I know that I always talk about shopping according to your list and trying to avoid purchasing extra stuff. Well, just as much as I am talking to you I am also talking to myself. Recently I was preparing to attend my friend’s wedding in NYC, and at the last minute I remembered that it was black tie. I started to get worried because I didn’t have anything to wear – seriously I looked in the closet!

My friends suggested that I use the Rent the Runway service, which I actually think is an excellent idea. However, I was nervous that I wouldn’t receive the dress in time, because the date of the wedding was literally around the corner. Also, I looked at the rental costs and I started to wonder if I could find a second-hand dress for less or the same cost as a rental but I would own it. Granted I knew that most likely I wouldn’t find a huge brand name, but as my friend told me, “the only person who would know the brand is you.”


I called a couple of my favorite vintage stores and asked them to pull a couple of pieces for me. I only had a few minutes to shop so I needed to have the options narrowed down to keep me focused. I went to Thrift on the Avenue in Detroit and they had a room of options for me. I quickly started to try the items on, and found a gorgeous Badgley Mischka dress for $60, which is less than the cost of a rental. I knew I wanted to wear that dress. I know that this was “the” dress, but I kept trying on the other dresses that were on the rack – big mistake. By the time I left the store I had three dresses for a total of $115.

You may be thinking, “What’s the big deal? That’s a great price!”  Well the big deal is that I left with three “formal” dresses – one in a not so every day color that needed to be tailored. Where am I going with three formal dresses? I’m sure I’ll find somewhere to go J but did I really need THREE dresses? The answer is a phenomenally NO.  I should have decided while in the store which dress I would wear so I could have saved money.

Here’s what I learned:

  1. Carry cash when you want to be frugal and phenomenal. This will keep you from purchasing more items than needed.
  2. Look at the ability to re-wear the item. If it can only be worn at that one event, don’t buy it. Ask yourself, can this be worn at a cocktail event, a work anniversary, maybe captain’s night on a cruise, or a date night? If so, it’s a keeper.
  3. Is the color limiting? The color of the dress may be gorgeous, but does it limit how often and where you could wear it. If so, put it back and keep looking.
  4. Does it fit properly? If the dress needs to be tailored, it may not be the dress for you, because it may end up costing you much more than what you planned to spend.

By the way, full disclosure I ended up wearing dress #2 instead of “the” dress to the wedding.

Me at Lauren's wedding

I wore dress #3 to work. I figured out how to make #3 work, because it wasn’t too fancy.  However, after the wedding weekend, I still did not have a place to wear dress #1, therefore I was considering exchanging that dress for something that was more ready-to-wear.  However, right before I made the trip back to the store, I called a friend who is getting married in September and asked if it was a black tie.  She said yes, so I am planning to keep it, tailor it, and then wear it in September.

I share this story with you to tell you that we all make mistakes in our financial freedom journey. The important thing is that you learn and make adjustments. Nothing is ever wasted as long as you got a lesson.

How can you take your mistakes and turn them into a learning experience?

Aisha Taylor is a #1 Amazon Best Selling Author of the book “5+5 FNPhenomenal Ways to Save $100 This Week Without Killing Your Lifestyle”, and the Founder of FNPhenomenal (Frugal –n- Phenomenal). FNPhenomenal helps women to break the vicious cycle of making money, but not keeping it. FNPhenomenal provides education about money management, empowers women to take control of their lives, develop a healthier relationship with money, and pursue being phenomenal.

Visit Aisha online at www.FNPhenomenal.com
Follow Aisha on Instagram/Twitter: @FNPhenomenal
Facebook: facebook.com/FNPhenomenal

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