How Do You Shop for Clothes on a Budget?
Everyone loves to keep up with the latest fashion trends. The biggest problem for the average citizen, is that our budget may not be as endless as the celebrities we see on TV. Learning to shop on a budget is important to stay fashionable without breaking the bank. I researched how to get the look you want when you’re working with a budget.
How do you shop for clothes on a budget? The key to having a great wardrobe without breaking the bank is finding cheap online clothing stores, learning how to thrift shop, and developing DIY skills to reuse clothes you may already earn.
There’s always only so much money in your bank account. Learning how to shop on a budget allows to put money you would otherwise spend on elaborate, overpriced clothes and put them towards other things you may need to pay for. Shopping for clothes on a budget can be very fun by no means contributes to a decrease in style.
How to Shop for Clothes on a Budget
Shopping for clothes on a budget stems from choosing the right locations, learning how to reuse the clothes you own to incorporate them into new outfits and good old discipline in learning how to not overspend.
How to shop for clothes on a budget:
- Take inventory on what you own
- Utilize sales
- Locate cheap online stores and clearance items
- Use secondhand clothes
You should take inventory of the clothes you own, the clothes you need to buy, and the clothes you want.
Mindlessly going to the store without a plan or any idea of what is in your closet sets you up to overspend and not meet your budgeting goals.
I would encourage you to open your closet and your dresser and see what is in there. A good rule of thumb is that if you haven’t worn something in a month, you should probably give it away. You can search online to see what thrift stores are near you and when they accept locations. Decluttering your clothing belongings is the first step.
Secondly, in going through your belongings, realize that basics are key. You’re more apt to be able to use basics with other items of clothing to create timeless looks than you are with clothes that have busy designs or have severe fading.
Making a list of the clothes you need to buy is a great idea. This helps you stay organized and on topic, so you can make a reasonable plan in designing your budget. Divide your clothing needs into sections such as shoes, shirts, dresses, pants etc. This will help you prioritize what you need to buy when you shop.
Secondly, we all know that when you shop for clothes, sometimes you want to buy something that you may not necessarily need. That’s totally okay. Making a list of the clothes and shoes you want can help you plan your budget around the items you can afford at that time.
A good idea for any shopper is to shop for opposite seasons. Many times, stores and online shops will mark down winter clothes in the summer and summer clothes in the winter. This tactic is used by many people. However, shopping during off seasons requires a lot of planning.
If it’s July and already you know you need a winter coat for the colder months, it may be worth it to invest in a clearance one while they are out of season. If you know you want to buy a new bikini for the upcoming summer six months in advance, stores will often have them marked down for you to get a good price.
Another important note is to take care of your clothes. Taking care of your clothes properly ensures that they last longer. No one wants to buy clothes and have the replace them all the time.
This means you should pay attention to washing machine instructions to make sure the right settings are on when cleaning your clothes. It also means not throwing all your clothes into the dryer if it’s a material that should air dry.
Everyone should utilize their local thrift stores and hand me downs. Even though used clothing can be frowned upon, if it is sourced from a good location or person, this is a great way to find good brands for little to no money.
Additionally, it can allow you to find vintage clothing that has unique history and may be impossible to find online. As trends from previous decades start to resurface, it may be in your best interest to check out this option to save lots of money. Second hand clothes are always a great avenue to pursue.
The biggest advice for shopping for clothes on a budget is to avoid paying full price for items. The way you can do this vary, but if you can buy something marked down, it will keep a ton of money in your pocket than if you pay the sticker price for everything when you buy your clothing.
How Much Should I Budget for My Clothes?
When people sit down to make their weekly or monthly budget, it can often be confusing as to what amount of money is appropriate to put towards each area. If shopping for clothes is your thing, you may admit that a substantial amount of your budget goes to clothing.
You may even be unaware about how much you spend on clothes and may not have ever created a budget in your life. The rule of budgeting is that clothing should take up no more than five percent of your annual income.
Financial planners agree that if you make $30,000 a year, you should aim to spend your money on essential clothing items, as you may not have a ton of extra money to spend on elaborate clothes for a one-time use. However, you can still buy clothes that are high quality at stores like H&M and ASOS.
Working with a tight budget means that you should buy clothes that can be paired with each other. Steer clear of clothes made from thin material, as they may not last a long time. Online blogs and YouTube channels can give you great ideas on what products are best a most worthwhile.
Clothing ideas for a tight budget:
- Basic clothing essentials
- Minimalist clothing that lasts
If you make around $60,000 a year, you have a bit more cash to spend on non-essentials. However, you should still be mindful in choosing long lasting, quality clothes, as well as keeping your focus on items that you can wear in different settings and occasions.
You can also start to branch out in buying accessories to complement your fashion choices.
If you make around $100,000 dollars a year, you may feel comfortable shopping a boutique and purchasing non-essential clothing. At this point, you can explore lots of patterns in your clothing choices without having to worry about it not matching with the rest of your wardrobe.
As you climb up the income ladder you can afford to splurge on more luxury items. However, make sure to not exceed the five percent rule to make sure you remain financially responsible and have adequate funds to pay your bills and spend money on other areas in your life.
Cheap Online Clothing Stores
The world of online shopping has skyrocketed the last decade. Instead of having to plan a shopping trip and burn gas, you can order clothes right to your door in the comfort of you home. All you need is a computer or a smartphone.
