How to Save Money on Clothes
Like so many other things, clothing is something you can easily completely blow your budget on. Or, on the other hand, there are tons of ways that you can easily save money on clothes—so that that money can go to things that might be even more valuable to you down the road.
If your family currently spends the average $1,800 on clothing per year, or $150 per month, then there’s some room for potential savings. And if you currently spend more than that (and maybe even much more), then the savings can be even greater. And with that saved money you can pay off debt, save for your emergency fund or a large purchase, or even invest in your future. In this article I’ll share 13 must-do tips to save substantial money on your clothing budget this year!
1. Before going shopping for clothing and shoes, shop your own closet, dresser, and storage areas.
Have you ever looked deeper into your closet or dresser drawers or into a box of seasonal clothing and found items you forgot you even had? I definitely have. Both for me, and for our kids as well. So before you go shopping for clothes and shoes for the upcoming season, go through all of your closets and dressers and boxes of clothes.
And while you’re at it, put in a box or bag clothes that no longer fit or that you no longer want so that you can donate them to a second-hand store or sell them to a consignment clothing store such as Kid to Kid. And throw out old clothes that you don’t want to keep that are stained or holey or otherwise in bad shape. This will help keep your closet and dresser and storage area from getting overstuffed with clothing again—and that will make it so that you will actually know what you have and you will be able to actually find your favorite pieces and outfits so that you can wear them! 🙂
If you’re like me, you have way more clothing than your dresser and closet can comfortably hold already—and same for your kids’ clothing, as well. A week’s worth of clothing (maybe two) with a few items for special occasions is all you really need. So buy fewer things, throw out what you don’t want, and then enjoy what you have left. Once you thin it down, you’ll likely feel like you got a whole new wardrobe!
3. Buy classic clothing items rather than trendy items that will be out of style by the end of the season in order to save money on clothes.
You can save a lot of money on clothes by giving your clothing a long shelf life by buying classic, well-made pieces that will last for years. Every once in a while I realize that I’m wearing something that I’ve owned for 10 or more years (a few things I’ve even owned for close to 20!), and the knowledge makes me smile. For me, it’s like a connection to my past, and it makes me think about when I bought it or special occasions where I’ve worn the article of clothing. Many clothing items really will last for years and years if you take care of them.
4. Buy the majority of your clothing at second-hand (thrift) stores or gently used online to save a bunch of money on clothes.
If you really want to save money on clothes, buy preowned. You can save a ton of money by shopping local thrift stores and at online retailers like eBay. At many thrift stores you can buy items for one-fourth to one-tenth the original price. Yes, you might have to do a little digging to find the items that you like, but the hunt for favorite items can be part of the fun!
A Goodwill Outlet store recently opened up in our town, and they have such amazing deals. You purchase clothing by the pound for a great price, so you can literally buy your child’s entire summer or winter wardrobe for under $40!
Though they don’t sell used clothes, you can also find some great deals at times on Amazon, so make sure you include them as you search for bargains.
5. Stay away from name brands to save money on clothing.
I know the idea of giving up name brands will be hard for some of you. But when it comes right down to it, does it really matter what you wear 99 percent of the time? I think you would agree that for most of us (the 99 percent :)), it doesn’t.
For me, I haven’t cared about name brand clothes since high school. I didn’t have money in college to worry about it, and in between years at college I lived in Bolivia (the poorest country in South America at the time, and according to the Google search I did just a minute ago, still) for an extended period of time on a mission for my church, and after that things like designer clothes just really didn’t seem to matter anymore. Many of the people that we talked with and taught and served didn’t even have indoor plumbing, very few of them had cars, no one had central air, very few had internet—they were happy just to have enough to eat each day and basic clothes on their back. And so was I.
6. For clothes that you don’t buy second hand, buy them from discount stores to save money on clothing.
Save money on clothing by shopping the discount stores. There are a lot of great discount stores where you can find excellent deals on clothing, shoes, and accessories. If you don’t know any in your area, you can ask friends or do a search on the web.
7. Buy department store clothing (for next year) at the end of the season to save money on clothes.
If you will buy clothing at the end of the season or after the season is over, you can often find clothing at 50 percent off or more.
8. Buy clothes that fit today to help you save money on clothes.
You can potentially save a lot of money on clothes by not allowing yourself to buy clothing items that do not fit right now. You might think that buying jeans or slacks a size or two too small will help you get the motivation to lose weight and be able to fit into them (guilty as charged!), but there’s no guarantee you’ll actually lose the weight. And when you do, you might not like the way they fit. So just don’t do it.
9. Buy children’s clothing and shoes a size or two bigger than needed so that your child can wear them for a couple of seasons rather than just once.
Another great way to save money on clothes is to buy articles of clothing that are a size or two too big. Since my three young kiddos are at home most of the time with my husband, most of what they have is play clothes. And when buying play clothes (from our local thrift store), I will often buy them a size (or even two) bigger so that I can get two seasons of wear out of them, rather than just one. They don’t know the difference—and I hope they wouldn’t care if they did. 🙂
10. For your kids (and maybe even for you!), participate in a clothing co-op or exchange, where you trade outgrown or gently used clothing with others in order to save money on clothes.
Doing a clothing swap is another great way to save money on clothes. My sisters and sisters-in-laws and I do share and exchange clothing (and other items, like toys) for our kiddos, and it’s awesome. We all end up buying a lot less new clothing that way. And it’s so fun to see the cute outfits that I did buy (or received as gifts) on my nieces and nephews. Love it!
11. Be OK with having your kids wear hand-me-downs so you can save big money on clothes.
Using hand-me-downs is another great way to save mone on clothes. This goes along with the tip just above. If you have more than one girl or more than one boy (or both), be OK with hanging on to the clothing for a couple of years until the younger sibling can use it. Especially for clothing for the first couple of years, getting use by just one child seems like such a waste because young children wear one size of clothing for such a short time. (It makes me so sad when newborns get the chance to wear those super cute outfits only a few times!)
12. Buy items on clearance to save money on clothes.
This is another way that you can score huge savings on clothes. So before you shop the regular clothing aisles, cruise the clearance racks.
13. Buy machine washable clothing to save money on clothes.
Dry clean clothing is the clothing that keeps on costing. So check clothing tags before you buy, and leave dry-clean-only items at the store.
You can save a lot of money on your clothes budget by following the simple tips outlined above. Of the ideas mentioned, the last one suggesting you buy fewer items of clothing will probably help you the most to reduce the amount of money you are spending on clothes. Always keep in mind that no matter how great a deal you find, the best deal of all is simply to walk away—free is as good a deal as it gets!
Find more ways to reduce your spending here.
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