15 Ways to Save Money on Clothes and Still Love What You Wear
As several readers have pointed out in comments recently, I find a lot of bargains. I love bargain hunting and saving money on clothes I really love. Since I’m having some problems with my camera today and didn’t get to take pictures of my outfit, I wanted to pass on some of my techniques when it comes to bargain shopping.
1. Don’t think in terms of seasons.
Of course it’s important to dress for the climate, but don’t be concerned with when an item first debuted. Instead, focus on what you like. Whether it came out this season, last season or twenty years ago isn’t important. Realize that if you like it, it will always be in style and stop shopping for only the most current pieces.
2. Hit the sales racks first.
Now that you’re looking for what you like and not the most up to date pieces, check out the sales rack. I always seek out the sale items as soon as I enter a store. If you can find several items you like in that area, you’ll save a ton of money. Remember that you can always layer clothes to make them more cold-weather appropriate and that you can add accessories to tweak a look. But don’t buy items just because they’re cheap. If you don’t like them, it’s still a waste of money.
3. Try thrift stores.
I know thrift stores aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but they’re a wonderful way to save money while still buying unique and stylish pieces. If you’re leery of large stores like Goodwill, try looking for a small consignment shop in your area. Prices may be higher, but you won’t have to search through so many items to find the needles in the haystack and you’ll still be saving a considerable amount of money. For more tips on thrift store shopping, see my post 15 Tips for Thrift Store Shopping.
4. Print coupons.
If you’re shopping at a large chain store, you can almost always find a coupon online. Google ‘printable coupons’ for the store of your choice and you’ll find a wide selection. You may want to check the numbers off to the side that say what percentage of the time the coupons are successful, but the first two or three that are listed are usually the most reliable and up-to-date. I’ve used printable coupons at stores like Old Navy and JCPenney’s to save over 50% off my purchases before.
5. Sign up for mailing lists.
Always sign up for your favorite stores’ mailing lists. You’ll receive coupons and news about sales and new items.
6. Look for stores that offer free shipping.
If you’re buying online be sure to check for times when stores will offer free shipping. Lots of stores offer it on a regular basis, so if you know that it will be offered soon, you can hold off making purchases until your shipping will be free.
7. If you can’t get free shipping, make several purchases at once.
If you aren’t able to get free shipping on items you’re buying online, make several purchases at once if you’re planning on buying more than one item in the near future. This way, your shipping cost is bundled and you don’t end up paying shipping several separate times.
8. Shop outlets.
Search for outlet stores in your area. Lots of major brands have outlet stores in large cities and by shopping at outlets you can save a lot of money on name brand items.
9. Check discount stores.
Try stores that receive surpluses of name-brand items. TJ Maxx is a great place to start, though you can end up spending close to the original prices there. You may have other stores locally that do something similar, liked Rugged Wearhouse or Burlington Coat Factory.
10. Sell your old clothes.
If you have clothes that you can no longer wear, consider trying to sell them online or to a consignment store for store credit. If you receive store credit, you’ll usually get much more than you would in cash. If you can’t sell what you no longer wear though, make sure to donate it. It makes room for new clothes, recycles, and provides an affordable garment to someone who really needs to find a good deal.
11. Use gift cards.
Too many times gift cards stay in our wallets far too long. Don’t forget you have them! If you’ve received one for a store or restaurant you’re not likely to use, you can swap it for one you’d prefer on several different websites.
12. Try a clothing swap.
We all have clothes we aren’t crazy about that our friends love. Throw a party where everyone brings an unwanted item and then trade to get something you really like!
13. Ask for a discount.
While asking for a discount may sound like it would be awkward, it can end up saving you money. Particularly in thrift stores and anywhere you are buying second hand, sellers and employees have the ability to lower prices. They won’t always do it but it’s worth asking.
You might not have borrowed clothes from your friends since you were in high school, but if you really like something they have, don’t be afraid to ask. Chances are they’re willing to share and might want to borrow something of yours. Being able to borrow clothes can greatly expand what you can do with the items already in your closet.
15. Put new spins on old pieces.
Before you get rid of an old piece, think long and hard about it. You might not wear it on a regular basis, but try to come up with a new way to wear it that you haven’t tried before in order to update and save money on buying new pieces.
What are some of your favorite ways to save money on clothes?
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