Written by: Fiona Denton
How to look good on a budget
Since my two kids arrived, looking gorgeous on a budget has become a priority. Most of my cash goes on school trips and Nintendo games, meaning I’ve had to ditch my beloved Clinique make-up, Calvin Klein jeans and fancy haircuts. So, what can the parent on a shoestring do to look fabulous without smashing the piggy bank?
Ignore the fashion police
First of all – step away from the Vogue magazine. Trying to keep up with fashion is like trying to run along behind a Formula One car in six-inch stilettos – plus designer clothes, however lovely, cost a fortune. As an alternative, define your own individual style – after all, it’s about being unique.
Raid the charity shops
I cannot pass by a charity shop without going inside – make a habit of it. They are the perfect place to get your hands on loads of wardrobe essentials. Last week, I spent just £50 on three pairs of boots, two jackets, and two cardigans. Not to mention that charity shops feature an eclectic variety of clothing from around the world that you would never find in Top Shop. Outlet stores are fabulous too – the perfect place to find designer jeans, jumpers and boots at knockdown prices.
Beware of buying something that just ‘fits okay’, or something that seems like an absolute bargain that you will never wear. I bought a pair of bright orange jeans from an outlet store recently and I got mercilessly ribbed by everybody. They went straight to charity. If you happen to see them languishing on a rail, be sure to avoid them, or else you too could end up looking like an animatronic carrot.
Put your claws away
Wave goodbye to your regular manicures and false nails. Let’s face it – who really notices anybody else’s fingernails anyway? Trim your nails, keep them in good shape, and apply a neutral shade.
Any time you see that red SALE sign in a shop, go in and look. Get digging through the rails, get trying on – I got a pair of Warehouse leather boots for a tenner last week – that’s me set for leaping in puddles all winter whilst not going out of style…
Go for the vouchers
Sign up to voucher schemes like Groupon. If you just can’t live without your spa visits and pampering, then this is the perfect way to nab those luxuries on a budget. Also look out for voucher codes online or in magazines this will save you a few quid too!
Make your mark in Primark
I have a conscience and I am aware that cheap, disposable clothes from places like Primark are bad for the environment. They can’t be recycled and they go straight into landfill instead of second-hand shops. That said, they do sell some quality items like £10 jeans. As long as they fit, and they look good, who can tell the difference between them and Miss Sixty?
Put it down!
Impulse buying is one of the best feelings there is; it releases chemicals similar to sex, or so I’m told. Well, when you’ve got kids, impulse buying needs to go the same way as your sex life…out of the window. Make a list of what you need and stick to it. I’m sure we’ve all got a wardrobe full of impulse purchases that looked great on the hanger… at the time.
Pound the pound stores
Don’t pay £5 for a bottle of shampoo, when you could find the same brand for a quid in the Pound Store. These are also a great place to find make-up essentials like eye shadow and lipstick.Also look out for household items,these shops sell a wide range of essential items we all use around the home everyday and are a fraction of the price of supermarkets.
Feel the squeeze
Be thrifty with your products. No need to slather your hair in loads of shampoo – you actually need much less than you think you do. The same applies for conditioner and moisturiser.A good shampoo and conditioner will last so much longer as you wont have to use half a bottle just to feel the effects! Just because a shampoo doesn’t lather it doesn’t mean its not doing its job; most expensive shampoo’s won’t lather so don’t be fooled into thinking you need a massive dollop to clean your hair.
Back to basics
What woman doesn’t enjoy a make-up bag overflowing with the very latest lotions and potions? Unfortunately, you’ll have to sacrifice those top-end products, and go back to the essentials like lip gloss, blusher, concealer, eye shadow, and mascara. If your skin is tired and dull looking, then quit smoking, drink plenty of water and get more sleep.
Make your own
Now, I know I’m getting into the realms of what some would consider witchcraft, after all, who in their right mind would make their own deodorant? But don’t be fooled: Your food cupboard is treasure trove of ingredients – for instance, use olive oil to moisturise, baking soda as toothpaste, and even baking soda as a deodorant. Making your own deodorant is simple and fun, and you can scent it how you like, with a few drops of essential oil. It’s remarkably effective, and it contains none of those Alzheimer nasties that are present in most under arm deodorants.