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Yvonne wrote, “A long time ago, you wrote [this post] about fashion and budgeting. Now that it’s been a few years, do you have any advice or lessons learned to share with us about your money management journey? I know this isn’t directly related to fashion, but young women should try to keep in mind the danger of ruining your credit or not having any savings in the name of fashion (you’d be shocked at the stories I hear from my friends). So maybe like a paragraph or so? Thank you!”
I’ll give you more than a paragraph! Yvonne actually wrote me the above e-mail in October, but I saved this post for January 2013, as I set that date as my goal for getting rid of my credit card debt. I’m happy to report that as of today, I am 100% credit card debt free! Yessss!
Years ago, I was saddled with over $35,000 in debt, spread out over 4 cards. In my 20’s, I wasn’t making a lot of money. With a love for nice things, I bought quite a few items beyond my budget and ran up all my credit cards to the limit. I was fine paying the minimums while working my full time job in New York, but ish truly hit the fan when I moved to Paris for two years starting in 2008. With no job and little income, I had a scary moment one month when I simply couldn’t afford to pay my bills! Thankfully I was able to get on payment plans for all of them, which deducted an amount I could afford at a set time every month. After that scare, I quit using credit cards cold turkey, stopped spending above my means, started paying off my cards in huge chunks, and now, 5 years later (wow!), I am debt free and feeling fabulous! So I do have a few words of advice for fellow fashion lovers who want to save, build, and grow both their wardrobes and bank accounts.
1. Don’t buy things you can’t afford.
2. Search out sample sales and get those discount codes.
3. Get familiar with vintage and consignment
4. Go on Ebay or sites like Fashionphile.
While Ebay is prime ground for fakes (I’ve fallen victim), there are several websites that sell authentic luxury goods for less. FashionPhile.com stands out, as they vet all their merchandise, and allow you to pay for authentic pieces over a couple of months.
5. Rent. Rent. Rent!!