how to save money on clothes
Updated April 19, 2020

How to Save Money on Clothes This Year: 25 Useful Hacks

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While you’re looking for advice on how to save money on clothes, the US apparel industry is thriving.

  • Its market revenue exceeded $328 billion in 2017 alone.
  • Monthly retail sales in the U.S. clothing stores exceed $15 In December 2017, the sales of the U.S. apparel retail stores amounted to $23.3 billion.
  • The girls and women’s apparel market reached $117 billion in 2017, while the boys and men’s market was worth $87 billion.
  • The brands dominating the U.S. apparel market are Gap and Nike.

Remember these numbers the next time you see a commercial enticing you to shop at a certain store or a fashion show presenting next year’s trend.

Do you find your wardrobe outdated, poor, or in need of a spruce up? It might be, but you could also be the victim of the commercials and ads assaulting you everywhere you look.

It is up to you to avoid getting carried away and spending more than you have to. In order to support your efforts to save money on clothes, we propose a three-step approach:

  1. Sell the clothes you no longer need and wear to get money for the clothes you wish to buy
  2. Shop for clothes the smart way, following our money-saving tips and cheap wardrobe tips below.
  3. Make sure you get rewarded for your clothing purchases.

How to Save Money on Clothes with Our 25 Useful Hacks

No matter if you prefer designer labels or you settle for general brands, there are numerous solutions to save on buying clothes. We’ve made a list of the 25 most effective. Check them out below and let us know what worked best for you!

1. Sell the Clothes You No Longer Wear Online

There are two major types of online platforms you can consider for getting rid of your old clothes:

  • Platforms that buy and resell clothes
  • Online marketplaces where you advertise and sell your clothes

Some will allow only as-new products, while others are suitable for pre-worn products as well. Some focus on designer clothes, but quite a few have no brand criteria.

It is up to you to decide which of your clothes to sell and where, but, if you need inspiration, we have a list of 17 online places you can try.

I know, this isn’t an idea on how to save money on clothes but you can use the money you make this way to pay for new purchases and, thus, lower the burden on your budget.

2. Organize a Yard or Garage Sale

If you find packing and shipping products tiring and you want to make sure you get the price your old clothes deserve, an alternative to selling them online is holding a yard or garage sale.

If you have a neighborhood Facebook or Whatsapp group, spreading the word about it should be easy. Here are a few tips to make it work:

  • Choose your date and time carefully: make sure the weather is nice and your neighbors are available to come and check out your products.
  • Consider offering incentives. People will be more inclined to drop by if they know they’ll get a free cookie or a fresh coffee.
  • Make your clothes presentable: looks matter, no matter if we’re willing to admit or not. If you want to sell your clothes for more, clean them, iron them, and hang them somewhere in sight.
  • Make sure your potential buyers can try on the clothes. The back of your van, a tent, or a folding screen should do it.
  • Put prices on every item. This way, you’ll avoid answering endless questions and hearing mean comments. However, remain open to negotiations.
  • Provide discounts. You should reward those who buy several pieces or exceed a certain amount to encourage them and others to buy more.

3. Throw Swap Parties with Friends

Just like you, I’m sure your friends have clothes that no longer fit them or they no longer like. They would surely like some of the pieces in your wardrobe as well.

Then why not meet up for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and exchange clothes? You could renew your wardrobe in no time without spending a dime.

Before realizing it, by following the tips above, you’ll already have some new clothes and some money to buy even more.

4. Earn and Use Discounted and Free Gift Cards

You may not know it but there are easy and fun things you can do to earn free gift cards. You can then use them to lower prices and save money on clothes. We’ve covered how you can earn free cards for:

5. Get Freebies

Here’s a great idea on how to save money on clothes: get them for free! It may seem incredible, but some stores offer free stuff. We’ve already created a list of 41 freebies you can obtain online and where to find them.

While it is true that clothes are more difficult to obtain for free, it’s not impossible. A great starting point is to look up stores that offer one free product for every two or three products you buy (different products).

Other stores give their clients an opportunity to register with their birth date and receive free birthday stuff.

Not that you know how to make room and obtain money for your future purchases, let’s move on to the second step of our guide on how to save money on clothes, namely smart shopping.

6. Never Buy on Impulse

You see something you like and you want to have it, even though you don’t really need it. You convince yourself it’s a great buy.

Perhaps it looks great in the online photo or window shop, or it’s on sale and the discount makes it look like an excellent deal.

It probably isn’t, and you shouldn’t fall for the ads! Instead:

  • Give yourself three days to think about it and make sure you really need that piece.
  • Think of how buying it will affect your budget and assess whether you have other matching pieces in your wardrobe. The last thing you want is to buy a jacket for which you later have to buy matching shoes and other accessories.
  • Think of other things you could buy with that money, some that you really need.

