The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

10 Questions with Shauna Miller, Author of Penny Chic. Plus, Win a Signed Copy of the Book!

Q&A with Penny Chic author Shauna Miller

Today I nabbed an exclusive interview with the multitalented fashion powerhouse Shauna Miller, author of the blog and now, the author of the book by the same name, Penny Chic: How to Be Stylish on a Real Girl's Budget! Full disclosure: Shauna is not only a fabulous blogger, she's also a dear friend of mine. She's what I'd call a kindred spirit, not only because we share a passion for affordable fashion but because she's an all-around awesome person who cares about her readers and the blogging community at large. Ok, enough gushing, let's get on with the interview! And don't miss the giveaway at the end of this post!

GIVEAWAY UPDATE 10/8/14: And the winners of our giveaway are...#18 Kellie Harrison and #23 Lynda! Congrats to our winners and thank you to everyone who participated.

The Budget Babe Q+A with Shauna Miller

1. How long did the book take you to make and what was the hardest part?

I started outlining it back in April 2012, so technically it’s been two and half years!

There were so many activities happening at once—from writing and editing, to styling models, taking photographs and designing the layout—and each thing required a different type of focus and attention, which was hard to juggle on top of my business!

2. The outfits in your book look super expensive. Where are the clothes from?

All the affordable stores I recommend in the book including: Target, Sears, Kmart, Forever 21, and a bunch of others. Each item used in the book had to be credited in the book. Unlike my blog, the book also features vintage and DIY pieces too.

3. Speaking of the blog vs. book, how is the book different than the blog?

The book is an A to Z guide on how to find your style, build a fabulous wardrobe, and become a stylist pro on a budget! I first show you how to do the MOST you can without spending any money. Then, once you’ve recycled, reinvented, and DIY’ed pieces from your existing wardrobe, we segue into the shopping part. The book incorporates more content about working with what you have than the blog.

What’s your favorite chapter?

That’s a tough one, but I’d say the DIY chapter!! I share FIFTEEN practical and fun fashion DIY projects that teens, moms, and professionals will actually have the time and resources to do. The best part is that the projects are divided by style categories like, Classic, Girly, Boho, Edgy, and Sporty, so you can easily find the best option for you.

4. What makes this style guide different from so many others?

The Penny Chic style book is the first budget style guide for teens and the millennials. The content regularly turns to social media and the internet for style solutions that can save people time and money. There’s a lot of detailed takeaway and actionable advice, which is often watered down in other style books.

Any differences between the eBook and the hard copy, other than obvious formatting?

Yes, actually! It’s an enhanced eBook with interactive quizzes and content, style videos, and exclusive behind-the-scenes photos. The hard copy, though, has that tangible X factor. The bright pink cover makes for an exquisite coffee table book to decorate your living room haha!

5. Who did you dedicate the book to?

My mom who shot all ten thousand photos for the book and has always taught me to “own it” (which is the title of the last chapter) and my blog readers, whose devoted support and loyalty made this opportunity possible. My dedication sounds like an Oscars speech haha but I swear it comes from the heart!

Excerpt from Penny Chic by Shauna Miller: Secondhand Shopping Cheat Sheet: When something's worth considering, and when you should put it back!

6. I love your cover look! How many outfits did you shoot for the cover?

We shot the cover for the first time on my 27th birthday, WAY before I was even done with the manuscript! I wore this impeccable LC Lauren Conrad polka dress from Kohl's that I still keep on a hanger in my office! We couldn’t believe that we could have actually nailed it the first time so we shot me on 5 other occasions in dozens of looks and nothing beat that first shoot.

7. I feel like fashion tips are so redundant. Anything we haven’t heard?

Believe it or not, shopping in your grandpa or father’s closet can be like hitting the jackpot if you know what to look for. Some of my most prized treasures were pieces I snagged from an old box of my dad’s clothes sitting in the garage. The book shows you how to score the gold and how to style it to perfection!

