1. Stock Up Off Season
Shop ahead for upcoming seasons. With the fast turnover of clothing in and out of stores, if you prepare to think a season ahead, you’ll have a great opportunity to get some fantastic deals. This can be easy for adults when you’re confident of which size to buy but can also be done for kids by estimating the size your child or children will need. If you’re unsure which size to choose for your kids and you’re planning for the following year, simply purchase a size or two larger than they are currently wearing.
Here are a few general guidelines for when to stock up:
January – Winter clothing, sweaters, & coats; holiday apparel
April – Spring clothing, Easter dresses
May – Athletic Apparel
July –Summer clothing & swimwear
October – Fall & back-to-school clothing.
This is a great start but keep in mind that there will always be exceptions. The important thing is to plan ahead and shop a few seasons in advance to always get the best deals. Nothing can derail your budget faster than having to pay full price because your child grew a few inches overnight and suddenly has nothing to wear!
2. Check eBay Before
If you find a clothing item you like at a store or online, before you make the purchase, go on ebay and search for the item by brand name and description or size. Try a few ways, as eBay sellers name their items differently—i.e., “NWT Gap Women’s Dress” or “New Gap Blue Maxi Size 8”. Before you buy from a retailer at full price, check to see if the item you want is available at a better price.
If you don’t find the exact item that you’re looking for, you may find a similar item that you like for a better price. This works well for items that you buy every year for yourself or your kids, like jackets, bathing suits and holiday apparel. If you prefer new items versus used, you can select “new” or “New with Tags” to narow down your search.
When shopping on eBay, check the photos and descriptions the seller provides to make sure the item is exactly what you’re looking for. Before buying, be sure to review other buyer’s comments on the seller to see if the seller typically receives positive or negative feedback. Try to only do business with those who have glowing reviews and at least a 95% approval rating.
3. Save Online
You’ve found items you want to purchase, filled your virtual shopping cart, proceed to checkout and see a fill-in space for a coupon code…now what? Before checking out, search for online savings codes at sites like RetailMeNot, CouponCabin and CurrentCodes.com. These sites have a database of online coupon codes for everything rom re shipping to hefty percent and dollar-off discounts when you apply the code at checkout.
4. Sign Up to Save
Write a list of the retailers you most love to shop at and go to each of the store’s sites and sign up to receive email from them. You may have chosen not to do this in the past to avoid “SPAM”. However, retailers spend a lot of effort on sending consumers money saving coupons and other incentives, sometimes even daily, that will help you save the next time you make a purchase. Note: If you’re concerned about sharing your information, read the retailer’s privicy policy posted on their website to see how your information will be used. In general, retailers choose to protect your information and will keep it private, and not sell it to third parties.
5. Participate in Loyalty Programs
A loyalty program is a rewards program a company offers to customers who shop with them. When you sign up for a loyalty program and shop with that company, you have the opportunity to receive rewards such as exclusive coupons, invitations to private sales and more.
Retailers spend a lot of money and time analyzing shopping information to market to consumers in a way that makes you want to buy more—more often.
When you maximize your loyalty program memberships, the results can be mutually beneficial. Make sure to read the pamphlets or emails you’re given or sent when you sign up for a program. Understanding point scales and all the benefits of the loyalty program will make it even more beneficial.
6. Keep Coupons Organized
Organize your coupons in a coupon binder—you can make one with a binder with clear page protectors. Place all the coupons you receive by mail or in-store, and if you receive one by email, print it and store it in the binder. Before you begin a day of shopping, check the binder to see which shopping stops you should make.
Having your coupons organized also works perfectly right before the holiday season. When you’re making your gift list, you can use the coupons that you’ve collected to decide where to shop or gifts. Matching sweaters for your nieces? Use that 40% coupon that you’ve been saving. ake sure to organize coupons by date so that you use the coupons before they expire. The key key to maximizing coupon usage is organization.
7. Wait to Buy
If you love something now, you’ll also love it later. Just be sure to keep an eye on the item in-store and online and get it when it goes on sale. Chances are you won’t have to wait too long. Retailers usually try to move merchandise as fast as possible, which means that even brand new items get marked down pretty quickly. Whenever possible, try avoiding buying items at full price—there will always be a better price. Just make sure that you’re willing to part with the item you want to buy in case your size isn’t available when the item goes on sale.
8. Shop Discount Retailers
Discount retailers like TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Ross sell clothing and other items at lower prices that you’ll find at other stores. They’re able to do this partly because they sell merchandise from a previous year or season that other stores couldn’t sell and they buy it at a very low price, passing on the savings to customers.
When shopping at discount retailers, be prepared to spend more time than usual looking through racks—merchandise is organized by type and size, but there may only be one of each in each size. Setting expectations and having patience (and a snack) is key.
Do you prefer to shop online? There are many sites like Zulily, Gilt, Jane and Bluefly that have daily and ongoing deals at great prices. A lot easier than scouring through clothing racks…especially if you have kids.
9. Have a Clothing Swap Party
It can be so much fun when you combine unwanted clothes, good friends and some appetizers.
Host a party where everyone brings a set number of clothing items they no longer want or need. Each person exchanges their items for others’ items and goes home with a set of “new” clothes. Add some accessories to the mix to complete the outfits.
10. Shop Secondhand
Shopping at secondhand stores can be a great way to score some amazing deals on high quality clothing. Take time to learn the sales cycles of your local thrift stores as well as which days they put out their new items. You never know what treasures you’ll find. Even if the items you find aren’t perfect as is, you can easily learn to repurpose and refashion old clothes into something new and wonderful.
How do you save on clothing?
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