We all experience moments in our lives when excess spending just isn’t option, whether they’re due to extra bills, loans, or a change in careers. At times like these, it’s smart to reconsider your shopping habits in order to feel more financially secure. Yes, this of course means budgeting differently in terms of food, beverages (you don’t need all of those Starbucks lattes), and entertainment, but also your fashion spending. Below, we’re highlighting seven style items you shouldn’t buy when you’re tight on money. Avoid these items and you’ll be well on your way to a better financial future.

Keep scrolling for our guide, and go a bit further to shop classic must-haves that are worth it when you are ready to shop again.

When not one, not two, but three celebrities all own the same affordable bag, you know it has to be good. And you can bet that Madewell’s Small Transport Crossbody Bag ($128) definitely is. Lea Michele, Jessica Alba, and Billie Lourd are all fans of the versatile style, and we can definitely see why. Available in four different perfect colors, you can carry the bag with either top handles or the long crossbody strap, making it the ultimate everyday bag.

Michele styled hers with the ultimate classic combo: all-black pieces with jeans. Alba, who’s currently expecting her third child, opted for the light pink version and chose coordinating pastel pieces, while Lourd finished off her casual Gucci-and-leggings look with the same bag in black. Thanks to this trio of celebs, we’re tempted to buy one in every color.

We’ve all been there: You opened that perfectly wrapped gift box with high hopes, only to be slightly underwhelmed by its contents. Did you unwrap a not-so-cute jacket? Receive a pair of shoes you’d rather swap for the Nike Cortez you’ve been eyeing? Get a kitschy dress you wouldn’t be caught dead wearing? Don’t fret. (Your BFF/mom/dad/brother/sister did their best!) Of course, you don’t need to pretend you love the item—you can return your gift and get something you really like.

To help you replace your so-so gift, we’ve compiled some pointers on returning like a pro. From the apps to download to the best post-holiday sales to hit up, we’ve rounded up tips to help you out. Plus, since we know you’ll be searching for better items to buy with your store credit, we rounded up our favorite fail-safe picks to get yourself. Happy shopping!

 

Let Your Phone Do All the Work

Returns—there’s an app for that. If you’re interested in returning a gift that was purchased for you online, consider downloading the Shyp app. In certain cities, Shyp will pick up, package, and ship your returns for you so you don’t need to make the trek to the post office. Easy as pie!

Another cool app to know is Slice. If you were sent e-receipts for your gifts, Slice will keep them all organized in one place so you don’t have to sift through multiple emails for your order and tracking numbers. (Plus, this app is also super helpful for purchases you’ve made yourself: It will notify you if the price of an item dropped after you bought it and help you score a refund.)

Hit Up After-Christmas Sales

Exchanging your gift for store credit? You’ll be able to get the most bang for your buck during post-holiday sales, when everything will be deeply discounted. Procrastinators, be weary: That means you can’t let your gift sit in your room for weeks on end. For instance, Nordstrom‘s Half-Yearly Sale will begin on December 26, 2017, and run through through January 2, 2018, so you have a limited window of opportunity. Make the most of it!

Other end-of-year sale destinations include Need Supply Co., which is offering 20% off sitewide from now through December 29, and H&M, where items are slashed up to 70% through December 29.

AVOID THE BUSIEST MALL TIMES

Save yourself parking headaches and avoid the mall at peak hours. According to data collected by Google for Black Friday specifically, foot traffic at clothing stores peaks from 1 to 4 p.m., which also rings true during the post-holiday season. You’d be wise to make your returns during the mornings or evenings to avoid the biggest rush.

Sometimes, the best pieces can be found tucked away in the men’s section of a store (or site). And with the oversize and menswear-inspired trends skyrocketing onto the street style scene this season, it comes as no surprise that many of our favorite celebs have turned directly to the source and have shopped men’s pieces in lieu of womenswear.

Models Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, and Hailey Baldwin have all been spotted recently sporting loose-fitting oversize men’s pieces. However, as the girls prove, the items (whether it’s Bella’s jean jacket or Kendall’s T-shirt) can just as easily be reworked into our wardrobes. The result? A borrowed-from-the-boys ensemble that looks as cool as it is comfortable. Now that’s a wardrobe win-win.

After fashion week ended and all our favorite street style stars went back to their respective cities, they brought back a certain trend we can’t get enough of: Metallic pieces that make us all feel like the shining stars we are. A hint of metallic gold, silver, or even blue gives an outfit more interest and style points like no other. And while this eye-catching style may seem intimidating, we’re here to tell you that anyone can wear these high-fashion pieces.

The key is to go for a luxe look and keep the fabric from looking like that cheap old New Year’s Eve dress hidden in the back of all our closets. Pair a metallic skirt with a casual button-down or cozy turtleneck sweater for a day in the office, or go bold with statement-making knee-high boots and your favorite plaid miniskirt. Whatever you choose, when looking to freshen up your style for the New Year, you can never go wrong with metallics.

