Get high fashion for low prices

webphotographeer/Getty Images

The highlight of the year for the fashion magazine industry is here: the September issues. Chances are, you have high fashion on your mind.

Back-to-school and “new wardrobe” typically go hand in hand, but before you blow all your cash on new threads inspired by runway looks, get creative and head to consignment and thrift shops.

Your Outfit Of The Day doesn’t have to wipe out your bank account, and in fact, it shouldn’t.

I’ll fill you in on how you can achieve outfit #goals without the crazy price tag, how many millennials are getting savvier about retirement and why you might want to go on a social media cleanse.


The steal: Rent the Runway, an online service that provides designer dress and accessory rentals, is having its semiannual clearance sale, and the deals are jaw-dropping. You can buy (not rent!) designer dresses and accessories for up to 75% off retail prices. #Swoon

When is it? This particular sale runs until the end of the month, according to a Rent the Runway representative, or until inventory runs out.

What else do I need to know? Keep in mind that the designer clothes for sale aren’t fresh off the rack, and “have been lightly worn and may have imperfections.” All sales are final, so if you have buyer’s remorse, you’ll just have to deal.

Bottom line: If you have expensive taste and drool over the looks that are showcased on the runways during Fashion Week, this is your chance to dress like an A-lister for a lot less. Snag a Missoni dress for $257, discounted from $1,225, or a Kate Spade purse for $89, marked down from $298. Fake it till you make it, right?

RATE SEARCH: Find a low-rate credit card today.


By avoiding social media

If you’re on a shoestring budget, you might want to avoid mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. A new survey from TD Ameritrade found that 1 in 4 millennials say they feel pressured to keep up with their friends’ spending, and two-thirds of millennials claim social media causes them to compare their lifestyle and spending to others.

Social media is the perfect place to low-key brag about the amazing Thailand vacay you took or the designer shoes you just snagged, so it’s no surprise that perfectly filtered photos bombard social media accounts.

But just remember these types of photos don’t show the overtime hours someone had to work to get there, or the credit card debt they’re now sinking in because of that impulsive purchase. Are you prone to FOMO? Might want to go on a social media cleanse, for the sake of your budget.

At the thrift store

Take a cue from Macklemore: Pop some tags and head to your local thrift store in celebration of National Thrift Store Day on Aug. 17. You don’t have to be a hipster or Brooklynite to appreciate the good deals offered at resale shops, which often offer a huge variety of styles.

Frugality and fashion don’t have to be mutually exclusive!

Here are some tips to help you make the most of your thrifting:

  • Comparison shop beforehand at brand-name stores or online so you can get an idea of what the average retail price is for items.
  • Snag a better deal on out-of-seasons styles, which are usually marked down even further.
  • Shop early in the day to scoop up the best deals. You’ll get first pick.

On your wedding

You’ve got the ring and can now turn your elaborate Pinterest wedding board into reality … until you saw the prices of the products you pinned. Ouch.

Like a good faux fur coat, you can make things look much more expensive and luxurious than they actually are. Nobody wants to look cheap in front of all their family and friends on their wedding day, but it can be hard to justify the (sometimes insane) costs associated with weddings. The Knot, one of the nation’s top wedding planning websites, found that the average wedding cost hit an all-time high in 2015 at $32,641.

You don’t have to elope in Vegas or head to the courthouse to have an affordable wedding. Here are a few tips on how to pull off a cheap wedding, without looking cheap. You can read even more here.

  • Have your wedding ceremony and reception in the same location.
  • Keep a neutral color palette to make the wedding feel more expensive and timeless.
  • Use locally grown, in-season florals.
  • Avoid silk centerpieces, cheap party favors and cash bars.

RATE SEARCH: Find the best CD rates on


Unlike the stereotype, many millennials aren’t flinging their money around recklessly at bottomless brunch or on the latest tech toy. Young adults actually are  saving more than they were last year on … wait for it … retirement.

Bankrate’s August Financial Survey Index found that 22% of millennials ages 18 to 25 are contributing more toward retirement than they were last year.

I’m relatively new to the workforce, so retirement seems lifetimes away. It’s hard enough for me to make plans for the upcoming weekend; how can I possibly think about where my finances will be 40 years from now? The thought of that is — quite honestly — overwhelming.

However, after talking to a few millennials who are increasing their retirement contributions and thinking years into the future, I realized how necessary it is for me to have a retirement plan and stick with it. I’m determined to increase my contributions yearly and to save enough money to be able to eventually retire comfortably.

You can read more about the millennials who are making major moves toward retirement here.

RATE SEARCH: Find the best savings account for your emergency fund.


Warehouse retailers like Costco and Sam’s Club provide members with amazing deals on a wide-range of items, but the annual memberships fees are a major drag.

Warehouse stores often have deep discounts on prescription drugs, and you don’t need to be a member to buy them at Costco (at least where it’s required by state law) or Sam’s Club.

Sam’s Club Pharmacy, for example, stocks over 200 of the most common prescribed medications for just $4, and you don’t have to be a member to purchase them. You also won’t get charged a non-member fee for pharmaceuticals if you have a script.

Your cold might ruin your weekend plans, but at least it won’t break your budget.


I sooooo deserve this!

A photo posted by NYC Lady (@newyorkcitylady) on

Sarah Berger

I am a journalist and penny-pinching millennial living in New York City on a budget.