HomeFinancial ExperiencesSteppin' outside the comfort zone

Steppin’ outside the comfort zone

This whole wedding deal is totally challenging my inner frugal self. I’m just not a huge fan of money leaving my accounts. I love putting in it, and hate taking it out. It’s pretty stupid when you think about it actually. It would be like if I bought a really nice cut of meat, but didn’t want to cook/eat it because I like the way it looks in my refrigerator. Money is meant to eventually exit your investment/savings accounts, much like food is meant to be eaten. Whether it be through bills, luxuries, donations, or death, every dollar I’ve saved will eventually find itself a new owner.

The wedding is less than four weeks away now and the expensive part (for me) is quickly approaching. I’m about to buy all of my groomsmen gifts (which I’m convinced are the best groomsmen gifts ever), have to buy the parents gifts for all of their love, support, and contributions, and I have to buy some new clothes. I’m totally fine spending money on my wedding party and family as giving gifts has never been hard for me, but I hate thinking about spending money on clothes.

Most of my work shirts have gotten a decent amount of use out of them and no longer look as bright or crisp as when I first bought ’em. This means I’ll probably be heading to Express for Men or Banana Republic to pick up an outfit for the rehearsal dinner. Maybe something like this…

If one nice outfit was my only expense, I wouldn’t be freakin’ out. Unfortunately, I am in desperate need of some Aruba appropriate clothing. You know, shorts, tank tops, linen shirts, etc. I literally own zero clothes that are nice enough to be my honeymoon outfits. In fact check out this picture of my favorite pair of shorts. Can you say ghetto?….

I literally have not bought a single pair of shorts or pants in the last two years. I wear everything until it falls apart, but Girl Ninja wants me looking a little less ugly on our honeymoon and I can’t really blame her. Do you know what this means? Shopping spree. Notice there was no exclamation point at the end of the last sentence. It’s not something I am excited about, but I know it needs to happen. I can’t drop big money on a honeymoon, only to be dressed in a pair of shorts I made from army pants I bought at the thrift store (I actually did that once).

I don’t really know where to begin looking for sweet threads, but I will most likely begin my journey at Nordstrom Rack, they seem to have a little bit of everything there. I’d love to keep my total spending under $200, but with GN helping me pick out my outfits I could be looking at a much larger bill than desired. She’s kind of a clothes whore (don’t tell her I said that).

I need help from you fashionistas. How do I go from “beach bum” to “Aruba ready” on a budget? I feel like I’m suppose to look like this guy when I’m on my honeymoon….

When all my outfits are more like this guys (not really)…

Any advice on cost effective ways to clothing shop on a budget would be greatly appreciated, especially if you dudes have any insight.



  1. My husband is pretty scruffy so his recent purchase may help as a guide.

    He just bought some cargo shorts at EMS that he loves…and they’re having a 30% off sale right now on some good quality brands. I personally love ex-officio, north face and mountain hardware. They’re very durable, so don’t feel bad coughing up some dough cuz you’ll get to use them awhile. Also check sierra trading post. You can always find a 20% off coupon floatin on the web for those guys.

    Somehow I don’t think girl ninja would put you in a dorky outfit with a sweater tied around your shoulders. I’m guessing you’ve set the bar pretty low and she just wants you to look like you didn’t just crawl out of a dumpster.

  2. Salvation Army or Goodwill. You can shop on a budget , get some great stuff (some with the tags still on )

    • Amen. I’m a good will shopper. Occasionally my partner will get me something “nice” but really she loves me for me right? What’s girl ninja worried about? How you reflect on her?

  3. I’m not sure what your taste is but since you mention Banana Republic I am assuming it’s similar to my boyfriend’s. I would recommend checking out an outlet mall. Most brand outlets now carry lines made specifically for the outlet so its not just odd sizes and excess product anymore. Plus most retailers are making the transition from summer to fall this month so you can find good deals on the summer clothes they are trying to sell through.

    Good Luck!

