Learning to save money on clothes is one significant way to cut your spending and get out of debt. These easy tips will help you reduce your clothes budget!
10 Tips To Save Money On Clothes
We get so many questions about how to save money on groceries but very few about how to save money on clothes, even though many people spend two or three times as much per month on clothes than they do on their groceries.
I was talking to a woman recently who was bemoaning the fact she had just lost her job and didn’t know what she was going to do for medical insurance. Then she started talking about how much she loved her clothes and couldn’t give up buying them. She had a large collection of shoes, purses and tops. She owned over 150 pairs of pants.
It hadn’t even dawned on her that if she had taken the money she had spent on all those clothes she could have easily paid for many years worth of insurance. It’s time we start rethinking our clothing budgets.
Try these tips to save some money on your clothing budget:
- Stop shopping for clothes because of the “high” it gives you. When you use shopping as a drug, you no longer think rationally about how much money you’re spending.
- Stop shopping for clothes because it builds your self esteem. Yes, clothes do make us feel good about ourselves and there is nothing wrong with that, but you don’t need 150 pairs of pants to do that. Shopping for self esteem is trying to fix an emotional problem with a physical solution and that will get you nowhere. That makes as much sense as discovering that your car ran out of gas and trying to solve the problem by washing it to try and make it run again. You’re working on the wrong problem.
- Plan your family’s wardrobes. Don’t just buy a cute top and take it home hoping you’ll find something to go with it. If you need a suit jacket, get one you can wear to the office or that you can wear casually with jeans. Do you really need five pairs of black pants? Instead of buying another pair of black pants, why not buy a white blouse that will go with that pair of pants and skirt that you already have but that doesn’t match anything else?
- One way to save money on clothes is to take care of the clothes that you do have:
- If things aren’t dirty, wear them again. The less you wash things the longer they last. (Of course, I don’t mean underwear.)
- Hang up the clothes you can wear again when you take them off. So many kids and adults just drop their clothes on the floor when they take them off and later throw them in the laundry so they don’t have to hang them up. Not only does this cause you twice as much work, It puts unnecessary wear and tear on your clothes.
- Learn basic sewing. Basic sewing is easier than you think. Don’t get rid of that shirt because it is missing a button. Don’t throw out your daughter’s jeans because they have a hole. Take two minutes to sew a button on the shirt or an appliqué on the jeans. (Yes, it really does take two minutes to sew on a button. Time yourself next time. You’ll be surprised.)
- Use the clothes you do have well. If jeans have a hole that can’t be fixed then have the kids wear them for play clothes or cut them off for shorts. If that dress of yours is getting outdated, take out the shoulder pads or add shoulder pads (depending on the style),or take up or let down the hem. Update your outfits with different accessories.
- Hang clothes on the line or rack to dry when possible. Dryers create a lot more wear and tear on the fabrics and usually destroy all elastic.
I do live in the real world and know that most people, like me, love clothes so I’m not saying don’t ever buy anything new. If you’re serious about controlling your spending or reducing debt then don’t let your clothes shopping get out of control. You can save money on clothes and still buy clothes.
Remember: Stop buying clothes to satisfy your emotional needs. This will save you not only money, but also time, energy and the stress of taking care of all the clutter those extra clothes will cause.
Additional Tips To Make Your Clothes Last Longer And Save Money:
- If you are having a hard time removing the stains around collars and cuffs, try using abrasive hand cleaner or shampoo.
- When dealing with stains, try using the same product on your clothes that you use to clean the part of your body adjacent to the stain. For example, use shampoo to remove collar stains, use your face cleanser to remove make up stains or use the soap that your husband uses on his hands after working on the car to remove grease and oil. Of course always spot test everything first so that you don’t ruin the garment with the cleaner.
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“Stop shopping for clothes because of the “high” it gives you”
Not necessarily true… When you’re shopping at the thrift store! If you get a high from buying an awesome skirt that fits you perfectly, imagine how much more of a high you would get from buying that same skirt at 1/10 of retail price! My favorite skirt in the world was $3, and just a couple of weeks ago I bought my husband the perfect pair of Levi’s, only worn once or twice, for $5! Thrift shopping is a thrill!
