Clothing, accessories, and wearable gears take a very significant portion of our budget. Average American spends 10% to 20% of income on buying clothing and accessories. While saving money is an option, we shouldn’t compromise on the quality and looks of our clothes either. After all, it’s about looking good and smart, isn’t it?
We need to strike a balance between saving money and spending money on quality dresses. I wrote about low-cost fashion ideas in the past. To extend it further, in this post I am going to talk about the tricks and tips of buying clothing at the best value for money.
11 Ways to Save Money on Clothes
1. Take stock of your wardrobe
Sometimes we forget about a certain dress simply because they lie hidden behind other clothes in our wardrobe. When we moved to a new home, I found pants that I didn’t wear in last few years. One of them was a khaki slim fit, which I was about to buy this year. Once you make a shopping list do check up your wardrobe once before shopping, you may not need to buy everything that were on your list.
2. Make a buying list and set a budget
Do not go to the store without having a list in hand. Make sure you list down the color, style, material and price range on the list. you use smartphone notepad app to list items if looking at a paper while at the store is not that attractive to you.
A sample item in your apparel buying list would be, Light blue jeans,32 W, 30 L, straight cut, regular fit. Range $15 – $30. Once you have a budget and an exhaustive list, buying things is lot easier and chances of splurging reduce too.
3. Before going to store, check online
You can buy your dresses online as well, millions of people do buy them online. if you are skeptical about not trying clothes before buying, you can try it out at the store before buying online. If you liked a particular jeans pant, visit the store and try out a similar pant and see if it’d be a good buy. Perhaps you’d realize that regular fit goes better than slim fit in your case.
4. Don’t get attracted to sales
All of those “sale” signs and coupons offer on mails can result in impulse buying and overspending, so treat them same as the grocery store coupons and don’t buy clothing just because it’s on sale.
If you have subscribed to store email promotion, you may think of unsubscribing from them. The sole purpose of those newsletters is to bring you in store.
5. Don’t compromise quality over price
In the long run, a poor quality will drain your money. When colors fade or the dress shrinks you need to buy a replacement. A good dress can last for years.
6. Always check return policy and keep the receipt intact,
Even after trying out before buying, you may find some defects or notice discomfort wearing the dress later on. I always make sure I wear the new dresses before return by date. When there’s a need to exchange, I always go back with the receipt. Most stores require the receipt for return. So, check the return policy and the return-by date, as if you don’t, you may need to shell out money for a replacement clothing.
7. Use credit cards to maximum advantage
My credit cards always return at least 1% of the spend in the form of reward. Often they have revolving high cash return. For example, my Chase card had a 5% cash back on all departmental purchases this year for three months. You can take advantage of the cash back offer and pay with credit card for your clothing purchases. but do pay in full before the due date.
8. Don’t go for the brand alone
If you’re so much into branded stuff then you may be paying for the name and not the quality and looks. A Ralph Lauren may not be always better than a US Polo Association. Whereas US Polo association costs as much as half the Ralph Lauren price. Try to go for how good it’ll look on you. There’s no harm in having a few branded items in your wardrobe but for everyday casual use, you may get a better deal elsewhere.
9. Always try the dress before buying
Every store has their own standard for sizes. A medium at JC Penny fits differently than a medium at Sears or Kohl’s. Sometimes we forget to exchange that misfit dress. Also, the cloth may not look good on you the way you thought seeing it in the shelves. Do not take your chances try out each and every piece you buy.
10. Use coupons and discounts
When you list the dresses to buy, look for special offers or coupons. JC penny Always gives us a 15% off coupon on next purchase. You can use that to our advantage, you can break up your purchase to avail maximum discount. Do make sure you use the coupons only when you need to buy a new dress. Buying just to use a coupon is actually spending money foolishly.
There are sites that offer special discounts on clothing. A site called Swagbucks offers gift cards for name brand clothing stores like Gap, Old Navy, etc. By performing day to day browsing and searching you can earn as much as $50 a month with Swagbucks. You can redeem your accumulated dollar to buy clothing store coupons. It’s similar to earning a pair of cloth for month long browsing which you’d do anyway.
11. Make as less trip to the store as possible
On each visit, you’re going to see items that were not on your shopping list. You’ll cross restaurants and fast food chains you were not planning to dine in. Each time you give up to the impulse, you will spend money on things that were not necessary.
