Saving money on clothes doesn’t mean wearing rags or sending your kids to school in shoes two sizes too small. Instead, you can make small adjustments to your clothing purchases to save anywhere from a few bucks to dozens of dollars per purchase. Best of all, you won’t have to cut back on shopping to save money on your fashion habit, you just have to shop smart. We asked top personal finance bloggers for tips on saving money on clothes, and we’re sharing them here with you.
Depending on how much you shop, how often you shop, and which brands you buy, you could save a considerable amount of money. In fact, we averaged that the average home can save $121 a month on clothing alone.
Secondhand Is Where the Discounts Are
Most of us wouldn’t really think of going to a second hand shop or looking for used clothing, but our finance bloggers had one thing to say, again and again. Buy used. After a quick look at their tips, we can see that shopping secondhand doesn’t mean wearing rags, in fact, quite the opposite.
John & David – Debt Free Guys: “Consignment shops are becoming ever more popular for hip and trendy clothes. Take advantage of this cool, but used, clothing, and save money.”
Lance Cothern – Money Manifesto: “Check out your local thrift shop for great deals on barely worn clothing. Some of their stuff still has tags on it. For the best deals, go shopping in the wealthier parts of town.”
Laurie – The Frugal Farmer: “Buy at garage sales, and on Craigslist.”
Brian – DebtDiscipline: “Buy gently used clothes. E-Bay is an excellent place to find deals on quality used clothes.”
Melanie Lockert – Dear Debt: “Shop sale aisles or go thrift shopping for the best prices.”
Andrew Schrage – Money Crashers: “Thrift stores and garage sales are two other options for saving a bundle on clothing. Oftentimes you’ll find clothing that’s never been worn and is basically brand new for pennies on the dollar.”
Stefanie O’Connell – TheBrokeAndBeautifulLife.com: “Thrift.”
William – Dr. Of Credit: “Shop at secondhand stores.”
Know Where to Shop
Where you shop has a lot of impact on how much you spend on clothing, even if you’re buying new. The personal finance bloggers had a few things to say about getting off the beaten path, to find savings in out of the way shops.
John & David – Debt Free Guys: “Search creatively online, avoiding well known sites. My current favorites include ASOS.com, YesStyle.com and GuyLook.com”
Kalen Bruce – MoneyMiniBlog: “Shop smart. Online is the best place to buy most clothing. If you prefer to buy in-store, go for an outlet mall. Regular malls and department stores will always have the highest prices.”
Lazy Man and Money: “TJ Max and Marshalls. They should have everything at a great price.”
When shopping, timing is everything, just don’t wait for the big, marketed sales, or you’ll end up standing in lines all day. The bloggers had a variety of advice on waiting for sales, or looking out for clearance racks to help you save, but the biggest takeaway is that you have to start shopping for things you need before you need them.
Gretchen Lindow – Retire by 40: “Shop the clearance racks at higher-end stores. Not only does their clearance tend to be lower (80% – 90% off) than lower end stores, but the clothes tend to be better quality and therefore last longer – Start shopping well in advance for your or your children’s sizes in clothing and store them in totes until you’re ready to wear them.”
Brian – Debt Discipline: “Buy off season. You can find big discounts buying clothes at the end of the season for next season.”
William – Dr. of Credit: “Shop out of season (e.g winter clothes in summer & summer clothes in winter).”
Melanie Lockert – Dear Debt: “Buy off-season to get the best deals.”
Laurie – The Frugal Farmer: “If you have kids, buy clearance clothing a size bigger for the following year.”
Gary Dek – Gajizmo: “The retail industry is ridiculously competitive, so never buy anything at full-price. There will always be a sale around the corner. Wait till the off-season to buy clothes.”
Liquid, Freedom 35 Blog: “Shop out of season.”
Quality Matters, Quantity Doesn’t
While minimalism may be a trend, it’s not one that most of us are interested in, and you don’t have to go quite as far as a 50 item wardrobe. However, the bloggers agreed that creating a small, quality wardrobe full of useful pieces is considerably more useful, and affordable, than buying whatever in-fashion pieces catch your eye.
