We get so many questions about how to save money on groceries but very few about how to save money on clothes, even though many people spend two or three times as much per month on clothes than they do on their groceries.
I was talking to a woman recently who was bemoaning the fact she had just lost her job and didn’t know what she was going to do for medical insurance. Then she started talking about how much she loved her clothes and couldn’t give up buying them. She had a large collection of shoes, purses and tops. She owned over 150 pairs of pants.
It hadn’t even dawned on her that if she had taken the money she had spent on all those clothes she could have easily paid for many years worth of insurance. It’s time we start rethinking our clothing budgets.
Try these tips to save some money on your clothing budget: Stop shopping for clothes because of the “high” it gives you. When you use shopping as a drug, you no longer think rationally about how much money you’re spending. Stop shopping for clothes because it builds your self esteem. Yes, clothes do make us feel good about ourselves and there is nothing wrong with that, but you don’t need 150 pairs of pants to do that. Shopping for self esteem is trying to fix an emotional problem with a physical solution and that will get you nowhere. That makes as much sense as discovering that your car ran out of gas and trying to solve the problem by washing it to try and make it run again. You’re working on the wrong problem. Plan your family’s wardrobes. Don’t just buy a cute top and take it home hoping you’ll find something to go with it. If you need a suit jacket, get one you can wear to the office or that you can wear casually with jeans. Do you really need five pairs of black pants? Instead of buying another pair of black pants, why not buy a white blouse that will go with that pair of pants and skirt that you already have but that don’t match anything else? One way to save money on clothes is to take care of the clothes that you do have: If things aren’t dirty, wear them again. The less you wash things the longer they last. (Of course I don’t mean underwear.) Hang up the clothes you can wear again when you take them off. So many kids and adults just drop their clothes on the floor when they take them off and later throw them in the laundry so they don’t have to hang them up. Not only does this cause you twice as much work, It puts unnecessary wear and tear on your clothes. Learn basic sewing. Basic sewing is easier than you think. Don’t get rid of that shirt because it is missing a button. Don’t throw out your daughters jeans because they have a hole. Take two minutes to sew a button on the shirt or an appliqué on the jeans. (Yes, it really does take two minutes to sew on a button. Time yourself next time. You’ll be surprised.) Use the clothes you do have well. If jeans have a hole that can’t be fixed then have the kids wear them for play clothes or cut them off for shorts. If that dress of yours is getting outdated, take out the shoulder pads or add shoulder pads (depending on the style),or take up or let down the hem. Update your outfits with different accessories. Hang clothes on the line or rack to dry when possible. Dryers create a lot more wear and tear on the fabrics and usually destroy all elastic.
I do live in the real world and know that most people, like me, love clothes so I’m not saying don’t ever buy anything new. If you’re serious about controlling your spending or reducing debt then don’t let your clothes shopping get out of control. You can save money on clothes and still buy clothes. Remember: Stop buying clothes to satisfy your emotional needs. This will save you not only money, but also time, energy and the stress of taking care of all the clutter those extra clothes will cause.
Additional Tips To Make Your Clothes Last Longer And Save Money: If you are having a hard time removing the stains around collars and cuffs, try using abrasive hand cleaner or shampoo. When dealing with stains, try using the same product on your clothes that you use to clean the part of your body adjacent to the stain. For example, use shampoo to remove collar stains, use your face cleanser to remove make up stains or use the soap that your husband uses on his hands after working on the car to remove grease and oil. Of course always spot test everything first so that you don’t ruin the garment with the cleaner.
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