Staying Chic on the Cheap


My name is Laurel House and I’m a Relationship and Lifestyle author, expert, personal trainer and the “QuickieChick.” No, not the late night booty call kind of quickie, my “quickies” are all about making the most out of every moment — whether it’s a saddlebag-burning “quickie workout in bed,” a metabolism-boosting “bites with benefits” meal, or how to get a $150 spa-quality skin peel out of a $1 tomato and lemon at-home refrigerator facial. My YouTube videos have received over 7 million views and now you can get even more quickie tips in my new book “QuickieChick’s Cheat Sheet to Life, Love, Food, Fitness, Fashion and Finance on a Less than Fabulous Budget” (St. Martin’s, May 2012).

Just because you’re on a tight budget doesn’t mean you have to succumb to low-end living. In fact, you can seriously live it up without defying your strict spending diet.

Here are a few ways to save without seeming like it:

Fake a $150 spa facial with a $1 Tomato & Lemon: Refrigerator facials. Facials are beautifying, skin repairing, and they feel like a splurge. But you can indulge in a regular facial without spending even a cent by making your own refrigerator facials. Just remember that every fruit vegetable and natural ingredient has a purpose and a power … that you may as well harness and spread on your skin! So raid your kitchen and start spreading beneficial ingredients on your skin like tomato, lemon, potatoes, honey, horseradish and milk! Here’s the recipe for a Salsa Facial.

Shop in Your Own Closet. If you’re female, odds are you have too many clothes. Make a night of shopping in your closet. Try on every single item. Make the “yes,” “no” and “maybe” piles. Test every separate with each other (it can be time consuming, but it’s worth it). Take notes of the looks and complete outfits that you like. Take photos of yourself in them if it helps! I know … so eighth grade. But it’s a great way to change up your style and stop wearing the same five rotating outfits each week. You’ll be amazed at what you rediscover and what you realize you should have donated decades ago!

Fashion + Beauty Buffet. When it comes to fashion, we all have those clothes that we took a chance on, tried on at home, maybe even wore a few times, but they just didn’t work. Now they sit there taking up space for the “just in case” day that you happen to decide to give them another chance. But really … it’s been years. One woman’s trash is another’s treasure! Throw a beauty/fashion buffet and invite your girlfriends over (plus their stuff), for a day of eating, sipping, gossiping and trading treasures.

Bargain Hunting. Start with the more expensive stores first. Look for what fits and colors are in style and what you like, BUT DON’T BUY ANYTHING! Then go to the Forever21s and Zaras of the world, even the secondhand stores and Ebay and find that look for less.

Shop with Cash and leave the Credit Card at Home. It will help you stay on plan and assess your shopping choices. If you’ve spent over your limit and don’t like something enough to go back home to get your cc, you probably shouldn’t get it anyway!

Make a List & Stick to It: Just like you make a grocery list, make a mental note or write on a post it exactly what you need to buy (if you are on a mission for a specific event/look). That way, you don’t end up overspending on impulse items like accessories and that table of rings, scarves, belts and earrings that are staring you in the face. Stick to your plan and your pocketbook will thank you. Unless you absolutely love it, of course!

Bring a Friend! It’s always great to get a second opinion from someone besides the sales person who can really tell you the truth on how something looks and fits. It is often the salesperson’s job to tell you that you look great. You check yourself out in that slimming mirror and you’re convinced. Then you spend too much and get home only to find that you look awful!

Consignment/Thrift Shop in Wealthy Areas. People typically just donate their clothes to the thrift store closest to them. Meaning, if you thrift shop in Beverly Hills, you’ll probably be getting a lot of the barely-used designer items from the neighboring ladies … Also, many of those consignment stores have Ebay stores so you can get the same things from the Beverly Hills store from wherever you are.

Keep Yourself to the Sale Section. Don’t even look at the regular-priced stuff. It doesn’t exist (anyways, it will likely be on sale in two weeks). I’ve learned that, for me, the satisfaction comes from just getting something new. So. If that shopping bug hits for whatever reason — I’m feeling a little down, I have an event coming up, I want to treat myself — I go into a store and B-line it for the sale section. If I put it in my head that I can only shop in that section, I typically end up finding things I’m just as excited about in that section! And I leave feeling just as happy as if I’d bought something from the non-sale section. But happier — because it was cheaper 😉

When You Find Something You Love, Walk Away. When I find something I love, I walk away from it for a few hours. This is really good to do on full on shopping days when you’re visiting multiple stores. Chances are, more than half the things you almost purchased on the spot, you forget about by the end of the shopping day! What if you’d wasted money on such an unforgettable item just because you weren’t able to walk away for a few hours?

Head on over to 1,000 Dreams Fund to learn how to get funding for your dreams!