How to Save Money on Clothes - When to Save & When to Splurge!

Think you can't have an amazing wardrobe filled with designer labels if you're on a strict budget?  Think again!  The key is knowing when to save and when to splurge.  Having a few high impact designer items - think handbags and shoes - can elevate your entire outfit, even if you have on a simple tee and jeans.  So let's get down to it ...

When to Splurge

Splurge on the items you wear most frequently, such as shoes, handbags, jackets, and even jeans.  In addition to being worn most frequently, these items also tend to stay in style longer, with trends usually spanning several seasons or years, rather than just one.  So you get more bang for your buck!

Let's do the math (for those who don't know, I'm an accountant ;)).  I just bought myself a $195 pair of Tory Burch Miller sandals.  I love them more than words can say, got them in a neutral color that I can wear with anything, and they are good quality shoes that should stay looking like new for several years with proper care.  Let's say I wear them 2 days a week on average, for 4 months out of the year, for 3 years.  That means they would get worn a total of 96 times, which equals $2.03 per wear.  Remember those super cute but majorly uncomfortable heels you bought for $30 because they were such a great deal, but you only wore 5 times?  Guess what?  That averages out to $6 per wear, which is triple the cost of your cute Tory sandals!  This is even more applicable for handbags, which you probably carry every single day for many months! 

When to Save and More Importantly, How to Save

Save on items you wear less frequently, such as super trendy items that will be out of style by next season.  Saving doesn't mean you always have to shop TJ Maxx or the Macy's clearance racks.  If you're diligent, you can get great deals on your favorite brands just by paying attention and following a few simple suggestions. 

Sign up for emails and text alerts at your favorite stores.

Most stores nowadays communicate all their best sales via email and text.  I know, I know, it's such a hassle and super annoying to have to weed through all those emails constantly just to get one item on sale.  But trust me, when you have your eye on a $100 top, 30% off is a pretty big deal.  Figure out a system to stay on top of your emails and stick to it.  I like to file all sale-related emails into one folder labeled with the current month's name.  I don't even read them unless I'm planning on shopping.  At the end of the month, the entire folder gets trashed.

Buy a Dupe

If you have your eye on a popular designer item, search around for a cheaper dupe (dupe is blogger speak for a cheaper version that looks almost identical to the original).  Chances are, most people won't even be able to tell the difference.  Most brands take cues from the big name designers and won't hesitate to put out dupes of the popular designer items of the season.  Check out the $1,000 Valentino Rockstuds and the $70 Sole Society dupes below.  I don't know about you, but I'd rather have the $930!

Shop Off Season

There are some amazing deals to be had at the end of the season!  This is especially great for basic items like plain tees and camis or cardigan sweaters.

Shop at Outlets & Discount Retailers

You really can get some sweet deals at the outlets.  If you don't have any outlets nearby, take a road trip with a friend and stock up!  Also, don't overlook your local discount retailers like TJ Maxx and Marshalls. They'll have brand new designer items at a fraction of the price.  Just don't go when you're in a rush.  You need ample time to sort through all the junk to find the hidden gems.  In the picture below, the Banana Republic top, Michael Kors handbag, J Crew sunnies, and Banana Republic bracelet were all recent finds during our trip to the Tampa Premium Outlets.


Consider Getting a Credit Card at your Favorite Store(s)

I hesitate to say this because I know credit cards can be a very bad thing for some people.  But many stores offer fantastic deals that are only for cardholders.  Just make sure you pay those bills off every month! ;)