How I Stay On-Trend with a College Budget

While in college, one of the biggest lessons I have learned is to save every penny—literally. College is one of the most costly times of your life—it’s hard to shop and look trendy when you have to worry about paying bills for books, groceries, and tuition. I struggled with blogging about new trends and how they looked on my body because I couldn’t afford new clothing on a college budget. The other bloggers were always beating me to the race. However, now that it’s summer, and school’s out, I’ve mapped out five tips on how I’ve learned to master shopping as a student with a college budget. This plan has helped me save money for my upcoming semester while still being able to go shopping when necessary. I hope these tips can do the same for you!

1. Look through magazines, Pinterest, and Instagram

One of the biggest mistakes I often made before shopping was not having a plan. I now know the key to success is to read what my favorite bloggers are wearing and how those specific items fit on different body types. By studying the season’s top trends beforehand, you can save time when you go out. People can spend hours deciding if they like the trend or not and if it will look good on them; those decisions are what make the shopping experience so lengthy. Shopping can become stressful if you don’t know what you are looking for, and sales people can pressure you to buy what you don’t need. If this situation arises, it is helpful to know what trends are in and what trends are an absolute no.

2. Spend some time with your clothes

This is going to be your Carrie Bradshaw moment. Go in your closet and just be with your clothes. Go through what your favorite pieces are and what pieces you really don’t wear anymore. Do you have anything old that you can DIY to work into a current trend? Is there clothing that you never wear that you can sell to regular or virtual consignment stores? (I usually sell clothing to maximize my budget for shopping and use the app Poshmark app—it’s super user-friendly and I have had major success selling through there). Analyze what’s in your closet: do you have pieces that can stay in your closet for a while longer or can you throw them out? Finally, what’s your closet missing? Once you’ve gone through this, you’ll know what items you need to purchase.

3. Write a list

After you find out what pieces are missing in your closet and what pieces are on-trend, figure out what you absolutely have to have. Write out out all the pieces you want and then under the itemized list, write what you can wear that item with and where you’d wear it. Once you see all of the places you would wear the items and what you would wear them with, it is easier to decide if you really need it or not. The list separates the wants and needs for the semester.

4. Make a Budget

Think about what your budget is like for the summer. How much can you spend on new trends? Limit yourself to this number. Start researching what stores have cute-but-affordable versions of the piece(s) you are looking for. On that note, and importantly, hold yourself accountable to your budget—In the long run you’ll be happier with that little bit of extra money for an occasional Starbucks treat.

5. Go shopping!

This is my favorite step! Shopping shouldn’t be stressful. Grab some friends and enjoy it. If you love fashion then shopping should be one of your favorite activities. These steps will help you enjoy your experience more. I followed these few steps before shopping and never had such a successful, enjoyable shopping trip. In the pictures featured below are some of the pieces that I found necessary when shopping: embroidered jeans, a mini Coach purse, and a statement body suit. You may find something different, but these were the trends that fit best for my petite body shape. Remember if a certain item doesn’t fit right, do not settle! You can always go back for another trip and get the right fit for the right price.

 Post a picture on social media of the new outfit you created with these shopping tips! Be sure to tag @CFashionista.