Follow these tips to keep the cost of buying clothes under control.
By Cameron Huddleston, Kiplinger.com
You don’t have to spend a fortune to look like a million bucks. Okay, maybe not a million bucks – but you can upgrade your wardrobe even if you’re low on cash. The savings experts at CouponCodes4u have put together tips to help you update your look without breaking the bank. And I’ve thrown in some of my advice gleaned from my bargain-shopping experience.
Take inventory of what you have. Don’t head to the mall until you know what you already have in your closet. Otherwise, you could end up buying something similar to what you already own or something that won’t work with the pieces you have. So take the time to go through your wardrobe to organize the items you want to keep and pull out the things that don’t fit or that you haven’t worn in a couple of years. This exercise will help you identify must-have items that are missing from your wardrobe – such as a versatile black dress, a blazer for work or a pair of jeans that really fit (see 5 Budget-Friendly Essentials for Your Wardrobe). Then you’ll know exactly what you should be shopping for, and you won’t end up wasting money on things you don’t really need.
Sell what you don’t need. You can generate some extra cash to help you upgrade your wardrobe by selling what you no longer want at a consignment store. Most consignment stores require items to be in good condition (and usually name-brand). Expect to get 50% of the price at which the item sells.
Take advantage of deals and coupons. If you’re looking for a deal, it almost goes without saying that the best time to shop is when retailers have sales. You usually can score deep discounts on clothes if you wait until the end of a season. You also can find clothing marked down around holidays, such as Memorial Day and Labor Day, as well as Black Friday and the weeks leading up to Christmas. If you have a smart phone, download a shopping app, such as Coupon Sherpa, to get in-store coupons that you can show on your phone’s screen at checkout. If you shop online, make sure you search for coupons at sites such as CouponCodes4u.com, CouponCabin.com and Coupons.com before you make a purchase.
Shop at discount retailers. You can find discounted designer fashions at retailers such as Marshalls, Nordstrom Rack and T.J. Maxx. However, make sure you examine items closely before buying because, as my colleague Andrea Browne warns clothing in these stores may be irregular or slightly damaged. You can find some good deals at outlet malls, but sometimes prices are much lower than retail prices. See How to Find a Real Deal at Outlet Malls and What to Know About Outlet-Store Shopping before you go.
Buy used. As I wrote in 11 Things to Buy Used, you can find gently worn quality designer clothes at consigment stores for a fraction of the price you’d pay for buying them new. Don’t let the fact that someone else has worn them bother you. After all, there’s a good chance the clothes you buy at retail stores have been tried on by few people.
Buy a few inexpensive accessories. A great cost-effective way to update your wardrobe is to buy a few accessories – such as a scarf, a strand of brightly colored beads or a new tie. Even buying smaller items, such as cosmetics, can give you the rush of shopping without blowing your budget, say the savings experts at CouponCodes4U.
Parting note: Resist the temptation to buy something just because it is inexpensive because it’s not a good idea to stock your closet with a lot of cheap clothes. You’ll be better off buying a few quality pieces that will last (see Why Cheap Clothing Is a Costly Mistake).
This article was taken from my January 2013 issue of YOU Magazine. Click here to view the full newsletter. Reprinted with permission. All Contents ©2013 The Kiplinger Washington Editors. Kiplinger.com.