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How To Dress Well On A Budget

Even if you don’t consider yourself a fashionista, you probably still want to dress well on a budget. With a little savviness, it is possible to save money on clothing and still be fashionable and classy.

You don’t need to spend $1000 on a purse to look good.

The truth is, clothing costs can add up.

This is especially true if you have children who are outgrowing clothes non-stop.

Even if you buy cheap clothes, it adds up fast. A new pair of shoes from Costco, trendy jeans for the man of the house, and new PJs for the kids may seem like insignificant purchases.

But over time, clothing purchases can make a big dent in your budget.

Instead of curbing your craving to purchase clothing, you can still indulge in a bit of retail therapy without breaking the bank!

how to dress well on a budget

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Below you will find some easy money-saving tips to slash your clothing expenses and help you dress well on a budget – even if your budget is more beer than champagne!

How to Dress Well on a Budget

1. Buy Custom-Made

You’re probably thinking that custom clothing costs a fortune.

And, if you go to the best dressmaker in the state, it probably will. But, what if you were able to stimulate the handmade economy and help a budding, young fashion designer while snagging a custom piece on the cheap?

You certainly can do all of the above on a very limited budget by scouting a young, talented designer on handmade ecommerce websites like and

Their rates are generally very affordable for just about any piece under the sun for the simple fact that the designers are still dipping their toes into the water.

The designers don’t have the adequate following in order to justify a premium rate. Take advantage of this!

Replicate that to-die-for Anne Klein dress with a price tag of $200 for just $60.

Rather than buying a trendy “with love” t-shirt, have one custom-made for you for about $15. Anything is possible with the flexibility of custom-made clothing!

2. Visit Yard Sales

Thrift shops are great if you want to dress well on a budget.

It can be time-consuming to dig around a thrift store but you can often unearth a treasure or two.

Another awesome place to check out are yard sales.

When you troll a yard sale for clothing, it’s best to head to an upscale part of town in order to find the best deals from the best designers.

Generally, yard sales that are held in ritzy parts of towns aren’t held for the proceeds, but to make more room for new purchases!

Therefore, prices are often dismal. Plus, you’re able to haggle down something that’s low priced to begin with.

3. Use Coupons

Coupons are the “it” accessory for savvy shoppers. And, there’s a good reason for their popularity. Coupons save you money on the items you already expect to buy!

How to find coupons

Check out your favorite designer’s website and sign up for their newsletter.

Within some newsletters, there may be a coupon code to use online or a printable coupon to use in-stores.

You can also find coupons on a cashback site like Befugal.

You can also request the manufacturer to send coupons directly to your mailbox.

Unless stated clearly on the website or on the coupon itself, many outlet stores do accept all coupons that the full-price designer boutique would deem valid.

If you take your coupon to the outlet store where all items have already been marked down about 30% and use your coupon, you can sometimes save in the realm of 50% and 75% off of a quality piece.

If you’re concerned as to whether your outlet store will accept your coupon, call them directly.

Unfortunately, some outlet stores prohibit the use of coupons because the company’s profit would be nonexistent if you were to save, say 85%.

4. Shop Online

Be a savvy online shopper by using cash back sites before you shop.

My favorite cash back site for clothes shopping is Rakuten (formerly called Ebates).

Keep an eye out for double days, I’ve got up to 20% cash back at Old Navy before.

Another really good cash back site is BeFrugal. It offers a $10 welcome bonus too!

Another tip for online shopping is to abandon your cart.

This may sound weird but retailers keep an eye on your shopping habits and they notice shoppers who add things to their carts and then click away from their site.

Often, you will find an email in your inbox within an hour or so of abandoning your cart asking you to go back to the site.  And sometimes, there is a coupon included!

If you have the time and no coupon on hand, it can be a good idea to create your cart and then take a step back and wait for the abandon cart email to hit your gmail.

5. Check For Seconds

If you have spotted something that you love but can’t afford, check all the items of the same style in the store.

I’ve been lucky a few times by finding a dress I want with a stain or ripped seam.

Take it to customer service and most stores will give you some money off your purchase.

A 10 minute sewing session has saved me up to $20 before.

6. Stick to Classics

One of the easiest ways to save money on clothing is to buy classic items that don’t go out of style.

Not only is fast fashion awful for the environment (think of all the waste!) but it is also a huge waste of your money.

One way to save money this way is to fill your closet with classics (white top, blue jeans, grey cardigan etc) but then each season buy one of two trendy pieces to update your wardrobe.

When you buy the classics, make sure they are quality items that will last you for years.

Take care when washing them and hand them to dry rather than using a tumble dryer.

7. Create a Clothing Budget

Working out a price per wear can help you decide if it is worth buying a certain piece of clothing.

You can create a plan using one of these free budgeting printables.

For example, I try to keep my price per wear to under $1.

So let’s say I buy a pair of jeans and I estimate that I will wear them twice a week for 2 years. That means I’ll wear them 200 times minimum.

In this case I can justify spending up to $200 on a pair of quality jeans that will last and look good.

This method can help you to dress well on a budget.

You will need to decide whether it is really worth splurging on a trendy item that you will only wear for one or two occasions.

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How to save money on clothes- dress well on a budget