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The Digerati Life: Keeping Clothing Costs Down

By Guest Blogger(view all posts by SiliconValleyBlogger)
at 9:11AM Wednesday July 28, 2010
under Money Saving Tips

Gals just love their clothes and their makeup. While some budget-conscious women may have succeeded in keeping their clothes and makeup spending to a minimum, other ladies tend to blow their cash on impulse spending sprees.

Here are a few tips to help you control your spending urges:
  1. Plan and schedule your purchases. While it may feel great to buy clothes and makeup on impulse, think of your budget. Wrecking your budget is a bad idea and having to cut some items from your budget to accommodate your impulse spending may not be a good thing either. Beware of this type of spending as its effects can impact your long term cashflow. It's a good idea to use something like Quicken financial software to plan your purchases.

  2. Avoid window shopping. If you don't see it, you won't want it. So if you're not sure if you can leave your wallet behind when you go window shopping, then don't even think about going to the mall to while your time away.

  3. Limit the cash you carry. When you decide to go malling, it should be for stuff you really plan to buy. It's best if you bring the exact amount you need for purchases. If you can't trust yourself with credit cards (even if they happen to be cards offering those juicy 0% interest rates), then bring cash on your shopping trip.

Now if you know that you *really* need a wardrobe change, how about considering a few wardrobe "refurbishments" instead? So instead of taking a trip to the mall and buying a 10-piece line of clothing to satisfy that feeling that you need something new, why don't you take a trip to the attic and find something to "make new" instead?

While makeup has a shelf life, clothes don't. You may find that last year's impulse buy could be this year's stunning centerpiece. You may keep your clothes as they are, or you may alter areas of the clothing that may look better with a little modification. It's really up to you. Your creativity is the only limit! And if you do not have the sewing skills needed to alter your pieces, and you feel like your clothes have already gone out of style you may:
  • Trade or barter with girl friends or even relatives who are the same size. While not everyone may be comfortable with trading, many people are. As long as the clothes have been properly washed and soaked in antibacterial fabric conditioner, there should be no concerns regarding hygiene.

  • Hold a garage sale! While you may not want your clothes any longer, other people may actually be looking for the particular pieces you have.

  • Put your clothes up for sale or on auction via eBay. This auction site is an online garage sale marketplace. Here's where you can put up your used items for auction or for sale. Selling online is known to be pretty fun and exhilarating.

If you'd rather be altruistic and send your old clothes to the Salvation Army or some other charity, then by all means do an act of kindness. One benefit to doing this? You can claim your donations as tax deductions the next time you file your taxes. It may help take the sting away in case you do blow a few extra dollars on new clothes.

If you want to save money while shopping, here are some suggestions for places and events to check out:
  • Sales. That blouse you've been pining for could be priced at 20% to 70% off its original price. Waiting for a sale could be well worth it.

  • Discount Outlets or Factory Outlets. These outlets have discounted versions of those clothes in malls. You may be able to get great bargains from here.

  • Thrift stores. If you're the absolute fashionista (or style snob), then 60% to 80% of the merchandise in thrift stores may come across to you as substandard. However, you may be able to spot great buys and a visit to a thrift store can prove to be surprisingly productive.

  • Garage Sales. You might be able to find amazing pieces in someone's garage sale. Who knows, right?

  • Flea Markets. Even if you can't find the perfect clothes here, you may still be able to find accessories. You may discover some nice earrings, bracelets and necklaces at your local flea markets.

  • Trade Fairs. A mom's amazing knitting could be your best find for Fall. Or someone's cool craft shirt could be your top for the season. Either way, trade fairs are fun places to look for good clothing buys.
You really don't need to break the bank in order to look good. Your clothes don't need to be from the House of Dereon or the Haus of Gaga, for that matter! All you really need is a good eye to spot creative and classy pieces, or a good eye to find great bargains and cool online deals. And who knows, your best fashion finds may even be from your own attic. Enjoy indulging your inner fashionista!

This guest post is brought to you by SVB, a mom of two and a full time blogger. She runs The Digerati Life and The Smarter Wallet, which covers topics ranging from saving and credit card management to stock and options trading and investing.