Shopping can be an expensive hobby. This article shows some easy ways to reduce how much you spend on clothing, footwear and other personal effects every month by correcting some of the common mistakes shoppers make without even realising it.
1. Organise your inventory of clothes
The very first thing you should do is to organise your wardrobe in a systematic way, to build a good sense of what exactly is in your wardrobe.
For example, you can compartmentalise your wardrobe by category of clothing (dress, pants, shirts, accessories), by colour, and by theme or occasion (daily wear versus special occasions).
By doing so, you can keep track of what you have, and plan what you may want or need to buy: if you find that you already have more than as few black dresses, the next list on your list should perhaps be something else.
Not only that, you will probably rediscover a few pieces of clothing that you used to love wearing, but have completely forgotten about.
Once you know what you own, you should start taking stock of what you actually enjoy wearing and what you don’t.
For most people, this exercise should result in a pretty clear guideline in terms of how they should shape and alter their shopping lists.
For example, you should replace items that have become old because you’ve worn them frequently, while you should cut back on purchasing things you never use.
More tips on organising your wardrobe:
- Aim to buy one item per category: for most fashion goods, you only need to own one or two items per category, like one small bag versus big bag or one red dress versus yellow dress. For a truly budget-friendly wardrobe, aim to get one per category and expand the selection of your wardrobe instead of increasing the overlap among your clothes.
- Sell rarely used items: If you’ve identified some items that you almost never use, consider selling them in the second-hand market.
2. Buy quality for staples, cheap fast-fashion for trendy items
The fashion industry is built on convincing consumers to purchase the “it” or “must have” items of every season. When every website, storefront and Instagram post is relentlessly showcasing the newest, trendy wears, it’s not difficult to understand why some shoppers get tricked into spending more than they should.
If you’re intent on staying on point with the latest trends, you can still reshuffle your shopping habits to be more budget friendly.
First, it’s generally advisable to purchase high quality basic items that you use often, even if it means higher prices. For daily staples, it’s important to emphasise quality since you want them to be durable; in a way, you are optimising for cost per wear, instead of the cost of purchase.
A basic, simple black dress that lasts years can actually be cheaper than constantly re-buying a cheaper one that becomes unwearable after a wash or two.
Not only that, high quality basic items always look great, and can easily be jazzed up with cheaper accessories.
On the other hand, fast fashion brands can still provide economic ways of following the newest and hottest trends. These companies shorten the fashion cycle, so they’re changing the floor selection on a weekly basis.
That also means that what was hot last week may not be so popular the next month.
Fast fashion may not provide high quality clothes and may not last long, but their combination of affordable pricing and trendiness make them ideal for spicing up your style once in a while.
More tips on purchasing:
- Avoid dry cleaning: Some “quality” items are actually more expensive to own than their price tags suggest. In general, avoid items that must be dry cleaned.
- Avoid buying cheap shoes: Shoes are the epitome of “staples” that deserve a good investment. No matter how pretty a pair is, you’re unlikely to wear it if it’s uncomfortable.
3. Rent for special occasions
Every once in a while, you may need some specialised clothing for special occasions, like weddings, the prom or even pregnancy.
Instead of buying expensive, luxury items that you’re going to wear only for a short time (if not just once), you can save an incredible amount by opting to rent.
4. Use a credit card with rewards
Many credit cards provide attractive rewards specifically for shopping. By wisely choosing a card designed for shopping, you can easily shave at least 5-10% off of your bill.
This is probably the most obvious and well known tip. Brands and department stores always create sales events around holidays, especially when they need to clear out old styles to make space for new ones.
These are amazing opportunities to acquire your coveted items at up to 70-80% discounts.
In general, most brands introduce seasonal items about a month early, and start discounting them half way through the season. Therefore, you can save big time by resisting the urge to purchase the latest.
This article first appeared in thenewsavvy.com
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