Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Confessions of a Shopaholic: 5 Tips For the Fab & Frugal

So I know I'm normally all about fashion, celebs, gossip and all that good stuff...BUT as we all know, this recession has hit everyone pretty hard. As much as I love being all about fashion all the time, this economy has caused many of us to think twice about where we drop a dime. Therefore, as you all are very important to me, any helpful tidbits I receive, I will share so we can all live more fabulous lives!

Based mostly on a great article I ran across on Clutch Magazine and a few of my own personal practices, I've organized a list of tips for being fabulous but still frugal in this tough recession:

Fab & Frugal Tip #1: Adopt a Side Hustle

Lisa Price, owner of Carol's Daughter (It started out as a side hustle)

Whether you need supplemental income 'cuz those checks have stopped rolling in, or the current job just isn't cutting it - everyone should have a side hustle. There are amazing ways to hone in on your interests and make them work for you. Find something you like to do, and do relatively well, and market your services to the public. Some great side jobs include freelance writing, bookkeeping (if you’re good at accounting), babysitting for those who love the kids, photography and even styling (I plan to personally embark on this one). Post a listing on a free classifieds site like Craigslist and hit the ground running!

Fab & Frugal Tip #2: Save on Entertainment

a) Books: Let's face it, one can spend a substantial amount of money on Entertainment on a weekly basis. One great way to save - hit up the library! I know you love those afternoon trips to Barnes&Noble for the monthly reads BUT you can be sure those books you drop $20/each on can be accessed for FREE.99 at your local library. If you still wanna own, try sites like paperbackswap.com, bookmooch.com and swaptree.com to exchange old books with new ones.

b) Movies: For those of you who haven't heard about RedBox, consider yourself enlightened. If you haven’t checked out the $1 recent DVD releases at your local Redbox, you should. You can truly get dinner and a movie for under $10. Visit www.redbox.com to find a retailer near you. And if you're dead set on owning a DVD, you can try swapadvd.com

c) Parties: Although the grown and sexy lounges and clubs downtown are a great place to spend your weekend nights, they can get a bit pricey. There's no harm in going out once a week, but hosting your own intimate house parties and/or hitting up your friend's place to hang out can inevitably save you money. Host your own Halloween bash, have an inexpensive dinner party or potluck for your friend's birthday instead of going out...it all adds up!

Fab & Frugal Tip #3: DIY Beauty Treatments

a) Body: Head down to your local health food emporium and stock up on essential oils, liquid Castile soap and sea salt to make your own body scrubs and hair concoctions. Though I love me some Carol's Daughter, those natural hair products can be pricey...hit up TheDailyGreen for recipes.

b) Hair: Well let's face it...we black women don't play when it comes to our hair so I will NOT suggest that you do everything at home. BUT, when it comes to styling hair (including blowouts, weaves, etc), YouTube can work wonders. There are thousands of tutorial videos on there, some of them made by professional stylists, so explore your options. You never know what you could do on your own until you try.

c) Nails: Try hitting up your local beauty school! You can pay considerably less for your treatments by visiting a local, reputable beauty school. The hallways are chock-full of fresh talent in the aesthetic arts…at a much cheaper price. And paying $5 for a manicure is sure to brighten your day. If all else fails do the manicure at home! (*Secret: dark colors are much easier to apply flawlessly because the color helps disguise mistakes)

Recessionista Tip #4: Save on Clothes

These days, sales abound as retailers are steadily losing profits, so now is the time to take advantage. A step below that, go thrift shopping!! I was doing this one way before the recession. Besides the fact that its cheap, its thrill-seeking finding vintage items that nobody else will have, that you have to search hard for and that cost under $20! Another great idea - if you hang with a fabulously fashionable circle then consider yourself lucky. Grab your girlfriends and host a clothes swap to keep your wardrobe up-to-date in these economic times. Have each friend bring over gently or never worn clothes, shoes and accessories, and trade off to add new pieces to your ensemble.

Recessionista Tip #5: Cut Daily Expenses

Whether you work or are in school, you won't believe how much money we waste daily buying outside food. Spending just 1.5-2 hours on Sunday night preparing a few meals can save you both money and time during the week. Dont' waste your money on overpriced salads and pizza slices! Also, this seems like a no-brainer, but it bears repeating: GO GREEN! Skip filling up the tank by walking, biking or taking public transportation. Bring reusable bags to the supermarket and for the Earth's sake cut off that water and them lights (like momma says)!

I hope these tips have opened your eyes to some ways you can cope fabulously and frugally in this tough economy...be flyy yall!

*P.S. I'm thinking of incorporating more lifestyle content like this onto the blog, feel free to give me feedback on whether you like it or not :)

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