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Style on a Student Budget

I am currently two things: a) a poor student, and b) a shopaholic. Sadly these two things do not go well together, which leaves me regularly feeling like a drama queen as I moan about how unfair life is when all I want to do is buy the whole of Zara but I’ve spent all of the term’s student loan on rent/food/too many VKs in the Lemmy. Sigh.

Over my time as a student I have found a few ways to still shop and stay fashionable whilst on a budget and, as I am sure many of you are in the same position as me, I’ve put together a few of my favourite tips:

Charity shops

Don’t underestimate charity shop shopping! One of my favourite things to do is scour the charity shops in Exeter (there are so many along Sidwell Street), and it’s even more fun when you’re with friends. Whilst there’s a lot of stuff in charity shops that you probably wouldn’t be caught dead in, they’re a minefield for hidden gems and unique pieces that will cost you hardly anything. I love to buy jumpers and knitwear from charity shops as they tend to be such a bargain for the quality. And the very best thing about charity shop shopping? You can almost be certain that no one else will be wearing the same pieces as you!


Don’t ignore what’s already in your wardrobe

I love searching through my clothes and finding things lurking at the back of my wardrobe that I’d forgotten how much I love! Not being able to buy as many new clothes all the time really helps you make the most out of what you already own. Plus, being at uni means you are probably living in either halls or a shared house, so use this to your advantage and share clothes with your friends (I live in a house of 5 girls so essentially have 5 wardrobes – the dream).

Whilst you’re searching through your wardrobe, it’s a great idea to have a clear out of any items you no longer want, and sell them on Ebay or Depop to make some money for some new additions to your wardrobe.



Don’t spend on trends

You want to have your basics sorted (we’re talking things such as well-fitting t-shirts in black/white/grey) as they go with everything and anything, and last you season after season. Once you’ve invested in these, you can then just add in a few ‘trend’ pieces that aren’t too expensive. Accessories are a great way to try out a trend without breaking the bank. Another top tip to make sure you don’t waste money is to ask yourself these three questions before you buy: when would you wear it, where would you wear it and what would you wear it with that you already own? If you can answer all of these questions and still really want it, buy it!


Buy things that look more expensive than they are

Cheap embellishment rarely looks any more expensive it is, so choose to buy cheaper bags that don’t have lots of tacky looking hardware. Solid colours and structured pieces always look more expensive than they are. Now you can enjoy looking chic and stylish without the hefty price tag!



I'm Sarah, and I'm the current Fashion and Beauty Editor at Her Campus Exeter. I have dreamed of working for a fashion magazine since I was a little girl, and am now in my third year at Exeter studying English. I'm a self-confessed shopaholic and a lover of brunch, chocolate cake and the seaside.
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