Do you need to go back to your office soon as the COVID restrictions are eased? Are you only going in two or three days per week? If so, you will likely have to wear pants or add to your wardrobe. At the same time, if your kids have been attending school remotely, they will need new clothes to return to school. This post takes ideas from my book on cash savings ideas to help you find ways to save on clothing costs.
Here are some ideas to reduce household clothing costs:
Swap clothes with a like-sized friend. Before you buy a new outfit, get some friends together and swap old pieces you don’t want anymore. I have seen this work really well with the exchange of kids clothing and toys between neighbors and family members.
Don’t buy cheap clothes just to save money. There are times when it makes the most sense to prioritize quality over price when purchasing clothes. An inexpensive shirt or coat is a poor bargain for older family members if it wears out in less than a year, but it could make sense for quickly growing children.
Follow the rule of 30 times. Many people say they won’t buy a piece of clothing unless they plan to wear it at least 30 times and it matches other items in their wardrobe. This practice makes each piece of additional clothing something that is used and not just kept in the closet.
Make your clothes last longer. Your clothes will last longer if you give them a little bit of attention before you throw them in the laundry. It is best to prepare your clothing for the washer by closing zippers, fastening buttons and turning items inside out. Wash darks together using the cold-water cycle, so they don’t bleed onto light-colored clothing. If you have the luxury of hanging items to dry, it can help maintain their original size and appearance.
Rent your formal wear. If you have a one-time need for an elegant outfit, use a rental service like Rent the Runway or the Black Tux to borrow high-end designer items to keep you from spending big bucks.
Spend only what you use on clothing. We all have friends who spend a significant amount of money on clothes each month. The expenditure is their choice. That person can save money by buying fewer but higher-quality pieces and fully utilizing the ward- robe they already own. This practice can be learned and will result in large savings over a number of years.
Buy store brands instead of name brands. You can find store brands that offer quality for a reduced price. It just takes some time to look for these items.
Learn how to dress minimally. Buy clothes that mix and match well, and you won’t need as many clothes. If you have seven pairs of pants and ten shirts that all go together, you can mix and match combinations that will look appropriate wherever you go.
Read care instructions on special garments. Before putting that new shirt in the laundry, read the care instructions. You don’t want to ruin a silk shirt or wash something that should be dry cleaned. Keeping your clothes in good shape will save you money and you won’t have to shop as frequently.
Repair your clothing instead of tossing it in the trash. My advice is to find a reasonably priced tailor or alteration shop in your neighborhood. It is better to make minor repairs to your clothing instead of paying to replace items. Don’t toss out a shirt because of a missing button—sew on a new one or have it done for you. Don’t toss out a pair of pants because of a hole in them— have them patched and save them for times when you’re working around the house.
Shop outlet stores. If you are looking for basic clothing and athletic wear, consider shopping at your local outlets. While the merchandise may not be of similar quality to retail stores, you can get reasonable, quality items for a good price. In some cases, you can get this year’s fashions for way less. I have found the Tanger Factory Outlet Stores to be of great quality and variety.
Sort your clothes to maximize use. Organize your clothes by category (i.e., pants, shirts, dresses, etc.) and color so you know exactly what you have. That way, when you need a particular piece of clothing you can find it and won’t rush out to buy a duplicate.
Carefully managing clothing costs can save you cash. It pays to review what you spend and look to develop a new perspective to how and when to purchase what you need. Like any other aspect of your budget, you can manage your clothing expenditures and optimize them to get the look you want for the cost you can afford.
If you're looking for ideas on where to find cash savings, please check out The FinancialVerse Guide to Savings – 600 Cash Savings Ideas. Cash Savings provides practical suggestions on where you can save money in your day-to-day life. For most households, I believe they will find at least $600 in annual savings.