Buying new clothes is fun—but it’s an expensive habit. According to Credit Donkey, monthly spending averages are:
- $161 per month, ages 25 to 34
- $209 per month, ages 34 to 44
- $1,800 per month, families
While buying new things feels good, there are many ways to enjoy the gratification of a new outfit, while spending less on clothes. Use these ideas to reign in your spending on clothing and save your money for dinners with friends or a new gym membership.
Add Shopping Sprees to the Calendar
When you’ve had a bad day, are stressed about a fight, or just need to release some tension, shopping is the perfect antidote. It provides you with the instant gratification of getting what you want, when you want it. That’s also when spending can get you into trouble, especially when shopping online, which requires nothing more than a credit card.
In fact, it feels so good to shop that consumers spent $5,400 on compulsive shopping purchases, with clothing coming in as the second most commonly impulse buy item.
Instead of letting impulse shopping cost you nearly $6,000 a year, if not more, put shopping sprees on your calendar. You can simply pencil them in for whatever interval you want to shop, or add big sale dates to the calendar. This ensures that you’re spending when you have the most to save, and is easy to do. Most retailers promote their biggest sales, which often happen annually, or around holidays, well in advance. To get the dates, just check online or speak with an associate at the store.
Leave Your Items in the Shopping Cart
Cart abandonment is a challenge for all retailers, and clothing is the number one item left in the cart, according to a 2018 ContentSquare survey. While this isn’t your problem, it can be a strategy for spending less on the clothes—retailers want you to make that purchase, and they have extensive email campaigns in place that encourage you to click “buy” button, even after you’ve left.
One of their strategies to encourage your purchase is providing a discount in your abandoned cart email. In Search Engine Land’s example, they suggest that their fake retailer set up a 3-email sequence, and the second email is where the discount, promotion or incentive comes into play:
“A few hours after abandonment, if she has not revisited the site, she receives an email offering a promotion on a complementary product that is lower in dollar value. Reminding her to purchase and incentivizing her with a discount on the bracelet she viewed may be attractive enough to secure the sale.”
If you’re not sure about an item or the cost of it, hold off for a few days and see if that emails comes through. This may also give you enough time to decide you don’t want to make the purchase after all, which still ensures you’re spending less.
Take Care of What You Have
The easiest way to spend less on clothes is to take are of what you already have in the same way you do expensive electronics or home goods. Start by washing them properly. It’s easy to toss everything into the wash, pour in your generic detergent, and walk away. However, this is a quick and easy way to add wear and tear to your clothes unnecessarily.
Step one is properly splitting your clothes before throwing them into the washer, and not just whites and darks. Wash your activewear separately as well, and with a different detergent: “Activewear apparel is usually made with different materials and fabrics as compared with everyday clothes, which is why, you can’t use the same detergent/fabric softener as the kind you use regularly,” according to 4 Ways to Help Your Activewear Last Longer.
You might also consider giving jeans more time between washes and wash dark clothes inside out, to avoid any bleeding onto other items. When your clothes are washed and dried (nothing that not all clothing should be dried—check the care tag on the inside), put them away with care. Rather than shoving too many items into a drawer or leaving them in a pile on the floor, Money Crashers suggests:
- Fold heavy sweaters on a shelf
- Button buttons and zip zippers
- Invest in better hangers
- Give clothes space
- Store in cool, dry locations
Use The Right Coupon-Finding Tools
Coupons may seem old fashioned, but using these money-saving tools—often in the form of a discount code for online shopping—is one of the easiest way to spend less on clothes. The good news is that it’s easier that ever to find coupons online, even if you’re shopping offline.
Start with retailer and manufacturer websites, where you may find a page with current deals and discounts and printable coupons. You can also browse any of the dozens of coupon-finding websites to get what you need.
Finally, check out the Honey plugin, which automatically searches for discounts when shopping online. The plugin scans the Internet for whatever discount codes they can find, and then tries them all until one works.
Spend Less on Clothes
Shopping is fun—and some days, you just need the hit of instant gratification. If you’re trying to save money, however, buying new clothes is a costly habit. Use these tips to spend less, whether you plan your shopping sprees ahead of time or make a rule to have at least one discount when purchasing something new.
Better yet, slow spending on clothing altogether by taking better care of what you already have. When you hold yourself accountable, you have more money to spend on other things you love, like going out with friends or your Friday coffee at your favorite cafe.
About the Author:
Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years and is currently a full-time writer, consultant and business owner. She and her husband recently paid off $20K in debt in just one year, and her work as been featured in a variety of financial and lifestyle publications, including Market Watch, SoFi, Reader’s Digest and more.