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5 Tips I Used to Slash My Clothing Budget by 75%

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Want to cut your clothing budget and save money on clothing? Don’t miss these practical tips!

{Psst! Looking for more ways to save on unique clothing? Be sure to check out my honest Stitch Fix review, my favorite outfit formulas that changed the way I dress, my tips for finding great clothing deals on Amazon, and how I simplified my wardrobe.}

how to reduce your clothing budget

Guest post from Mia of Money-Minded Millennial:

I have a confession: I started writing this article a year ago, with the intention of announcing how little I spent on clothes.

Since I don’t shop for clothing that often and I’m a pretty good bargain hunter, I was shocked when I checked my Mint account and found out the true amount!

I had spent $1,085 on clothes over the previous year!

One of the most important principles of money management is to make sure you’re prioritizing the things you really value. For me, that’s traveling, experiences, and healthy foods.

As a self-proclaimed frugal shopper, $1,000 is way more than I intended to spend on clothing. Seeing that number made me promise to minimize my clothes spending the following year… and put the money I saved towards things that truly matter to me.

I’m happy to say that after employing the following money-saving tips, I reduced my annual clothes spending from $1,085 to only $261!

How to Slash Your Clothing Budget

Here are 5 tips I used to slash my clothing budget by 75%. You can use them to reduce your clothes budget, too!

1. Think Before You Buy

My favorite way to spend less on shopping in general is the Notes app budgeting trick.

The strategy works like this:

Each month, you set a budget for discretionary spending. You create a new note in the Notes app on your phone and put that budgeted number at the top of the note. Then, every time you want something, say a new dress, you put that in your note in the current month along with how much you plan to spend on it. Each item you put on the list will eat away at that monthly budget.

Writing down what you want will make you pause when you’re at the store and you’re about to make an impulse buy. Plus, having a monthly budget for a particular category will prevent you from overspending.

2. Know Where to Shop

There are three guarantees in life: death, taxes, and the fact that some stores sell the same clothes cheaper than at others.

For instance, outlet stores and “off-price” retail chains like TJMaxx and Marshall’s will sell brand-name clothes cheaper than at department stores.

Then, there are stores like Forever 21 and H&M that sell cheap clothes whether they’re on sale or not.

Here are some of my favorite bargain-ish stores to get clothes:

3. Buy Clothing that Will Last

Have you ever bought something because it was a good price, but then never wore it?

After making this mistake more times than I’d like to admit, I’ve realized that I’d rather spend a little more money on something that I’ll actually wear than get something on discount that I’ll never end up taking out of my closet.

The same rule goes for the quality and style of clothing.

Everyone has their own unique style, so it’s important to buy clothes that are consistent with your personal taste, not what’s trendy.

When you find high-quality pieces that align with your personal style and that you know you’ll wear over and over, don’t be afraid to spend a little more.

4. Buy Items that Go with Multiple Outfits

If you have a blouse that goes well with a pencil skirt for work and jeans for a casual outing, go for it!

Buying clothes that work for multiple occasions means you won’t be buying a separate wardrobe for every area of your life.

5. Wear it Until You Can’t Anymore

I have sandals with worn-down soles, shirts with faded patterns, and sneakers that don’t have a grip at the bottom anymore. But I keep them because I can — and  the longer I go without replacing something, the more value I get out of the price I paid for it!

Looking nice can often translate to feeling good about yourself, and it’s hard to put a price tag on that. But it’s also important to find contentment in the amount of clothes you have. At some point, adding more pieces will only fulfill you temporarily.

The next time you want to buy a new outfit, think hard about whether you really need it and use these tips to get the best price for it. Because you don’t have to spend a million bucks to feel like it!

More Clothing Budget Tips:

Mia is the founder of Money-Minded Millennial, a personal finance blog that teaches readers how to save and earn more money while consciously designing their ideal life. Visit her blog to get inspired and join the growing tribe of people seeking Financial Independence.

Do you have any other tips on how to reduce your clothing budget? Let us know in the comments!

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14 Comments

  • Penny says:

    Every year (I set a reminder alarm), I turn all of my hangers around backwards. The next year, whatever hangers are still facing backwards indicates clothes not worn. I post them on my local free facebook group. I also get clothes from the group for my whole family.

    I made a quick clothing inventory (by type/size) for my daughters clothes. I can quickly see what we need (ie; I don’t buy too many size 7 pants).

    I looked at what I wear most and determined 4 or so colors that work best for me. I only buy clothing that works within these parameters, now – HUGE savings of space and money.

  • Christine says:

    As someone that has worked from home the past 5 years, I now seem to wear things over and over! It’s hard to justify buying new clothes, except for maybe the special occasion. However, I have 3 different sizes in my closet and I don’t know which one to keep! I really doubt I’ll ever get back into a size 4 so I really should just donate all of that. I love the idea of working with only several colors – next time I go through my closet, I’ll have to think of that!

  • Jennifer says:

    One thing that has saved me a lot is to plan ahead and buy clothes before I actually need them. It gives me more time to shop sales or check out the thrift stores. In February I found a very nice dress at a thrift store for $2. I knew that would be perfect for a family wedding we are going to next year so I bought it. If I had waited until closer to the wedding I could have easily spent $50-75 on a similar dress.

  • Dad says:

    The last few years I have purchased all my slacks and khaki pants at the Goodwill store for only a couple dollars, easily saving over a hundred dollars.

  • Sarah says:

    Shop at the Goodwill and Thrift stores! I get so much more for my money-just today I got 8 new items of clothing for around $20 and they were brands like Elle, Christopher and Banks and Merona. And most of them were in like new condition. I almost cant stand to buy anything new anymore because I know I can find the same brands at thrift stores and save so much money!!

  • Mom2 says:

    Yes I have found many great brands and items at the thift stores. Love that the clothes find me.

  • Debbie says:

    I only buy undergarments new, everything else comes from thrift stores.

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