23 ways to save money on clothes
Americans spend an average of $1,700 per year on clothing and accessories. But there are plenty of ways to trim the bill and still look good.
Americans spend $1,700 a year on clothing and accessories. If that seems like a typo, it’s not – it’s been backed up by studies from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Bundle, a site that compiles data from credit card spending.Skip to next paragraph
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Here are 23 ideas on how you can dress for less.
1. Sell what you don’t wear
If you don’t wear it, drop it off at a consignment shop. When the shop sells your clothing, they’ll cut you a check for a portion of the profits. You won’t get the full amount, but you won’t have to do much work either. Stacy recommends going through your closet once a year. If you haven’t worn that sweater in 365 days, you don’t need it.
2. Shop thrift stores
In the video, Stacy found a pair of Lucky brand jeans for $12.99. Thrift stores sell gently used clothing at a deep discount. Many stores also have regular sales or a weekly special. A thrift store in my area has a “50 percent off anything with a yellow tag” sale every Wednesday. Just make sure you’re shopping at a true thrift store and not a vintage clothing store. The difference: Vintage clothing stores sell trendier older pieces at a markup. Thrift stores sell older and newer clothes at a discount.
3. Find coupons online
At Money Talks News, we don’t believe in paying retail, and you shouldn’t either. (Check out our deals page before you shop online or in-store.) On the go, use your smartphone to find clothing coupons before you check out. There are several great coupon locating apps for Androids and the iPhone. My favorites:
- Coupon Closet
- Coupon Sherpa
4. Check the tag before you buy
Read the label before you buy. If you buy a dry-clean-only silk skirt, you’ll keep paying for it every time you pull up to the cleaners. Stick to machine-washables and save.
5. Take care of your clothes
Remember that “machine-washable” doesn’t equal “indestructible.” Wash your clothes on the gentle cycle in cool water and even line-dry them – they’ll last the longest this way. For delicate items or clothes that might shrink, hand wash. Take care of your clothes and you’ll get years of use out of them.
6. Buy out of season
Retailers put out-of-season clothing on clearance to clear the stock from their stores. You can save a ton buying clothing when you don’t need it – like a coat in May or a swimsuit in December.
7. Shop online clearance sales
Don’t discount online retailers (and retailers’ websites) when you’re shopping for clothes. They follow seasons too with huge discounts – and a larger selection than most stores – on clearance items.
8. Repurpose old clothes
If you’re handy with a needle and thread – or even a pair of scissors – turn something you’re no longer wearing into something else. I cut the legs off my old jeans and turn them into shorts. My friends repurpose old shirts into tank tops and skirts. You can even make a purse out of an old sweater.
9. Don’t buy it because it’s on sale
Don’t buy clothes unless you really need them – even if they’re on sale. Thirty percent off isn’t a good deal if you don’t wear it 99 percent of the time.
10. Buy basics from generic brands
Your basics don’t need a designer label. Buy T-shirts, tank tops, and lounge wear from cheaper stores. I buy all my layering tank tops at Old Navy. My track pants I wear for errands came from Target. Simple cuts and solid colors don’t require a high-end designer.
11. Skip expensive workout clothing
Same goes for workout clothes. A pair of Puma running capris cost $55 – or you can buy them at Old Navy for $16.94. You’ll get the same workout whether you’re wearing a fancy yoga outfit or an old T-shirt and sweatpants. Check cheaper retailers like Target, Walmart, and Kohls for more affordable workout gear.
12. Proceed with caution at outlet malls
Outlet malls do have deals. They also have scams. In "5 Tips for Finding Outlet Store Deals," Brandon found that some outlet store clothing isn’t store overstock. The pieces were actually made for the outlet mall, meaning they’re lower quality. And those “75 percent off!” deals – they’re not actually 75 percent off. Read the fine print and you’ll see that is the discount on the suggested price, not the actual retail price. It’s more marketing gimmick than deal.
Check the labels on outlet store clothes. Avoid anything that says “factory line” and do the math on supposed deals before you buy.