It’s no secret that Americans love to shop. Studies say, the U.S. apparel industry is a $12 billion business, and most citizens do their part in contributing. However, shelling out big bucks for a new wardrobe every year can take a toll on your wallet. With the average American shopper spending close to $2,000 a year on clothing and accessories, maintaining a fashionable outward appearance has become a costly task for many.
If you are careful, though, you can still stay on top of current trends and look your best without bleeding your bank account dry. Here are some ways to save a little extra cash while shopping for clothes:
Become a Master at Coupon Clipping
Although coupons sometimes seem to be a thing of the past, there are actually many ways to save by hunting down online or on-paper deals. If you aren’t planning on cutting out tangible coupons from your local newspaper or a magazine, download an app on your smartphone that will help you find clothing bargains effortlessly. Never underestimate how much you can save simply by stockpiling a bunch of seemingly insignificant coupons.
Shop During the Off-Season
Try your hardest to avoid falling into the retailer trap of purchasing seasonal fashion items. Stores want you to buy the newest and most exciting products they have for sale, but that’s often not the most cost-effective way to shop.
If you need a new winter coat, try hitting the sale racks when spring rolls around and stores are trying to discard their winter items. Looking to upgrade your swimsuit collection? Watch for bargains at the end of summer instead of loading up as soon as vacation season begins. By being smart about your timely purchases, you can save a substantial amount.
Make the Clearance Racks Your New Best Friends
Whether you love shopping in person or online, most stores have a clearance section with majorly discounted selections of items. Even though you might be tempted to turn your nose up at last month’s fashion items, give the clearance rack a try. You might be surprised by how many great items are still in stock at a lower price. Plus, that means you can still shop for high-end brands, as long as you’re looking for the discounted products.
Don’t Let Those Tempting Sale Signs Fool You
That flashy red sale sign might claim that all of the store’s items are 75 percent off, but are they really? It’s becoming fairly common for stores to be accused of fake sale pricing, which means retailers are making clothes seem more discounted then they truly are. Do your homework and figure out what sales are great bargains and which are bogus by researching brands, comparing prices with other small retailers, and reading the fine print.
Purchase Clothing That You Can Easily Care For
If you’re trying to save money on clothing, remember that there are other costs that come with buying expensive items. Dry-cleaning can rack up some major points on your credit card, so if possible, purchase clothing that you can wash for cheap at home. Delicate items or non-washable accessories can also pose a problem and lead you to buying more items to replace them when they get dirty or paying to have them specially cleaned. Check the tag before you head to the checkout line to make sure you can take care of it with your own washer and dryer.
Don’t Be Afraid to Buy Basics From Generic Brands
Does it really matter where you purchased your trusty blank undershirt? Even if you pride yourself on your collection of designer fashion products, consider turning to cheaper stores for your T-shirts, tank tops, and other simple items. No one will know the difference except you, and you can save quite a bit by opting for a more affordable brand.
Question Your Purchases
Every time you head to the cash register with a new item in hand, ask yourself the following questions: Do you need it? Do you love it? Is it a great price? If your purchase doesn’t cause you to answer “yes” to at least two of those three questions, then it probably isn’t a smart buy.
If you’re looking to buy a quality jacket you can wear for a few seasons–buying a top brand and spending some extra money is worth it. Brands like The North Face provide winter coats and accessories that are made to last and will keep you warm–making their products well worth the money.
You might be surprised by how infrequently you find a piece of clothing that truly fits the majority of those qualifications. Before you buy, be sure you aren’t going to regret spending the money.
Spend Your Money Wisely
If you’re not looking to spend an arm and a leg on fashioning a new wardrobe every year, you can make several easy money-saving changes in your shopping habits. Hoard coupons, hunt down legitimate sales, and scour clearance racks to avoid paying full-price for most of your clothing.
Question each item and how much you need it, what kind of materials it’s made of, and how you can care for it without paying for additional services. By taking these extra steps to ensure you’re spending your money wisely, you’ll end up with a better wardrobe and a more padded bank account.