How to Dress Well and Save Money

There is a common misconception that those who dress well spend astronomical amounts of money on clothes. For some, this may be true. However, if you keep a few concepts in mind when you approach your closet, it can be fairly easy on your pocketbook. My budget for 2018 is $100 per season (every 3 months, so $400 a year) to update my wardrobe. Here’s how I make that work:

1. Refuse to buy cheap quality clothing.

Now, I know this seems like it’s going against the whole “saving money” thing. But the thing is, if you buy cheap, it’s going to act cheap. As much as I love the cute, appealing clothing at Target, Forever 21, and H&M, I know it’s probably not going to last me more than a year or two. However, I’m also not saying that expensive clothing is always quality either–I’ve bought some $50-60 pieces that have fallen apart just as quickly as those half the price.

If you want to judge the quality of an item before purchasing, follow these helpful tips from Buzzfeed.

2. Resist impulse buys and only purchase what you absolutely love.

One of the easiest financial pitfalls when buying clothes is impulse buying. Trust me, I’ve done it many times…you go to Target for dish detergent, somehow make your way over to the clothing section, then suddenly find yourself walking out of the store $50 poorer and with a couple shirts you couldn’t possibly live without. Well, get yourself some blinders for when you go to Target, because that situation is bad news bears. I guarantee those shirts will end up in your Goodwill pile within a year. And just think, with that $50, you could have purchased just one, quality shirt that stays in your closet for 5 years and makes it into your outfit every other week!

Whenever I do my bi-yearly “closet flip” from fall/winter to spring/summer (& vice versa), I first look really closely at the clothing I already have.

First of all, this is the best time to get rid of that $5 Forever 21 t-shirt that’s tearing in the underarms. Then, I ditch anything else that either no longer fits or that I just simply don’t like. You know why? Because I’m not going to wear it. Ever. And it’s taking up space in my closet for absolutely no reason.

Then, I look at what’s left, and assess what I need and what I might want. To me, a need is like if it’s my spring/summer flip and I’m realizing I don’t own a single pair of shorts. A want is some sort of gap you’d like to fill in your closet for the upcoming seasons, such as a trendy top or a new dress. Needs then hit the budget first, and anything remaining can be for wants.

3. Never buy something if you aren’t getting a discount.

Now that you know exactly what your needs and wants are for the upcoming season, it’s time to shop and spend wisely. There is almost never a time these days when a store that you love is not running a promotion. I find this to be especially true of online boutiques–there is always a discount code to take advantage of.

When you find something you love, first thing–wait. Again, you’re making sure this is not an impulse buy. It’s my general rule of thumb that if I think I might want something, I have to walk away for at least 24 hours. If I’m still in love with it after that, then it’s probably going to be in my closet for a while.

Then, wait some more. This time, you’re waiting for a promotion. If there’s not one readily available when you find the perfect item, don’t get it! Trust me, give it a week or two (or even just a few days), and you’ll end up saving a lunch’s worth of cash.

Also, use fantastic resources like Retail Me Not to see if there are any active discount codes that aren’t currently advertised on the boutique’s website.

These tips have really changed how I look at my wardrobe and clothing spending. Not only do I save a significant amount of money, but my closet is filled with things that I truly love. Choosing my outfits is substantially easier than it used to be, and things are much less cluttered. Give it a try as we transition into that spring/summer closet flip!


3 Comments Add yours

  1. My best tip for shopping for clothes and shoes is to shop at thrift stores 🙂 You save money, you buy quality and you help the environment. win. win. win 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Brittany says:

    What stores do you recommend for quality clothing? Or where would you shop? I seem to regularly fall back into grabbing something at target or Meijer because it’s convenient. These are good reminders that it isn’t worth the temporary convenience. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I have quality and uniqueness in mind, I love small boutiques—first, because you’re supporting a small business owner. But also because many of them have hand picked their brands and pieces, so they tend to be higher quality. I have had great experiences with and I also love Free People and Anthropologie when I can hit a good clearance sale! My first recommendation though would just be to go shop local small boutiques in your area. Plus, it’s usually a super fun experience!


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