Whether dressing yourself or a whole family, clothing takes a good-sized chunk out of a budget. Apparel for work, school, or play can ratchet up the allotment of funds on a regular basis, pulling money away from other needed items. Factor in growing children, who seem to need new clothes every few weeks, and the garment budget can be stretched to the limit. However, all is not lost, for there are a number of options to help limit the amount of money regularly spent on fabric finery. Below are a few examples.
Hand Me Downs
Let’s start with the simplest solution when children are involved. If only a few years apart, handing down clean and gently used items from one child to another is the easiest way to save money. This is truer now that it was in the past, since clothing styles don’t change as much today as they did in, for example, the 1980s. Of course, if your children are of opposite sexes, hand me downs only work in cases where they pass along unisex t-shirts and sweatshirts. Incidentally, hand me downs aren’t just for little kids; if close to an adult sister or brother, see if they’re willing to pass down some of their garments when done using them.
Thrift stores aren’t locations for vintage garments alone. These businesses now stock clean, modern, gently used clothing for all ages. In addition to independent outlets, nonprofit establishments like Goodwill Industries and Arc are located across the globe. The good thing about many of these businesses are regularly scheduled sales days where items are significantly reduced to make way for new inventory. For example, both Goodwill and Arc offer regular half-off sales on weekends and holidays.
The best time to go to a regular department store for clothes is when one season ends and another begins. As an example, winter clothes receive drastic markdowns once January arrives and they need to make room for spring and summer fashions. These transition periods are the prime time to stock up on essentials like coats, dresses, hats, gloves, etc. If purchasing for children, make sure you buy clothing one size larger than they are now to accommodate for yearly growth spurts.
One of the more recent trends are stores offering clothing buybacks. Customers bring in their clean and gently used garments and, in return, receive cash compensation or a credit to purchase clothes in their establishment. There’s both good and bad to this. The good is the amount of credit given is normally larger than the amount of cash received. Because the clothes at these locations are already discounted, store credit can go a long way. The downside to these types of stores is they can be selective, meaning they may not accept all that you bring in. Examples of clothing buyback establishments include the children’s store Once Upon a Child, Clothes Mentor for women’s fashions, and Plato’s Closet for teens and young adults.