You Have Great Clothes, Crippling Debt and No Money. What Do You Do Now?

It’s the ugly elephant in the room and the silent anxiety that follows us around. And although you fear the elephant, you also really love your latest clothing acquirement. However, you’ve had to freeze half of your credit cards because the debt is overwhelming, your credit is smashed, and your extra cash is going towards utilities and rent, and you stopped eating. Raise a hand if you’ve ever been there.

The struggle to be trendy and have the latest fashion pieces is super real, and your worst enemy is that things actually cost money. I’ve always loved clothing and sometimes would skip a meal or two because I had just snagged a new top or a skirt, because I had forgotten that I needed to eat. The secret to being successful with your finances isn’t to make more money because the more you make, the more you would inevitably spend. Marrying a wealthy man/woman is also not the answer to your woes because he/she might not be as spendy as you are (that’s why they’re wealthy….). The secret to your success with finances and fashion is in how you spend and how you save.  In order to be successful you’ll need a few things.

1. Work on getting rid of debt and get an accountability partner.

This is someone who can help you creep out of your debt by keeping you accountable for what you’re spending, someone who helps you make a budget. Total honesty and transparency is needed, because you’ll have to tell them everything. You might not think you need one, but trust me, it feels so amazing knowing that someone has your back. They can encourage you, ask you the hard questions, and also praise you when you’ve made a small victory. It has to be someone you trust, and someone who’s a little more savvy when it comes to money. Being honest, transparent, and willing to change is the key to success. If you don’t work on getting rid of debt now, it’ll always hang over your head.

2. A solid budget plan.

I was always useless when it came to budgeting, until my bills were falling behind and I had no clue how much money I had spent on dinner and drinks that month. After I started making a budget, it was so much clearer to see where my money was going, and what it needed to be saved for. It was also way easier to carve out a little shopping money, because every penny had been allocated. Whether it was food, rent, transportation etc, it all had a dollar amount attached to it. If you spent too much in one area, you had to take it out of another. Credit cards weren’t an option (at one point I had maxed them out). Take any left over money and put it into savings.

3. An aggressive attitude towards finding the best deals.

Don’t take Uber just because it’s convenient. If it’s costing too much to travel, then it’s time to look for a cheaper alternative. Is it less glamorous? Yes. Will it probably take longer? Yes. Will it save you money in the end? Yes. Sometimes it means moving closer to work, or if that’s not an option then car pooling with friends, taking the train, or even finding something closer to home. Is it within biking or walking distance? Those are great alternatives if you live in the city.

4. Learn how to differentiate between needs and wants.

There are certain wardrobe items that we all need. And as a style-loving girl, you’ll know exactly what wardrobe basics you should have. If you don’t, then it’s time to choose a wise friend and go through your closet together. Purge all the nonsensical things. It’s much easier to live off the “needs” with a few “wants”, than to have a closet brimming with random things that were pretty once or twice but have since lost its glimmer. When you’re out shopping, ask yourself if you need the Giambattista Valli sandals or whether you just want them. Can you find similar styles elsewhere, or get them secondhand. Are you buying them because of the brand, or because of the style.

5. Downsizing.

Your clothes are a great asset and selling things you don’t wear is an excellent way to get extra cash. That includes items that are still amazing, but that you haven’t worn in a while. If you didn’t wear it in the last 3 months (basic weather related clothing aside) then it can probably go. If you have shoes that are cute, but you know aren’t really in style, then sell them. Get any extra cash you can out of your wardrobe and use it to pay bills. Some great sites for selling is Vestiaire Collective, Tradesy, Vinted and obviously Ebay.

6. Thrifting, H&M, Forever 21, Zara and sale racks.

These are your new best friends. As gut wrenching as that sounds to the girl who spends freely and expensivley, you have to face the consequences of your decisions, and you’ll realize that the brand names are a no-go for now. I actually love going into consignment or thrift stores because I always find amazing things at a fraction of the cost, and it feels like treasure hunting. I found my all time favorite vintage silk blouse at a thrift store for $1.00 and it was perfect. These places are great for vintage pieces as well, especially denim. H&M and Forever 21 and a slew of other bargain stores have really great stuff for reasonable prices, and they have great sales. These places are musts.

Society teaches us that we deserve to be instantly gratified, and that if we want something, we should just have it. Sadly, this isn’t what builds long-term wealth and it causes more frustration and headaches, especially if you’re married. Think long-term solutions so that you can enjoy the finer things in life when it actually matters. You don’t want to be old and totally down and out because you threw all your money at $20 drinks and hundreds of dollars at a pair of shoes when you couldn’t really afford it.

Yay to financial freedom!!

Let me know if this article was helpful! Do you agree? Disagree? We’re all on the same journey.

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