New semester, new style, no money?

Bargain shopping 3
Living on a college budget doesn’t mean you have to go without style. (Photo by Maddi Dayten)

Housing deposits, school supplies, tuition payments and plenty of spending on textbooks all mean the start of a new semester. It is no secret that student expenses can be not only pricey, but stressful too.

After the receipts pile up and the savings accounts disappear, how do college students find the extra cash to spend on new clothes? It turns out many BYU students are pretty creative in their quest for fashionable frugality.

From coupon cutting to online shopping, many students have found a balance between being thrifty and stylish. There are a few secrets that savvy shoppers have in finding a deal, and most are quite simple.

Stephanie Toman, a business management major from Redmond, Wash., said thrift stores and clearance racks are her secrets to saving.

“I think you just have to shop smart,” Toman said. “Put on your blinders and go straight to clearance.”

In addition to clearance racks, Toman said rating purchase choices on practicality is important. Shoppers should ask themselves if the item is a good investment, Toman said, and make sure they could match it with multiple things in their closets.

So where are the best deals in the area? Many students said the outlets are a good place to start, as well as thrift stores, garage sales and Deseret Industries. Other students pointed to online shopping as an increasingly popular way to buy nice clothes for prices that won’t hurt their wallets.

Spencer Reynolds, an industrial design major from Fort Walton Beach, Fla., said the real secret to saving on back-to-school clothing is making sure clothes will last a long time.

“If you take care of what you have, it won’t wear out as quickly,” Reynolds said. “I don’t shop very often because I take really good care of my clothes.”

Jessica Oberg, a family life major from Cache Valley, said budgeting is a fundamental step in thrifty shopping. Shoppers need to focus on what they need, not just on what they want.

“You need to have a budget on how much you can afford to spend,” Oberg said. “Know what you need, and get the needs first.”

Oberg also said because shoppers are able to find random pieces that work together for a great deal, it is possible to be both thrifty and fashionable.

Whether it be budgeting, taking care of one’s clothes or finding cheap buys at thrift stores and clearance sales, the average student shopper can find a way to lessen back-to-school bills and still start off the school year looking fresh.

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