Shopping on a budget can be hard. Some people are naturally good at it, others aren’t. I am definitely one of the second types. Budgeting, money management, bargain hunting; none of these things are particularly my forte. So when one of my colleagues at This is Canberra set me a challenge to put an entire outfit together for a total budget of $50, I jumped at the chance to try and curb my overspending and prove to myself that I can bargain hunt with the best of them.
My strategy for this challenge was to pick items that worked well together as a complete outfit, which could also be easily integrated into my existing wardrobe. For this reason I planned to look for classic colours and cuts, assuming nothing more unique caught my eye. And where better to put my plan in motion than the home of affordable fashion finds, the Fash ‘n’ Treasure market, held every month (more or less) at Exhibition Park in Canberra.
As I walked through the doors clutching my wallet and cat print shopping bag, I felt optimistic and assured of success. This lasted all of five minutes. At the second stall I examined, I found a vintage pair of bejewelled Christian La Croix court shoes for $55. They were so beautiful I bought them without even thinking twice. In an instant my budget was blown and all I had was a pair of very special shoes that didn’t even fit.
I decided that this false start didn’t count, that the challenge hadn’t really started yet and that I could therefore still redeem myself. So with a renewed sense of purpose I circled the markets three times before committing to the pieces I eventually chose, chatting to stall holders all along the way. I bought a parka from the well-travelled Claire who was eagerly selling off the last of her things in anticipation of moving to America the very next day. Sisters Rebecca and Julie, who have been holding a stall at the markets on and off for years, took me through their offering and helped me pick out the perfect top.
I am extremely proud to say that I brought an entire outfit home for only $49. Not only did I find some great pieces that work well together, I scored some amazing bargains, the best being a skater skirt for only $5. In the spirit of my success, I would like to set you a challenge. Can you put together an entire outfit for only $50? The Fash ‘n’ Treasure market is on this Saturday; and remember, the story behind the clothes can be just as interesting as buying them is enjoyable.
The Outfit: Asos Parka $25, skater skirt $5, gold knit $10, clogs $9
Fash ‘n’ Treasure is on this Saturday, November 7
at EPIC (Exhibition Park in Canberra)
10:00 am – 3:00 pm