Even mommies can afford to feel beautiful!

The $100 Mommy Makeover

by Alicia Z. Klepeis

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"Are you happy with your wardrobe? When was the last time you got your hair cut or colored?" Ask just about any mother who reads The Dollar Stretcher these questions and she is likely to tell you that it has been quite a while. Why is this the case? Most likely, the needs and wants of her kids and spouse often come before "splurging" on stuff for herself. Though it can be expensive to keep teenagers happy with the "right" jeans from Abercrombie or that North Face fleece, it is not out of the realm of possibility to have a $100 Mommy makeover if you know where to go.

In talking about a makeover, I am not implying that the average mom doesn't look good. On the contrary, I am guessing that everyone gets tired of wearing the same old jeans and sweatshirt, week in and week out. The expense of going to get a haircut or color often precludes us from a little glamour. Here are a few tips for how to spruce up your wardrobe and style for $100 or less:

1. Head to consignment or thrift shops.

Whether you need some new black pants, a white blouse, or a pair of clogs, you can get great deals at consignment and thrift shops. You must go in with an open mind because you never know what gems may be on the rack at any time. Chains like Second Time Around and Buffalo Exchange can be found in many cities and have everything from funky, vintage clothes to designer handbags. Salvation Army (SA) stores can be great starting places because they tend to have their merchandise organized by color. Looking for something orange or turquoise? No doubt you will have luck. SA stores even have seasonal sales and put coupons in local newspapers from time to time.

Not sure what is in style these days? I asked Ashley Bell, the Marketing Coordinator for Second Time Around, to suggest a couple of items to revamp/update a woman's wardrobe. She said, "For the quintessential mom-on-the-go, I would probably pick out a colorful, sleeveless ruffled blouse, which will add a pop of color to any outfit as well as create interest with the ruffle detail." She also recommended colored corduroys as a trendy item. In her opinion, a statement necklace can be worn with a t-shirt by day or a dress by night. She said that all three items combined could be purchased for under $100.

As for sale times, Ms. Bell said, "Always, always look out for end-of-the-season clearance sales." February and August are particularly good times for consignment shop sales, when winter and summer stock is being cleared out. Lastly, Ms. Bell advised looking out for holiday-specific sales, like Columbus Day and Black Friday, for one-day sale events.

2. Host a clothes swap with a group of friends.

This is a great, free way to get some new clothes, shoes, and accessories. Ask a group of women to each bring 10-20 items that they no longer want but are in good condition. Perhaps someone has a garment rack. Hang up everyone's treasures, serve some easy munchies and wine, and it's a free fashion party. You and your friends can try things on with no pressure to hurry, no returns to deal with, and not a dime spent. Any leftover items can be donated to a local charity.

3. Try a new haircut or color.

When you are trying to save money, beauty products and services get cut out. Who can afford big city or swanky salon treatments on a budget? If you live in an urban area, many beauty schools offer haircuts, colors, pedicures, etc. for very reasonable prices. Don't worry that your hair will turn green or you will end up bald. The students are monitored by their instructors and are normally pretty far into their program by the time they have you in the chair with scissors or dye. I have done this myself and it has always worked out great. There is always the option to do an at-home coloring job. The new mousse formulas don't drip and are pretty easy to use, as are the root touchup kits.

It boosts any mom's spirits to put on a "new" outfit and sport a hairdo that makes her feel stylish. You don't have to spend a fortune to look and feel great. Try the $100 mommy makeover and see how it goes. You won't regret it!

Take the Next Step:

  • Shop the largest online consignment and thrift store for women's, men's, baby & kids' clothing and accessories.
  • Stop forgoing your favorite beauty treatments just because you're on a tight budget. Check out the TDS Guide to Beauty on a Budget and learn the tricks to pampering yourself for pennies.
  • It's tough raising kids today! You need every time and money saving idea you can find. That's why you'll want to get our free weekly Dollar Stretcher for Parents newsletter. You'll find great ideas designed just for parents that will help your family 'live better...for less'! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE.

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