How to Save Money on Clothes
I am a stay at home mom with 3 children and we live on one income. I have no choice but to be frugal. Thankfully, that comes naturally to me. However, being a woman, I fit the stereo-type of loving to shop. I love fashion; I love new clothes; I want the latest look…even if my children are the only ones that will see me… But how does one accomplish this on a tight budget? Over the years I have learned a few tricks that helps me grow my wardrobe without shrinking my budget… and sometimes I even make money, or at least break even.
Okay this is super obvious.
Everyone knows you can save money by buying clothes at yard sales. Yet a lot of people snub their noses at them. I find tons of cute and in-style clothes from yard sales. Sure I also see a lot of crazy and weird stuff but for 50¢ I’m will to sift through it to find a bargain.
Last summer I got an entire trash bag of clothes (that I actually liked and they fit me) for under $20 at a yard sale. I have also found designer jeans for 50¢.
This is also my go-to for my children’s clothing. It doesn’t make since to me to pay full price for kid’s clothes! $15 for an outfit that is tiny and will only fit them for a few months!! You can find baby onsies for a nickle at a yard sale! It isn’t uncommon to find brand new kids clothes with the tags still on them for just a few cents. Kids grow so fast, especially babies, that a lot of clothes are in perfect condition.
Cons: Yard sales are only in the summer time. You generally can’t try the clothes on before you buy them. I have ended up with a lot of clothes that didn’t fit me right, or at all. I have discovered that it is harder to find Men’s clothing. It is also more difficult to find older children’s clothing, at least where I live.
Another con is that you have no idea what you are going to find. If you are looking for something specific, say a dress for an upcoming wedding, you can’t count on finding what you are looking for.
A thrift stores has pretty much the same advantages as a yard sale, without the cons. The prices won’t be as good as a yard sale, but you will still find some ridiculous good deals. Shopping at a thrift store is all year around, not just the summer. You can try the clothes on. They have all sizes and it is easier to shop for men and older children.
Thrift stores are everywhere! You don’t have to drive across town or hunt down people’s address to find their yard sale. You might have some good luck when shopping for something specific, such as a dress.
Sometimes you can return an item if you get it home and decide you don’t want to keep it, another advantage over a yard sale.
Cons: You have to look carefully at the prices. Just because you are at a thrift store doesn’t mean you are getting the best deal. Some thrift stores charge up to $8 or more just for a shirt…to me this is not a bargain! I would rather go search the clearance sections in the mall and find new clothes for the same or less money.
Hand Me Downs
Especially for kids! If you are done having kids, give their clothes to a cousin or find a family with younger children and donate your kid clothes!
If you have kids find a family with older kids and try to get their hand me downs for free or for a small price.
My family has been very blessed to receive hand me downs from cousins and friends. I have filled in the wardrobe gaps with yard sales and thrift stores. When we are done having kids, I plan on returning the favor by donating all their clothes to a family with younger children.
Adults can do hand me downs as well! Periodically I go through my closet and pull out all the items I want to get rid of and I check with my sister in law to see if she is interested in any of them. She does the same with me. It’s a great system! We get rid of the stuff we don’t want and the other one gets free clothes!
Best Time of Year to Buy New Clothing
you know, like from the mall…. or department stores
- Black Friday: The day after Thanksgiving… might not be the best time to try on new clothes, but you can get some good deals! Black Friday can save you a lot of cash on more than electronics. There are a lot of stores will offer 50-75% off everything before noon. That is a lot of money savings! Even after noon you can still get some amazing deals.
- The Month of March: What is so special about March??? I’m glad you asked! Spring is coming and everyone is so excited to wave goodbye to winter, especially clothing stores. This is the best time of year to buy winter clothing, because the stores need room for all the spring and summer apparel. So you can happily take home sweaters, long sleeved shirts, jackets, jeans, boots, scarves, gloves, hats, coats, etc… for only a few dollars apiece.
- The End of December/Beginning of January: Yes, right after Christmas, when you don’t need anything! There are some incredible sales!
- Victoria Secret’s: First weekends in January and July is their semi-annual sale. I have a hard time spending $50 on a bra or lingerie. I’ll admit that $50 is worth a good bra, but for lingerie… there just isn’t hardly any material there!! During these sales you can get these for around $15-$25 and that’s about as cheap as your going to get a quality bra! You can also get underwear for just a few dollars which is much cheaper than normal.
- Clearance Sections: Obviously this is where you’re going to find the deals. Yup, keep walking past that adorable manikin in the window and go to the back of the store.
- Coupons: If you know you are going to be going to your favorite store (or any store) look online for coupons. There is almost always a 25% off coupon available. If you forget you can usually use your smartphone and just show the cashier your screen.
Buy used shoes from yard sales/thrift stores at your own risk. If you do buy used shoes, clean and wash them as well as possible.
When buying new shoes, buy them at the end of the season. For example, buy boots in the spring time; buy flats and sandals in the fall, when they are on clearance.
Sometimes shoes are something you just have to spend a lot of money on. If you have a job where you stand a lot, you will want to invest in a quality pair of shoes. They can actually save you money in the long run if you don’t have medical expenses for your back or feet. You don’t want to tear up your feet just save a few dollars on footwear.
Check with your employer. My husband’s employer actually gives a $100 allowance every year for work boots.
Earning Money/Breaking Even
I mentioned in the introduction that sometimes I make money or break even on my clothing. You do this by getting rid of stuff. When I bring home bags of new clothes I have to get rid of some of my old stuff… I don’t have a walk-in closet 🙁
I’m not that selective when I buy clothes from yard sales, especially when the prices are under $1. If I think it is cute or it could possible fit me, I buy it. If it doesn’t fit me or look good on me (I’m only out a few quarters) I put it in a box that I keep in my laundry room. I fill this box with any items that I pull from my closet. That could be accessories or clothing that I have had for a long time and no longer wear. When the box gets full I take it to a thrift store.
Establish a good relationship with the owner of your favorite thrift store. There is one that is not far from my house that I love. I make an appointment to drop off my box of stuff and she sells it for me. I make a percentage off the stuff that sells. I now have made money to either buy stuff from that thrift store or she can cut me a check (I have always spent that money in the same store). So I feel like I’m just swapping my old stuff out for other people’s stuff.
Another way to make money is to have your own yard sale. I have never held one because my thrift store swap method has worked so well for me. But I might try having one this summer.
Where will you spend all your extra savings?
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