As a mom, your first priority is always your children, so when you go to the mall, it’s often for them. By the time you’ve stocked up on clothes and shoes, you don’t have the time, patience, or money leftover to get anything for yourself.
If so, it’s time to dole out a little self-care. But don’t worry, it won’t bust your budget. Here are some tips on how to update your wardrobe without spending a fortune.
Shop online from home
The next time you settle in front of the screen, check one of these stores:
- Zulily: Whether through their app or desktop website, Zulily brings together deals on clothing, gifts, home décor, and more. It’s designed for busy moms who can’t spend hours price comparing. With Zulily’s special events, you won’t have to as you’ll get most items off the regular retail price.
- Stitch Fix: For a charge of $20, Stitch Fix will assign a stylist to curate a box of clothing that matches your style and budget. Open it up and try on the items, sending any you don’t like back free of charge. If you buy any of the five items they send, they’ll credit you the $20 you paid for the service. If you buy all five, you’ll enjoy an extra 25 percent off your total. With items starting as low as $20, it can be an economical and effortless way to get a professional wardrobe.
- thredUP: As an online consignment and thrift store, thredUP deals exclusively with second-hand clothing. Sometimes, you can find clothes still with the tags on for a fraction of the price —as much as 90 percent off. You can also stand to make some money on any clothes you want to get rid of by selling it on consignment to thredUP.
Pay close attention to return policies
Armed with a tape measurer and the online sizing guide, you attempt to figure out what size you are — but without being able to try it on in person, clothes you buy online can be a bit of a gamble. Inevitably, they run small or big, so you return them.
You wouldn’t be alone. Roughly half of all clothes purchased online get returned.
If you tend to guess at your size when shopping online, always check the return and exchange policy. Although most online retailers cover these costs by offering free shipping on all orders and returns, not all of them will.
There are still some that have very strict policies that require you to pay for shipping back to their warehouse. If you make the mistake of shopping with these stores, you may not have an affordable way to return clothes you can’t wear.
Make sure you can pay more than the minimum balance
You’re insulated from the cost of your online shopping spree because you have to use your credit cards. It can be a full month before you see those purchases show up on your statement, and even longer before you get around to paying for it in full.
This is one of the perks of using a credit card. You can take on purchases when you don’t have any cash on hand. But it’s also one of the disadvantages. It’s easy to put off paying your balance in full when you have the option to meet the minimum payment.
Although this can come in handy when things are tight, paying the minimum balance increases how much you owe. It also affects your credit ratio, which is a term to describe how much of your total available credit you use.
A high credit ratio can negatively impact your credit score, which can make securing a new job, renting an apartment, or applying for an installment loan a challenge. Make sure you understand how your credit score affects your loan and other financial opportunities before you start using your credit card without prejudice.
At the end of the day, know your limits
Every mom deserves to look her best, so carve out some time to shop online — but not before you figure out how much you can spend on clothes. Make sure this limit matches the rest of your budget for the month, so you can pay off your credit charges right away. This will help keep the cost of your new wardrobe affordable.