Save Money on Clothing for your Whole Family
Updated: Nov 19, 2021
I think the larger your family gets, the harder it can be to shop. When I was single, spending a couple hundred dollars on a pair of jeans made me feel like a million bucks, now spending anything more than $10 for a pair of jeans is very painful!
I'm often told, "I can't do that, it's hard and takes too much time." Do I go out of my way for a deal, sometimes yes, but most of the time I stumble like an ungraceful elephant onto the best things I own without even trying.
Some of my best finds: $1.97 pairs (yes plural) of jeans for my spouse at Old Navy, today I found a pair of shorts for my daughter $0.97 also at Old Navy, bought Christmas clothes for all my friends kids, all pieces under $2.00 each mostly at Target! All NEW items from the store.
First of all, you have to change your mindset a little. Stop buying things because they are cheap, all you'll end up doing is having a ton of clothing that you won't wear. Sometimes saving money means not to spend it at all. Here are some rules that will help you:
1. Only buy clothes you NEED. If you have three other similar black shirts, you don't need the one you're looking at now, promise. Even if the shirt is a different shade. Nothing in your closet should be too similar unless you wear the same thing to work/school everyday, like a white collared button up shirt or a red polo, in which case, you will need multiples.
2. Does the article of clothing you are looking at have a pair, ie do you have pants that would look good with it, a pair of shoes you already own that would work well. If not, don't try and find a whole outfit cheap, that is almost impossible and you'll be spending more money to match.
3. Did you try it on? If it's for you, this is important. Try it on before checkout, do you love it on you or is it just ok. If it's just ok, skip it. The likelihood of you wearing it is very low. If the item is not for you, make sure the person tries it on before you remove any tags or wash it. Return it if you don't love it.
4. Avoid buying too much online, if you do, be OK with shipping returns back.
5. Remember that saving money isn't saving if you wasted it on something you won't wear or just will donate. If you don't wear your clothing so much it develop holes, you shouldn't buy it. (The only exception is pregnancy, or other weight gain or loss.)
6. Be OK with returning things. Some people will just donate things rather than return it. I keep all the items I need to return in the original bag with the receipt next to my door, this reminds me to take it if I'm going to that store.
7. Keep your clothing nice, you don't have to buy as much of it if you take good care of it. I've seen people clean oil in their garage with a new sweater. Pre-treat clothing with stains, I often spray my arm pit area to keep lighter colored shirts looking nice. Additionally, you can dye faded clothing to keep them looking good. Fabric dye is easy to find and incredibly inexpensive.
8. Don't throw out clothing with holes. Right now, this is in fashion but additionally, clothing with holes can be great to use for when you're doing less desirable tasks such as mowing the lawn or washing your car. That way you can keep your nice clothing nice.
Now that you've edited your mindset, here is how I save money on clothing for my whole family:
1. If I'm in the area, I will stop by one of the following stores: Old Navy, Target, Kohl's, Walmart.
2. I shop clearance ONLY! Remember we are strictly talking clothes, I will recommend some of these stores and more for other good buys!
3. I don't fall for how much percent off it is! Remember if a cute pair of kids jeans are $75 and they are half off, little Emily will still grow out of them and you still paid $37.50 for them!
4. I WON'T pay more than $5 for ANYTHING! No joke! I find stuff at these stores all the time for less than $5. Yes they might be out of season now, but in the case of the kids I buy clothing in larger sizes, predicting roughly what size they will be for that season of clothing. For me and the spouse, our growing days are numbered.
5. Old Navy, Target and Pier One have great home decor and accessories for you or some lovely lady friends, on clearance, of course.
6. Ladies also consider the men's section, I'm lucky enough to have a spouse who's taste fits my comfort level and we are the same size. Pairing some of his solid sweaters with a great collared shirt and a belt doubles my wardrobe. Occasionally I'll buy something in the men's just for me. Mostly tops, jeans don't seem to compliment the lower half too well. I also share his socks when I am doubling up in Winter or when I'm wearing boots.
