7 simple ways to save money on clothing

February 12, 2021

How to save money on clothing and stay stylish. 

Beautiful stylish fashion clothing items hanging on a rack
How much of your budget should go toward your wardrobe can vary greatly. “It’s about making it balanced with other elements to have a well-rounded financial life…but you shouldn’t be going into credit card debt for clothing.” said Erin Lowry, author of “Broke Millennial.”

Calculate cost-per-wear

Consumer savings expert Andrea Woroch recommended assessing the cost of wear to help decide how much to spend on an article of clothing. 

Spending extra money on quality pieces that you can wear often and will last a few years make more financial sense than buying cheaply-made fast fashion items.

For example, spending $100 on a well-made blazer that you can wear often and last through many seasons makes more sense than having to replace a $40 one of lesser quality that will last a few months or every time it fades, stretches out, or starts to fray.

Create a simple base

Be creative, build your wardrobe with foundational pieces that can be used in many different ways.

That means you can mix and match things like classic dress pants that can be worn with a variety of tops, a versatile blazer, or a classic white shirt that can be dressed up or down.

“Everyone has different ways of expressing themselves, but if you keep your capsule wardrobe fairly simplistic, you can layer with jewelry, scarves, shirts, and other ways to bring pops of color and ‘of-the-moment’ things,” said Lowry.

Take inventory

Go through your wardrobe periodically to take stock of what you have and what you need. This not only prevents you from buying a third black V-neck shirt but also lets you know what you’re missing. It’ll save you time to shop around instead of hastily buying that item at full price because you need it immediately.

Lastly, don’t hit the buy button right away when online shopping. Walk away from the computer and take some time to reconsider whether you really need the item.

Use ‘one in, one out’ rule

To avoid wasteful spending is to establish a rule that nothing new comes in without something being removed. Put the clothing you are getting rid of to good use. You can try selling unwanted items at online or brick-and-mortar secondhand shops or donating them.

Some retailers offer discounts for recycling apparel to maximize your savings. Plus, you’ll declutter your closets by getting rid of old items you no longer wear.

Get loyal

Make sure you find a deal, either with a promo code, percent-off, or shipping code when shopping around. Sign up for any promotional materials from your favorite brands and stores and follow them on social media to learn about special sales and coupons.

“Even luxury brands… they send coupons,” said Woroch. “Asking the store associate if they have a coupon or a deal for you can work.”

She suggested having a separate email account to use when signing up for promotions to avoid extra junk mail or temptations in your inbox. 

Shop end-of-season sales

Stores need to move merchandise to make room for the upcoming season’s offerings. And that usually means sales.

“You can get 40% to 60% off at end-of-season sales,” said Woroch, who stocks up on basics. “I size up for my kids. So for the summer, I will grab tank tops or a pair of sandals. Everyone knows what they gravitate toward.”

But remember no matter the discount, it’s not a deal if you don’t end up using it.

What’s old is new again

Bringing in someone with a fresh perspective can help us spice up our wardrobe again by spotting some hidden gems or offering outfit inspiration. After staring at our closets every morning, things are bound to feel a little stale.

“I love having friends help me put outfits together,” said Lowry.

Take care of your clothes

Before making a purchase, check the care instructions. Washing or drying at the wrong temperature or ignoring instructions to hand wash can affect the longevity of your clothes.

For example, higher-quality denim last longer and fit better when you wash them in cold water inside out and only hangs dries them. They can last for more years. Lastly, take note of whether a new wardrobe piece is dry clean only, that will not only adds more cost but also more time to maintain.