Category: money and happiness

5 Tricks To Make Cheap Clothes Look Expensive

Do you want to make your cheap clothes look expensive? Interested in budget fashion tips? Click through for tips on how to look bougie! #budgetfashion #budgetstyle
Do you want to make cheap clothes look expensive? <- That’s pretty much a trick question because most people would prefer to
a) spend less money
b) look polished, put together, and as though they spent a bit of money and effort on their appearance

If you’re not sure why you should trust my judgement on the matter of ‘making cheap clothes look bougie,’ let me tell you that right one of the crowning moments of my life was being complimented on my outfit on the in street NYC.And everything I was wearing cost less than $20.

If you, too, have a budget to stick to but want to look like you don’t, read on.

5 ways to make cheap clothes look expensive and bougie 

1. Invest in a slip or an inner layer

I think one of the things that separates Cheap Looking Foolishness from Fancy Looking Poshness is lining.

High-end stuff is lined. Stuff from Target isn’t. Just go buy a slip (yes, they still make them) and all of a sudden you don’t have to wear Spanks and your dress fits and flows so much more elegantly. Try to find a white or neutral slip without any lace – you don’t want the texture of the lace showing through the top layer of your $12 dress.

2. Fake leather + shiny metal = no. Canvas + wood = yes 

Pleather is obvious from 8 feet away and shiny metallics look tacky. Matte metal isn’t any more expensive (or real) but it looks much nicer. This bracelet is only $15 but it looks fancy and like some rich relative gave it to you.

Also: canvas. It always looks posh and it’s not expensive. See? Wood bangles are cute and make people think you a) bought them in a pricey museum shop b) spent some time abroad.

3. Take good care of your cheap clothes

These pieces were not built to last. But you can extend their life by:
* Only washing them when they’re really, actually dirty
* Washing them inside out, in cold water, and air drying them
* Using one of these fabric shavers. No exaggeration, this purchase will change your wardrobe life

4. Only wear one trend at a time

Oh, this is terribly boring advice you’ve read a thousand times before. And, really, you should wear whatever you want.

BUT. If you’re in a situation where it would behoove you to ‘pass’ as higher-income or if you’re rubbing elbow with, like, middle-aged donors or board members or the like, you might want to limit the trendiness.

We all look waaaay classier when we pair our sheer neon tops with a black boyfriend blazer and jeans and cute black t-strap sandals, rather than with sequinned dropcrotch pants and those wedge sneaker things. (Again, ‘classy’ can be very overrated so feel free to ignore this advice)

5. Shiny hair + lip gloss + clean nails always look good

Your mom was right.

How do you make your cheaper items look good?

P.S. How to purge your closet without losing your mind

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

How To Save Money Without Hating Your Life

Want to know how to save money + live on a budget HAPPILY? Figure out which expenses + purchases bring you the most just - and then budget accordingly! //
Have you guys ever been broke?
Like, canned-soup, checking-out-library-DVDs, not-sure-if-you-can-afford-the-Maybelline-blush broke?
I have.  I mean, I imagine anyone who’s been 22 has been that broke.  At one point, I had a $15-a-week ‘fun budget’ that I used to cover all non-gas or grocery items.  I felt so clever when I found that $1 second-run theater!

Eventually, I started making a bit more money and had a little financial wiggle room. I started to engage in decadent things like full-priced movie tickets, non-pre-owned clothing, and living by myself. $30 sundresses from Target!  The luxury!And then I started to make even a little bit more money.  And I could drink $12 cocktails, like, once a week.

Every once in a while I’d spend more than $30 on a piece of clothing.  I HAVE ARRIVED! I AM FANCY NOW!But the funny thing was, even though I was making more money – I was saving the same amount.I fell into the trap of spending money because I “could.”

“Grown-ups with real incomes go out to eat a lot.  Maybe I’ll do that now?”

“I can afford Aveda shampoo and I want to smell like fancy dirt.  I’m going to spend $12 on that bottle.”

“It seems like expensive haircuts are better.  Are they better?  That salon is full of cute girls. I’m sure I’ll be cuter if I pay them $60 to cut my hair.”

