As per my blog heading I live a thrifty lifestyle but for me this doesn’t always mean buying the cheapest option available. I gave up large shopping hauls many years ago so now am far more considerate and selective with my purchases this means I own a lot less but have very hard working items. I’d always rather have fewer quality pieces that stand the test of time as opposed to a huge collection of cheap items that aren’t built to last. With that in mind below are some of the items I’ll happily pay a bit more for and how I save money when purchasing them. Investment pieces really can save you money in the long run. Note – I buy almost all my clothing 2nd hand now to enable me to afford better quality brands previously out of my price range.
Sterling Silver Jewellery – I started buying minimalist 925 silver jewellery about 10 years ago because I can’t wear cheap earrings without having a bad reaction and I don’t like the faux gold effect of cheaper items. I find silver items last so much longer than their cheap metal counterparts, can be slept in and worn in the shower with less fear of breakage – I regularly forget to take necklaces and rings off so for me this is a massive plus. Buying silver doesn’t have to be an expensive as people might think – I’ve picked up many items over the years with 70% off from Accessorize and used Nectar card points to get a 925 ring for less than £10 in Sainsbury (!). I value my smaller jewellery collection a lot more and it has a much higher sentimental value as I now only buy pieces for special occasions. My most expensive silver item cost £30, I’ve had it 8 years and its as good as new but most items I stick around a £10 spend.
Leather Hand Bags – I gave up buying “plastic” hand bags around 7 years ago after finding they didn’t wear very well and needed replacing much more quickly than the first leather bag I ever bought. It was a classic black leather grab bag for around £50 instead of £225 from TK Maxx. Last year I had someone ask if it was new so it really has stood the test of time! For those of you that like a bit of maths – £50 divided by the 7 years I’ve had it means my bag has cost me just over £7 a year and it has so much life left in it still so for me its 100% worth every penny!
By buying well made, timeless, non-fad styles I find they save me money in the long run and I haven’t needed to buy a new bag in 2 years now. I love browsing the O2 Icon Outlet as they have Osprey and Radley outlets and offer further 20% discount for O2 customers during certain times. TK Maxx stores and their website are a much more accessible option with great savings too. I once picked up a small leather evening bag for £15 on clearance with no defects. I find it helpful to think about what I really want a bag for before buying e.g. if it needs an over the shoulder strap, space for my sunglasses and purse, secure zip closure etc so I’m not disappointed later.
Leather Shoes – for the same reasons as bags. For me they’re better quality, last longer and are far better for my feet than cheap high street offerings. I also find half sizes a better fit which are easier to find in leather shoes. I prioritise comfort and versatility by buying staples that match lots of outfits to avoid wasting money on something I won’t get a lot of wear out of. For example I own one perfect pair of black basic winter boots from Doc Martens which I bought in “worn once” condition on eBay for £50 instead of closer to £150. I knew they’d fit perfectly after trying on the most similar pair in a store and owning others pairs from this brand so I knew what size I needed. I particularly love these as the stitching isn’t yellow so they can be dressed up more if needed. The DM soles are really comfy and indestructible – I’ve had one pair 10 years that I bought for a similar price and they don’t show their age at all.
If your feet are small enough browsing the children’s section can be a great way to save on popular brands, especially for trainers. Some stores go all the way up to a UK 5.5 in the kids’ section and the styles are identical to adult’s pairs for a fraction of the price. Otherwise I tend to go for outlets some of which are available online like Clarks who also offer 10% off your first order and guarantee at least 30% off savings but most are generally even better. eBay has some genuine outlets for stores like Skechers.
A Good Winter Coat is something I opted to invest in this year after waiting incredibly patiently for online sales and doing a lot of browsing to ensure I’d found “the one”. By waiting it out for discounts I saved over £100. Signing up for the stores’ emails helped me to keep an eye on it as I was alerted to promotions and discounts. In the past I picked up a black, double breasted United Colours Of Benneton wool coat for less than £40 in TK Maxx by buying out of season in the summer and I’ve had it about 5 years. Making sure you really love an item and buying a classic style is a good way to ensure an investment piece is worth it.
Technology – I kept my old laptop going for over 6 years and it was barely clinging onto life before finally I finally upgraded this year. I sought advice from a reliable colleague who was hugely into computers and tech to see what I’d need before consulting the John Lewis website as they offer 2 year guarantees on all technology items and will price match other stores. I was able to buy a laptop when on promotion saving myself £100. It’s always worth checking with workplaces to see if you’re able to get discounted or even free software.
Belts – Admittedly I only own one but buying a thin black leather one covers all eventualities and so far has been with me about 3 years. I used to just buy cheap offerings from New Look or Accessorize but found that these fell apart pretty quickly so it was worth paying that bit more for leather. Marks and Spencers or Next are my go-to for these where you can pick some up for around £10.
Designer Watch – I own one designer watch which is kept for weekends or “best”. I purchased it through Groupon for around £22 – it had an RRP of £85. I opted for one with a feature face that I love and a plain black leather strap that would be easily replaceable with any brand when it wears out.
Little Black Dress – is a great place to start with investment items as these can be used for countless occasions and by avoiding fad styles they never date. I got really lucky by finding a Ted Baker LBD in great condition in a charity shop for £16.
If you have any stories of buying more expensive items to save in the long run or investment pieces I’d love to hear in the comments.
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