Yes but, that can get out of control also. I can attest to that as I myself have gotten a “little” (big) overboard. When you thrift shop you always “find” something and when you take it home you almost never use it for what you intended at the store when you “found” it; whether its clothing or some other item. You “might” wear it if you do and get good use great but, what about all the other items and purchases that you didnt need??? I have stopped even thrift shopping as much as I have acquired way too many clothes and other items… Just sayin… Sandy
This is true Sandy. What it boils down too is self control and stopping buying things just to buy them. Most people really go to the store way more then they need to. I found out when we lived in Idaho and it was an hours drive through very mountainous roads. You didn’t make that trip often especially from about Oct. through May. I would go in sometimes only once a month and that was for my groceries and everything. It wasn’t that bad at all and it got me into the habit of not going to the store until I really needed things.
Thrift shopping can be a thrill, but it can be an addiction also. If you need the skirt or jeans, you’re justified,if you don’t need the item, then you`’re still just feeding an emotional high.
I would have to say never add shoulder pads in! They should have been banned! :)
I do my own alterations. For example, if a pair of pants are too large, I’ll lay a pair that fit me perfectly on top of the larger pants and pin them so they match up. Usually I do the actual stitching by hand in front of the TV. I also make pants that have gotten too short into capris via the same method. This doesn’t sound very sophisticated but trust me, they end up looking fine.
Also, thrift shops can be pricey, visit often to catch sales and mark downs. Sometimes you can find brand new clothing on clearance at expensive department stores that are cheaper than buying them at thrift shops or discount stores! Visit early on sale days and always double check the price of items on clearance racks. It’s worth the hunt because having a few nice pieces can jazz up your entire wardrobe.
I shop either at a thrift store, in which I get beautiful things that I could never afford retail, for a song. I also make sure I take every advantage of online catalog companies online coupons. Because if you don’t type in the code, the will not just give it to you.
The best tips I learned though were from my mother a long,long time ago, and that is to pick out only a few colors (that look absolutely ravishing on you) and fabrics for cordinating pants, skirts, tops, sweaters, blouses, jackets and dresses.
I love to layer, and I own virturally no clothes which will not coordinate with anything and everything else in my closet. It probably makes me dress a little more monotonous than more fashionable, up-dated gals, but the fact is, when I get up in the morning I can guarantee that whatever I put on is going to look great!–So I have no compelling needs to keep shopping.
Also, shop for comfort, and not for beauty, because women are beautiful regardless. But if we are honest with ourselves, we tend to avoid wearing a dress a second time, if it is binding, or literally hurts, or we need to shed it as soon as we get home. That means that hot-looking dress is literally a waste of money.
Think elastic-waist skirts and bottoms. Skirts lenghths that don’t make us keep tugging on them all day, (no this isn’t a church of Christ sermon, hee, hee hee)and clothing we can wear without a lot of foundation support. In the summer, think about wearing dresses long enough to avoid wearing tights. For one thing, they are hot, and make us uncomfortable, and for another thing they are expensive when they get a run in them. If you don’t like your “white” legs in the summer, then use a tiny amount of sunless tanning lotion to keep them a tiny shade darker, and to cover any scars or marks.
In the winter consider using dresses and skirts that go with thicker, more sturdy tights, for the same reason. It is cheaper–not to mention warmer and more comfortable.
We should feel confident in our clothes; our appearance, the amount we spend, and our ability to function in our daily life while we wear them.
I agree Donna. Being disabled I like my clothes so they don’t bunch and cause wrinkles under me to cause pressure sores. I choose comfort over all else when buying clothes. I purchase all my items, except for bras, at thrift stores. I don’t wear shoes so I save there too. I have shopped thrift stores since I was 13 and I’m now a grandmother. I learned to sew when I was 12 and have made everything but a fitted sheet. One day I plan to make one just to say I did it;’) Love the notes people post here. Thanks loads.
