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Advice On How To Save Money On Clothes: Cutting Clothing Costs

Updated on January 31, 2012


Clothing is one of those necessities that we all seem to spend money on. But do we always get the best prices?

Buying clothes is sometimes based more on want than true need. In trying to save money on clothing, that is one of the most important things to consider.

Do you really need that new dress or skirt or do you just want it because it looks so cool?

Or do you want it because you're trying to spend money on something in order to forget something else?

These are important factors to consider when evaluating our spending habits. Once you have evaluated this "want versus need" idea more carefully and you discover you really do need something, what's the best way to get it that will save you the most money?

Let's look at some great ways to save money when it comes to buying clothing for anyone in any season and for any reason!



  • Online shopping. Usually you can almost bet that some of the best deals are online. It's not always true but buying seems to be going that way. You should always know the absolute top price for any item and then find the absolute bottom price for the same item. That’s the key to saving money. If you buy online, look for free shipping always though if the price is still less than a regular store with the shipping costs, you're still saving.

  • Leave your credit cards at home. If you're going bricks and mortar shopping, take cash or gift cards you might have and limit your spending to only those amounts. That's the best and most surefire way to not get in over your head and spend too much money. By the way....this concept works on anything. If you have a budget and that's all you have to spend, you're going to be much more apt to stay within your limit without being tempted to put anything on charge. If you're shopping online, make yourself adhere to a budget the same way. Once you said that was all you were going to spend, that's all you are going to spend. Put the mouse down and walk away from the computer...right away before you change your mind! If you have a shopping addiction online, don't even shop online. Do as above and go to "real stores" but go without credit cards.



  • Outlets and discount stores. You can save a bundle at outlet stores and discount stores with the caveat that it's imperative you know the actual price of the clothing. If it's still priced higher than you think it should be, chances are you're right. Compare the price online and see if you can get a better deal. Or if you're really bold, come armed with a price for the same item you found online and ask that the store match it. You just never know! Even at discount stores and outlet stores, check out sales. If you have rewards programs like those offered at Columbia Outlet Stores, bring your deal with you or have them scan the latest coupon you receive via email on your phone. Always try and get the best discount you can on top of the sale price!
  • Hoard coupons and rebates. Don't hoard clothes and things but do hoard coupons and rebates. Visit your favorite clothing websites and see if there are any coupons there or even email stores and see if they can put you on a mailing list for events offering special deals. Make sure that in-store coupons and percentages off are really a deal before using them. If you receive a Macy's coupon in the mail for 20% off certain items but the item isn't on sale, doesn't it make more sense to wait until the item is 50% off and buy it then?  My husband has a theory that 15% to 20% off is a gimmick and you should always hold out for at least 30% off or better before considering purchasing anything. I tend to agree with that theory.  Watch for special exclusions on coupons as well as sometimes coupons will not apply to sale merchandise or certain products so they are essentially useless!
  • Look for double off or more money taken off at the register. JC Penney and Macy's are stores that come to mind for this kind of deal. Sometimes things will be on sale but there is an extra percentage off when the item is rung up. Look for these sweet deals and smile all the way to the car.  When you find deals like this, it is a great time to buy gifts (if you have budgeted for them of course).
  • Shop clearance racks and end of season specials. Figure it this way...the money you save for next year's clothing will be a revolving thing. If you are always buying something for the next time the season rolls around, you will save a ton of money.  This is one of the best ways to buy clothing because most often, you can find clothes 80% off. I love shopping at stores that total your savings at the bottom of your receipt. If I've purchased 5 things and my total is $37.....then I see the savings circled at the bottom for $180, I'm famous for doing a happy dance right there in the store!



  • Make sure the sale is truly a sale - or is it a gimmick? Read the fine print. Fred Meyer is famous for putting up tickets that say an item is on sale and if you look really closely, you can even see it in black and white....savings 0%. The price is the regular price! I think this type of advertising and messing with customers is despicable to be honest but it's our bad if we don't do the math or examine the fine print. Or what kind of a savings is 80 cents off on a pair of socks? Is that the best that they can do? Simply do not buy and that saves you the cash!
  • Resale. Don't discount the idea of resale shops, boutiques and used clothing places like Goodwill or Salvation Army. You can find brand new clothing in all of these shops. You just need to check them out from time to time because they don't advertise. Even buying used clothing is a bargain if you know what you're looking at and the true value of it. Save even bigger when they have sales within the store, such as double the price off on Tuesdays at Goodwill. My daughter bought almost her entire high school wardrobe at thrift stores and consignment stores. People thought she only bought at Nordstrom's.....fooled them!
  • Do it yourself. If you have a sewing machine, you're already halfway to saving money and getting fabulous clothes for a little cash. Sure it takes time to make things, but consider the savings. If you don't have a sewing machine, think of investing in one and learning to sew. The savings can be incredible. If you don't sew or want to learn to sew, consider picking out fabric and patterns and then having someone sew them up for you after you've done all the grunt work like readying the fabric, cutting out the pieces, etc. It's one way to save about half of what it'd cost to have someone make you something from start to finish.



  • Fashion is only a statement. Not everything has to be according to the latest fashion. I have rarely seen anyone swoon or gasp when someone walked by wearing last year's style blouse! Most people don't even know one fashion trend from another. If you're like most people, you buy clothes for the way they make you look or feel. Stick to that theory and you can't go wrong. Also always buy clothes (and shoes) that can go with other things easily. If you concentrate on coordinating your pieces of clothing, you'll end up with more possibilities and thus a larger wardrobe in the end. You can easily mix and match and never wear the same thing twice in a row. Some people are phenomenal at this. Read up on how to create a coordinating wardrobe the easiest way. Then start thinking how to achieve it the cheapest way and start buying accordingly.
  • Consider swapping clothes with friends and family. If you're just tired of something and you know people who are the same size, have a little get together and present the clothes you want to swap. Have them bring ones they wouldn't mind getting rid of. Set your own keep what you get or you borrow it for a certain amount of time (though this can get tricky especially if you damage an item or they do). Be creative in acquiring clothes new to you! This is a great way to repurpose clothes!



In short, there are a lot of ways that you can increase your wardrobe and still save money.

You can apply these tips and tricks to any clothing for anyone anywhere. Whether you're buying shoes, belts, jeans, dresses or coats.....dress shirts, suits, ties or socks. All these theories will work for anyone.

The most important thing is knowing when to say you don't need something new and to analyze the reasons behind over-shopping.

Just like not shopping for groceries when you're hungry, don't shop for clothes when you're upset about something, depressed or mad.

Don't use buying as a substitute for taking charge of your life and dealing with problems.

Spending money can't fix life and in fact, it can make it worse if you find yourself in serious debt because you use spending as a pacifier or to replace things that are missing in your life.

Most of all, care for everything you purchase like it was your only piece of clothing.

Seriously, you spent good money on it and in order to preserve it as long as possible, it needs tender loving care.

Everything in life isn't disposable and clothing should be something that you can enjoy for a long time. Treat it as an investment in your well being and this theory will serve you well.

If you have more money-saving tips on buying clothing, please contribute to this hub by leaving your suggestions below.


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