Photo credit to Duplica and Sery
For the majority of lolis I know buying lolita is a slow process that takes months of saving. However, there are some girls out there who cannot afford loli clothing no matter what, but they still feel the same yearning to wear bows and frills. Here are some tips to help the would be loli whose budget is virtually non existant.
Learn to Sew
This is probably the greatest advantage a strapped for cash loli can have. Sewing your own clothes means that you can design anything you want and have it fit perfectly. You can find enormous amounts of coupons online for craft stores, saving you a bundle on fabric. And making your own clothes means that you'll appreciate them more!
If you do not know how to sew or don't own a sewing machine I'm sure that you can find someone out there who does. Many retired women offer private sewing lessons in their home for a very small fee. This will help you learn the skills you need and give you access to a sewing machine (and potentially make a new friend! I love hanging out with old ladies, they usually have wonderful stories). Just put out an ad on a community bulliten board looking for a teacher.
Thrift shops are a treasure trove of loli-able items. It takes a lot of hunting but it's possible to find full coordinates! Blouses are usually in abundance and it can be quite easy to pick something out that would look perfect with any skirt or jumperskirt. You may be able to come across a cheap pair of mary-jane shoes, or failing that try a pair of pretty pumps. It might take a few visits to find a suitable dress or JSK, but it can be done! Just keep an open mind and follow my motto "when in doubt try it on", sometimes seeing an item off the hanger transforms it!
Support Mr. Yan
If you are able to make/thrift everything else then saving up for a dress or jumperskirt from Bodyline can be an attainable goal. Before buying make absolutely sure that what you want will fit you and then put up a WTB on EGL Community Sales (buying it from a girl in your country often saves you a lot of money on shipping) or join a group order.
Since petticoats are harder to make and find in thrift stores it might be a good idea to buy one from Bodyline. Besides dresses, Bodyline has almost everything you need to accessorize your coordinate: jewelry, bows, bags, even false eyelashes!
Even for those girls (and boys) out there who only have moths in their wallets, gorgeous loli cooridantes are certainly possible. It may take a bit more work than simply dragging brand into your shopping cart, but the results can be just as beautiful!
My offbrand inspiration is sullend0ll, a loli who as far as I know only wears handmade or offbrand. Every time she posts on Daily Lolita I get excited, you can see all of her posts here.
Good luck in attaining your loli dreams!