A little while ago I reached out to Bek of Colourful Curves to write me this post. Bek is on a tight income, is raising children and still manages pretty killer wardrobe. She’s a great example of someone building a great wardrobe on a budget. I asked her to share some tips with you in the lead up to the Budget Fashionista eWorkbook being available. Stay up to date by subscribing to the newsletter, subscribers will get first dibs. But without further ado, and this was plenty, I’m handing it over to Bek… *insert wild cheers from the crowd*
I appreciate that everyone’s circumstances, priorities and income are different so I’m just sharing what works for me and I hope you find something helpful. No judgement here. Before you have the money to buy clothes you need to have your budget sorted. This helps stop you from spending money that is earmarked for other stuff like rent or bills. I won’t go into that here but you’re welcome to check out my series on putting together a simple budget and saving money over at KiKi and Tea.
Now you’re ready to proceed, budget in mind, to building that wardrobe of yours. Here are my top tips on saving money on clothes:
Put money aside each week for clothes.
This can be a small or large amount, depending on your income. I put $5-10 aside each week. This is my basic clothes budget. Some weeks I will scrimp in other areas like groceries so I can spend more on clothes. I don’t own a credit card, so I only spend what I have. Sometimes I use the money to buy something a bit out of my normal price range (like a $50 dress).
Go Op Shopping regularly.
The trick with op shopping is to go regularly and often, and spend time looking through everything. Pick a local store with a decent plus size section and become a regular visitor. If you’re over a size 22 (like me) I do realise that the pickings are slim but you never know when you’ll find a treasure. Go with low expectations and lots of patience.
Buy on Sale.
Stores like Autograph, City Chic and Asos Curve regularly discount their clothing. Autograph are fantastic for it (I can pick up items for $10-20 during a sale). Sign up to their store emails and you’ll be notified of sales (if the email isn’t about a sale, quickly delete it so you’re not tempted).
Use Discount Codes.
Check store emails for discount codes, and always google online for a code before buying something online.
Don’t Buy Clothes.
Just because something is on sale, doesn’t mean you need to buy it. If you have four red tops already, you don’t need another one. It may be a cute jacket, but you have 8 cute jackets in your wardrobe and have only worn 2 of them. Just because something fits doesn’t mean you need it.
Organise and Cull Your Wardrobe.
Every six months, weed out stuff in your wardrobe. If you didn’t wear that cardigan at all in the cold months, get rid of it. Those shoes weren’t as comfy as you expected? Get rid of them. I do this when I switch from summer to winter clothes and vice versa. Sort your clothes and store like things together. This way you know what you have, and it stops you buying multiples (like another pair of jeans when you already have four pairs). Sell your unwanted clothes, and use the money for your clothes budget win/win!
Shop at Cheaper Clothes Shops.
Check out places like Big W, Target and Kmart. In my opinion Big W has the best plus size range, but if you’re more in the 18-20 size range the other places have nice stuff. They’re good for shoes, bags and accessories too.
You may have noticed that I didn’t address the ethical clothing issue. I didn’t do this, because while I’m all for ethically sourced/made clothing, I know of no clothing like that available in my size. It is not something I can participate in. If you can, that’s great!
Search for plus size clothes on eBay, there are always people selling their stuff and bargains to be found. Try searching by brand and type. You can sell your own clothes on here too (just make sure you correctly apply postage costs). If you have a bunch of low-priced similar items, try selling them as a lot.
Learn to Mend and Sew.
Obviously this isn’t for everyone, but it’s worthwhile learning to sew buttons and fix rips to keep your clothes lasting longer (which saves money of course). Sewing can be expensive but check out the op shops. They have material and sewing supplies. I want to learn to sew a skirt and I currently have 3 vintage floral bed sheets ready to sew. They cost $2 each.
Change Your Attitude.
There is nothing wrong with having a limited wardrobe, and wearing the same outfit more than once a week. Cheap and cheerful can be a way of life. Use accessories like jewellery and scarves to cheaply change-up an outfit. Op shop clothes and clothes passed on to you by your friends are great too!
Also, I didn’t suggest buying higher quality clothing that may last longer. This is a great tip, but at my level of income, saving up to spend $50 on a t-shirt just isn’t value for money for me. But if you have more income to work with, and are able to fit into stores that have quality clothing, great! That tip may work for you. I do like buying the occasional dress from Domino Dollhouse with my savings, and I’ve also bought from Cult of California, but it’s not a regular shopping practice for me.
I’d love to hear about your experiences with saving money and clothes!
How do you manage it?
Chief Blogger at Suger Coat It; An Australian lifestyle blog for women who work for themselves. Melissa is a social media consultant & lover of stripes. Most weekends you’ll find her at the beach or home on the veranda kicking back. Around here, they call her Suger. Feel free to do the same.