As the weather gets nicer and the sun starts to make more of an appearance, many people are probably starting to switch out their winter wardrobe for their spring and summer ones, which could mean some frivolous spending in the very near future.
Of course picking up a few new items doesn’t always have to mean shopping for new stuff, or even if it does, it doesn’t have to mean spending a fortune. We tapped consumer and money-saving expert Andrea Woroch for some of her best advice on how to save on new clothes so you still have cash left for some fun in the sun.
Read more: 9 items to always buy used
1. Buy Used
If you haven’t bought used in the past because you were afraid of whatever stigma might be attached to it, keep in mind that no one other than you will actually know where you purchased your clothes from, says Woroch, so why waste money on brand new items when you can find like-new goods for a fraction of the cost? “Many times I find clothes that have never been worn with the tags still on them,” she said. “Enjoy deals at your local consignment shops and get to know the discount cycle. The store will lower prices after a few weeks and continue the reduction before donating it, giving you an opportunity to save even more.” Online consignment stores make it easier than ever to shop used, as well — trythredup or RecycleYourFashions.com, which also provide you with free shipping labels. “You can even find coupon codes for an additional 40% at thredup from sites like CouponSherpa.com,” said Woroch.
2. Negotiate and Price Match
Believe it or not most retail stores are willing to negotiate, says Woroch, even at high-end fashion retailers like Nordstrom and Bloomingdales. ‘Ask for price matching online, too, via live chat, or call customer service — this is especially savvy when comparing prices between two sites where one offers free shipping and free returns but features the higher price, as you may be able to score the item for the cheapest price.’ You should also always ask for free shipping when it isn’t available, says Woroch. ‘I’ve scored free shipping at Anthropologie and LOFT by calling customer service and simply asking for it.’
3. Set Up a Swap
If the reason you’re shopping for new threads is because a lot of what you have in your closet doesn’t fit or you just aren’t interested in it anymore, a swap with friends could be fun and might save you a ton of cash. ‘Take the opportunity to share those pieces with friends and family, or even coworkers, by setting up a swap,’ says Woroch. ‘You might require that anyone who participates brings to the event a certain number of garments to swap and is limited to the number they can take, but it’s a fun way to exchange clothing and get new looks without spending any money.’ You can swap at places online like Swapdom.com, too, which enable you to pay for items you want with items you already own and no longer use. “If you’re looking for a new leather handbag, for example, browse the site’s many options for one that fits your style,’ said Woroch. ‘Then offer up items you no longer want, and Swapdom takes care of the complicated process of making an equitable trade of your goods for the handbag.’
4. Shop on Thursdays
According to Woroch, retailers begin marking down certain items they want to push during the busy weekend crowds on Thursday evening, so you have a larger selection of discounted goods to chose from at this time.
5. Invest in Classics, Save on Trends
One way to save on clothing and accessories is to best know where to save and where to splurge. “Go ahead and splurge on a comfortable pair of black boots or a blazer, because these timeless and classic pieces will get lots of use and will transition through many seasons,” says Woroch. “Save on trendy clothes that will go out of style come next season.” You can also save on things like basic t-shirts, plain button downs and pajamas by shopping at stores like Target and Old Navy. “You can even find great deals on men’s shirts from Costco’s Kirkland brand,” said Woroch.
6. Recycle Old Clothes for More Savings
H&M, for example, offers a 15% discount to shoppers who recycle unwanted clothes, while athleisure retailer Lorna Jane provides $5 for every used item exercise garment you recycle. ‘Ask other retailers about their policies,” says Woroch, “ and remember that consignment shops will always accept gently used threads in exchange for cash and store credit.’