 

It’s no secret that denim hits high on our list of must-have pieces. I tend to slip into a pair of jeans nearly every day of the week. In the last year alone, I’ve put a number of silhouettes to the test. Cropped flares? Yep. Vintage-inspired straight-leg jeans? They were pretty much the only thing I wore all summer. And with a brand-new season on the horizon, what denim trends can we expect to see in 2018?

After looking to the spring runways and cool street style girls, I’ve got a few predictions to make. One style quickly gaining popularity is jeans with exposed stitching—making for a bold design that feels fresh and cool. The shift from light-wash to slimming dark-wash denim is also becoming more prominent. And with ’90s-inspired baggy styles popping up everywhere, skinny jeans just might lose their spot on the list of staple denim.

 Caroline Daur is a German fashion blogger who boasts over one million Instagram followers alone. She frequently takes to the ‘gram to post street style images and travel shots, feeding her avid followers (us included!) with a consistent stream of incredible fashion inspiration.

Over the past few months, we’ve noticed one item, in particular, Caro has been wearing on repeat—an extremely oversize super-fluffy teddy bear coat that looks oh so cozy and super stylish. It’s clear her followers are also huge fans of her choice in outerwear, which hails from Italian fashion house Max Mara and is fittingly named the Teddy Icon coat. (Of course, it’s sold out online as of now, but it may still be available for purchase at a store near you.)

If you didn’t already know, faux fur is a major trend this year, with the teddy jacket being the latest variation to win over everyone’s heart. As data has shown, Pinterest saves for this particular cold-weather essential are up more than 1200% this year. So clearly Caro isn’t the only one who is obsessed with this cute outerwear iteration. Grab it while it’s hot (and cold outside!).

The perfect Sunday 🐻

A post shared by Caroline Daur (@carodaur) on

 

Weekend 👋🏻

A post shared by Caroline Daur (@carodaur) on

When you think of classic trends, what comes to mind? Chances are you think of items like black ankle boots, trench coats, dark-wash jeans, and so on. Well, there’s one trend that should also be added to this list: leopard print. When you think about it, the spotted print has never really gone away. Though the pattern may seem more prominent in various seasons (FYI—it’s trending this fall and was seen at the runway shows of Isabel Marant and Saint Laurent), it’s always around in a variety of iterations.

This winter, we’re spotting a slew of women in bold leopard-print finds, including gorgeous coats, skirts, scarves, ankle boots, and everything in between. To be honest, if you invest in one of these items now, chances are it will still be in style in 20 years—given the trend’s perennial nature.

Interested in how fashion girls are wearing leopard print this season?

emma-roberts-turned-around-denim-shirt-forgot-swimsuitOne of the first things we would do in Miami is slip into a swimsuit, and that is precisely what Emma Roberts did. The star checked out the beach scene in a peach-colored one-piece and wore a pair of Converse sneakers instead of flip-flops.

Though the Mikoh bathing suit was revealing — it plunged low in the front — Emma brought along a cover-up: the Mother x Jacquie Aiche denim shirt. From the front, the button-down looked just like any chambray top, but once Emma turned around, you could clearly make out evil-eye embroidery and her name. The monogrammed design appears to be a celebrity favorite, as both Gigi Hadid and Karlie Kloss own the same piece.

The models styled theirs with jeans, but we particularly like Emma’s beach spin. As every star knows, a cover-up is a good way to prevent sunburns, and the denim shirt was a good alternative to the sarong. Read on to see Emma’s entire beach outfit, then shop similar shirts and swimsuits ahead.

One of the best parts about the onset of cooler weather is breaking out your sweater collection. There’s always that one gorgeous sweater, though, that’s just a little too itchy and sadly finds its way to the bottom of the drawer. Which is a shame, really, because you want to be able to show off aforementioned knitwear. So what’s the solution? Ridding yourself of that itchiness, of course. Thankfully, we know how to give it a new life how to fix that itch once and for all.

fix-itchy-jumper

1. Mix together cold water and a few tablespoons of white vinegar. Turn your sweater inside out and submerge it in the mixture, making sure it’s totally saturated and then drain it.

2. When the sweater is still damp, massage it with a good hair conditionerthe cheap stuff will cause a waxy buildup. Try to avoid stretching the sweater’s fibres when you do this.

3. Give the conditioner 30 minutes to set on the sweater, and then rinse all of it out with cold water. Press gently on the sweater to remove the rest of the water, taking care not to lose its shape.

4. Place the sweater on a towel and let it dry flat. When it’s completely dry, fold it neatly and put it in a large zip-top plastic bag.

5. Place the bagged sweater in the freezer overnight, and in the morning, it won’t itch anymore. The conditioner and the vinegar make the fibres in the sweater softer, and freezing it prevents its short fibres from poking out.