Millennial Money: How frugal fashionistas can stay on trend

Courtney Jespersen

AP – Nowadays, it’s not just celebrities who wear high-end clothing and accessories. The influencers filling your social media feed likely wear them, too.

Millennials love buying luxury names, according to Academic Director of the Fashion & Luxury MBA at NYU Stern School of Business and Brand Strategist at Brand(x)Lux Thomai Serdari.

Some younger people are environmentally or socially conscious and invest in higher-end labels, buying one quality item that lasts for years or spending more money for a brand with a mission they believe in. Others simply want to treat themselves to a premium handbag, watch or pair of shoes every once in a while.

“They like to be seen and they like to be photographed on Instagram carrying the big names,” Serdari said. “Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Prada and all these luxury brands.”

Here are a few ways to save money on products from some of the most sought-after labels. These tips can be applied to different levels of brand prestige and price points.

File photo shows pedestrians passing a store window for luxury brand Louis Vuitton in New York. PHOTO: AP

SHOP THE SECONDARY MARKET

Perhaps your best shot at savings is in the secondary market.

There are other places to shop for these types of savings, too. But if you’re not shopping at a trusted establishment, you could be vulnerable to phony goods. “The more brand awareness that exists about a specific brand, the more people try to counterfeit the product,” Serdari said. Stay safe by sticking to reputable sellers. On the other hand, snagging what looks like a low-priced Prada tote listed by a seller you don’t recognise on eBay can be much riskier.

CHECK OUT THE OUTLET

Outlet stores, where brands sell their products straight to consumers, can also be sources of savings, but they likely won’t offer the same items you would see from the brand elsewhere.

Serdari said products are often manufactured specifically for an outlet store. They’ll usually be the same quality but not the current collection from the brand. Despite this downside, outlets are still a good option if you want the social recognition and logo of a label without paying as much for it.

SCOUT OUT SEVERAL PLACES

Do your due diligence by scoping out products in person (when it’s safe to do so) and exploring your options. You may find a bargain on something at a boutique or department store that you hadn’t previously considered or wasn’t exactly what you had in mind, Serdari said.

But don’t count out online sales, either. Some designer brands, such as Coach and Michael Kors, occasionally host annual sales on their websites.

You’ll save during these recurring promotions, but Serdari warned that sale sections are often more limited and may contain items that aren’t as desirable. Check for a sale tab on the brand’s website.

BUDGET FOR YOUR SPLURGE

Even if you find a good deal on that leather wallet or those cat-eye sunglasses, it’s likely you’ll still be spending a good chunk of money for your purchase, depending on the original price.

Remember to account for your extravagant treat in your regular budget. According to the 50/30/20 budget, needs should take up no more than 50 per cent of your monthly budget, wants get another 30 per cent and savings encompass the remaining 20 per cent.

A luxury item would fall in the 30 per cent category. Ensure you have room for it along with the other expenses that are already in that group like your morning latte and weekly take-out dinners.

With your budget accounted for, go ahead and enjoy the feeling of looking like you paid much more for something than you actually did.