Shopping for Clothes on a Budget

Even as I took a heavy drop in my income and my circumstances changed, I still found a need to buy clothes. Clothes are necessary no matter what your financial status is. So how do you go about it when you’re limited on funds?

1. Buy used. For those who are really interested in saving a lot, the best way to do it is to buy used clothing. I made a rule of only buying used clothing. The savings are enormous and you won’t imagine shopping any other way.

2. Have a quantity rule. So you’re at the store, beginning your frugal fashion adventure. You see plenty of items for a great price. You suddenly find yourself completely out of budget, having spent way too much. What happened? Over the years, I’ve made a rule of only having a certain number of skirts, dresses, shirts, etc. I keep these until they wear out or don’t fit and as long as I have that number of clothes, I don’t need anymore. For me, that was just the amount to shift around without people worrying. For you, that may be a different number but whatever it is, stick to it and don’t buy anymore.

3. Have a price rule. Because the word cheap varies from person to person, you need to have a rule of what cheap is. I don’t like the overall budget plan. What good is it if you have an overall budget of $100, spending $80 on one dress and $20 on another. After you’ve only bought two dresses, you’re tempting to buy more, going outside of your budget. Instead, find your piece price limit, that way you can stretch your dollar.

4. Buy online. For the seriously frugal, this is a popular option. If you’re willing to shop at thrift stores, they may be far and few between. The cost of getting there might put a dent in your budget, alone. Buying online through websites such as eBay, is a great way to get a bargain without the travel costs. Many times, clothes are very affordable on eBay and can be auctioned at low prices.

5. Schedule shopping. Whether you buy new or used, you can be sure that you’ll run out of money if you make a purchase every time you see a cute outfit. Instead, create a schedule of when you shop for clothes. Maybe it’s once a week, once a month or even once a season. I know people who have to buy clothes every time they go out. Designate the places you shop and don’t go there until it’s on your schedule to shop for clothes. I don’t buy clothes at Wal-Mart, for example, because every time I buy a can of beans, I may be tempted to purchase a piece of clothing.

6. Keep clothing versatile. There are some clothes that have a shorter shelf-life than others. Shorts can only be worn in the summer. Skinny jeans can only be worn until you gain a pound. This means that with a season change or a weight gain, you’ll need to buy more. Instead, try to dress with more versatility. After a while, I decided only to wear dresses. I didn’t need to spend money finding an blouse to go with it and I could just throw on a jacket and tights, if it got cold. I also buy a few sizes above my size, just in case I lose or gain weight or the clothes shrink in the dryer.

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