From a very young age I have understood that clothing has the ability to completely transform a person’s outlook on life. How someone looks can significantly affect how they feel and how they think. As a child, visiting my mother’s old retail store, I remember observing how a well-accessorized outfit could immediately inspire feelings of confidence and pride. And let’s face it when we are confident about ourselves, there is nothing that we can’t accomplish. The problem is that looking like a million bucks can often cost almost as much! But that doesn’t have to be the case. It is possible to dress well regardless of your clothing budget especially if you know where (and when) to look. Want to slash your clothing budget? Read on for some great ways to save money and still look amazing!
1) Shop consignment – Who doesn’t love a bargain? Consignment and thrift shops are great ways to find designer clothing and accessories at prices you would typically see in stores like Walmart. It is not uncommon to find brand new items with the tags still on for a great deal less than you would typically pay retail. Most, if not all, consignment venues have strict rules regarding item quality so in most cases even pre-owned items will be in very good condition. If you really want to stretch your money, clean out your closets and consign with your favorite store. Not only will you declutter your closets but you will earn money towards your next clothing and accessory purchases. Our area happens to have several exceptional stores such as Ruth’s Closet and Wear It’s At for the ladies and The Tot Spot and The Elephant’s Trunk for the little ones.
2) Try a swap – Not only is this a wonderful way to get FREE clothes but you may also meet some new friends! Swap parties are one of the latest and greatest trends. Spend time with girlfriends and get a few “new” pieces for your wardrobe. Swap parties are where one person hosts the party and invites a group of people. Each person must bring an item or several items to “swap” during the event. This works especially well if you have a large group so that each person is likely to have several size matches. If you don’t have a large enough group, consider attending a public event held by an individual or local organization. Most clothing at swap meets are free as long as you have something to trade, however some organizers may charge a registration fee or annual membership fee to join the meet. This is probably the best way to stretch your clothing budget, as long as you have items to swap.
3) Buy out of season – Everyone knows that the best time to purchase holiday supplies is right after the holiday. The same is true for clothing. Since clothing is a seasonal item, most retail stores change out their inventory regularly. This is done to keep up with not only seasonal trends and style trends as well. At the end of each season these retail stores deeply discount the remaining inventory so that they can make room for new merchandise as quickly as possible. If potential weight gain or loss isn’t an issue for you, then this is the best time to purchase new items for your wardrobe. Of course you will have to store these items until the next season however you just may be able to enjoy sales as steep as 80% off retail.
4) Redeem vouchers/coupons – Do you have a few (or maybe even several) favorite stores in which you like to shop? Sign up for the store’s mailing list to receive special coupons and discounts via email. Don’t just think large chain stores, many small local stores in our area offer some type of customer rewards programs. You may even be lucky enough to receive invitations to VIP or Customer Appreciation sales in which you are able to shop a sale earlier than the general public so that you have first access to the merchandise. In addition, don’t forget to spend the promotional cash vouchers that you receive. Many times these vouchers have an additional purchase requirement. For example, you must purchase $25 to receive $10 off. However redeeming these vouchers can potentially save 50% or more on your total purchase. You may not see a discount this steep during the typical selling season and therefore are a great way to reward loyal customers.
5) Shop tax free – Having the ability to shop tax free doesn’t typically happen. However a few years ago, as a way to boost the sagging economy, the Comptroller of Maryland began the annual tradition of Tax Free Shopping Week. Some items are exempt from this special promotion but fortunately for us clothing and shoes aren’t. This year, Marylanders can take advantage of this awesome little perk August 9th through August 15th. Tax Free Shopping Week also happens to coincide with area back to school sales so it’s a great opportunity to purchase a new wardrobe for the whole family at a discounted price. A 6% savings may not seem like much but when you are shopping for a large family it all adds up quickly.
And, if for some reason, the clothing budget runs out early or is slashed due to necessity, don’t be ashamed to accept hand-me-downs. They have been a god-send with my family and it feels good to know that we have also helped clothe a few other families by keeping the tradition.