I’m the first to admit that I have an obsession with clothes. The problem is, it can be an expensive obsession.
If I were to purchase my clothing at regular retail store prices, I’d be broke. Dirt broke. Like, I-might-have-to-eat-my-shorts broke.
Luckily, I’m keen to save money when I shop. Not only does it make me feel good to score a great deal, but also the more that I save means more the more that I can put toward additional purchases in the future (and not feel bad about it).
To help you identify ways you can cut costs on the clothes you’re buying — whether you’re obsessed with new threads like me or simply updating out of necessity — I’ve compiled these helpful tips to remember whenever you’re ready to hit the stores.
1. Avoid Paying Retail at All Costs
Rule number one when shopping for anything: Don’t pay retail if you don’t have to. This is especially important to remember if you’re shopping for recreation. If you don’t truly need whatever you’re about to purchase, stop and think for a minute. Must you have this item now? Can you wait for it to go on sale? Your ultimate goal is to make smart purchases that you’ll be happy about instead of impulse buys that will cause buyer’s remorse. There’s nothing worse than feeling guilty and poor at the same time.
2. Head Straight for the Clearance Rack
When I’m shopping — especially if I walk into a store on a whim — I head straight to the back. That’s usually where the discounted items are hanging, and those are the deals I want. Frankly, I don’t pay any mind to whatever’s in the front of the store; those items may look nice, but I know two things to be true about them: 1) new arrivals cost much more than I want to spend, and 2) they’ll be on sale in about a month. Retail stores are always making room for new products, which means that they have to put the older stuff on sale. If you wait a while and time it right, you’ll get what you want for less.
3. Shop Discount Department Stores
Discount department stores are a dream come true for someone like me because I can get many of the brand names I want in the same place for much less than they cost in their respective stores of origin. One of the items that I find particularly appealing in this kind of store is underwear. I prefer higher-end brand names because they’re high quality, but they’re costly at full price. In discount department stores, you’ll find them drastically reduced in price — and nothing is more comfortable than sexy skivvies you got on sale.
4. Register Online for Email Offers
While I encourage the use of coupons, I also advise you to use caution — they only save you money if you use them wisely. You see, coupons are a marketing gimmick to get you to buy at times when you may not normally buy. With that in mind, make sure that what you’re purchasing is something you need or really, really want (there’s nothing wrong with that… in moderation). The biggest mistake you can make, however, is to use a coupon just for the sake of saving. In the end, you’re not really saving if you hadn’t planned to spend in the first place.
5. Enroll in Your Favourite Brands’ Rewards Programs
My husband makes fun of me because I have a wad of plastic cards — mostly rewards programs — from my favourite stores. But I have the last laugh. If I’m going to make a purchase, I might as well receive an incentive. It sure beats spending with no return on investment at all, that’s for sure. The perks that I receive from these programs include steeper discounts, gift cards, advance access to sales, and more.
6. Plan Your Shopping Trips to Coincide with Sales
An excellent way to avoid impulse buys — that is, those purchases you make that you didn’t mean to make — is to schedule shopping time rather than popping into stores whenever you feel like it. Heading into a store without a plan is a trap and it can quickly turn into a financial catastrophe. Instead, find out when sales are coming up (an easy way is to ask a store associate; many are willing to give you that information) and plan to shop when you know you’re guaranteed to save money.
7. Search for a Coupon Code Before Buying Online
Just like I head straight to the clearance racks, so too do I search for a coupon code before checking out anyplace online. All you have to do is search the term ‘coupon code’ plus the name of the store at which you’re shopping. Sometimes you’ll find a code for a percentage off your purchase and sometimes you’ll find a free-shipping code. Whatever code it is, it will save you money. It’s absolutely, 100 percent worth the 30 seconds it will take you to track it down on the Internet.
8. Apply for a Part-Time Job at Your Favourite Store
If you’re buying the majority of your clothing at a particular store (and have some extra time on your hands), consider applying for a part-time job there. Employees receive a generous discount — usually 20 to 40 percent off, but sometimes up to 60 percent off. Of course, the money you make will probably go right back to the store but at least you’re making an effort to earn extra cash to support your habit. That’s certainly better than taking more out of your bank account than you’re putting in it.