Clothing purchases can certainly put a dent in your budget, but there are lots of ways you can keep yourself and your family well dressed without breaking the bank.
Try these tips to save big while still being stylish:
- Don't pay full price. Shop at outlet and discount stores, the exchange or consignment shops to find great clothes at a great price.
- Avoid poorly-made clothes. A lower price tag doesn't always mean lower quality, but remember that you won't save money if your new sweater unravels the first time you wear it. Check seams, buttons, zippers and overall quality before buying.
- Stock up on basics when they're on sale. Socks and underwear are safe bets to stockpile when there's a big sale, especially if your washer and dryer like to eat socks.
- Plan your shopping. Don't buy on impulse. Wait for sales, and check out end-of-season clearance racks for bargains.
- Don't buy more than you need, especially for kids. Kids can change clothing sizes faster than pop stars change significant others, so do laundry more often instead of buying too much clothing in one size.
- Coordinate your clothes. Uniforms aren't just for work hours. Sticking to the same color combinations or buying clothes in neutral colors can give you more outfits from a smaller wardrobe.
- Return or exchange misguided purchases. If you get home from the store and the color or fit of a new item isn't right, take it back. Don't start a closet graveyard of clothes with the tags still attached.
- Join or start a swap program. Swaps are especially common for kids' clothing. Trade in clothes your kids have outgrown for items they can fit into without looking like a stuffed sausage.
- Store off-season clothes properly. Packing away out-of-season clothes protects them from damage and frees up space in your closet — win-win.
- Wash delicate clothing at home. You can save money and extend the life of your clothes by skipping the dry cleaner.
- Save fancy clothes for special occasions. You probably don't want to be cooking ribs while wearing that new silk tie or dress. Avoid ruining your more expensive clothes by wearing them when you're not doing hard labor.
- Learn to sew. That doesn't mean you have to do the Julie Andrews thing, but learning how to make a few basics for the baby, or how to alter or fix clothes, could save you some cash.
Clothing can easily be an item that busts your budget, whether you're single or married with children. Don't let it. And make sure that you get what you pay for. Get help from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau if you have an issue with a company that's not getting resolved.