OK, so the unthinkable has happened, there's a cocktail party looming and you are strapped for cash! How are you going to get that perfect party dress? So what options do we have? In this section we've put together a selection of the most tried and trusted ways of getting the right dress, at an affordable price.

Shop in the sales

It sounds obvious, but have a think about clothes sales. Are they normally that great in terms of value for money? In terms of sales, don't just shop for the bargain dress, shop for the 'bargain shop'. This is a very common mistake; simply not doing your homework on where is best to shop at that time, for the cheapest product. So instead of going to the shop that is always first on your list, be a bit more adventurous.

So who do you know that's your size

Pink Cocktail Dress

It's time to call in a few favours from your friends! Do you know someone that's your size, your height, and has a great sense of fashion? Give them a buzz and get swapping! Who knows they might be itching for a pair of your shoes that have never even seen the light of day, why not do a swap for the perfect dress?

Do you have a creative side

This is your chance to get creative, and produce something inspiring! Whip out that sowing machine that's just gathering dust in the loft, and recycle some outdated dresses to create some brand new dress designs. OK, so this one is quite a challenging one, but worth a try?

The biggest tip is to think ahead, and purchase your dresses at the right time of year. Buying cheap cocktail dresses when they are not in season can definitely pay dividends in the long run, so make sure you're always on the lookout!