opinions and tastes. Not everyone has to like the same things as you do. Cherish these people in your circle.

If your friends/people you hang out constantly agree with you, pay attention, have you become a proud owner of all the rainbow colors in your closet, not a bad thing if that was your goal but alarming if it wasn’t. Time to step back and assess, after all, you are the company you keep, maybe it’s time to get rid/add new people to the mix.


Addressing the Most Asked Question

“I don’t have parents, spouse, or boyfriend/girlfriend supporting my luxury indulgences. What would the younger you, still in university/part-time job/just entered into the workforce save for: what is the ultimate bag?”

I would save up for a Louis Vuitton Neverfull.

Why Neverfull? I picked monogram years ago because Angelina Jolie wore it like a boss.  A choice of interior colors wasn’t available at that time and it didn’t come with a pochette either.  The pochette is perfect to throw in your pens, calculator, bus pass, work badge, wallet, glasses; locker/car/home keys whatever needs to be easily accessed. You don’t want a screaming Louis; there is a toned down canvas in damier azur and damier ebene print. There is an epi leather version with a selection of colors to choose from. Keep in mind the higher price tag for the leather version. There is also a great selection of limited edition versions from time to time.

Whatever you pick, this bag will take you from university to work to vacation to carrying kids diaper and one day if you get fed up, still sell at a good price in case you wanted to upgrade. I researched and asked a very resourceful friend who runs a consignment shop, who said, “as soon this bag hits the website, it gets snatched within minutes.” Fashionistas with premium brand bags lined up in their closets also own this wonderful piece and swear by it.

@kugzz’s trusty Neverfull


Most of us go through this process. You will find wonderful reviews online, IG, YouTube, social media. Just be careful here, especially from the educated idiots, owns-and knows-it-alls, shopaholics if you catch my drift.

Other important points to keep in mind before you take someone’s word for it:

  • Is this person sponsored by the brand?
  • How many items this individual buying, weekly/monthly unboxings?
  • Raving about how he/she scored hard to find product as it quickly gets posted on their IG account for sale
  • Buying/selling constantly?

Be well-informed, ask questions, seek opinions of the people who own and use that certain item you are chasing, but the conclusion/feedback should always be tailored to your needs, whatever feels right to you. After all, it’s your hard-earned money. I personally look for cons, that is, why I shouldn’t buy something; hence, I write what I like to read in reviews. I mean if you started your research on a certain item, 50% of the decision has been already made. Don’t you agree? Thinking outside the box is more than just a business cliché.

Realistic budget planning.

Work in Progress

Steadily saving for your future before diving into superficial big purchases is always a good idea. Not very many people have access to easy money; most of us have to save for our indulgences, one dollar at a time. Stop comparing yourself to others’ possessions. Like they say, comparison is a thief of joy. I am still experimenting to determine what enough is for me, keeping only what adds value to my wardrobe and discarding duplicates is on top of my mission list these days. Being persistent with improvements/perfection has me sitting at a blissful spot, still learning to leverage, do more with less. Stay tuned. Keep those emails, direct messages and comments coming my way.

Be the ultimate, clutter-free fashionistas! Have a great summer.


Love, Kugzz

Read other articles by @kugzz:

Why One In and One Out? And No More Than 10 Bag
No More Than 10 Bags!?
Saving to Splurge
The Perfect Neutral-ista
Color Snob
To Gold or Silver… That is the Question?

We hope you enjoyed this article.  Please note the views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of

Love PurseBop

Published: April 26th, 2018
Updated: April 27th, 2018

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