You could make a fitted sheet easily if you have done any kind of sewing. I didn’t consider myself a good seamstress at all and made some fitted sheets for my kids crib out of an old regular sheet and didn’t use a pattern but you could get a pattern for $1 when they go on sale at Jo Ann fabrics. You just have a big square, round off the corners and add the elastic like you would to almost anything – dividing the sheet in fourths then the elastic in fourths etc.
Here is another tip for saving money and being creative at the same time…
When you discard old clothing always save the shoulder pads if you use them and also save the buttons for further use either for crafting or sewing.
Dresses that have become too long or outdated can be shortened easily. If you have a blouse that is long-sleeved and you don’t wear it often maybe if you shortened the sleeves it would be more comfortable and wearable. I bought an ordinary blazer once from a thrift store and simply changed the buttons which made it look more interesting for not much money.
A large pair of pants can be cut down to your size fairly easily by taking in seams….also a straight sleeveless jumper-style dress can be too. Be watchful at clearance sales and thrift stores for items that might be altered to fit you….or your children.
I agree that the most sensible thing to do is to have only a few colors in your wardrobe that you can mix and match….it is hard to do as often we tire of those colors and want to add something new. When I sold clothing professionally it was always a tip for middle-aged women to use a small scarf at the neckline to soften our facial lines and add color which makes us look a bit fresher and of course younger. Adding scarves (buy at thrift stores, there are tons of them) and you can make your sweaters, blouses and blazers look new at the same time.
Tights definitely should be worn in the winter to save on the cost of nylons whenever possible. They are warm and in colder climates make a lot of sense.
I only wear nylons a few months out of the year now and have saved a fortune.
Managing a clothing wardrobe is an art which has to be learned. Most of us have taken this expense for granted and I for one wish I had learned these tips many years ago!
Yes, I agree with the comments made by Donna and Janice about having colours in your wardrobe that suit you – I look good in red and emerald green, and bright colours in general, and white or black, but I look HORRENDOUS in very pale colours, such as pale blue. Pale blue can make you look quite washed out, whereas orangey colours tend to add warmth to the face and flatter your complexion. I am quite a large lady (LOL!) and I think another reason pale, wishy washy colours don’t suit me is I feel they make me look larger, whereas a nice strong colour doesn’t. For my work I have to look smart, so I have several pairs of black trousers, which I team up each day with a different smart shirt, usually a nice bright colour, or sometimes white or black.
A good tip (also mentioned earlier) is to have a brightly coloured scarf around your neckline – something in a warm colour works wonders, and makes you feel good too! It doesn’t have to be a thick knitted scarf – a nice light floaty one is just the job.
I usually find it easier to shop for shirts and blouses, and percentage wise I would say I have 80% tops and 20% bottoms. In my opinion, people notice what top you are wearing more than what pair of trousers you have on, and it can look like you have loads more “outfits” than you actually have!
Remember that you can also dye clothing. So if you find something that fits you well but you just don’t like the color, buy it any way and chose whatever color you want when dyeing. Also instead of just throwing out clothing because they are “worn out” look at the clothing item to see if any of the material is able to be saved. Just cut out whatever part can reused and make it into a smaller item such as a pillow, a quilt square, a change purse, or whatever else you can think of. I’ve seen people cut the legs off of jeans and sew the bottom closed to make a purse out of the top part. You can even make the strap out of the legs if they are able to be reused. You could also use the legs to make a belt.
For those of you who are interested here are some more tips on dying clothing and other things.
Thrift store shopping can be hit/miss but is so worth it in my opinion. I live in a small town and we only have a Goodwill store. I seem to find something about every 3 weeks. It seems to be easier to find things for my sons there.
I go to our Goodwill store once every week. I try to go on Thursday because that’s the day they put new things out. About a month ago, I found a pair of Levi’s Signature Jeans for myself that looked brand new for $5.00. I only had one pair of nice jeans at home so it was a welcome find. The next day, I discovered the other nice pair I had at home was worn through in the knee. Back to one nice pair of jeans. Lol!
