You can be chic and cheerful on a budget! Georgina Heffernan takes a peek at the high street and discovers some great bargains!

Q. Like most of the country, I’m on a tight budget and, as a young mum of two, every penny counts. I love following the latest trends and want to look stylish but is that ever really possible when you are on a tight budget?

A. For the fashion-conscious, a recession should never get in the way of looking good and just because we're tightening our belts doesn't mean we have to economise on style. In this current economic climate when shopping for fun now seems frivolous - more and more of us are seeking out cut-price clothes that won't give our bank manager a heart attack.

The bargain fashion boom has been boosted by charity shops, rebranded as a green alternative, and eBay, which has made shopping for vintage clothes easy. Cut-price stores such as; New Look, Century 21, Bay Trading, TK Maxx, H&M Zara, and now high-flying Tesco, are also proof that cheap does not have to be tacky.

Of course, I can’t really talk about affordable fashion without mentioning Pennys, the Irish fashion chain loved by celebrities, housewives and students alike for its ability to transform catwalk dreams into everyday bargains. This season, they have many key looks - leopard print bags, heritage style blazers and studded biker jackets – at prices that everyone can afford.

If you want to pick up something a little more unique, charity shops such as Oxfam, Barnardos and Enable Ireland are dotted all over the country and these types of stores stock everything from vintage clothing to evening wear and bridal gowns. But with plenty of bargain-hunters around, you have to be quick to unearth those hidden gems...

Need a little inspiration?

I’ve discovered for the best autumn fashions out there for less than fifty euro. Click here to see few of my favourites.

Georgina Heffernan