How to Shop Fashionably Without Tanking Your Credit

Keeping up with fashion trends, particularly if you like to wear high-end designer brands, gets expensive fast.

By a show of hands: how many readers have completely maxed out their credit cards or even tanked their credit, trying to buy the things that magazines and Oprah have said they absolutely must have each season? Don’t be shy! You’re not alone. Now, another show of hands: how many readers have had to use professionals and credit repair agencies to help them get their credit and finances back on track?

See? That’s a lot of hands.

Here’s the good news: even when you’re on a limited budget and don’t have a lot of credit to work with, you can still look really great. I should know—I’ve built a site around it! Here are some things you can do.

buy shoes on credit?Get a Secured Credit Card

Wait, what? Stick with me here. Your credit counselor or credit repair agent has probably impressed upon you the importance of rebuilding your credit now that you’ve finally gotten your money back on track. That counselor/agent is right. But you probably don’t trust yourself with the unlimited credit of cards like American Express or the high limits of most unsecured credit cards. That’s okay! That’s where secured credit comes in. With a secured credit card you have to pay cash up front to open the credit line and you can only charge as much as you’ve paid up front so, as you use the card and pay its bill, what you’re really doing is paying yourself back.

Open a secured card with a low balance and then use that card once each season to buy a signature designer item. This does three things:

  • it satisfies your craving for up to the minute designer trends
  • gets you back into the habit of using credit responsibly
  • helps rebuild your credit at the same time.

Continue Thriftiness

By now, you’ve probably come to accept the fact that there is no shame in shopping at thrift stores and discount stores. In fact, you’ve probably gotten really good at finding great bargains on the latest fashions. We’ve talked about this in previous posts. It is important that you keep honing these skills. Remember: you don’t want to fall into the same hole you just climbed out of.

Buy a Designer Statement Piece

Everything you wear doesn’t have to come from a well-known designer. Pairing regular clothes with a fabulous designer handbag, will take your outfit to the next level. Buy designer accessories to help you look great and fashionable. A beautiful designer necklace with accentuate your neckline, while also dressing up your blouse. Similarly, designer pumps can be the pop that you need to make your clothes really stand out.

It is important not to look at the money you sent to your credit repair agency to fix your credit as “extra” money now that you don’t have that payment. The money should be allotted to other areas to help you keep up this new fiscal responsibility. For one thing, you can use the money to help with your secured credit card payment and keep building your credit back up. Additionally, saving for the future is important. I admonish you to put a little aside for retirement too, think of it like this: you have to save now so that you can be fashionable later.

If you aren’t sure how to do this, work with your credit repair agency. Cavalry Portfolio Services, for example, don’t just help clients with debt issues but also the process of setting up a good savings plan for the future. Remember: there’s nothing wrong with asking the pros for help. That’s why they’re there!

While you’re at it, why not step up your game a bit? Learning how to make your own clothing can save you bucket loads of money on fashion (once you learn how those clothes are constructed you can make your own variations and look great for pennies on the dollar). Swapping clothes with friends gives you an excuse to get together and helps you keep your wardrobe feeling fresh.

There is a lot that you can do to keep yourself from falling back into the black hole of bad credit. What are some of the things you’re doing to keep the fashion demons from whispering in your ear?


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