Two weeks ago, I almost broke down and bought a new pair of Levi’s jeans at Kohls. I had been looking at Goodwill and hadn’t found anything yet. I remembered Kohl’s used to have the Levi’s style I like on sale sometimes for $26.99. When I looked two weeks ago, they were $36.99. My husband told me to go ahead and buy the jeans but I just couldn’t spend $40 on jeans.
Last week, finally, I lucked out at Goodwill. I found a pair of Levi jeans, just the style I wanted at Kohl’s, looking almost new for $5. As a bonus, I found a pair of brand-new (still with tags) Old Navy Khakis to wear to work for $3.49. It was worth the wait!
I buy the majority of my families cloths at thrift stores. I have 5 children . It is a challenge for the older children but we are still able to pull it off for most of their cloths. It is such a blessing to our family to be able to do this. Keeping an on going list of things we need in my wallet helps to know what is needed or might be needed in future. It pays to be organized with out of season cloths so you can look for things all year around.
Don’t fall into buying the trendy clothing items. I only buy items that stay in style over time. That way I don’t have a closet full of clothes that can’t be worn for more than a season. Leave that to the 20 year olds who feel they have to look like they just stepped out of the fashion magazines. I don’t shop at thrift stores much, but love stores like TJMaxx or Marshalls and I never pay full price for anything. If it isn’t on sale I don’t buy it.
Clothing can fade over time. I buy fabric dye when it is on sale, and do a batch every year or so. Blacks, browns, reds and blues work best when updating your clothes with fabric dye. Just remember that this works on solid color clothing, and test the fabric per the dye instructions.
I’ve updated black dress pants to my old blue sweater set to my favorite brown skirt and that gorgeous red shirt I searched high and low to find. I throw in like colors that need a boost (socks, towels, shirts, etc). Why replace when you can update easy?
Lots of good tips as usual.
I do buy most of my clothes at thrift stores but its mostly jeans and heavy sweaters in winter and shorts in summer, so my need for ‘good’ clothes is very limited and I get by with very little.
When the children were small I used to buy clothing for the fabric and make their clothing from that. I even unpicked the yarn from adult sweaters and knitted for the children.
One other tip for making clothes last is to turn them inside out when hung on the clothes line in the sun to prevent fading.
Simple sewing skills go a long way towards saving a great deal of money
I still buy items for the fabric. I use it to make eye pillows or other items I sell at craft fairs.
I agree with all the tips above, and I want to add a few ideas. First, know what styles, and colours work best for your body type. This can change over the years, which leads me to tip number 2…always try on your item before buying. Only buy what fits good, looks good and what you truly love. I am an avid thrift shopper, so when my wardrobe gets to a reasonable size, then I have a rule of one item in, one item out. If I am buying a new blouse, then before I purchase it, I must like it more than any other blouse that I currently own. When I get home, the new blouse is hung up, and an older blouse is put in the thrift shop bag. This makes me think twice about purchases and helps avoid having 25 pairs of black pants. I also shop clearance and discount racks for out of season bargains. For instance, I buy new t-shirts (from end of summer sales) in the autumn, then store them for next spring. I save money and get a jump on the spring season. The rules of making sure it fits,that I love it, and one item in, one item out, still apply. Otherwise, a clearance price is no bargain.
Thanks for all the wonderful ideas: saving buttons, solid bottoms, more tops than bottoms…. I only shop at my favorite thrift store when they have a big sale – sometimes 50% off. That usually works out to be every 2-3 months. I find that I get my best bargains on the items from the last season. For instance, yesterday I had a coupon for 40% off all items. I did find some wonderful Clark shoes, but most of the items I bought were sweaters – wintery. The spring and summer things were well picked over, but I will love the sweaters next fall and winter. I spent $38.21, but bought 14 items (9 sweaters)(about $2.75 per item). Last fall I bought wonderful spring and summer clothing.
