Frugality Wise

Tips, ideas, and resources for living frugally

How to Save Money When Shopping for Clothes

on March 25, 2014
Image courtesy of stockimages /

Image courtesy of stockimages /

I love to shop! Especially online shopping. Nothing’s easier than typing in the web address to my favourite online clothing retailer, browsing for things to put in my virtual shopping cart, and checking out with my credit card or PayPal account…all from the comfort of my couch. No walking up and down crowded malls with tired feet and increasingly heavy bags, dodging and weaving through slow-moving people and going from store to store endlessly browsing through racks. (Although, years ago when I was younger this is exactly what I did, and could do it for 3 hours, and love every minute of it!) Of course, the biggest advantage of shopping in person at a mall is being able to try on the items before purchasing. However, I digress. This blog entry is not intended to talk about the pros and cons of online vs. in-person shopping. Regardless of what shopping method you choose, as someone who is embracing the concept of frugality, you need to shop wisely in order to save some money on this type of expenditure. Here are a few tips for frugality wise clothes shopping.

Make a shopping list.

Just like you would when you go grocery shopping, create a list of the clothing items you want to buy. Be specific. A list will give you focus and purpose. If you go to the mall and you see something that’s not on your list, don’t buy it! It obviously wasn’t a true need in the first place; otherwise it would have been on your list.

Take stock of your existing inventory of clothes.

If you have things in your closet that you haven’t worn much in the past or at all, and for whatever reason you know you really won’t be wearing them in the future, then sell them. I am guilty of having clothes in my closet for ages, never worn and with the tags still on. Sell these clothes online at places like eBay or Kijiji, or have a garage sale. With the extra room in your closet and the extra money you make from selling your unwanted items, you will have the money to spend towards that cute top you’ve been eyeing that’s now on sale!

Purchase clothes from inexpensive, reasonably priced retailers.

Fashion should not break your bank account! Shop at outlet stores, second-hand/thrift stores, garage sales, etc. I used to live near Orfus Road in Toronto which is lined with outlet stores, including Le Chateau and Costa Blanca outlet stores, just to name a couple. I loved shopping on Orfus Road because nothing felt better than buying a top for $2.00 or ten pairs of pants for about $50 or $60!

Make your own clothes.

This might not be for everybody, but if you like dressmaking and you’re handy with a sewing machine and comfortable using dressmaking patterns, then you can go to your local fabric store for all the supplies you need. Buying fabric is a lot cheaper than going to a retail store to buy the finished product. Stores need to make a profit by marking up the prices on their merchandise. By taking a little time to make your own cute skirt or top, you save money. Plus you will have your own original item not found in stores, so no risk of running into a copy-clone when you’re out and about, which is a bonus! Another bonus: your friends and co-workers will be mightily impressed when they ask where you got that skirt and you tell them that you made it from scratch.

Time your shopping expeditions to coincide with the time of year where retailers tend to have their sales. 

Sales always occur prior to the start of a new season. For example, in March stores need to unload their Winter merchandise to make room for their new Spring items. Once in a while I will purchase an out-of-season item, a dress for example, and save it to wear for the next time it’s in season. By the time I end up wearing it people will comment on how much they like my dress and where I got it. It will no longer be in stores, so I can rest assured that if someone tries to look for it in stores, they will be out of luck!

Sign up for rewards/member programs.

Some retailers offer discounts to customers who have signed up for their membership cards. When you use the membership card you will receive a percentage discount on your purchase. Others use a points reward system where you accumulate points every time you shop and can eventually redeem points to receive an item of a certain value. If you shop frequently at a certain retailer a program like this might be useful for you.

Shop at online retailers that offer free shipping.

It can be challenging to find a retailer that offers free shipping without a minimum purchase. However, some retailers offer free shipping with a low minimum purchase amount.  Shipping can add so much to your grand total, so if there is a free shipping option, take advantage of it. Free shipping is usually done using the most economical (and slowest) method. So by learning to be patient in receiving your online order you will save yourself some money.



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