Bagging your first job is an exciting time for any twenty-something – especially as it is so hard to secure employment these days. The sense of achievement (and relief!) is unrivaled, and it is great to know that you’re finally on your way up the career ladder.

But before our first pay check even lands, starting a job comes with some serious expenses you probably hadn’t considered.

1. How will you get to work – public transportation, walk, drive?
2. What will you do about lunch every day?
3. Will you need to purchase work clothes?

Buying your work wardrobe can be a pretty costly expense, especially when you’re waiting on your first pay check. Luckily though, there are a number of ways you can get the clothes you need without breaking the bank:

1. Check the dress code.

First and foremost, you should check the dress code at your new job. Will they provide you with a free uniform? Do you have to be suited and booted? Or is ‘smart casual’ more their style? Find out from your contacts at the company what you should wear before you spend a small fortune. After all, if you will be working in a laid back office you might not need to purchase anything at all.
Once you have an idea of what to wear, you can start looking at what you already have and if this can be adapted. Do you only need a few smart tops and a pair of shoes to pair with jeans? Or do you need to invest in crisp, expensive suits?

2. Invest in key pieces.

When it comes to shopping, don’t go crazy. Invest in a number of key pieces that you can mix and match. This will help keep you work ready, but will see you through until you can afford to buy more items. For example, girls working in a smart office should look at getting a smart pair of trousers, a pencil skirt, and a couple of shirts. You can then mix and match, but still stick to your office dress code. Boys should get a couple of pairs of trousers and shirts, and alternate what they wear. This will help keep the costs down until payday, but you may also find that you only need a couple of items. The best thing about this is that you can then just purchase the items as and when you need them, helping drive down your costs.

3. Don’t be afraid of discount stores.

There is nothing wrong with charity shopping, vintage stores, and discount outlets – especially when you’re on a budget. Snap up your initial work wardrobe from these locations, and you’ll get much more for your money. Just be sure that anything you buy is in great condition and will look smart – not scruffy – in your work environment. You might be surprised at the quality of the clothing available in these stores. Just because they’re second-hand it doesn’t mean that they are outdated. Take the time to shop around; you never know what you might find.

Buying clothes for your first job doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, by following these tips it can be cheaper than you might think. At least now you can enjoy putting your paycheck towards something much more exciting, right?

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