Guest Post: This post was written by Ella Davidson of Coupons.org. Davidson regularly contributes to couponing and deals site, Coupons. The website has been featured on CNBC.
Anyone who’s ever been on top of the trends in the world of fashion, food, art, or culture can tell you one thing: being on trend isn’t cheap. Keeping up with the ever-changing whims of whatever community you inhabit can quickly take a toll on your wallet if you’re not careful. However, you don’t have to quit following trends in order to start being frugal – you just have to be savvy. Make the most out of every dollar by following a few simple guidelines and stay on top of all the hottest trends of 2012.
One of the most important factors in following a trend on a budget is to have a budget, period. If your strategy for saving money in 2012 is to “spend less” or “make smarter choices”, you’re already in trouble. The way to save money on trends that will change throughout the year is to determine how much you’re willing to spend before you find yourself in the store with a purchase on the counter. Sit down with your monthly expenses, savings goals, and other information and see how much you are comfortable spending every month, every quarter, or whatever time period makes most sense for you.
Once you have determined how much you are willing and able to spend keeping up with the top trends, you can start making wise choices about how to maximize your purchases. There are a few strategies to pursue that can help you save significant cash while ensuring you are not sacrificing your commitment to the trends.
For fashion trend-watchers, buying a few signature pieces that adhere to each season’s trends is an excellent way to get the most mileage out of your purchases. For example, one of Spring 2012’s biggest trends is bright, bold color blocking. Instead of completely revamping your wardrobe with all new pieces, invest in a few trend accessories and pieces and make it loud and clear. Buying one good pair of hot pink jeans or a bright red belt will allow you to work with, rather than replace, your wardrobe while remaining on trend. Supplement your wardrobe by buying less high-end but still high-quality pieces from retailers where you can get discounts, like thrift stores or major chains.
People staying on top of culture trends, like fashion-followers, have to be picky given the volume of material available for them to spend money on. The number of subscriptions, memberships, and other ongoing expenses that come with staying in touch with arts and culture can also grow to be quite expensive. Look for a discount whenever possible, and always try to weigh the benefits against the costs; scout sites like Groupon for offers, as they regularly team up with organizations like museums or magazines to offer discount rates. Do the math to see how things like one-time passes compare to annual memberships based on your budget and needs. Always figure out the real-money cost of your purchases before you make them! And remember, you don’t need to have every item, magazine, subscription, or anything else to be on top of a trend; you just need enough to stay informed.
Being in-tune with the top trends in pop culture, art, and everything else is something many people enjoy, and should not be sacrificed in the name of frugality. Rather, trend-watchers should embrace their passions and make room for them in their budget. By being conscious of spending and making reasoned decisions, you avoid future regret and guilt about doing what you love. Instead, make a choice to finance your following wisely and make staying on top of the latest trends as fun as it should be.