With shoes, even though I buy only new or very near new shoes, I always spray with disinfectant. Clothes need to be washed. I check the tags for care instructions and usually anything that needs to be dry cleaned or hand washed gets passed up. Thrift shopping and yard sales are hobbies. that save so much money. I have almost gotten to the point that I only buy used (except for underwear) and I gave up the malls a long time ago. It is such a thrill to get a good buy on something that I will wear over and over again.
I’m a part of a swap page on FaceBook. Everything is FREE! The requirement to get something is that you post something of similar value to “pay for it” and bless someone else.
I actually hate shopping for clothes I am a hard size to fit and I never seem to find stuff I like. I was grocery shopping one day and noticed that they had a bunch of really nice looking blouses on a sale rack for a dollar I didn’t have time for try on so I grabbed 3 of them, I figured at that price I could always use the material for something if nothing else. When I got them home and tried them on I realized that the sleeves were so skinny my arms would not even go into them. I had some material left from shortening some uniform pants and took out the sleeve seam and part of the side seam and made a gusset. these are now my favorite most comfortable blouses.
I have been trying to teach my granddaughters to line dry bras and panties to save elastic. They last so much longer when they are NOT put in dryer.
grizzly bear mom
I have to dress formally for work as a performance manager. I have two three piece suits blazer, skirt and slacks, one gray and one navy for work. They are hot in the summer and can get boring so I have some colorful jackets and tops that I wear with one black skirt and one pair of black slacks. I also have a couple of dresses, warm and cool weather. My wardrobe is built around the $150 black supportive shoes I have to wear because of my disabled feet. Sometimes my feet hurt so badly that I have to wear sneakers with my dress clothing so I ensure to purchase the black colored and black soled (for the best support) New Balance sneakers ones my physical therapist told me to wear.
It helps to keep a sheet listing classic pieces and pieces that they can be worn with.
I love your how many clothes do you need article.
You’ve got some great tips for saving money on clothes. I like how you said that I should start planning my families wardrobes to make more sense. Planning out so that I don’t have too much of one thing is way smart, especially since I have so many white shirts.
We spent the last three years living in our motorhome and traveling the country, and we quickly learned how few clothes we really need.
A couple of pointers: I used the same color for all my bottoms. I chose gray because it was great no matter the season. I had four pairs of gray leggings and four pairs of gray capris. I then had about a dozen or so tops that matched all my bottoms.
Of course, this is not effective for the working woman. We just recently bought a house and I find that I need more clothes, for social events, etc. The only way I buy is on clearance. I have several inline sites that I buy from – woman within, jatos, and full beauty. But I only buy when they have their 75% + clearance sale and I buy for the next year/season. I just bought a couple of nice summer dresses for less than $11, and a winter jacket for $20. It’s the only way I buy clothes now. I have purchased a few things at the local thrift shop, but I find I do better with my online retailers because I know the sizing.
I buy winter coats when they are cheap in July. Online stores like Land’s End and Columbia have big sales at the end of the season.
don’t forget that stains can be removed with any MINT toothpaste and an old toothbrush, I’ve even used it also for bee stings and pesty bug bites… I started sewing at the age of about 7yrs old and when we got married I practiced on my sons and nieces pajamas until I got it right, no one saw the mistakes, as they only wore them to go to bed at night. there’s a lot you can teach yourself at home if you try…. remember the one in rule, if you buy something newer then Dis guard something old or put it in the cloth collection box to make something new out of it.. . mens old t-shirts can be cut down and made for the boys. I also made a lot of quilts to keep them warm on cold winter nights, and as gifts for a new baby.
A store in my neighborhood where I consign has a summer sidewalk clearance sale where everything is $1.00. A lady shopping the rack next to me said that she sews and always shops this sale for the buttons on the clothes since nice buttons can really be expensive. I have bought “prom” dresses for $1.00 for my grandchildren to dress up in at this sale. Being retired, I am always looking for ways to save money.