As someone who has been in the costuming industry for the past fifteen years I've got to be honest with you. It's hard. But I'm here to make it a little easier for you. Have you ever studied the glitz and glam that other performers have had in their wardrobe and wanted the same thing? I'm here to teach you how to achieve some similar looks on a budget!
If you're thinking rhinestones, AB is the way to go! From a distance those little suckers light up like a million little lightning bugs. You don't need Swarovski, you just need to look for that A(urora) B(orealis) shine in that product description! Buy in bulk and make sure to DOUBLE CHECK your sizings! If you don't measure the stones properly you can end up with something so teeny it'll take you weeks to finish a piece!
Invest in several good wigs for characters. It's funny how now there's so many wigs available for $10 and less online. My personal go to is a black bob cut wig. It was $9 online and I've used it for Lord Farquaad, Bruno Bucciarati and more. If you don't permanently style a wig it can be easy to change the style with a little steam and bobby pinning!
Get disposable pastie backings online! I usually get a 50 pack of them for a little over $5. If you craft your pasties out of something re-usable (glitter foam already has some shine to it, wink wink) then you can keep re-using some basic designs and keep changing out the pasties by carefully peeling off the backs.
If you are going to go wild and out there and do a bodypaint, remember that your best bet for burlesque is using an alcohol based bodypaint! Temptu and Endura are great and they're sweat resistant, keep in mind that products like ProAiir that are hybrid paints are more likely to rub off!
Ask your friends! If you're in a pinch you can always ask your performer friends if you have the ability to borrow some pieces. Remember to treat them with respect and care like you would your own, and understand that if your friends are wary about lending things out they probably mean alot to them! I always say to return things in better condition than you got them.