Fashion on a Budget – Where and HOW to Shop!

If you’re anything like me, you love shopping. You love scrolling online through pages and pages of outfits and different items, or walking around town and just popping into a clothing store – because you can! If you’re also like me, you’ll be on a budget…

Yep! I do all of my shopping on a budget! I have been a student for the last 4 years, and have always had a very minimal budget to work with. This financial restriction has taught me exactly WHERE is most affordable to shop in New Zealand (both in store and online), as well as HOW to shop. If you’re in the same boat as me, and you always want to build on your wardrobe, but don’t necessarily have the finances to support your shopping addiction, this blog is for you! There’s a number of places here in New Zealand that you can buy affordable clothes and essentials, and I’m here to share with you my favourite go-to clothing stores, as well as how I choose what I want to pick up, to make sure that it is 110% worth it, and are guaranteed to look good!

Disclaimer: I shop on SO MANY different sites, so I have chosen the ones I have been to more than once, or have absolutely loved! I have experimented on other sites, and of course I have had some flops as well, these are just the ones I find to be most consistent and worth the money!

Where I Love to Shop!

I have a number of favourites right here in New Zealand. This first section is the stores that have physical locations in New Zealand, as well as online websites!

1. Glassons
I am obsessed with Glassons; probably 60% of my wardrobe comes from Glassons. They have the biggest range of clothes, from basics to dressy items, and all at reasonable prices! If you live in a big city or town, there is most likely a store nearby you; however if you’re like me and you live in a smaller town or out in the country – don’t worry, they have an amazing delivery service and you can order clothes online! Glassons is my number #1 go to store whenever I need anything – from sweats and tee’s all the way through to dresses and workwear! With New Zealand being in lockdown, Glassons are still able to ship winter essentials all ready for the cold season – so you can still update your wardrobe with Winter basics until we are back to normal!
Bonus: Students get 10% off with Unidays (if you don’t have this, and you’re a uni student, what are you thinking?)

2. Cotton On
For Cotton On, I am specifically talking about Cotton On Body. I always look to Cotton On Body if I need a quick addition to my active wear and intimates. All of the pieces I have got from Cotton On Body has always lasted a long time, and is super comfortable! (I am currently sitting at my desk in my Cotton on Body fluffy robe and slippers – love isolation..). Everything at Cotton On is super affordable, and they have a huge range of intimates and activewear, as well as sleep wear and loungewear! They’re also shipping the Essentials during lockdown, so if you are in need of anything you can still order online!
Bonus: With their Perks Card, you can earn points for discounts the more you shop!

3. Kmart
Of course, I had to mention Kmart. This is probably New Zealand’s ultimate budget department store – who would have thought! Kmart is honestly super under rated; I love going to Kmart for intimates when I need extras, and for basics and SOCKS! (I don’t really buy socks from anywhere else unless they’re sports socks). I also love getting basic accessories from Kmart, things like earrings or scrunchies. If you look carefully and you know what you need and like, Kmart really does have some amazing bargains!
Bonus: Kmart are still shipping essentials during the lockdown – not just clothes, but homewares as well!

4. H&M
How excited were you when H&M came to New Zealand? I lived in Wellington at the time, and I was super excited, because H&M was my go to when I lived in Europe to get all of my essentials for the freezing weather! H&M literally has everything – from basics, to active wear, to intimates and dressier items – they even have shoes and accessories! I love going to H&M when I am just looking for basics or extra staples to add to my wardrobe. Everything I’ve bought from H&M has ben great quality, and always looked good! (My favourite piece is a NASA crop hoodie that matches my best friend’s regular hoodie).
Note: They’re currently not shipping during the lockdown, but they’ll reopen after lockdown so you can head on in and treat yourself!

This next couple of stores are both based online, I am a big fan of online shopping and being able to try out different brands, and pick out different pieces for my wardrobe! I couldn’t do this blog without including these stores as I go to them all of the time!

5. Boohoo
I am pretty attached to Boohoo at the moment. (I have just done a pretty decent order for a clothing haul!). They have SO MANY different options for clothes – literally a bit of everything, and then some! They always have deals on, usually 40-50% off site wide, and this makes things even more affordable! There’s a lot of different options for clothes; from petite or tall, to plus size or curvy, as well as the regular body shape, and they have so many different sizes that can cater to ANY body type. I love that they are so inclusive, and they think about everybody! Bonus: Boohoo are still shipping to NZ during the lockdown – they just take a little longer to ship their orders with the current restrictions.

6. Princess Polly
Where do I start… Princess Polly is my favourite online website to buy clothes. I have placed a couple of orders with them, and everything has always been perfect, amazing quality, and all fits perfectly! My last order was a bunch of going out clothes, and I am obsessed. They are an Australian based boutique and they have such amazing high quality items! They also stock brands like A-Brand, Vans, Quay and Rolla’s. It’s an awesome online boutique to get some amazing brands a little bit cheaper! This website is the priciest of everything I’ve mentioned, but they also have so many different deals and cheaper options for gorgeous clothes.
Bonus: They also have a student discount, and are still shipping during the lockdown!

Side Note: Thrift ShoppingThrift shipping is another awesome way to get fashion deals on a budget! It’s not embarrassing to check out your local op shops and thrift stores to check out what items they have available – you never know what treasures you’ll find! For more: Check out my Thrift Shopping Post on how to get the beast deals!
Where I Love to Shop!

