The Best Ways to Save Money When Buying Lots of Clothes

The Best Ways to Save Money When Buying Lots of Clothes

How much do you think Americans spend on clothing? Turns out the average American age 35-44 drops a whopping $209 on duds each month! Here in the U.K., the figure is much lower, with average Brits spending only about 100 pounds per year.

No matter what your clothing budget looks like, you are probably eager to make the most of your money without sacrificing style or quality. Want to buy lots of clothes without breaking the proverbial bank? Read on for some genius tips that can help anyone become a more frugal fashionista!

1. Shop End-of-Season Clearances

When you enter the clothing section of a department store, what's the first thing you see? It's probably mannequins and display tables showing off the season's trendy separates. That makes sense because you will shop for sweaters as soon as the chilly fall air arrives.

But if you want to keep more of your hard-earned money in your wallet, bypass those displays. Instead, head to the clearance racks. That's where the deep discounts are. Bonus: It will be fun, come next year, to have a stash of brand new pieces!

2. Be Smart About Designer Labels

There's nothing wrong with wearing high-end clothes, but naturally, designer tags are much more expensive than more humble labels. When you are shopping for basics—think underwear, socks, leggings or long underwear bottoms, camis and undershirts—that won't be seen, go with the cheaper varieties.

We're not saying you should outfit yourself from the dollar store. However, if you're trying to lower your clothing expenditure, Merona layering tanks and Fruit of the Loom boxers will fit the bill. That way, you can sock away a little extra cash for that DKNY dress, Abercrombie hoodie, or Burberry scarf.

3. Out with the Outlet Stores

Have you ever shopped at outlet stores? They are popular with shoppers who expect to find deeply discounted name-brand clothing and accessories. But approach outlet shopping with a hefty dose of skepticism. Don't get lured into buying items just because there's a red 50% off sticker on the tag.

Why not? Well, those original suggested retail prices are made up out of whole cloth, so to speak. They are artificially inflated so that shoppers think they're getting a $240 cashmere cardigan for $60. The items you see at outlets might also be last year's style or have imperfections like a crooked seam.

If you shop outlets, ask yourself before buying if you'd pay the sale price for a particular piece if it were at a non-outlet retailer. If so, then inspect the garment for flaws and pop it in your shopping cart. 

4. Consignment Stores FTW

Macklemore might have found some treasures at the thrift store, but unless you're looking for an avocado-green caftan circa 1978 or a pair of flared-leg, bedazzled-pocket jeans that scream early 80s, give these places a miss. 

A far better bet is a consignment store. They don't rely on donations, so they can be more discriminating about their stock. Items at a consignment store are in excellent condition, with no stains or tears. They're usually from high-end brands, too; you won't find H&M leggings or Forever 21 crop tops at the typical consignment store.

Another great way to save big bucks on fashion is to browse online consignment stores. ThreadUp and Poshmark are among the most popular resale sites. Here, you can find one-of-a-kind classics for a song. Use them to recoup a little of your clothing expenditure when you're tired of your own closet's contents, too.

5. Subscribe to Stores' Email Lists

Nordstrom, Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Victoria's Secret, L.L. Bean, and other top-notch retailers often have blowout sales that occur on an annual or semi-annual basis. Sign up for their email lists so you can stay in the know about what's going on sale when.

GMail will helpfully direct those emails to your Promotions folder. That way, you don't have to wade through a zillion promotional messages to find your important messages. 

6. Savvy Online Shopping Apps

There are oodles of apps and browser extensions to help you find deals and discounts, to track price changes over time, and to apply coupon codes automatically. Many of these, like Honey and Rakuten, also give you cash back after certain purchases. 

These take the guesswork out of trying to find a code for free shipping or trying to remember which sites have the best prices on certain pieces.

7. Host a Clothing Swap

What could be better than adding some exciting new pieces to your closet without dropping a dime? Doing so while drinking wine and laughing with your BFFs! Clothing swap parties are a great way to spruce up your wardrobe, reduce the amount of clothing that ends up in landfills, and have fun.

Ask each participant to bring a shopping bag's worth (or more!) of gently used clothes, belts, shoes, hats, and jewellery. Have plenty of wine and some savoury snacks on hand, play some uplifting music (Lizzo, anyone?), and start swapping'.

You can impose rules if you're afraid the event will turn into a free-for-all—for example, no one takes home more than they donated, or everyone gets a turn being the first to choose. But if you keep the party relatively small, it should go smoothly all on its own.

8. Don't Be an Aspirational Shopper

It's a lot less fun, but it will save you some big bucks, if you shop for the life you have now.

Don't buy a pair of designer jeans that are two sizes too small, with the idea that they'll inspire you to lose weight. Say no to sexy clubwear if your socialising mainly takes place in dive bars or coffee shops.

It doesn't matter how great the sale is. This aspirational shopping almost always leads to wasted money and self-recriminations.

Want Lots of Clothes? Follow These Tips

Scouring both the net and brick-and-mortar stores for bargains on clothes can be fun. The next time your wardrobe could use a refresh, use these tips to score lots of clothes for very little money!

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