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How to Spend Less Money on Clothes: 4 Must-Use Tips

Tips How to Spend Less Money on Clothes

Every now and then it’s time to update the ol’ wardrobe and add a few items. I’m from the camp of just wearing what I already have for as long as possible. I dig those people who attempt to go a full year without buying clothes. I’ve never gone that long, but it’s a cool challenge! 

The average household spends about $1,600 a year on new clothes.

That’s not how I roll!

I find deals like getting a new dress from Banana Republic for $19.99 (originally $89.99).

I normally get a new shirt here or there when it is necessary. Every so often I’ll do a more comprehensive shopping trip or wardrobe update. I shop like a man who’s on a mission to buy what you need and get on with my day!

Here’s four must-use tips on how to spend less money on clothes.

1. Set a dollar amount

Decide as Chief Financial Officer, running the business of you, how much you’ll spend on your new clothes. This is the opposite of what most people do, which is: find out how much everything costs when they’re checking out at the register. Having a spending limit upfront will ensure you’ll scope out stores and find better deals.

2. Make a list

Research shows that 60-70% of purchases at grocery stores are complete impulse buys. Stores are designed for you to make impulse purchases.

If you have a list you’ll know what you need, and those $9.99 sunglasses in the checkout line will not getcha. A true deal is only a deal if it’s something you were legitimately going to already get, and not a random shirt that was strategically placed in the store.

Get as specific as possible with your list versus a list of “fall clothes and shoes.” Include an estimate of how much you’ll spend on each item.

Here’s the list for my recent shopping trip:

  • 3 fall dresses to wear during my workshops and attending weddings ($20 each)
  • Two long sleeve shirts ($10 each)
  • One pair of leggings or skinny jeans ($10)
  • Fall heals/boots ($25)
  • Kendra Scott necklace, half off with birthday discount ($25)

3. Use cash and bust out your calculator in-store

Take out the exact amount of cash you plan on spending. Research shows that you spend 12-18% more when using a credit card versus cash.

It’s very easy to swipe a card and not process that you’re spending money, but with cash you have to part with the money. When it is gone, it is gone. That’s why you’ll want to calculate in-store the rolling total of your purchases plus sales tax to make sure your deal is good enough to get everything you wanted!

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4. Shop Clearance Only

In every single store there is this magical section, typically hidden, or in the back with a red sign, “Clearance.” I don’t even bother looking at items that are not deeply discounted, 70-80% off is where the magic happens.

This takes patience and a little hunting, but with your handy shopping list you know just what you’re looking for. Again, I don’t even try on an item without first looking at the cost and seeing if it is in the range for what I’d like to spend on that item.

Personal finance can have a bad rep, as if being good with money means you’re depriving yourself. That isn’t true.

When you have a plan with money, especially on wardrobe updates, you can get more items for significantly less. 

Hope you use these tips on how to spend less money on clothes.

best money class ever carly michelle

Hi! I'm Carly

I’m a Finance grad and creator of Best Money Class Ever, a 4-week live virtual personal finance class. I paid off $35,000 of debt and saved a nest egg of over $100,000 by age 26 (earning only around the median household income!).

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