Money Student-made

Staying stylish on a student budget

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Let’s be honest – shopping for clothes on a student budget is hard. By the time you’ve factored in your weekly essentials in your budget, there’s not always that much left over to spend on items such as clothes. Sometimes window shopping can grow tiring but getting those pieces you want can be possible – and here’s how.  

Assess what you already own

We have to admit that we all have those clothes which we simply don’t wear anymore. Whether it’s that jumper which has got a little too small, or the pair of trousers that just aren’t your thing – your wardrobe is not living up to its full potential. Don’t be afraid to sell these clothes online or to your mates; you really won’t miss that top you never wear.

At the same time, look at what you own which you wear on repeat. This gives you an idea on what to invest in when looking for new clothes, so you don’t waste your money and end buying pieces you’d only wear once or twice.

Take advantage of Manchester’s charity shops and vintage stores

Now I know what you’re thinking – vintage stores, aren’t they expensive? Yes, and no. Whilst I’ve only been in Manchester for less than a semester, I’ve quickly realised you just need to be looking in the right places. Especially in the Northern Quarter, you really can end up paying a substantial amount for something than really isn’t worth the price tag. With this in mind, here’s some of my favourites:

  • Oxfam on Oxford Road near the Student Union
  • Bare Necessities in Piccadilly (@barenecessities_thrift or @barenecessities_nq)
  • Thrift Shop in Piccadilly
  • Barnardo’s in Fallowfield Retail Park
  • Sue Ryder in Didsbury
  • RSPCA in the Northern Quarter
  • Blue Rinse in the Northern Quarter (@blue.rinse.manchester)
  • Reach Out to the Community in Chorlton
  • Air Ambulance and Cancer Research in Regent’s Retail Park, Salford

Charity shops can be quite hit or miss. But my advice is to go in with an open mind, and once you’ve picked something up think: can I really see myself wearing this?

Vintage kilo sales can also be quite good – my recommendations are: Preloved Kilo (@prelovedkilo), Worth the Weight (@worththeweightvintage), Kilogarm (@kilogram), Vintage Folk (@vintagefolkltdand), Manchester Vintage Kilo Sale (@rummagevintagekilo). The best way to find out if they’re coming to Manchester is to follow the company on Instagram or sign up to their email newsletter.

Sometimes people will also post clothes for sale on the Manchester Students’ Group (MSG) Facebook page for cheap – a page which is a holy grail for all students in Manchester in general. Be quick cause these go fast!

eBay is not for old people

You’d be surprised about what you can find on eBay if you really look. I do have to be honest; it does take a bit of time to delve the depths of the site. However, the upside is that sellers occasionally don’t know the value of what they’re trying to flag. Keep an eye out for that slightly pricier item you’ve wanted for a while – setting up alerts for specific items or terms can be help with this.

Take advantage of items on auction as well. The rewards can be fruitful if you wait five or ten minutes before it ends and get in there at the last second.

Vinted over Depop anyday

We’ve all heard of Depop, and probably Vinted too. But for students, Vinted is way better. Sellers tend to price items way lower than on Depop, where it’s typical to inflate the price above a reasonable amount. Definitely worth shopping around, but usually Vinted is cheaper.

Sellers on Vinted also tend to be quite flexible with prices. Don’t be afraid to send someone an offer – the worst thing that can happen is that they decline!

Unlike eBay, it can be easier to search for items. Vinted forces users when they upload an item to categorise it within an inch of its life, so if you know what you’re looking for, chances are you’ll be able to find something which resembles it.

Think about longevity over trends

When shopping for clothes, it’s important to consider how many uses you’ll get out of an item. Invest in basics you know you’ll wear time and time again, rather a trendy piece which you’re buying for the sake of it. Spending a little more on a jacket you’ll love, rather one top you know has the lifecycle of one night out is the objective.