7. Walmart at end of seasons usually has t shirts and shorts on sale in which I stock up on women's garments for the sole purpose of crafts. I run into a lot of friends who need short run tanks, tees, beanies, shorts and guess who has them. Course this might not be the case for you but I buy them for a dollar, they at that point, are allowed to take up real estate in my plastic tub garden.
8. Kohl's clearance sale is to die for. Commit hours of time. They're best clearance are at the end of Winter/ Beginning of Spring and the End of Summer/ Beginning of Fall. Kohl's clearance rocks for Men's, Women's and Girl's clothing but not much else. Do not be roped into buying other items, Kohl's strategy is to mark everything down to give the appearance of money savings but usually the items are the same price elsewhere. So don't stray from the clearance sections.
9. Thrift stores. Some people don't like the idea of thrift but you can get some great items new or gently used for hardly anything. I love vintage, so thrift excites me. Remember to inspect items thoroughly before you purchase.
1. Amazon. I look all the time for crazy deals, especially when I'm bored. I've found a great Bebe leather jacket for $0.99! Typo? Maybe but I bought 4. Sold them on eBay for $50 each. Same with shoes, I look for shoes for $5 or less and sometimes find a steal and sell them or show off my great deals. Once you learn to navigate the menu and search functions well, you'll never forget the time you bought 4 Bebe leather jackets at 2 am. Amazon is also great for MANY other things. However don't be tempted by huge names with even bigger price tags. Also keep track of shipping, not everything on Amazon is Primable. Also note the shipping time frame, if it's not primable, make sure you are fine with the shipping time. Here are some of my favorite items on Amazon.*
2. Aeropostale. Their clearance section is one of my favorite gift centers. Remember the women's clothes can run a little small so buy one size bigger. Their shipping is also quick, so it's something you can sneak in 3 business days before you need them! They have men's, kids and plus sizes as well! I won't buy anything for more than $6.99 and I've signed up for their newsletter and occasionally get 30-40% off even clearance! Sorry girl friends but I bought most your shirts this Christmas for $3.50.
3. Ebay, Mercari, Poshmark. I group these together because items can be new or used. These are purchased from companies or independent sellers. I have found some amazing deals on all three sites. Sure you'll have to investigate a little more but it can be worth it in the end. Remember to look at shipping costs and transit times.
Stores I avoid:
Ross, TJ Maxx, Marshals. Why? When I look at a purse and it says $89.99 sale $49.99, it makes me feel good to know I'm getting a deal, I then see salon shampoo, great home decor
30-75% off, I pay for it all and get home realizing I just bought overpriced stuff I didn't need! I ALWAYS RETURN MOST OF WHAT I BUY HERE!!!! I've even bought expensive bottled water! Ugh!
I often avoid stores that give you the illusion of savings! I often also avoid the word sale in a retail store in general. I run into a lot of sales were the price was jacked up so it seemed like a sale but didn't really make it worth while.
Remember with all the stores to keep checking back. You'll spend less than thrift for brand names! Don't get discouraged, that's why I don't go out of my way, so if I don't find something I'm not frustrated that I wasted a trip. It's also way easier to buy gifts when you know you're not taking out a second mortgage.
Shopping is much more fun when you spend more money on the best things in life then what you were wearing during them.
By the way, I don't have those $200 jeans anymore. They wore out like all the rest! Imagine that.
V' Michel Buck
Outfit Picture 1: Aeropostale Seriously Stretchy Low-Rise Jegging Medium Wash 6R $18.00 (Originally $46.50); Victoria's Secret Heavenly Supersoft Model V-Neck Tee Medium Heather Grey Size XS $25.00 (Originally $34.50)
Outfit Picture 2: Unknown Top (sorry bought this forever ago); Victoria's Secret Pink Cotton High Waist Bike Short Black Size S $9.06 (Originally $12.95); Adidas Core Waist Pack (Fanny) $9.99 (from TJ Maxx, $25 from Adidas); Reebok Women's Guresu 1.0 Running Shoe in White*.
Disclosure: I purchased all these items with my own money and the company had no prior knowledge to this promotion. All opinions are my own.
*I make a commission through any items you purchase through my Amazon Link(s).