I’ve seen a lot of people ask online, “I don’t really have much money, how can I start transitioning?”. Especially for younger people, this is a huge barrier. So we want to give you some ideas of how to get going and ease yourself in without getting in over your head. Let’s take a look at how to transition on a budget.

A Little Clarification

First off, let’s be clear, transition doesn’t have to necessarily be full time. Perhaps it’s just you taking your first part-time steps- dressing, makeup, clothes, etc. So don’t get discouraged if you can’t go big-time on the budget right now. Obviously, if you have more disposable income, you have a few more options. But for today, we want to focus on starting out slowly on a budget.

Transition on a Budget – Shopping

You have a surprising number of options for shopping on a budget when you are starting. We will get into specifics of topics in other articles. For now, we will just talk a bit about where you can spend your money.

Dollar Stores

Transition on a Budget - Dollar Stores
Whether it’s a Dollar Tree, Dollar General, or any variation of those; these stores are a great resource for finding items you can use. You won’t find much, if anything, in a way of clothes. But you can pick up makeup, skin care, general beauty products, hair care, and some accessories. This is the perfect way to kick-start your transition and get the most mileage out of your money.

Big Box Stores

As they advertise, places like Walmart and Target are stores where you can find most anything you need. So, save for a few “specialty” items, this is a one stop shop. At Walmart especially, you can find items fairly cheap. You will spend a bit more here than the dollar stores, but obviously, you can’t get everything there and you will want to step up your game. One of the great things is that these stores are generally so busy that no one notices what you are shopping for. And many stores have self-checkout lanes. So you can pay for your items with a bit more privacy too, if you haven’t built up your confidence yet.

Clearance Aisles

Transition on a Budget - clearance
Wherever you go, always make a habit of checking the clearance aisle. Most drug stores and stores like Walmart will have a decent clearance area, and you would be amazed what you can find there. Makeup, skin care, hair care, accessories, hosiery and socks, under garments, and more. Always raid the clearance aisle and save some money.


For ease and privacy, nothing beats online shopping.


eBay is truly one stop shopping and one of the cheapest ways to get things. I can also tell you that is an incredible place to shop for jewelry and build up a collection. More on that in another article, but just know that you can get all sorts of bracelets and necklaces for less than a dollar with no shipping. It was a huge way to start my collection. You can also find things like makeup organizers, makeup bags, and brushes for very cheap. No, these aren’t professional quality brushes. But they allow you to learn and put some abuse on them before you throw down on some higher-end brushes.

Be warned however, if you are shopping for clothes, make sure you have your sizes down. Take your measurements and check the size charts. Some places will not honor refunds, especially on personal items. Also, note if the model wearing the clothes is Asian. If so, they are probably using Asian sizing which runs MUCH smaller than American sizing. If you wear a large, you might find you need a 2XL in those lines. If you are trying to transition on a budget then it doesn’t how cheap it is if you can’t wear it.


Amazon is another option for you, and offers a huge selection. You can search and find items pretty cheaply. However, I would suggest that before you buy something, check it on eBay first. I found a necklace for $30 on Amazon that was .99 on eBay. I’m not kidding. This is also a great place to get makeup and beauty supplies for cheaper than in the stores.


If you have a smartphone then you need this app. Of course you can also use their main site, but the app is outstanding and easy to use. Sellers list clothes they do not want at discount prices, and you pick them up at a steal. You can set up your sizes and see only what fits you in listings. If you find a seller who has items you really like, you can follow them. And most sellers offer bundle discounts for buying more than one item. You can also make offers and haggle on the price a bit. I’ve saved some big money by shopping with them.


Depending on your style, it may not be for everyone. However, Forever21 does boast a wide selection and has an outstanding plus section. Their regular prices are not necessarily budget-friendly, but if you click on their sale sections (they have sales constantly) and clearance areas then you can find deep discounts on really nice clothes. We are talking tops from $5 and up, and dresses from around $12.99 and up. They also are pretty much always offering shipping specials. And if you want camis, trust me you want camis, they start at $3.99 for regular sizes and $4.99 for plus-size.

Transition on a Budget - Forever21

Again, I cannot stress enough the quality and selection of the plus-size section. If you need a little larger fit, they are amazing. I highly suggest, however, at least making one trip in to the store to find out your size in items. Shopping becomes much easier then. I personally have never had a problem in their store trying on items. Even when coming in presenting as male. Don’t expect a ticker-tape parade, but I’ve never gotten a sideways glance. We live in a great time.

The truth is, you can find cheap deals most anywhere you look. Even the typically expensive Torrid has some good clearance sales. Just keep your eyes peeled and always been looking.

In part two of this series we will be covering what you can do for FREE when you transition on a budget. Trust us, it’s super important that you do them too.