7. Buy the Basics in Bulk

Your wardrobe surely contains some items you wear every day without really paying attention to color, design, label, and other details.

Common examples include socks, underwear, T-shirts, bras, etc. If you buy them in bulk or in packages of two, three, or more items, you could save a great deal of money.

We have already created a comprehensive list of items to buy in bulk in order to save money, so there’s no point getting into further details here.

Of course, multipacks don’t necessarily guarantee the best price-per-piece, so do your research and only buy them if you’re sure you’re going to save money.

8. Focus on Classics

I know you want to keep up with trends but leaving fashion tendencies aside, every wardrobe should contain some classic pieces, like black dresses for women and black suits for men, white shirts, etc.

If you stick to classic designs, you won’t have to worry that they’ll go out of style. Since they’re easier to match, you won’t have to worry about accessories either.

 9. Shop Off-Season

Did you know that, when a season ends, the corresponding clothes and accessories go on sale? You can buy them at 25% of their original price or even for less.

If you buy classics, this tip on how to save money on clothes will be even more effective.

10. Shop at Closeout and Wholesale Stores

Some stores, especially luxury ones, do not bother advertising and wasting space on a few products left from a particular collection or on collections from previous seasons.

They sell them at incredible prices to other retailers who pass on the savings to their customers, and these are the ones you want to shop at.

There are also retailers who buy clothes wholesale directly from manufacturers at very low prices, so they can afford to offer great deals to their customers even after covering their overhead costs.

For you, this means that, if you know where to look, you can buy the clothes you need at half-price. Try The Outnet, Blair, Gamiss, 6PM, Nordstrom Rack, Forever21, JCPenney, but don’t start your shopping session before checking out the tips below.

11. Check out Consignment and Thrift Stores

Many people follow the above tip on selling their old clothes in order to make money and room for new ones. Some of them own luxury, new or hardly ever worn clothes that would cost you a fortune if you were to buy them new.

From consignment and thrift stores, you can buy them at just a fraction of their original price. Not only will you pay extremely low amounts but you’ll get stylish designer creations that you couldn’t afford otherwise.

12. Don’t Buy the Same Product in Several Colors or Spend Your Money on Items You Only Wear Once

Do you really need that jacket or scarf in three different colors? I doubt it. Even when you get discounts on the second or third item, stick to one.

To make sure you’ll actually wear it and be able to match it with other pieces in your wardrobe, stick to neutral, common colors, like black, white, beige, grey, pink, etc.

Also, when you have a wedding or a special event to attend, don’t spend a fortune on an outfit you may never wear again.

It makes more sense to rent the outfit or borrow it from a friend. You’ll spend less and you’ll look astonishing. If you really want to save money on clothes, start by avoiding unnecessary and high spending!

13. Do Your Online Shopping at Stores that Offer Free Shipping Unconditionally or Have Low Thresholds

It doesn’t make sense to spend money on shipping when it can be done otherwise. Also, when stores have high thresholds for free shipping, you are tempted to buy until you reach the minimum amount.

Pro Tip: You should only shop at stores that offer free shipping. If you don’t find the clothes you like or you’ve seen something you have to have in another store, look up coupons and discount codes that get you free shipping.

14. Only Buy Clothes That Fit You and You Really Like

When you find something you really like, you are tempted to buy it even if it doesn’t fit you very well. You hope you will lose or gain a few pounds, or you think you will adjust it.  Don’t do that. Most often than not, those few pounds will never come or go, and you won’t invest the time and money necessary to adjust it.

Even though you liked the piece very much, it will end up lying in your closet in vain. After all, you came here looking for advice on how to save money on clothes, not how to waste it.

15. Return the Clothes You Won’t Wear

If you bought clothes that don’t fit you or you realize you’ll probably never wear, don’t keep them. Most stores have a return policy you can take advantage of. If you followed the above tip on buying from stores that offer free shipping, the return costs will be minimal.

Although, in some cases, you’ll feel the price of the clothes is not worth the trouble, you should still do it, as a punishment for buying stuff you shouldn’t have. With time, you’ll learn to think twice before doing just to avoid the trouble of having to return the clothes.

16. Use Coupons and Discount Codes

They are an excellent solution to save money on clothes, and the savings they enable go as high as 50%. There are browser extensions like Butterfly Saves and websites like RetailMeNot that help you find, test, and apply coupons and discount codes at checkout.

17. Use Price Comparison Tools

When you’ve found something you like, don’t proceed to checkout without making sure you have the best price. It will drive you crazy to learn that you could have bought it cheaper somewhere else. To avoid that, use price comparison apps, browser extensions, and websites like ShopSavvy, BuyVia, or BizRate.

