According to the National Retail Federation, 20-40% of shopping for the entire year occurs during the holidays. With so much shopping happening this time of year, making every dollar stretch is on everyone’s minds. Today I’m sharing 10 of my best tips and tricks for saving money on clothes during the holidays, and throughout the entire year.
Major Savings Ahead 1 of 11
Click through to read 10 tips for saving money on clothes!
1. Use coupons and coupon apps. 2 of 11
My goal is to never pay full price for clothes, so I hardly ever make a purchase without a coupon or promo. To organize coupons, I recommend using a separate email account to sign up for emails from all your favorite retailers. When you are ready to shop, you can simply log into that account and print off the coupons you'd like to use. I also recommend coupon apps like Retail Me Not (pictured), which allow you to view what coupons are available by mall, and redeem them right from your phone.
2. Take advantage of the seasonal switch. 3 of 11
Black Friday is not necessarily the best time of year to shop for clothes. Black Friday and Cyber Monday offer markdowns on full price items, which is a great time to buy gifts or an outfit for a holiday party. But the best time of year for super amazing bargains are during the retail switch. There are two main "seasons" in retail, and when those seasons switch at the end of Christmas/New Years and at the end of June, you will see huge mark downs, and promos on top of that, resulting in huge savings. I recommend creating a 13 or 14 month budget, and allocating twice as much money during these two times of year to really make your budget stretch.
3. Shop in person. 4 of 11
There are so many pros and cons for shopping in person versus online, but the best prices can often be found in stores. Stores don't have the physical space to hold clothes, so they are often more generous with mark downs. I have seen items deeply discounted in retail stores that are still full price online. When shopping in person, you also have the added benefit of seeing the clothes in person before purchasing, and not paying for shipping. Not everyone can shop in person, though, and ultimately it's safest to check the price in both places. While shopping in the store, you can use apps like Red Laser or Google Shopping to compare prices in both places.
4. Look beyond the sale rack. 5 of 11
As a budget shopper it can be easy to put on blinders and race to the sale section. But you actually want to look elsewhere within the store for the best deals. When retailers have a large amount of one item left, they will often put them on a rack together, not mixed in with other clearance items. So look for sale signs throughout the store, and not just clearance in the back.
5. Predict future markdowns. 6 of 11
If you find an item with a bunch left in your size, it can really pay off to do a little sale stalking. Ask an employee when the next round of markdowns is happening and come back for the item. I have found some of my best bargains that way - and paid 30-50% less than I would have if I hadn't waited.
6. Check multiple stores. 7 of 11
Have you ever found an amazing bargain that didn't quite fit? Don't give up just yet because you can often ask the store to check other locations. Many retailers are willing to ship that item to you - at the store price, not the online price - to your home, either at no cost or with a small shipping fee.
7. Befriend a manager. 8 of 11
Retail stores of all sizes often maintain a local email list. These lists will alert you to exclusive sales, events and promos that can help save you money. Store associates and managers are also often willing to keep an eye on an item for you, and give you a heads up on specific sales and markdowns.
8. Buy secondhand. 9 of 11
For the lowest prices by far, consider buying your clothes secondhand. Websites like Poshmark and Threadflip make buying clothes from other people online easy and fun, or check out your local vintage stores and thrift shops for great savings on gently used clothes. You can also organize a clothing swap with your friends - trade items from each other's closets for new-to-you clothes at the best bargain of all: free.
9. Buy out of season. 10 of 11
Shopping for seasonal items when they are out of season can save you tons of money. This trick also works during travel - I like to shop for summer clothes when I travel to colder climates, and shop for winter clothes when I travel to warmer climates. The demand for these items are low for residents, leaving plenty to be snapped up at deeply discounted prices for out of town guests.
10. Consider outlet shopping. 11 of 11
Outlets can be a great way to achieve a brand name look for less. Just be sure to do your homework and know what you are buying. Some outlets are the same items from the regular retail store that have now been marked down. Many outlet stores sell clothing that is made specifically for the outlet store though, and are a lower quality sold for a lower price. To find out where the clothing came from, simply ask a manager for more information.
What are your best tips and tricks for saving money on clothes?