So, buy as much as possible, probably your entire shopping list, with a single outing. This technique worked for me as earlier I used to buy shoes while checking on a pair of jeans, just for example.
12. Other cheaper ways
There are other ways to try as well. Buying used clothes at a consignment shop, garage sale or from Goodwill stores works for many. Hand me downs are good when you’re on a tight budget. This may not work for everyone. I didn’t mention this point separately as I don’t buy used clothes myself.
But I would advice buying used clothes from stores and not from garage sells. As consignment stores accept clothes that are in good condition, they wash it to kill all dirt and germs. Dresses sold on garage sells may not be cleaned that thoroughly.
Also, sometimes you may find a treasure at such stores. Always fashion returns back, that old styled skirt may become fashion tomorrow. A Bellbottom pant you may find at a thrift store that can become a fashion in 2020’s, who knows!
Readers, how do you save money on your clothing? What actually works better than other methods?
I have never had much luck at used stores or garage sales. I usually look for racks in regular department stores that say things like “75% off”. Clothing usually goes on sale at some point. I hardly ever pay full retail price. Sometimes I order things online. That is more chancey, though.
Yes ordering cloths online has its risks for sure. But when my wife or I bought, we never had a complaint. But that might be because we check on every minute details before hitting the buy button.
Buying only when dresses are available at discount helps us too. but that another thing that in the malls they always have something or other ‘On sale’
Consignment stores are also good for women and children. They don’t seem to have as much for men though.
I can get a nice pair of dress pants for $20, much higher quality than target and even used, they last longer.
Nah never visited a consignment store yet. I know friends who regularly shop at those but they never actually recommended us. May need to visit when we need new dresses.
Connie @ Savvy With Saving says
I do most of my shopping online since there are usually always great sales or promotions. Plus, many retailers have awesome return policies and I can just ship it back to them if it doesn’t fit. Shopping at a mall is just too tempting for me! I tend to buy too much if I’m in an actual store.
I think I am opposite. I am in control at malls and stores. Online I find too many options to choose from and end up having 5 dresses in cart,instead of 1. Then removing extra items from cart becomes a great pain 🙂
Kalen Bruce @ MoneyMiniBlog says
You basically summed it up in #5, but I just want to say that less is more! It’s much more worth it to have a few high quality pieces of clothing, rather than having a closet full of junk that’s going to wear out in 6 months.
I once had that, when I landed in this country 10 years back. Slowly I changed my habits. Now my closet has few quality dresses and a few junk one as well which I wear only at home.
Taylor Lee says
My guidelines for cheap fashion are:
(1) Know what looks good on you
(2) Only buy what fits #1
(3) Buy used and tailor to fit
(4) (True) Quality > quantity
Very well put fashion equation! I totally agree to last point and I did mention that multiple times in the post.
Autumn @ The Barefoot Budgeter says
I try not to buy clothes online anymore because I could never be 100% confident that they’ll fit right and I hate the trouble of the return process. But I hate shopping at physical stores too, so I just don’t buy a lot of clothes anymore. When I do buy, I try to buy quality (on clearance) so I have to shop less. Like I said, I really do not like shopping.
Do you always get quality on clearance? I find it tough. Also I wish everyone could be like you, who hates buying clothes.
Nina @ RichLife.io says
Jeans are one of the items where I will go for quality. You can wear a pair for 10 years and it won’t go out of fashion. I’ve tried buying cheap jeans and with how much I wore them they came apart in a year and it wasn’t something that mending could fix. The actual fabric had worn so thin you could see through it. I’ve got quality jeans on the other hand which I’ve had for like 10 years and they’re still going strong. Never goes out of fashion either.
I am with you, my jeans are all more than 3 years old and I don’t have any problem wearing them. I am planning to use them for few more years.
I don’t even want to know how much money I have wasted on clothing that I needed to return but didn’t save the receipt.
It happened to us many time as well. We took it as learning.
Great advice!! I will say that quality matters so much when shopping for clothes! I used to shop at cheap stores and the clothes would never last a month, much less years. Now I have a few good pairs of jeans that have lasted 5+ years and still look great. Also, all my quality shirts last years and years. Thank your for all the tips!! Looking forward to winter shopping this year!!
Quality is meant for long lasting. My jeans are all pretty old too.
good advice help me so much.
Martha John says
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