9 tips for updating your wardrobe on a budget

Nikki Parkinson How to 23 Comments

9 tips wardrobe budget SY

There is a change in the air, a change in temperature that for me is always a signal to start thinking about how I can update my wardrobe for the season. I never overhaul it completely but I do like to add new pieces to give fresh options with which to play.

For me, this translates into giving me a little lift, especially on those days when I really could do with one.

Any wardrobe updating I do has to fit within our family budget too. I’d love to tell you that I’m good at that but I’d be telling a big porky pie. I don’t always have wins in that department but out of necessity (and maturity!) I’ve become more mindful on what I spend my hard-earned money and what earns a place in my wardrobe.

I also appreciate that everyone’s budget is different. What I think is a good bargain may be more than you’re ever willing to pay for one piece. Similarly what I think is out of my league budget-wise, might be very do-able for you. I think it’s important to shop within your means and only buy what’s truly necessary.

My only rule? Don’t buy it unless you LOVE it. If you don’t love it in the store, there is little chance you will when you get home.

Apart from that over-riding rule, head on over to Planning With Kids, where I’m sharing my nine tips for updating your wardrobe on a budget at any time of the year.

Do you have any tips for saving money on clothes purchases?


  • sharonthoms

    Hi Nikki, just found your blog and I’m loving your style ideas and the community feel of your site. Budget shopping is unfortunately all I’m up for at the moment so It’s cool to find someone who knows where to find the bargains.

    • Thanks Sharon and welcome – I believe in making fashion and this conversation very accessible!

  • Sarah

    Thanks for the tips Nikki. On your advice I emptied my wardrobe (5 bags off to Vinnies) and spent a few hundred to replace/add to the basics you suggested. Everything from a bargain $20 tee to $120 jeans that fit (god I’m in love with them) and now all of a sudden I can and want to wear everything I have in my wardrobe. The best tip of all was $13 the Garnier BB creme, hullo!

    • Oh brilliant Sarah … everything will now fit into place and be less stressful when it comes to working out what you’re wearing!

  • Courtney

    Thanks for this post. I love that you acknowledged budget is different to all of us. I am so tired of people thinking a $90 t shirt is a bargain!

    • I know Courtney. We need to respect that. And there are so many ways these days to pick up that $90 for a quarter of the price … and don’t get me started on the fact that sometimes the quality doesn’t match the price tag.

  • I usually have one big spend per season. I buy one or two expensive statement pieces that are classic and hopefully will get me through a few seasons. Then I mix it up with a few trending items. I’ve just unpacked my stored winter items, and I’m so excited to make up new combinations! I’ve determined that I need one or two pairs of ankle boots & a few coloured knits for an injection of colour!

    • I like your strategy. It’s common sense plus a bit of seasonal fun. Have a ball shopping for the new pieces.

  • Nikki I started only buying things that I love a while back and it’s saved me a lot of money I’m sure. I still have the occasional slip up, but by and large it’s an effective mantra! I would also add ‘don’t browse clothes when you are bored, hungry or pre-menstrual’ ~ especially if you work just two minutes’ walk from London’s biggest shopping street, Oxford Street, like I do!

  • Wendy

    I try and buy out of season as much as possible. Stick with the pieces or styles you really like and buy it on sale – or buy online. UK and US climates work well to buy on sale for us here.! I guess this wouldn’t work if you were totally ‘on trend’, but it works for me! Mind you I have only just started this theory, but it seems work.

    • It will increasly work as there is such an overlap of the trends between hemispheres that we’re no longer behind, if that makes sense!

  • Because of following your blog I now hold wardrobe audits (with compulsory glass of wine) at least twice a year. I then write a list of gaps in my current clothing, things that need replacing (ie white t-shirts) and I TRY to only buy off the list.
    I also follow your mantra “only buy it if you LOVE it”

    • Natasha that makes me SO happy. Think of all the money you are saving 🙂

      • Exactly Nikki!! I save by not buying the same items repeatedly just because they suit me (hello 7 little black dresses) and instead buy items I need AND love.

  • Lisa Mckenzie

    Yes I do ,I usually start early in the new season as things seemed to be cheaper and I am lucky that I have a great thrift store nearby that I can usually pick up some clothing and boots brand new at very low prices ,also trade secret has some great things and ebay and I Live by your rule Only buy it if you love it!

    • I love that you do! Wish me luck – I’m thrifting with my son tomorrow for crazy clothes for his uni parties!

      • Lisa Mckenzie

        My advise would be to look at everything I have a system go through the “expensive” rack fist the brand new and designer one and then trawl the rest it is an art though I am sure a seasoned shopper like you will get a bargain,Good Luck Nikki.

  • Janie at BfB

    I have a fabulous second hand shop in my area. I’m lucky that there are women around me that like to spend on a new wardrobe every year and sell their barely worn designer clothes. I’ve found some incredible buys. Everything is dry-cleaned before being put on the shelves and lots of things even still have the price tag one them!

    • Lisa Mckenzie

      You are Lucky like me Janie ,they are a godsend aren’t they!,I got brand new Tony Bianco Copenhagen leather boots this morning that were $190 for $10!

      • Janie at BfB

        Wow. thats really a bargain and just in time for Winter!

  • I now live by your rule ‘Don’t buy it unless you love it’. Priceless advice 😉