10 Tips for Frugal Clothes Shopping

February 3, 2010

We can all use some reminders about the most frugal ways to get clothing for our families and ourselves. That’s why today’s blog posting comes courtesy of thredUP, an online clothes swapping community. (thredUP kids is coming soon!)

thredUP seems to be a great option for families that don’t live near enough to consignment or thrift stores, but would still like to get more value out of their used clothing by swapping it with others. And God Bless the Internet for making this all happen. Now onto the 10 frugal clothes shopping tips!

1) Create a shopping budget. Determine what percentage of your income you feel comfortable spending on clothes (hey, we’re not here to judge). Set that amount aside or track it monthly or annually.

2) Evaluate your wardrobe before you shop. On average, we don’t wear 25% of the clothes in our closet, which leaves you with significant swapping ammo. You can organize a swap party with local friends. If you’re strapped for time, online swapping sites like thredUP allow you to swap clothes from the comfort of your own home.

3) Shop smart. Once you’ve exhausted swappable resources, head out into the “real world” with your frugal helmet intact. Consignment, thrift and resale shops are great for finding discounted gems. Spend time sorting through racks and be sure to ask when new inventory is displayed so you can get first pick!

4) Head to the mall with a game plan. Make a list with two columns: need and want. Thinking this through ahead of time will deter impulsive purchases.

5) Negotiate whenever possible. While some prices are set in stone, many stores provide a little wiggle room, such as boutiques and consignment shops. Also, don’t hesitate to ask for a discount on blemished items. You should feel comfortable suggesting your own discount, as these are rarely fixed.

6) Shop for the future. If you’re shopping for staple items that you need every year, buy them in the off-season. Purchase winter clothes in the spring and summer clothes in the fall.

7) Spend on accessories. Rather than buying new outfits, spend less money updating your wardrobe with accessories. Scarves, belts, necklaces and hats, can all refresh your look. Head to inexpensive accessory stores to change up your style year to year.

8 ) Consider a piece’s upkeep when considering buying it. Check out the cleaning instructions before purchasing an item. Dry-cleaning can be a huge expense. If the cost of three cleaning cycles nears the original price, it’s probably not worth purchasing.

9) Green saves you green. Organic clothes last longer! Natural fibers are less susceptible to wear and tear. Investing in linen and wool clothing can save you serious cash over time.

10) Buy with your lifestyle in mind.
You may love summer dresses and tank tops, but if you work 9 to 5 in an office all summer, you likely don’t need many.

5 Responses to 10 Tips for Frugal Clothes Shopping

  1. […] 10 Tips for Frugal Clothes Shopping (suddenlyfrugal.com) […]

  2. Karen Burnham on February 3, 2010 at 7:16 am

    Kashi is offering a free sample on their website – Kashi.com – a box of cereal or cereal bars. I just ordered mine! Tried your crock pot stir fry with veggies – it was good :-)

    • Leah Ingram on February 3, 2010 at 7:37 am

      Thanks for the tip–we love Kashi bars–and I’m glad the recipe worked out well for you!


  3. Leah Ingram on February 3, 2010 at 7:13 am

    We did this recently with one of my daughters, after I’d gone on a laundry-washing binge and had so many pieces of clean clothes for her, there wasn’t enough room in her closet to put everything away. I think this is a good trick to use with everyone in the house on a regular basis!


  4. Jen on the Edge on February 3, 2010 at 7:03 am

    I just went through my children’s dressers and closets. Discovered that each one has approximately 25-30 t-shirts, so will not be buying anyone new ones for a while!

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