8. A little off topic…but what ever happened to your clothing line with Is it coming back?

Great question!! The fall collection launches September 24th! As you know, the first collection which sold out consisted of just LBDs. This round, we’re expanding the variety and offering 14 different dresses for $20. The collection will include the two top sellers from before, in addition to 3 other silhouettes in different colors and prints!

Giveaway time! Leave a comment below with your favorite budget fashion tip for a chance to win one of two signed copies of the book! Open to US and Canada. Yay! Good luck! Ends 12 noon ET September 30th. And a heartfelt thanks to Shauna for taking time to chat with us today. Muah! —BB

My go-to budget shopping tip is always thinking about cost per wear - a "bargain" may not be if I only wear it once, or if it just sits in my closet!
#1 KT on 2014-09-23 11:51 (Reply)
My favorite budget shopping tip is to keep tabs on full-price items until they go on sale!
#2 Susie on 2014-09-23 12:10 (Reply)
My favorite budget shopping tip is to always look for coupon codes.
#3 Davina W. on 2014-09-23 12:21 (Reply)
Haunt the clearance racks of higher end stores and look for formerly-expensive high quality pieces -- I scored a really nice classic Calvin Klein skirt suit last year.
#4 Laura on 2014-09-23 13:54 (Reply)
Buy great basics like white v-neck shirts at budget places like old navy. Since they don't cost a fortune, its no big deal to replace them regularly.
#5 Kelli L. on 2014-09-23 13:56 (Reply)
I always try to think of at least 3 outfits that I could wear the item with. It also pushes me to be more creative with my styling!
#6 Kelsey on 2014-09-23 14:40 (Reply)
I try to keep my color palette in mind while I shop (mostly at thrift stores and Old Navy) - and also think about what accessories I have to match pieces I find BEFORE I buy. I'm crazy for prints so I try to keep them in moderation and look for cheap basics to match with my wild prints I already own (mostly leopard and polka-dot)!
#7 Mada on 2014-09-23 15:07 (Reply)
I try to use coupons when and where I can to save money.
#8 kathryn young on 2014-09-23 15:12 (Reply)
always use coupon codes and never pay for shipping when shopping online!
#9 natalie g on 2014-09-23 15:30 (Reply)
My fave budget shopping tip is to always look for a coupon code. Invaluable. I also finally started to really take the time to think of three ways I can style a certain piece. That has saved me a lot of money because I used to be that person who would buy something impulsively only to find that I couldn't figure out other ways to incorporate it with the things I already owned. What a waste of money!
#10 Wanda on 2014-09-23 16:30 (Reply)
Great post!
#11 Mel (Homepage) on 2014-09-23 17:59 (Reply)
As a college student I try to save anywhere I can. One of my favorite budget shopping tips is to always sign up for store emails. Even though I dislike the daily emails you can get some great discounts just by signing up.
#12 Danielle N (Homepage) on 2014-09-23 19:35 (Reply)
I agree with you 100%, Danielle! I sign up for emails for every store and restaurant change I go to. They notify me of great promos online or in store, or both. I get coupons emailed to me. Sometimes I get coupons for something free (more likely from a restaurant - free entree during my b-day month for example). It'so quick and easy to delete any of those emails that I don't need.
#12.1 Lisa on 2014-09-23 20:30 (Reply)
If you don't love it, you can live without it. If you are going to experiment, make sure it doesn't cost a fortunate for something that may not ultimately work out. I'm prone to impulse buy and to have buyer's remorse, so I always keep my receipts until I'm sure the item fits and is a keeper. I'm learning that less can be more and that quality is better than quantity.
#13 Kathy on 2014-09-23 20:24 (Reply)
Throw out at least 2 items before checkout, stack coupons/deals (especially at Kohl's), go in with particular items in mind.
#14 Joy on 2014-09-23 21:19 (Reply)
