8 Ways to Save on Clothes
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Originally Posted Nov. 2010
Updated August 2013
If you’re anything like me, you probably hate paying full price for anything. But, let’s face it, most of us live busy lives and don’t have the time (or inclination) to run all over town searching for the best deals. Personally, I don’t really like shopping at garage sales, but I still like a good deal. At the same time, I take great pride in dressing my children well (my oldest has the best sweater collection ever!). So, I’ve come up with these easy tips slash the cost of my kids’ wardrobe.
1. Take Inventory – Before you start shopping, take inventory of your child’s closet. Determine what can stay, what needs to go and what new items need to be purchased. Then consider what you can get for the castoffs. Here are a few ideas:
– Host a clothing swap with other families (or your local mom’s group) and sit back while your child finds new wardrobe staples without emptying your bank account.
– Exchange those lightly-worn clothes, shoes and bags for store credit or cash from resale stores like Once Upon a Child and Plato’s Closet. Or head online to ThredUP.com to sell your lightly worn clothes.
2. Save with Gift Cards – Purchase gift cards for as much as 30% off from websites like CardPool and PlasticJungle.com, and pair them with a coupon for additional savings. For example, you can get a Gap gift card from CardPool for a 10% discount. You can then pair that with one of their many store coupons and a sale to save even more. Also, many grocery stores (like Kroger) sell gift cards while offering extra fuel savings through their loyalty programs. If you know you’re heading to Macy’s to buy a new winter coat, stop by Kroger and pick up a gift card and rack up fuel points.
3. Coupons, Coupons, Coupons – Before you shop, check RetailMeNot or Ebates for printable coupons and online discount codes. If you can’t find a coupon online, many retailers will send you one just for signing up for their e-club. (click here for a list of good ones to sign up for) Once you’re signed up, you’ll get regular emails with coupons and promotional information. If you want even more coupons, make sure to include your mailing address. Finally, check out your Entertainment book, because it’s full of valuable coupons for many national retailers.
*Note: I recommend setting up a separate email account for e-clubs and online shopping…that way your primary email won’t get flooded with advertisements and potential SPAM.
4. Get Cash Back – When shopping online, sites like Ebates allow you to earn 1-30% cash back for your internet purchases, while MyPoints rewards you with points that you can cash in for gift cards for nearly 100 different stores and restaurants. Membership is completely FREE and you’ll usually get a bonus just for signing up.
5. Join a Rewards Program – If you have a favorite retailer, inquire about a rewards program that will give you store credit for spending a specific amount in their stores.
6. Store Credit Cards – I only recommend store credit cards if you are extremely disciplined. A store card can save you as much as 10% off your purchases or an extra 5% off sales. But, it’s not worth it if you have to spend upwards of 20% interest. Also remember that each time you open a new credit account, your credit score takes a hit. So only use this option sparingly and with a plan to pay it off every month.
7. Hit up the Discount Retailers – When designers sell their merchandise to department stores and boutiques, there’s usually some left over. That’s where the frugal shopper can cash in. By hitting up overstock retailers such as Ross, Marshalls, Burlington Coat Factory, TJMaxx and Stein Mart, you can find great designer brands for a fraction of the price. However, keep in mind that discount retailers take some time to sort through. If you dread picking through racks, try hitting them up for shoes, bags and accessories, which are a little easier to sort through. These stores are also great for home décor!
8. Buy Second Hand – Every town has at least one consignment or resale shop where you can get great deals on name brand clothing. But if picking through the racks isn’t your style, eBay and ThredUP can be a super convenient resource. These sites allow you to sort your search by size, brand, price and more. With this approach, I have been able to purchase many pants, shirts and sweaters from the Gap, Gymboree and other name brands for $5 or less, including shipping.