I have a few tips and tricks to help make things a little easier, and more affordable. Of course, being on a budget can be really hard, with knowing what items are most important to get an dhow to get what you need at a reasonable price. With being a student, and basically living pay check to pay check for 3 years, I have picked up a few things to help make satisfying the shopping itch a bit easier, without breaking the bank.

How I shop!

1. Pull Apart Your Wardrobe!
Yep, pull it apart. If you take a look at your wardrobe, and do regular clear-outs, it is much easier to see what items you really NEED, and what you just want. When you’re shopping on a budget, you want to be focusing more on the items you need more urgently, then think about items you want to get to spice up your wardrobe. I do this process every few months – to clear out clothes that don’t fit anymore, that I’m not vibing, or clothes I’m just not into anymore or are too tired. Once you’ve done this, it’s good to make a list of the items you need; this could be the things you need for the coming season, if you have an event you might need a specific piece, or just wardrobe staples that are missing from your wardrobe. For example, you might find that you NEED a new bra, a bikini for summer, and a couple of pairs of shorts because your others don’t fit. Make a list of these, and then you can look at items you want. Now you know exactly what items you’re looking for!

2. Shop Around!
This is probably the most important part. Different brands always have different sales at different times, or price their items differently. I love to take this list and shop around different websites or stores, and figure out which store is going to be the most cost-effective for the items I need. This isn’t ALWAYS going to mean getting the cheaper option (although when you can that’s a bonus!) but it does mean you will be getting the best quality for the price you are paying. The main things I focus on is quality and longevity for the price I’m paying. Let’s go back to the example list – we’re in need of a new Bra. Here I would look at Kmart and check out the bra’s I prefer to wear, that are in my size. I might try them on if I need to, and I’ll make a note of the prices. Then I would check out Cotton On Body and do the same thing. Once I decide which one was most comfortable and best suited what I was looking for, I would get that one. Again, not necessarily the cheapest one, but the one that best suits what I need, the better quality, and then of course thinking about the price.

3. Laybuy or Afterpay it
These options can be a bit more dangerous if you’re an avid shopper, and forget to pay things off. The most important thing to remember with these options is you NEED to be paying them off properly. I have been using Laybuy and Afterpay for items I want to use for YouTube videos and Instagram posts, or if I end up needing quite a few things in my wardrobe. Right now, I am in need of Winter Jumpers and long sleeves, because I am just the least prepared for Winter. If I was to find multiple items that I need on one website, I would use Laybuy or Afterpay to make the payments just that little bit easier.
Say, I was shopping on Glassons, and I found leggings, a couple of jumpers, a scarf and some tee’s for my wardrobe, that I needed for the Autumn/Winter season, and the total came to something a little higher than I could pay at that specific time (even after the student discount). I would then go onto the Laybuy app and do my payment through there; this spreads the payment over 6 weeks for you to pay off. It’s a nice safety net to know is available to you if you do struggle to get items, but you are onto it with paying items off! The app itself is free, and really does make things so much easier when you are in need of something urgently!
Note: You do get your order straight away after the first payment – as though you have paid straight away. You don’t have to wait until after it’s all paid before you get the items. I personally would pay in full wherever possible, but it is a good safety net.

4. Check the reviews!
Always, always, always check the reviews. I can not stress this enough! This is extremely important when you’re shopping online and can’t physically try the clothes on! The reviews on items you are looking for will give you an insight into the quality and size range of items, as well as the fit. People love to share their thoughts and opinions – so use this to your advantage! Check out what people think, whether the clothes come in a larger or smaller fit for the size, and if they think the quality is worth it.Personally, I always check the reviews to see what people loved or disliked about the item, and decide from there whether the item is worth getting or not. If an item has one or two bad reviews, but mostly good, I’ll generally take the risk if I love the look of the item. If they have lots of bad reviews on things I’m looking for; people don’t like the quality or it doesn’t actually come like the image, I won’t risk it.

5. Make the Most of the Sales!
Sales are amazing, and who doesn’t love getting a discount! Stores will always have a “sale” section, or flash sales that pop up from time to time, and these are great to take advantage of. Sales are amazing, as they’re usually for the final items of a certain style, or last season clothes that the store needs to clear quick! I love shopping through the sales first, to see if there is anything I can get on an absolute bargain! These aren’t the only way to get discounts though:

As I mentioned before; Uni students can get access to an app called Unidays. This has a number of partnered businesses that offer various discounts to University students, and help make their shopping a bit more bearable! These are brands from Adidas, GHD, and other big names, as well as Glassons, Cotton On and Boohoo as mentioned in this blog. This means you’re getting affordable clothes – even more affordable!

Another way to get discounts is through Influencer codes! If you follow a lot of fashion or beauty influencers on Youtube or Instagram, you might already know what I am talking about. For example, I have partnered with Foxxglow Cosmetics with roll on perfumes, and I have a 10% code for all orders. Influencers will have codes like this, or affiliate codes where they make money off our orders (so if you also want to support your favourite influencer these are amazing too). Next time you’re watching your favourite influencers, or scrolling through their story highlights, check out what discount codes they have for you to use!

Shopping is lots of fun; and just because you are on a budget, doesn’t mean you can’t spice up your wardrobe and score some awesome deals! Whether you’re in need of staples for your wardrobe, looking for something for your next event, or just in need of something to brighten your wardrobe – these tips will help you to score some amazing deals in a way that won’t break the bank!

For more shopping tips or style inspiration – check out

See you in the next blog!
T xx

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