But when I really thought about it, those $15 an entree meals and $12 shampoo and $60 haircuts weren’t particularly awesome.  Or rather, they didn’t make me happy or make my life easier, the way that some other purchases did.

I decided to actively notice which purchases that made me happiest.

I realized that:
Travel made me happy.
Mid-day pedicures with my girlfriends made me happy.
Perfectly ripe produce and amazing cheese made me happy.
Funny art prints and colorful throw pillows made me happy.
These earrings made me happy.

Name brand clothing, manicures, expensive meals, non-costume jewelry, cable, $4 coffees did not make me happy.

These things are really great and totally happy-i-fying for some people!  It just so happened that – when I really thought about it, I realized – they did nothing for me.

So I stopped spending money on things because I “could” or because I thought that’s what “adults who work hard for their money” do.

I started putting my money where my happy was.

And you know what?  Now I’m happier and my savings account is too.

Figure out what brings you joy and then buy it. Skimp on the other stuff. It's that simple! Click To Tweet

How do you budget for the things you love?  Do you ever find yourself spending more money when you’re earning more?

P.S. How to (at least start to) get your finances under control + How to pay off your soul-crushing debt

My 5-second Money Saving Trick

This one budget tip has saved me hundreds (or thousands!) of dollars! Money saving tricks don't get much easier than this! Click through and start using it today! >>


This money saving trick is possibly head-smacklingly obvious BUT I’M GOING TO TELL YOU ANYWAY. One person’s ‘obvious’ is another person’s ‘you’re blowing my mind!’

So here it is: The money-saving trick that has saved me from thousands of dollars of regrettable purchases. When you see something you want to buy but don’t necessarily need … Think about how much you'd be willing to pay for it before you look at the price tag. Click To Tweet

There are many times when I’ve thought “$7” and turned over a price tag that read “$35.”  But occasionally you’ll find things you’d pay hundreds of dollars for that only cost twenty bucks!
Photo by Marion Michele on Unsplash

7 Cheap Ways To Update Your Space

Want to update your space? Looking for cheap design tips and easy decor tips that make a big difference? Look no further! I swear by these 7 decor ideas - I do them once or twice a year! #budgetdecorating #thriftydecor
Here’s how you know it’s time to update your space:
1. You still have framed photos of That Non-Awesome Ex
2. The dust on your artificial plants has made them appear beige

3. You find yourself spending more money on coffees and cocktails so you can hang out outside of your lack-luster space

Sound familiar? Updating your space doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. You don’t have to take time off work to repaint everything or spend $500 on a new couch. You’d be amazed at the changes you can make with $20 and  a Sunday afternoon!

7 cheap ways to update your space 

1. Swap out the prints and photos in your frames 

If you’re like me, you’ve probably had the same prints and photos in the same frames for, oh, five years. Dig through your Facebook albums and print out some funny photos, find some cool black and white pictures of your grandparents, or just have a poke around Etsy and order a few prints. It’s amazing what a difference it can make! (I love this print and this one.)

2. Level up the cozy by getting a new throw blanket for your living room

Adding a new blanket immediately makes your home warmer + snugglier and can provide a pop of color. If you’re reading this in the summer, get a light, cotton throw. This throw is cuddly and neutral enough to match any color palette.

Thrift stores are rife with grandma-style hand knitted afghans or you can usually pick one up at Target or Ikea for less than $30.

3. Upgrade your lampshades

Innocuous lamp bases are one of my best and most common thrift store purchases. But why match an innocuous base with a bland shade? You can frequently find fun patterned lamp shades at Target and Ikea (apparently the only places I shop other than thrift stores) for under $30. Look at this cool cork lampshade for  $28!

Or you can just make your own!

4. Elevate your space with new towels

Other than your shower curtain, your bath towels are pretty much the most exciting design piece in your bathroom, right? Or at least, they’re probably displayed someplace where everyone can see them?

Why not get something other than white? Or if you’re feeling really kicky, what about something other than terry cloth? Apparently cotton Turkish towels are amazing.

5. Make it smell amazing

I know this seems ridiculous but it really, really isn’t. We all know that an apartment that smells like cinnamon + cloves feels really different than an apartment that smells like gym clothes + litter box. You can make your space smell good with crackling wood wick candlesoil diffusers, or ‘stove simmers.’