Although there are dozens of online shops to choose from, some are simply better than others. Learning what online stores are the best options can save you lots of time for when you decide you want to expand your current wardrobe.
Some of the best cheap online stores:
- Fashion Nova
Shein is a great place to start for women’s clothing shopping needs. They have trendy fashion ranging from dresses to shoes to accessories, and everything in between. This website is also known for its frequent sales, and often has clearance items up to 90% off.
This website, like most, takes current fashion trends and turns them into affordable products.
Zaful is another website that offers quality clothing for a very cheap price. Zaful targets all genders in their clothing and has a wider range of products that they sell. This website also has frequent sales and clearance events, so if you are working with a tight budget, this may be a great source to check out
ASOS is UK based online clothing store that sells both men’s and women’s items. The United States is one of the few international countries they ship to, but millions of Americans shop from ASOS annually.
Their products may be a bit more expensive than Zaful and Shein, but ASOS products are built to last, and are still much cheaper than high-end mall brands.
Fashion Nova is a more recent online shopping website. The goal behind this business was to take celebrity outfits and looks and turn them into a more affordable option for the average person. Whether you want to copy Kim Kardashian street fashion, or your favorite Instagrammer’s look, Fashion Nova makes that possible.
The prices on this website are more expensive than cheap online stores, but it is a great option if you want your clothes to look like they are made by famous designers, without paying the price tag that would come along with it.
Amazon is an often-overlooked option when it comes to online shopping. In addition to having their own clothing, many companies and private sellers can sell their clothes on this website. This allows you to shop from hundreds of stores on one website. Products from Shein and Zaful, for example, show up on Amazon’s website as well.
Another good reason to consider shopping on Amazon is that if you are an Amazon Prime member, you can get free shipping on products that qualify. This is a great way to spend money and shipping costs can sometimes be the same price as the clothing itself.
Tobi is another great online store to shop from. Tobi offers women’s clothing, and most of their products fall under business or formal wear. However, they have a wide variety of clothing to shop from.
This is a great option if you are looking for a prom dress or outfit for work, as you can get high quality clothes for a very low price.
Lastly, Boohoo is a great online option for men’s clothing wear. This website offers products for men of all shapes and sizes, getting new products on their website very frequently. Boohoo may be the way to go for people looking to buy men’s fashion without having to go into a store.
Often, websites cater to female buyers, and Boohoo is one website that has great quality clothes for men.
How to Look Fashionable on a Budget
The key to looking fashionable on a budget is all in your sense of style. Everyone has their idea on what fashionable means to them, so the first step is finding what trends you are comfortable in. However, everyone wants to look put together and confident, no matter what style seems to suit them.
Tips to look fashionable on a budget:
- Get your clothes tailored
- Wash your clothes correctly
- Keep it simple
- Invest in good quality essentials
The first tip is clean up your clothes. That means getting them tailored, cuffing your jeans, replacing your buttons and any other simple thing you can do to make cheap clothes look expensive.
You can easily transform a dress that cost you little to nothing into a clothing piece that looks like it cost you hundreds of dollars. All it takes its some quick stitching.
If you don’t know how to sew, getting your clothes tailored can often be very inexpensive. If you do have skills with a needle and thread, it can be fun to personalize your clothes while adding to them more appeal.
Replacing your buttons may seem like it doesn’t make a difference. However, simple details like the buttons on your suit can transform a drab, cheap looking suit, into a suit that looks like it cost a fortune. You can also change your buttons to make it look like you own five suits when you may only own two.
Another idea in tailoring your clothes in simply how you wear them. With pants for example, women may find that it is trendier to cuff your jeans at the bottom rather than to wear them completely straight. You can transform a dress shirt into an off the shoulder tied blouse in three minutes.
Washing your clothes is an often-overlooked component of fashion. Clothes are only good if they are taken care of. Don’t wash your clothes too frequently and follow basic washing machine rules. That means you should never mix contrasting colors together, and you should always you use good laundry detergent.
One thing that some people don’t know is that different types of clothes require different washing instructions. Make sure that you look at the tags on your clothes at the time of purchase to be prepared to wash them the right way.
The same rules apply to the dryer. Not all clothes can be dried in a standard heated dryer and may require more professional help. Don’t make the mistake of having your favorite shirt shrink in the dryer.
Some of the best fashion advice is to keep things simple. Details are hard to do on a budget. A pair on mom jeans paired with a white tee and a belt can create a timeless, classy look. A pair of khaki joggers and black tee may seem simple but paired with the right shoes can have people eyeing your fashion sense.
This takes us to the next piece of advice: invest in good quality essentials. Always have a good pair of jeans, a few quality basic tees, professional clothes, and formal wear. Additionally, make sure that your essential clothing pieces do not have any designs on them, to ensure that they can be paired with anything else you may buy in the future.
You may even find that wearing essentials is your fashion style. Classy and timeless looks are a big trend on social media, and many influencers are ditching the highly detailed patterns, for a calmer, minimalist look.
Accessories are also a great way to amp up your fashion game. As they are typically less expensive than clothes are, you can get a better-quality product to pair with your outfit. Whether this is a good quality set of jewelry, a nice pair of sunglasses, or even accessories that go in your hair, it is a great way to add flare to your wardrobe.