We all need clothes and they can be an expensive purchase. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spends $1,700 each year on clothes. For a family of four, that amounts to nearly $7,000. That’s a huge chunk of cash that can be better spent on other necessities. Luckily, there are ways to save hundreds and perhaps even thousands of dollars each year.
Is that sweater a little tight on you? Have you lost weight and your pants no longer fit? Don’t just throw your clothes away – sell them. You can get rid of them at a yard sale, sell them online or take them to a consignment store. When the store sells them, you get a portion of the proceeds. Although it may not be much, a few dollars is better than nothing.
Thrift stores sell used clothing, which may be a turn-off to many people. However, the clothes are gently worn so typically the only difference you will see is the price. It is not uncommon to find deals such as designer jeans for under $10. Most thrift stores have weekly sales, so check in often and see what you find for less.
Stick with easy-to-wash clothes
That silk shirt on clearance may look nice on the rack, but how much will it really cost to maintain? Dry cleaning a shirt every time you wear it can add up quickly. Instead, choose clothes made from materials that can be easily washed at home without too many hassles.
Along the same line, take good care of your clothes, and they will last longer. Jamming your washer with clothes every time you load it will damage the clothes. Instead, wash with cool water on a gentle cycle. Delicate clothing should be hand washed. It is preferred to line-dry clothing if possible. In addition, avoid using clothes dryers. They suck up a lot of energy and drastically reduce the lifespan of clothes.
Buy out of season
Don’t feel silly about buying that swimsuit in the middle of December. Buying out of season can score you some deep discounts. Look through your closets and drawers and plan ahead. Need a new coat? Buy it in the summer. The ones who should feel silly are those buying their clothing at full price.
Unless you’re a highly-paid celebrity going out for a night on the town, does buying designer brand clothing really matter? Walmart, Target and Old Navy offer inexpensive jeans and T-shirts for hanging out around the house or running errands. You can often get $5 shirts and jeans for under $20. If you are looking for a few pieces here and there that are a little more elaborate or trendy, then maybe a department store would be the way to go, but not to save money on everyday clothing.
Fix worn clothes
Does your favorite pair of pants have a hole in the seam? Is that shirt missing a button? Instead of automatically tossing your slightly ripped clothing, get a needle and some thread and fix them. You can even turn old pants into shorts with just a few snips of the scissors.
Don’t limit your clothes shopping to brick and mortar retailers. Many deals can be found online in many cases, there is more variety. You can choose from online-only retailers or the websites of your favorite clothing stores, such as Old Navy or Kohl’s. Combine the sale with a promo code or coupon, and you can potentially save 70 percent or more.
Avoid outlet malls
A lot of clothing at outlet malls is made for outlets and is of low quality. However, prices tend to me much higher than the quality level.
Avoid buying just because of the price
Sure, that neon orange shirt is only $3, but will you ever wear it? No matter how low the price may seem, if the shirt or jeans are not your style, then why waste your money?
Buying baby and children’s clothes
Babies are small, but they require a lot of gear during the first few years. Clothes are no exception. Babies often grow very quickly and buying clothes at 3, 6, 9 and 12 months of age can get quite expensive.
One way to save money is to ask for hand-me-downs. The easiest way is to reuse the clothes from an older sibling. If this is your first child, ask family members and close friends if they have any outgrown clothes from their children. Don’t be embarrassed to do so. Many parents end up tossing the clothes away or donating them anyway because bags of clothes can take up precious spacer within a home. Most parents will be thrilled to give them to someone who can really use them. There’s nothing better than getting free clothes, so if you do manage to get hand-me-downs, be thankful.
Thrift stores are also good places to get children’s clothes for cheap. However, the clothes are often donated, so what you see is what you get. The clothes may not be in the best condition, and the selection may be limited. There may be tons of boy’s clothes but a limited number of girl’s dresses. The sizes may be too small or too big as well.
In some cases, you can buy ahead of time. This will allow you to take advantage of sales where clothing in your child’s current size is not always available. This may not be worthwhile during the baby’s first year, since babies experience varied growth patterns. The jacket you buy in April may be too small come fall. However, when your child is a little older, you can buy bigger sizes, especially in shirts and pants, which are worn year-round.