Do you want to look and feel your best, but have a tiny clothing budget?
There are ways to buy quality clothing items for you and your whole family at prices you can afford.
All you have to do is have a plan and know where to shop.
This post contains affiliate links, read the full disclosure here.
Know What Clothes Items You Need
You know you need new clothes because you have nothing to wear! But do you know what you need?
The trick to staying in your budget is to buy ONLY what you will actually wear over and over again. You will want to choose items that fit properly, are comfortable, will last a long time, and that you like the way you look in. AND you will want to buy clothes that mix and match well with each other to make the most of your wardrobe.
What I like to do is make a pinterest board for all the outfits I like and could see myself wearing on a regular basis. When you make a style pinterest board, you will begin to see a pattern in what you choose. For me, I found that I love simple dresses that can be dressed up or down, I love button down shirts and jeans, I love literary nerd shirts, and long necklaces. I didn’t really know these things until I began pinning. Here’s my clothing inspiration board if you want a look see.
Once you know what you like, make a list of pieces you want to include in your wardrobe that you don’t already have.
Look to your pinterest board for outfit inspiration and search for capsule wardrobes to get an idea of how to mix and mingle pieces. Don’t forget to include items on your list that you will need for your daily and weekly activities. Are you going out with friends more often and need some fun dresses? Are you exercising more and need some active-wear? Add those to the list. Is your closet jam packed with comfy lounge pants? (guilty!) Then make sure not to buy more of those.
However you like to make a list, keep it with you when you go shopping so you know what to look for and what to pass on.
Go here for more tips on decluttering and sorting through all the clothes in your home.
Know Where to Shop
Second Hand Thrift Shops and Rummage Sales
If you are willing to rummage through and sort random piles you can get really really cheap clothes at garage sales and thrift shops. It does take time, but if you enjoy the hunt and finding treasures- this is a great option for you. Look for garage sale notices in the classifieds section of your local Friday or Saturday newspaper. For thrift shops, ask them if they have certain days of the week that they have discounts.
Another option is to search for online sales happening in your local Facebook buy and sell group. To find a group, go to your Facebook search bar and type in your city’s name. A list of local groups should appear and you can request to join them. Once you are in a buy/sell group you can search for a particular clothing size, or post what you are looking for. This can be hit or miss, but if you find what you are in need of you can save a lot of money.
Shopping in consignment shops is easier than thrift shops and rummage sales because you can find what you need faster. Most consignment shops are organized by size and sometimes color.
The best thing about consignment shops is that they will pay you for your gently used items. So if you are decluttering your closet, why not drop it off there and see if you can’t make a buck or two? Some stores will even pay you more if you accept store credit.
Some thrift stores and consignment shops have certain days of the month that will give you a percentage off, or seasonal bag sales. Ask the store clerk or manager when and if they offer these discounts and then mark your calendar.
ThredUp is an online consignment shop that makes finding exactly what you need SO easy and convenient. You can search by gender, clothing type, and size. Not to mention, the prices are really fair (up to 90% off retail).
I like to buy from thredUP because for the same amount of money you could typically spend on a cheap retail piece from a big box store that will quickly fade and fray, you can buy a gently used well made piece instead that will last longer and look better.
ThredUP has a really great return policy too, so if you aren’t happy you can send it back for free for store credit, or pay the shipping and get your money back. When I returned some items, all I had to do was print out a return label, tape it on the box, and drop it of at the post office. You could also arrange for USPS to pick up at your home or office.
ThredUp is also constantly updating their selection as new items come in, check out what’s available today and get the cutest clothes for less.
eShakti is THE place to buy dresses. It’s probably my favorite online place to shop. The dresses (and jeans and tops and everything) come in tons of different styles, have sizes 0-36W, and are customizable.
Have you ever looked at a dress and thought, “I would buy that dress if only it had longer sleeves or the neckline were different”? You can do that at eShakti!
You can also get rid of embroidery and change the length of the dress. On some dresses you can even change the color.
Plus, when you enter your measurements, you can have the dress custom fitted for you (for Women’s and Plus sizes up to 36W). Customization is a flat rate of only $9.95 per garment and there is NOTHING like wearing clothes when it was made just for you. It feels so good! Every dress I have ordered customized fits and flatters me perfectly.
There are so many reasons to LOVE eshakti, but one of the biggest reasons for me is that the dresses have pockets! Real, deep pockets that you could fit a paperback book in. And, if for some insane reason you don’t like pockets, you still have the option of no pockets, (weirdo). For me, it is so nice to have somewhere to put my hands or a tissue or my keys!
And for all of that, the cost is very reasonable- especially because they give you great coupon discounts when you sign up, after you order, and around the holidays. The best discounts I have gotten were in November, and then in January because they sent me a coupon shortly after my order arrived on top of a monthly discount.
It also pays to order multiple dresses at a time to avoid extra shipping fees. Because I chose cheaper styles, and used coupons and discount codes, the dresses I have bought have cost me around $30 each (including customization). Not to mention, they are really cute and comfortable and I get compliments on them all the time.
eShakti also has jeans, tops, skirts, and pants. I’m just personally in love with their dresses.
Go here to check out eShakti’s amazing selection. Also, make sure to sign up for their email list to get a discount before you buy. And be aware, their styles are constantly updated, so if you like a piece (especially one that’s on sale) snatch it up before it’s gone!
Depending on your shopping habits, this might save you money, and it will definitely save you time.
If you struggle with knowing what to buy, don’t know your style, or buy new clothes you never wear, stitch fix is for you!
Stitch Fix is a clothing subscription that a stylist puts together for you based on your style preferences. They offer fixes for people who wear women’s, maternity, plus size, or men’s clothing. When you sign up, the site takes you through an easy list of questions designed to help the stylist know what you will like and what will look best on you.
My biggest tip for getting a great fix is to carefully curate a pinterest board that you link to your stitch fix style profile. Make sure you only pin things you would actually wear. Don’t pin an image with cute pants but a hideous shirt because your stylist might think you like the shirt. My stylist seemed to rely heavily on my pinterest board for her inspiration.
You can also write a personal message to the stylist with further instructions, like if you are a nursing mom and need nursing friendly tops or if you are desperate for a new pair of shoes.
The stylist fee is $20 and they send you a package with 5 items in it. You get to try on the items at home and only pay for the ones you want to keep. If you buy something, the stylist fee is subtracted from what you buy, and if you buy all 5 items you get a 25% discount.
If you don’t like something in your stitch fix delivery, you simply place it in the pre-paid shipping envelope that came with the box and put it in the mail.
You can schedule your fixes to be sent every 2-3 weeks, every month, every other month, or every 3 months. And it’s easy to cancel automatic shipments.
In your style profile you also get to choose a price range you are comfortable paying. I chose the cheapest options and the clothing and jewelry I received were priced between $25 and $58 each (most of them in the mid $40 range).
So, while it’s not the cheapest, it can help you save money by eliminating choices for you and help you not buy a ton of cheap clothes you actually only bought because they were cheap and you hate wearing them.
I think the biggest draw for me, though, is not having to waste time searching for clothes (in the stores or online) but getting just a few new pieces a month to try on and keep only the best.
If you need new clothes and need help finding and purchasing ones that will be perfect for you, Stitch Fix is the way to go. Go here to schedule your first fix.
Once you know the what and where of clothes shopping, you can save a ton of money. If you want to save even more, check out my post all about WHEN to buy certain types of clothing to save the most this year.