Kalen Bruce – MoneyMiniBlog.com: “Buy quality over quantity. When you buy quality, it costs more up front, but it will last several years longer and high quality clothes are usually more timeless as far as style goes. Not only will you save money by owning less clothing, you will spend less time deciding what to wear. A few pieces of high quality clothing will always beat a closet full of cheap clothes.”
Stefanie O’Connell – TheBrokeAndBeautifulLife.com: “Maintain a few classic, quality staples.”
Gary Dek – Gajizmo: “Don’t pay a significant premium for name brands. Instead, shop for quality and value.”
Lance Cothern – Money Manifesto: “Avoid buying designer clothing and instead buy quality brands that will last.”
Liquid, Freedom 35 Blog: “Shop at discount chains.”
Andrew Schrage – Money Crashers: “To begin with, shop at the right stores. Retailers like Old Navy and Kohl’s have discount clothing that’s generally of good quality, and at sale prices that’s much more competitive than other national brands.”
Don’t Forget Your Friends
When shopping for clothing on a budget, don’t forget to ask your friends, especially if you have kids. The Bloggers pointed out that most of us have more clothes than we can wear anyway, and that you don’t have to go to stores, or spend any money to get new clothing.
Stefanie O’Connell – TheBrokeAndBeautifulLife.com: “Set up clothing exchanges with friends’ purging their own closets and wardrobes.”
And it doesn’t just apply to your wardrobe:
Laurie – The Frugal Farmer: “If you have kids, see if there’s a friend with an older child that you can buy clothes from.”
Take Another Look At Your Closet
Taking care of your wardrobe to make it last as long as possible can save you money, but how many of us really know what’s in our closets? Studies show that most people only really wear about 20% of what’s in our wardrobes, so these tips from bloggers make a lot of sense.
Liquid, Freedom 35 Blog: “Learn how to care for your clothing and how to sew and make simple alterations.”
Lance Cothern – Money Manifesto:“Don’t feel like you have to wash your clothes after wearing them only once. If they aren’t dirty, you will reduce the great amount of wear washing clothes causes to clothing and your clothes will last longer.”
John & David – Debt Free Guys: “Shop your closet, as most of us have more clothing than we can wear and most of those items have slipped our memory. Items can be reused and repurposed. Get creative.”
Lazy man and Money: “Also, don’t buy clothes. Sounds crazy, but I have some clothes that are going on 15 years old now.”
Melanie Lockert – Dear Debt: “Don’t buy new clothes unless you need them. I buy clothes once a year or less and it saves me a ton of money.”
Andrew Schrage – Money Crashers: “Before you head out for a clothes shopping excursion, take a good look inside your closets and drawers to see if you really need new clothes. In some cases, you may not.”
• Don’t buy new clothing unless you need it
• Shop off season and save
• If you want premium brands, consider secondhand
• Shop around, look online, and look in small boutiques or less known webshops for better deals
• Take care of what you own, and don’t be afraid to swap it with friends
Saving money on clothing might not save you hundreds a month unless you’re a dedicated shopper, but it will allow you to shop for the clothing you need without worrying as much about what you are spending. With a little careful shopping around, planning, and a few smart decisions, you can reduce your clothing budget a great deal, no matter how much you shop. So, how much can you save? The personal finance bloggers had a lot to say on the matter, but at the end of the day, it depends on how many people you’re shopping for, how often you shop, and which brands you prefer. So, what did the bloggers have to say?
Laurie, The Frugal Farmer – $50-$100
Liquid, Freedom 35 Blog – $50
Melanie Lockert, Dear Debt – $300
John & David, Debt Free Guys – $50-$100
Gretchen Lindow, Retire by 40 – $100
Stefanie O’Connell, TheBrokeAndBeautifulLife.com – $100
Kalen Bruce, MoneyMiniBlog – Over $100, possibly much more
Most professional finance bloggers suggested you can save between $50 and $100 on clothing, some averaged out much more. We averaged out that a normal shopper can save an average of $121 a month on personal shopping for clothing, especially if you have kids. While it might not be as easy as just buying whatever you want, there are plenty of savings to be had, and saving 10-70% on each article of clothing adds up fast.
If you have more tips of your own or you want to share your experience with the experts, write us to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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