Keep visiting budget fashion blogs like The Budget Babe and Penny Chic for the best tips and advice. You will save money and look great!
#15 Julie on 2014-09-23 21:34 (Reply)
price per wear!!
#16 Bianca on 2014-09-23 22:57 (Reply)
My budget tip is to use shopping trackers like Shoptagr to track pieces when they go on sale! So convenient.
#17 Jenn @ hellorigby! (Homepage) on 2014-09-24 00:47 (Reply)
The best tip I ever got was, 'Give TJ Maxx a CHance." My best friend told me that because I have the patience of a 5 year old, and it's hard for me to just stand there and sort through all the racks. But when I did, I found amazing things! I once got this wicked cool jacket that was worth $130 for $50!!
#18 Kellie Harrison (Homepage) on 2014-09-24 08:13 (Reply)
Don't buy on impulse! I've wasted too much money on items I've regretted buying later down the road
#19 Chyrisse on 2014-09-24 15:20 (Reply)
My budget tip is to always wait for clothes to go on sale.
#20 Danielle on 2014-09-24 15:27 (Reply)
My budget tip is to always check out sales and clearance first because you may find a great, inexpensive piece!
#21 Tricia Moyano on 2014-09-24 17:30 (Reply)
My tip is to always buy real leather shoes and purses whenever possible. They last so much longer and you just can't get a nice patina out of faux leather.
#22 Maryann Horner on 2014-09-24 20:08 (Reply)
my tip would be to look for coupons/sales and see if they are stack-able!
#23 Lynda on 2014-09-25 00:45 (Reply)
I shop end of season for basics on clearance
#24 Jenny (Homepage) on 2014-09-25 13:32 (Reply)
If you know your brands, you can find some great stuff at Goodwill. By checking brands you can tell if things are well made or not. It takes hunting through things and going to the store often to look. Loving to shop helps, which most all budget girls do.
#25 Penny Morgan on 2014-09-25 14:04 (Reply)
It's okay to impulse shop if you find something amazing, but always take back something if you get it home and it isn't as great as you originally thought
#26 Chloe on 2014-09-26 16:51 (Reply)
I love the idea of shopping in the KIDS section for some items. Why not grab some accessories or a scarf or something there? It is generally half the price and all the quality.
#27 Karen Morse on 2014-09-26 17:40 (Reply)
My budget fashion tip is to regularly sort through your wardrobe and sell unworn items on sites like eBay to make more room and funds to buy new clothes :-)
#28 Nora on 2014-09-26 22:44 (Reply)
I always head straight for the clearance racks. Even then, I check online (including eBay) to make sure I'm getting the best price. I'd love to win a copy of this book!!
#29 Chic in Academia (Homepage) on 2014-09-27 22:28 (Reply)
I do a bit of a three-step process. If it's something a bit pricier, I ask the store to put it on hold for a couple of days if possible. I go home and try to imagine it in my closet with pieces that go well with it. I also make sure I don't already have other pieces that save the same purpose. Then, if I can't stop thinking about it, I look for coupons or sign up for emails that might offer a discount. If I can stack, even better!
I also tend to buy a few inexpensive trendy pieces to combine with classic for the season. If the trend doesn’t last, at least I didn't spend life savings on it.
#30 Damaris on 2014-09-28 08:20 (Reply)
Cost per wear is usually the most helpful
#31 Daniella on 2014-09-28 09:24 (Reply)
Shop previous season's pieces. Who cares if they are so "last year"? Own it cos you earned it. IT never hurts to add a coupon or two here and there.
#32 Louisa (Homepage) on 2014-09-29 01:22 (Reply)
thanks for all the GREAT submissions!!! Loved hearing all these savvy tips!! xo
#33 Shauna Miller (Homepage) on 2014-09-30 01:58 (Reply)
My theory is almost everything either has a sale, free shipping code or goes on clearance at some point. I bookmark everything I want that's regular price and check every week to see if there's any sort of sale or special offer!
#34 Mary on 2014-09-30 09:52 (Reply)
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