18. Sign up to Newsletters If There Are Any Benefits Involved

Some stores will offer you free shipping or other benefits on your first order for signing up to their newsletter, so why not take advantage?

I know that receiving daily emails with discounts and “special” offers from your favorite stores is not compatible with our goal of teaching you how to save money on clothes. We’ll solve that problem at the next step.

19. Cancel All Your Email and Newsletter Subscriptions and Deactivate Ads and Pop-ups

Emails and ads tempting you to visit clothes stores don’t help your goal, not even when they talk about a blog post with cheap wardrobe tips.

It may take a little time and effort but you should cancel all subscriptions and deactivate any ads and pop-ups.

When you need to buy clothes or you feel like checking out the latest deals you’ll know where to look without newsletter and subscriptions.

Speaking of subscriptions, did you know that you can cancel paid ones without any effort? It’s called Cushion and it will identify money-saving opportunities, cancel subscriptions, lower your bills and help you bypass bank fees, among others.

20. When Shopping Online, Keep the Products in Your Shopping Cart for at Least One Week

I know you can’t wait to receive and try on your new clothes, but this is a great way to save money on clothes. Major retailers have their own tracking methods. When they see that you’re thinking of buying something but you’re not yet convinced, they’ll send you vouchers or offer you free shipping to convince you.

21. Pay with the Right Credit Card

Believe it or not, your credit cards come with various perks, some of which could help you save money on buying clothes.

  • For example, some credit cards reward purchases at partner retailers with cash back or reward points.
  • Others offer a best-price guarantee, meaning that they help you get a refund of the price difference if prices drop or the product is available at a lower price elsewhere.

22. Do Your Online Shopping through Cashback Apps and Websites

Cashback apps and websites can get you back up to 40% of the money you spend on clothes online. Of course, each cashback website has its partner stores, so it is up to you to find the one offering the highest cashback for the store you wish to shop at.

A great starting point for your quest on how to save money on clothes should be Rakuten (formerly Ebates), Dosh, and Affinityy. Never shop without them and you get back some of the money you’ve spent so that you can use it to buy even more clothes.

23. Use Cashback Apps When Shopping in Brick-and-Mortar Stores

Yes, you can receive cashback when shopping in local stores as well, not just online. It is a great way to save money on clothes, gas, groceries, restaurant meals,Uber rides, and more.

The best cashback apps for brick-and-mortar shopping for clothes are, according to my research, Ibotta and Drop.

24. Get Paid to Walk Into Clothing Stores

Have you heard of the new app Shopkick?

It literally pays you to walk into stores!  You don’t even have to buy anything — you will get paid simply for entering clothing stores!

Of course, you will earn more points for actually making a purchase, but even if you’re just window shopping for the latest fashions, you can still earn points.

25. Take Care of Your Clothes

Now you know how to save money on clothes but I have a final tip: keep the clothes you bought in good condition.

Read their labels carefully and follow the instructions when cleaning and ironing them. Fold them neatly or keep them on hangers to avoid wrinkling.

Here are a few tips:

  • Use a razor and tape to shave off and remove fluff
  • Even though the labels say dry cleaning only, when this method no longer works, try washing those clothes
  • Use color-friendly detergents and softeners
  • Use markers to cover bleach stains
  • Learn to sew buttons

The idea is simple: if you found clothes that you love and which fit you well, make sure you’ll enjoy them for as long as possible. This is one of the best cheap wardrobe tips.

Which of the Above Tips on How to Save Money on Clothes Worked for You?

Have you followed the above tips? Which ones worked best for you? Do you have any other recommendations?

Share your thoughts in a comment below and help us make this guide on how to save money on clothes even better!

Logan Allec, CPA

Logan is a practicing CPA, Certified Student Loan Professional, and founder of Money Done Right, which he launched in July 2017. After spending nearly a decade in the corporate world helping big businesses save money, he launched his blog with the goal of helping everyday Americans earn, save, and invest more money. Learn more about Logan.

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1 Comments

Hey Logan,

This is a great list of tips. Just to expand on points #3 Clothing Swap Parties and #11 Consignment and Thrift Stores (both of which we use). We have 2 kids under 5 and since they grow so fast at that age, they outgrow many clothes after having only worn them a handful of times, which is the same as most other kids their age. Since this is so common, the thrift stores (salvation army and other second-hand stores) are stacked with high quality and very lightly used clothes. We’ll often find even designer label clothes in these stores for pennies on the dollar.

And then on the Clothing swap side, we’ll package up clothes into containers based on size and pass them around to friends and family once we are done with them. If there are any that we want back we put a small initial on the tag inside the clothing so they make their way back to us when others are done.

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