13 Ways to Save on Clothing Without Sacrificing Quality

Are clothing costs gouging your budget? You can probably do a lot better.

From shopping at thrift stores to taking better care of clothing, there are many ways to trim apparel costs.

Check out these ways to pare down this expense:

1. Sell what you don’t wear

Go through your closet once a year. If you haven’t worn that sweater in 365 days, you don’t need it. So, drop it off at a consignment shop.

When the shop sells your clothing, it will cut you a check for a portion of the profits. You won’t get the full amount, but you won’t have to do much work either.

Consignment is especially good for higher-end items like leather jackets and very lightly used party dresses. If you don’t have local consignment shops, consider online stores that do the same thing, such as ThredUP, Poshmark and The RealReal.

2. Shop thrift stores

Thrift stores sell gently used clothing at a deep discount. Many stores also have regular sales or a weekly special. A thrift store in my area has a “50% off anything with a yellow tag” sale every Wednesday.

Just make sure you’re shopping at a true thrift store and not a vintage clothing store. The difference: Vintage clothing stores sell trendier older pieces at a markup. Thrift stores sell older and newer clothes at a discount.

3. Shop online clearance sales

Don’t forget online retailers — and retailers’ websites — when you’re shopping for clothes. They also offer deep discounts — and a larger selection than most stores — on clearance items.

4. Shop discount stores

I save a lot of money by shopping at T.J.Maxx, Ross and Marshalls. Discount stores sell overstock and slightly imperfect pieces from other retailers for a fraction of their cost.

Just check the clothes carefully before you buy them. I’ve lost money on spaghetti straps that ripped or buttons that popped off, but it’s rare.

5. Proceed with caution at outlet malls

Outlet malls have deals, but they also have scams. Read the fine print, and you’ll see that the price is often a discount on the suggested price, not the actual retail price. It’s more marketing gimmick than deal.

Check the labels on outlet store clothes. Avoid anything that says “factory line,” which indicates it was produced specifically for outlet sales, and do the math on alleged deals before you buy.

For more tips, check out “10 Tips to Get the Best Deals at Outlet Stores.”

6. Check the tag before you buy

Read the label before you buy. If you buy a dry-clean-only silk skirt, you’ll keep paying for it every time you pull up to the cleaners. Stick to machine-washables and save.

7. Take care of your clothes

Remember that “machine washable” doesn’t equal “indestructible.” Wash your clothes on the gentle cycle in cool water and line-dry them — they’ll last longer this way.

For delicate items or clothes that might shrink, hand wash. Take care of your clothes, and you’ll get years of wear out of them.

8. Swap with friends

At the start of every season, my friends and I go through our closets and trade whatever we won’t be wearing. Last winter, I ended up with enough sweaters to last the entire season.

Set up a trading day with your friends or family members. Then, take anything you have left to a consignment shop. You’ll end up with new clothes and some extra cash.

9. Stick to simple garments

Trendy clothes cost more and have a shorter shelf life. You could spend hundreds trying to keep up with the fashion magazines, only to realize you no longer adore that peasant skirt six months later.

Stick to classic styles and basic pieces that always work.

10. Hem your own clothes

Tailor-shop pricing varies by area. Where I live, it costs $10 to $12 to have one pair of jeans professionally hemmed.

If I had all 14 pairs of my jeans professionally hemmed, I’d pay $168 on top of the cost of the clothes. Hem the clothes yourself, and stop paying the professionals.

If you can’t sew, offer to swap jobs with a friend who can. I’m horrible with a needle and thread, but I can babysit. So, I watch my friend’s kids for a night, and she hems my new clothes the next day.

11. Borrow what you plan to wear once

If you only need to wear something once, borrow it from a friend or family member. You’ll save 100% and won’t have a useless dress or suit filling up space in your closet.

12. Shop the men’s and kids’ sections

Women’s clothing is often priced higher than men’s and kids’ clothing. If you’re a woman looking for something universal — like a T-shirt or hoodie — check the racks in the men’s and kids’ sections first.

13. Treat clothes shopping like grocery shopping

I won’t go to the grocery store without making a list first, but I’ll blindly charge into the mall, credit card in hand. That is the wrong way to go about it.

The next time you shop for clothes, make a list of what you need and stick to it.

What’s your favorite way to save on clothes? Share them in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Christina Majeski contributed to this post.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
What is the Cheapest Grocery Store?
What is the Cheapest Grocery Store?

Aldi, Kroger and Walmart: Which grocery store is the cheapest?

Big-Ticket Things You Should Never Buy
Big-Ticket Things You Should Never Buy

In this week’s podcast: Are you wasting big money on these common purchases?

The 10 Best and 10 Worst States for Raising a Family in 2020
The 10 Best and 10 Worst States for Raising a Family in 2020

There are trade-offs no matter where you live. However, some states have big advantages when it comes to choosing a home for your family.

5 Ways to Avoid Taxes on Social Security Income
5 Ways to Avoid Taxes on Social Security Income

Here’s how to minimize and delay the chunk that Uncle Sam claims.

11 Small Money Moves That Will Make a Big Difference
11 Small Money Moves That Will Make a Big Difference

These small money moves will pay off big in the long run.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older

There is no need to wait until you’re 65 to take advantage of so-called “senior” discounts.

20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling
20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling

You don’t need a year’s supply of toilet paper to survive an outbreak, but consider stocking up on these items.

Can a Twice-Divorced Woman Claim Social Security Survivors Benefits?
Can a Twice-Divorced Woman Claim Social Security Survivors Benefits?

Understanding survivors benefits rules is the key to getting the most from your benefit.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation
These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation

Two types of vehicles are especially likely to see steep plunges in value.

Never Buy These 10 Things With Your Credit Card
Never Buy These 10 Things With Your Credit Card

Credit cards offer many conveniences and protections, but sometimes it’s simply smarter to keep the plastic tucked away.

13 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s
10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s

From snacks to sweets to side dishes, stock your cart with these time-tested favorites on your next TJ’s run.

8 Surprising Household Items You Can Sell for Fast Cash
8 Surprising Household Items You Can Sell for Fast Cash

Sometimes, the humblest household items are worth the most money.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

There are easy high-paying majors available in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required. We’re here to help you find easy degrees that pay well.

Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early
Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early

Like the idea of financial independence? Part of the FIRE equation is cutting costs.

5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021
5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021

These adjustments will affect both workers and retirees in the new year.

Stop Buying These 19 Things Online
Stop Buying These 19 Things Online

The internet has changed how we shop. But for some things, you’re still better off buying the old-fashioned way.

15 Products You Need — Even If You Didn’t Know It
15 Products You Need — Even If You Didn’t Know It

Discover some must-have products on Amazon that you didn’t even know you were missing.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Food Supply
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Food Supply

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing emergency food supply. Is your pantry well-prepared for emergencies? Knowing what to stock up on for emergencies can be a difficult task and we’re here to help.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

8 Things You Should Buy at Restaurant Supply Stores
8 Things You Should Buy at Restaurant Supply Stores

You don’t have to be a chef or a restaurant owner to shop here.

11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.