How to get your spring wardrobe for less

After you’ve shaken off the winter blues and before you’ve reached summer break, there’s spring to think about — including picking a fresh spring wardrobe. These tricks will help you rock the season’s hottest threads without sacrificing too much cash.

Fred Prouser/Reuters/File
A shopping bag from the luxury brand Coach is seen along Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California, (May 21, 2013).

After you’ve shaken off the winter blues and before you’ve reached summer break, there’s spring to think about — including picking a fresh spring wardrobe. These tricks will help you rock the season’s hottest threads without sacrificing too much cash.

Shop sales

It sounds simple, but sales are still one of the best ways to save money while shopping. And now that spring styles have been on the shelves for a while, the discounts are starting to roll in.

For example, the Spring Cleaning Sale happening now at Buckle features price cuts of up to 60% off. Over at PacSun, there’s an online “sale on sale” offering an additional 50% off select markdowns.

Maximize sales by delaying your purchases as long as possible, while still allowing yourself ample time to wear them. We’re expecting plenty of apparel sales during Memorial Day weekend, when retailers such as J.C. Penney dropped prices last year. The department store discounted swimwear by 30% to 50% off.

Reward yourself

It can pay to sign up for rewards memberships at stores you patronize frequently. Look for loyalty programs that are completely free, no strings attached.

Once you’ve signed up, you’ll earn points for your purchases and redeem them for discounts on future orders. We like the AERewards Program at American Eagle, where $1 spent equals 1 point, and 100 points earns a 15% discount.

Get thrifty

Specialty and department store purchases can add up. It might be worth paying a premium for items you’ll wear frequently — but consider buying accessories you’ll use less often second hand. You’ll find drastically lower prices, and vintage is totally in.

At thredUP, members can sell clothing and buy new-to-them items at up to 90% off original prices. If you’d rather shop in person, Plato’s Closet sells gently used brand-name clothing. Use the store locator tool on the retailer’s website to find one near you.

Consign your closet

Combine spring’s two biggest trends: spring cleaning and spring fashion. While you’re adding wardrobe pieces, consider consigning items you no longer need for some extra cash.

You can sell your rarely used clothing, accessories, shoes and more on websites and smartphone apps such as Letgo.

Buy only the basics

If you don’t wear most of your clothing purchases all that often, try a different approach. Buy the basics — we’re talking little black dresses, jeans and white t-shirts — and borrow jewelry and accessories from friends as needed. It doesn’t make sense to purchase a trendy, floppy spring hat that only matches one of your outfits.

Try a subscription service

Don’t want to borrow from friends? You might want to sign up for a subscription service. The premise is simple: You pay a company to send you clothes. After you’ve worn them for awhile, you’ll send them back in exchange for a new shipment.

For instance, LeTote subscribers can get unlimited monthly deliveries of three garments and two accessories for just $59 per month.

Skip brand names

In the interest of saving a few dollars, go for generic labels in lieu of designer brands.

This Michael Michael Kors floral lace dress has a hefty price tag of $325. We found a similar-looking white eyelash lace mini dress from Forever 21 at a fraction of the price — just $24.90.

Sign up for emails

As long as you don’t mind your inbox being flooded — and have the self-control not to shop every sale — you might get a coupon simply by signing up for different retailers’ email lists.

Signing up for Kohl’s sale alerts saves you 15% on your next online or in-store purchase. At Rue 21, you’ll get a 25% discount on your next order of $50 or more when you sign up. And over at H&M, you’ll receive 20% off one item plus free shipping.

Use these tips to maximize your spring style at a minimal cost.

Courtney Jespersen is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: Twitter: @CourtneyNerd. This article first appeared at NerdWallet.

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