We all want to keep up with fashion trends and look our best, but it’s an area of spending that can really stack up quickly. On this week’s show, the ever-stylish Shivani Gopal, founder of The Remarkable Woman, shared her tips on how to look luxe for less. Watch the segment and then read on for more advice.
As Kochie pointed out on the show, “If you look good, you generally feel good, but with the cost of living creeping up each year, sometimes the purse strings need to be tightened when it comes to personal upkeep.” But it’s not all bad news, there are ways you can look a million bucks without spending anywhere near that amount. Here are 15 ways to do exactly that.
Look luxe for less tips: Fashion
1. Buy secondhand
If you’re happy to buy used, op shops and secondhand online shops are a great way to look luxe for less. There are bargains to be had at Vinnies, the Salvos and other thrift shops. Not only will you be updating your wardrobe, but you’ll be supporting some hardworking charities while you do it.
Two top tips for scoring the best fashion at op shops: one, volunteer your spare time at your local store and you’ll be front and centre when new garments come in; two, take a friend as two sets of eyes scouring the racks are definitely better than one.
2. Rent, don’t buy
Instead of spending hundreds on a dress or pair of shoes you might only wear for one or two occasions, rent your dream outfit instead. It’s increasingly becoming a mainstream thing to do (though, let’s face it, nobody needs to know you’re renting anyway!). Choose an outfit online and have it delivered to your home, wear it to your event and return it when you’re done. If an outfit arrives and doesn’t fit, most outlets will refund your money provided you return it with all tags intact. On the show, Gopal spoke with the team at Glam Corner to get the lowdown on how renting works, but there are plenty of places to choose from. Our picks:
3. Swap with friends
If you’ve got friends that wear the same size clothing as you, organising a clothes swap night is a genius way to look luxe for less. Ask everyone to bring along any clothing or shoes that they are no longer wearing as much as they used to. Hang all the items up and browse each others’ selections. There’s always something in each pile that each party wants to swap to add to their own collection.
A clothes swap is a fun night in with the girls and a great way to boost your wardrobe without spending a cent. There’s a good rundown on exactly how to organise one here.
4. Wait for the sales
It goes without saying that a key way to save money on fashion is to wait for the item to go on sale. There is always something on sale! If you desperately have to have a particular outfit, employ the tried-and-tested budgeting tool of the Pause. Don’t buy it straight-away, but wait at least 48 hours. If you’re still adamant you need it now, go ahead and treat yourself. Chances are you’ll be much less certain and are happy to wait another couple of weeks to pick it up on sale up for much less.
More tips to save: 10 killer budgeting strategies
Look luxe for less: Hair
5. Buy a package
Gopal’s top tip for saving money at the hairdressers is to ask whether they offer group of 10 packages. “They’ll love you for the cash up front,” says Gopal. “And you’ll find yourself with up to a 20 percent discount on services you were already splashing out on.”
This is a particularly good tip for anyone who gets a regular weekly blowdry, fringe trim or root retouch. It also works for beauty therapy treatments like massages, manicures and regular facials. Ask at your regular salon to see if this is something they offer. If they don’t, it might be time to shop around to find a new salon that does.
6. Try a training night
Christopher Hanna suggests coming along to a trading night at a top salon. These are nights where the junior stylists are trained to learn new skills and techniques. They’ll do your service for a fraction of the usual cost, saving you loads. Don’t worry, the trainees are fully supervised by senior stylists, so you’re in good hands.
7. Go to a hairdressing school
Even cheaper than an in-store training night is a cut or colour at a hairdressing school. They are in every capital city around Australia (hit up Google), but here are some of the top spots:
- Tony & Guy Education – Melbourne and Sydney
- MD College – Sydney
- Vibe College – Brisbane
- Adelaide Institute of Hair and Beauty – Adelaide
- Taylor Weir – Perth
- Canberra Institute of Technology – Canberra
Contact the college to find out how to become a customer.