6. Put something new in the middle of your dining room table

I am exactly the kind of try-hard who always has something artfully arranged in the middle of my dining room table. And by ‘something’ I mean ‘a wooden bowl of produce and a candle.’ It’s better than nothing, but it feels nice to switch it up sometimes. Here are some cute, cheap centerpiece ideas.

7. Improve your pillows by changing out (or at least washing) the shams

So easy! Unzip your old shams (and probably throw them in the wash), slide on some new ones in a different color or fabric. Done. You can frequently find pillow shams at Ikea for less than $20 or, of course, you can just make them yourself.

I probably won’t be undertaking of these but I think I’m ready to get rid of my stained dish towel and frame a few new photos.

But I want to know about you! What do you do when your space is feeling stale?

P.S. How to make your house cozy when it’s gray + horrible outside and 8 ways to show your home you love + respect it

photo by sara dorweiler //cc

13 Ways To Buy Happiness For $5 Or Less

Can you buy happiness? That's debatable. You can, however, buy 1 of these 13 things that will brighten your day/life ... for less than $5. Click through for fun ideas! >>
Can you really buy happiness? No!  Of course, not!  Buuuut, it can buy you things that will temporarily entertain, feed, and/or enlighten you.

13 ways to buy happiness (or at least brighten your day) for $5 or less

1. One of those awesome multi-colored pens
You know, the kind you had in 4th grade?  And you used to write notes to your BFF about how cute Rick Burgstaler was?  And then you wouldn’t let anyone use the pink color because you were ‘saving’ it?  You can still get one and use it to take notes in work meetings or sign your rent checks in purple ink.
2. Redbox
If you’re one of the five people left in the world who don’t have Hulu+ or Netflix (or you actually enjoy the act of holding your video rental in your hand) check out a Redbox DVD.  Get something fluffy and awful that nobody will watch with you and watch every bit of it.  Even the special features.
3. Fancy soap
TJ Maxx and Marshalls always have giant bars of soap for $3 that smell like grapefruit + clean linens + rich people.  And who doesn’t want to smell like rich people for $3?
4. Shower steamer
Shower steamers are like a bath bomb for your shower – a ball of awesome (and essential oils) that’s released in the steam of your shower.  Lovely!
5. Ice cream cone
For $5 you can get quite a nice sized cone.  Try out a new flavor – Norwegian chai, cream cheese, sweet corn or cereal milk!
6. Tacky nail polish and DIY manicure
If you’re saving your pennies for a proper manicure, you probably want to choose a color that works in multiple environments – like the office and that wedding.  But if you’re doing it yourself, why not do neon green with rainbow sparkly ring fingers?
7. Fancy chocolate bar
You know, for the antioxidants.
8. Matinee at the cheapo theater
Second-run theaters are lovely!  You can finally see that silly movie you were too embarrassed to see when it came out.
9. Download your favorite can’t-help-but-dance-to-it songs
You know the ones.  The ones where you sing along in the car while fervently slapping the steering wheel?
10. One-use face mask
Squeeze it out, smear it on, put your feet up, and read a magazine.
11. Disposable camera
Because it’s oddly awesome to find out what your pictures look like several days after you take them.  Delayed gratification!  How novel!
12. A package of  your favorite childhood candy
For me, it’s Big League Chew or Fun Dip.  Maybe you love Red Vines or Fruit-by-the-foot?
13. Sparklers
They’re awesome any time of year, but oddly more awesome outside of the traditional fireworks holidays. (Here’s a great how-to on taking long exposure photos with sparklers!)

What are your favorite five dollar (or less!) day makers?

P.S. 23 ways to treat yourself that don’t involve buying or eating anything!

Photo by Keila Hötzel on Unsplash

10 Ways To Feel Rich (no matter your bank account balance)

Looking for ways to feel rich? Luxury doesn't have to cost a lot and money doesn't buy class. Click through for 10 budget-friendly ways to feel rich without spending a lot of money!
How does “being rich” feel? How does luxury and abundance feel in your skin? How does it look? The good news for all of us is that there are plenty of ways to feel rich, and most of them are available to us for less money than we’d expect. Today, Sarah McColl shares her favorite ways to feel rich.