  4. I second the outlet mall idea. There’s an outlet center about an hour away and we typically go twice per year. I get at least 75% of my clothes shopping done between those two trips. Shirts, pants, shorts, t-shirts, I can find pretty much anything and it’s usually 25-30% cheaper (or more) than what I find I can get it at regular stores.

  5. What about your credit card that you use for everything? Do you have any rewards? I just got $200 worth of GAP gift cards from our Delta Skymiles (Amex). They will be used for honemoon clothes for my future husband who also needs new clothes pretty badly 😉

  6. Ohh and make sure you sign up for mailing lists. If you like BR, J Crew, etc. they are always having 30% off sales for limited times but you need to sign up. And of course Express always mails coupons to your home if you sign up. I never pay full price for anything at any of the above mentioned stores.

  7. Ah, I totally feel you on this one. I hate spending money on clothes. I just feel like there’s a better use for my money, and I’m fine wearing jeans that are in conditions similar to your shorts. I agree with Sandy to shop at the sierra trading post (gotta support in-state businesses 🙂 and I also second the outlet mall suggestion. I’ve been able to find some pretty good stuff whenever I head out to one of those. As for some tips, I’d get something that you’ll feel comfortable wearing when your honeymoon is over for the most part. I mean that speedo does rock, but could you wear that at work?
    I look at shopping as a necessary evil, and I try to minimize money and time spent when I HAVE to go do it. It’s just tedious.

  8. See if there is a Plato’s Closet near by. They buy “gently used,” name brand clothing from spoiled, rich teens and sell them for a really reasonable price. You can probably find some honeymoon clothes there!

  9. defintiely hit any outlets you can find. also, go into the stores you like, try on the clothes, and then head online and see if you can find them for less money. typically if you order a certain amount, (definitely less than 200$), the shipping will be free and you will have already tried on the clothes so you know what fits and what sizes you have to order.
    Preferred Financial Services Blog

  10. How funny—I’ve experienced the same situation this week as well. I am getting married on Saturday and we too are heading to an island honeymoon spot. When we were packing we realized that we didn’t have enough of the right clothes to last us a week of pre wedding festivities and a week on the honeymoon. I was a bit distraught because I hate to spend lots of money on clothes, but then my fiance said that I should just go out and buy enough clothes for the honeymoon because we don’t always go on vacations like this. We can totally afford it, but I understand how you feel about spending a crap ton of money at one time before the weekend and you feel guilty for buying more stuff. I tried to bu things that are honeymoon appropriate, but can be repurposed for some other weddings/bridal showers I will attend the rest of the summer and into the fall. Anyway to answer your question…..We hit up TJ Maxx/Marshall’s, outlet malls (with a coupon)….look through the circulars on Sunday and see what department stores are having sales on Sunday (Macy’s, etc). The departments stores almost always have at least a 20% off coupon printed in the paper or their circulars AND lots of stores have their summer stuff on clearance already. Happy Clothes Hunting!!

  11. Hit thrift stores or Goodwill first with GN. Make a list of what you should be buying. That way you’ll see what she expects you to be wearing and not spend too much money. Then, figure out coupons and deals in other places.

  12. My normal habit is too hit Goodwill first to see if I can get lucky and then head to Kohl’s for anything I still need after that. My husband LOVES Kohl’s…the Grand Slam line of shirts are his favorite and he gets all of his work slacks from there as well. He’s not really into shorts (he has 2 pairs of jean shorts and that’s it), so I don’t know what they’re selection is like on those…

    • Oh, and look for Kohl’s coupons in the paper or online first…they almost always have a 30-40% coupon somewhere. If you sign up for their email list (I have a special junk mail email just for that kind of stuff), you get coupons ALL THE TIME.

  13. Nice photos… haha. I’d also recommend the outlets, and if you can find one in a state with no sales tax near you, then even better!

  14. We only shop at discount stores – Kohls, Marshalls, Ross, etc.; they’re GREAT for men, b/c really, you’re wearing dress shirts & khakis – not too hard to find a decent pair. That’s where I get my work clothes – e.g. some department store is always unloading Calvin Klein work dresses there. Not that you need to wear a work dress in Aruba, but you could!

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