We’re now on the fourth day of the Organize My Wardrobe series and hopefully you’ve got some useful clothes organizing tips under your belt so far (pun intended). Today I want to switch gears slightly and offer you a few money-saving ideas when it comes time for you to buy new clothes. Maybe you need to buy new clothes, or maybe you just want to buy new clothes. No matter your reason, you shouldn’t burn a hole in your wallet doing it! While there are many creative ways to save money shopping, I’m going to focus on three practices in particular that I use regularly:
Find clearance racks
It goes without saying that you should always try to buy clothes on sale. However, to be a truly savvy shopper means you should be wary of the store that claims something is on sale, when in fact it really isn’t—technically speaking. Let me explain. I’ve been to stores where the same clothes are ALWAYS listed as being on sale. So are they truly ever on sale, then? Perhaps not.
Stores can inflate ‘list’ prices, offer you a reduced ‘sale’ price, and all of a sudden you feel like you are getting a deal. Wow that $350 jacket is 50% off! What a deal! Um, ya, since when is $175 a deal? Now, I’m not trying to be cynical, because sales most certainly can be legitimate (and maybe that jacket was imported leather or something). Just be careful not to be fooled by carefully crafted language like ‘now on sale’ or ‘50% off’ and then automatically assume you are getting a good price.
One of the better ways to ensure that you are getting a good price is to shop clearance racks. Unfortunately clearance racks can often be heavily picked over, disorganized, and full of all the wrong sizes. But they can also be gold mines. Usually in some far back corner of the store, these racks are full of clothes marked down from not only their regular price, but also their supposed ‘sale’ price. Be patient, take time to look through the mess, and you just might find a super deal.
Buy shorts in winter
Winter is cold where you live, you say? I’m not suggesting you wear shorts in winter, just that you buy them in winter. Why? Because stores need to push their inventory out season to season. At the end of each season (and often well before), stores are hurrying to move on to the next season. So when fall starts, summer clothes get pushed to clearance racks and eventually disappear. When spring arrives, winter clothes are packed away until next year.
A savvy shopper would plan ahead and try to buy winter clothes at the beginning of summer and summer clothes at the beginning of winter. It sounds backwards, but it can be a real money saver. For example, this past spring, my husband and I discovered a rack of $150 heavy-duty winter jackets marked down to $15 (that’s 90% off!). We each bought one, but had to be patient and store them for the summer. We finally pulled them out last week and recalled our amazing deal.
Stores know that most customers usually don’t buy clothes in the off-season, but they still want to clean out their inventory. Hence, they offer super clearance deals. To take advantage of this phenomenon, you just have to plan ahead and have patience—but it’s worth it!
Shop thrift stores
Leave behind those major retail chain stores or boutiques for a moment and consider a second-hand store, often lovingly called a thrift store. Now not all thrift stores are created equal…some are just plain awesome, but others can be over-priced, or worse, downright junky. If you discover a great thrift store, you’ll know it, and you’ll want to keep going back over and over. Why? Because of the prices!
If you have an issue with wearing other people’s clothes, then it’s time to get over it. When you buy clothes at a thrift store, you take them home and run them through the laundry. Now they belong to you. It’s not weird! Furthermore, I’ve often found clothes in thrift stores that still have the tags on them…that means they are brand new. Finally, we as a society need to lose this mentality that shopping at a thrift store is somehow ‘below’ us or something. There’s a Goodwill commercial on TV now where two women are ashamed to admit they shop there, but when no one is looking, they buy all sorts of things! The point is, thrift stores save you money, recycle clothing, and are good for the community as a whole.
Now I mentioned great prices. Yes, you can find some GREAT prices at thrift stores. I have another fun story to share. There’s a really nice second-hand store in my husband’s home town that I always hit up whenever we visit. A few months ago I discovered they were holding a bag sale. Never having encountered such an event, I excitedly asked the cashier how it worked. She told me to take a paper grocery bag and fill it with as many clothes items I could fit…all for just $10. Now I’ve heard of bag sales being even cheaper, but come on, $10! I victoriously rounded up 6 skirts, 6 blouses, 2 dresses, and a pair of capris, all in like-new condition (and one brand new!). If that’s not a deal, I don’t know what is.
These are just three money-saving shopping tips from among many more. Where do you find your best clothes deals?
Tomorrow is the last day of this special series! I’ll wrap up what we’ve learned, offer some long-term wardrobe management tips, and provide some useful links to further resources.
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