Valuing a dollar, counting your pennies, stretching the last cent…it’s all fine and good until someone starts to feel punished.

Like being on an overly restrictive diet, unless you treat yourself along the way, you’re eventually going to gorge on spaghetti and meatballs until you need to go take your pants off. I myself have felt that my concern about money has become a little joyless lately.

But feeling rich, like anything, is in part a state of mind. Surrounding yourself with luxury that scratches that itch without sending you to the poor house is exactly the way to strike the balance of feeling like a have when really you don’t have a lot.

10 ways to feel rich no matter what your bank account says

Go to an elegant restaurant…for lunch

I’ll never forget the time a group of friends and I went to a French restaurant I’d been longing to visit that was a little pricey. It was tucked away on a leafy, residential street. Inside, tall windows surrounded a dining room, bare save for the wooden tables with thick, sturdy legs.

We enjoyed the bread basket, drank a carafe of the rough house red, and I ate a croque madame, oozy with egg yolk. We shared dessert, something chocolatey as I recall, and sat for a long while that afternoon finishing the wine in the early spring sunshine. To this day it was one of the best $20 I ever spent.

Step into a high-end boutique

Touch the clothes, appreciate the craftsmanship, try on whatever you like. Then breeze right out, unscathed.

Fill up your virtual shopping cart…and then close your browser

For me personally, this works much better than actually going into a store which will somehow inevitably make me feel bad about myself and angry at the world. I hit up Anthropologie, ShopBop, ModCloth, Nordstrom, or Sephora and load my shopping basket full of everything I want.

Then I look at the total — so glad I won’t be adding all those digits to my credit card — and close the computer. The end feeling is one that I got whatever I wanted and didn’t have to suffer the consequences.

Take yourself out for tea or cappuccino

And I don’t mean the kind you grab on the way to the subway. Go somewhere they will serve you in proper china with an adorable little spoon. Seat yourself at a table. Enjoy the ritual of the experience. Don’t read; just sit back and enjoy the aroma of your beverage, the hot cup in your hands, and the luxury of doing nothing.

Experience abundance

Have you ever gone to a store with just lots and lots of one thing? Plastic boxes deep with buttons that you can sink your hands into, a room ringed with bolts of colorful fabrics, shelves lined with bottles of wine, a flower shop filled with fragrant blooms.

Sometimes just experiencing abundance — even of something as unassuming as a ball of yarn — can give you a sense of abundance, and if you’re lucky, maybe even a bit of wonder.

Pick up perfume samples

I am experiencing a new obsession with perfume, and great perfumes are as complex and subtle as the best cheese and wine. What makes them even more fun, though, is how personal and evocative they are, and how they tap into imagination and fantasy.

Buy wee little samples of exquisite scents here, ask for free samples of your favorite at Sephora, or just read some of the best perfume blogs for a taste of olfactory luxury.

Buy a new lipstick

Isn’t there just something about the makeup counters in department stores? The sales associates are pleasantly fawning and all the glass and reflective surfaces evoke Grace Farrell’s dressing room. Walk away with a new lipstick and you may just feel like a new woman. Is there anything more glamorous than a bare face, a shock of red lipstick, and big sunglasses?

Get culturally rich

There are so many free programs at planetariums, libraries, book stores, and museums. You might be listening to a lecture about something a little (or a lot) esoteric — 15th century Provençal literary traditions or how printmaking has changed through the ages — but you’ll walk out with your knowledge base broadened and your experience of life enriched.

Get pampered on the cheap

There may not be an Aveda Institute near you, but there are certainly other schools for natural healers at which you can receive discounted treatments performed by students. Also, keep your eyes peeled for no-frills bodywork and reflexology places in your area.

Or do what the thriftiest of those in need of pampering do: take some beauty products to your gym (an exfoliating treatment, a thick body butter, a facial mask) and turn the locker room into your own mini-spa.

Count your blessings

You knew this one was coming. The surest way to remember the embarrassment of riches already at your feet, for free.

What else? I’m sure you have lots of tricks up your sleeves for feeling posh, glamorous, and loaded…even when you’re not. Do tell!

P.S. 23 ways to treat yourself without buying or eating anything

Photo by Andrew Pons on Unsplash