8. Don’t overlook walk-in salons
Many of the bargain walk-in hairdressing outlets like Just Cuts and Price Attack are staffed by top-notch hairdressers. The reason the are cheaper is they don’t offer a lot of the ‘bells and whistles’ that other salons charge for. If you’re happy to forgo your cup of tea and blowdry, you can get a really good cut and colour for much less than a traditional salon might charge. The only way to find out of a salon is suitable for you is to head in and have a chat and maybe take a chance. You might never return to booked appointments again.
9. DIY colour
If you haven’t tried colouring your own hair for a while, you might be pleasantly surprised. DIY home hair colour technology has come a long way in recent years. Ask your friends for recommendations for brands they like, then try it for yourself. If you carefully follow the instructions, you’ll limit the chance of something going wrong. Now is not the time for ‘freelancing’ with the time rules or adding your own streaks or foils, etc. Just step-by-step by the book and pat yourself on the back for the hundreds of dollars you’re saving while you do so.
Try these strategies too: 10 easy tips to help feed your family on a budget
Look luxe for less: Beauty
10. Buy online
As much as we are keen to support local, when it comes to big brand beauty items, online shopping is where the savings are. Shop around the big discount suppliers like:
11. DIY beauty products
There are plenty of options online for making your own natural skincare products at a fraction of the cost of regular products. Even better, you won’t be paying big bucks for a lot of chemicals. Try one of these face masks and see how you go:
Honey and lemon
The antibacterial properties in both honey and lemon will help clear your skin.
Mix half a lemon with a tablespooon of honey and apply in a thick layer over face, avoiding the eye area. Leave on for about 20 minutes and then rinse of with lukewarm water.
Avocado and oats
This one is great for nourishing sensitive skin. Oats have anti-inflammatory properties and the fats in avocado hydrate the skin without inflamming it.
Mash together half an avocado with half a cup of cooled cooked rolled oats (just follow the packet instructions to cook the oats). Apply to the skin, avoiding the eye area, and leave on for about 15 minutes. Rinse thoroughly.
12. Express treatments
If you’re keen to save money but want to keep going into your regular beauty salon, try an express version of your favourite treatment. These treatments are often the same products, but with less of the luxurious faffing from the therapist. Less time, equals less money to have to pay. You might not feel quite as relaxed as you would during a longer treatment, but your skin will still be getting the full benefit of a salon treatment. So, it’s really a no-brainer way to look luxe for less.
13. Head back to school
Just as for hairdressing (see above), beauty schools often offer bargain treatments when training their students. You can get your make up done, enjoy a massage, or try out any number of beauty treatments, all for much less. Try places like Australian Beauty School for makeup and treatments like facials, waxing and tinting, or Naturecare College for massage, nutrition and natropathy treatments.
14. Package deals
Instead of having a facial one week and getting your waxing or tinting done another, try blocking out some time to get the full works done at once. Most salons will charge less to have all your treatments done together. This is often because it takes the therapist less time, as she can be waxing your legs while your eyebrow tint colour sets, etc. It’s definitely worth asking at your favourite salon to see how you can package together a bargain. Looking luxe for less was never easier!
15. Use multi-purpose products
If you strip back many products, you’ll find they are actually all pretty similar. Do you really need a separate eye cream, if your face cream is made for sensitive skin? Do you need a separate hand wash to your body wash? And would a moisturiser like Cetaphil do to keep both your body and face well hydrated? Have a look in your bathroom cabinets and decide for yourself what you can and can’t live without. Make a pact with yourself that once you’ve finished up product X, you won’t buy it again.
16. Use less
It’s the age-old way to save money on anything: just use less of something in the first place. Many of us have a tendency to splash around way too much product and if we used things sparingly, we’d have to replace them far less. So, use a loofah with your body wash every time. Dab on your foundation and apply by hand instead of wiping most of it away again using a sponge. Mix a dab of expensive night cream with a slug of good-quality basic moisturiser to help it go further. Ask yourself if you really need to wear make up every single day or whether a day or two off each week is feasible. You might just find that looking luxe for less is as simple as embracing your natural beauty in the first place.