A couple of months ago, I read article from Business Insider about Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg wearing practically the same clothes everyday because they have bigger things to worry about than making decisions about clothes (like saving the world or fixing facebook notifications!). There was also another article about Matilda Kahl, an art director, who wears the exact same shirt and pants to work. She says it saves her time and energy that she could put towards making creative decisions. Wearing the same clothes everyday resonated with me because, even though I don’t wear the same thing everyday, I’ve been sticking to the same set of outfits to work, church, and home. I’m not a morning person and I’m usually rushing to work so I hate stressing over what top matches what skirt or pants in the morning. By having the same set of outfits to choose from, I don’t spend more than 5 minutes figuring out what to wear for the day.
On the other hand, when I was in college, I used to go shopping every week and bought lot on clothes that I sometimes never used. I loved going to sales and getting, what I thought, were good deals on clothing, accessories, etc. I also had Old Navy and Macys credit cards, which I used online and in-store, but eventually paid down and closed. In the last few years, as we’ve been fixing our finances, I’ve becoming more picky about what I buy. I actually have specific rules that I set for myself when I go shopping:
- I try to spend no more than:
- $10 for a top
- $15 for a dress
- $10 sandals
- $20 for running shoes
- $10 for flats
- $15 for bottoms
- The clothing has to have at least more than one use: church, work, casual, etc.
- It has to be relatively wrinkle free (I suck at ironing!), sturdy (no dry-cleaning, hand washing only, etc) and fits well (I do sit test: If I sit down and the dress or skirt doesn’t cover my knees, I don’t buy it. I also do a squat test to for jeans or shorts to see if it will show my crack and to check if won’t let me breath!)
- Just because it is cheap, it does not mean I should buy it (but I could always buy it as a gift for someone else! We once found a pair of size 11 dress shoes at Aldo for $3. It was way too big for my husband but we bought it for a friend of ours who we knew could use it.)
- It has to be modest. This is due to my own personal style. I want dresses at the knee or longer. I avoid cleavage and too much see-through clothing as much as possible. I also don’t wear tight-fitting clothing, clothes with a visible brands, and I don’t buy a lot of sleeveless clothing unless I have a cardigan for it.
These rules help me save money on clothes not just by sticking to a budget but also by buying only what I need, what I truly want to wear, and what fits right.
I am also trying to be more of a minimalist so, every few months, I look at my closet to see what clothes I haven’t been using to donate to Savers. I put them in a bag until I fill up a bag or a couple of bags of clothing and miscellaneous items to give away. When I have time, I drop them off at Savers where I can get a discount card for donating. I usually get about 20-30% off my next purchase. While there, I briefly look at their racks. I usually look for dresses for me and button up shirts for my husband. I have found a couple of nice dresses and shirts for both of us that are under $10 and the discount from our donations lowers our cost even more. I know a lot of people say that they can’t find anything when they thrift shop because it’s really a hit or miss. However, I don’t come to Savers expecting to find anything and I spend no more than 30 minutes looking around. If I find something, it’s usually a great find. If I don’t, then it’s ok. I can use the discount card later. I know some people might find it gross to shop here but, if you look closely, you can find clothes with the tags still on and some that barely look used. I also make sure to wash our clothes after purchasing. I just love that we are recycling clothes and helping the environment by doing this. Every little bit counts!
On the other hand, my go-to store is Ross because this is where I can meet most of my shopping parameters. I try to look for pink price stickers because this usually means that the price was reduced. I’ve found a skirt for $2, several flats between $2-$8, and dresses under $10. Just because Ross is a cheap place to buy clothes, it doesn’t mean that they lack in quality. A lot of my clothing and shoes have lasted for several years without fade or tear. In addition, they sell name brand luggage, handbags, and electronic accessories at a fraction of the cost!
The funny thing is my favorite place to get clothes is from my sister. I inherit hand-me-ups (she’s my little sister!) dresses, tops, shoes, etc from her about once a year. We are about the same size and she has an amazing style, so I get excited when she says she has clothes to give me that she doesn’t use. I was actually inspired to write this post because I had so many people asking me where I got all of my dresses recently, and I’m proud to say I got it from her.
I eventually want to learn how to sew so I make our clothes fit better and fix our favorite pieces without paying for alterations. I can do basic sewing, but you don’t want to do look under the clothes or you’ll see my ugly patchwork! In addition, there are a couple of pieces of clothing that I’ve held onto for years that haven’t fit but I can’t let go. If you are like me, it will take you some time to clean up your closet, let go of your favorite unused clothing, and fix your shopping habits but it is definitely worth the savings in time, energy, and money. How you de-stress your closet and save money on clothes?