Frugal Living: How to Save on Clothing

Clothing is a big expense in a family. Especially if you have growing little ones. But even if you are a fashionista, you can still save hundreds on your clothing budget with a little strategizing.  Throughout this week, I’ll share my favorite ways to save without compromising quality.  We begin with a trip to the thrift store.

As a reformed thrift store snob, I know what some of you may be thinking. But mixed in with the stuff from the back of grandma’s closet, you’ll often find some amazing bargains on great brand-name clothing. I have found everything from handbags to halloween costumes, dress shirts to designer jeans. That’s not a rare occurrence. I’m talking every. Single. Month.

You can realize the best success by following a few tips:

  1. Talk to an employee – Find out if there are regularly scheduled discount days and sales.  Some stores even have an email list to keep customers apprised of events and special discounts.
  2. Note store hours – Many stores are closed at least one day per week, but they often still accept donations during this time.  The following day is a great day to shop because they have an extra day of donations available.
  3. Visit more than one store – Not all thrift stores are created equal.  Be sure to check out all the thrift stores in your immediate area to determine if there is one that suits your needs and preferences better than the others.
  4. Go 2-4 times per month – Some weeks I hit the motherload.  Other weeks I walk out empty handed.  The trick is to remain consistent and take the deals as I find them.  In the long run, the money I save more than pays for the time investment.

For most families, having a wardrobe consisting entirely of thrift store finds is not realistic or desirable (although I’m sure a few of you are doing it successfully!) For me, it is one of many tools I use to keep our clothing budget low. It’s usually where I begin my shopping, so I can realize the biggest savings.

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing another of my favorite tricks. If you have any, please share in the comments!

Assignment: Plan a trip to a local thrift store you haven’t visited in awhile. Talk to an employee to get the inside scoop on the best days to shop.

How to Save On Clothing Series:

How to Save on Clothing Part 2 – Ebay
How to Save on Clothing Part 3 – Consignment Sales
How to Save on Clothing Part 4 – Consignment Stores
How to Save on Clothing Part 5 – Stacking Retail Offers


  1. I absolutely love your ideas of shopping at the thrift store!! I have found so many deals that it amazes me! If more people, would shop there, they would SAVE SOO much money! Gotta luv those bargains, especially on kids clothes.

  2. I buy all of my clothes at thrift stores. Be aware that some stores pricing is based on brand, not quality. I have routinely found items like Polo jeans marked at $8, despite the big hole in the behind. I also plan on half-price days to only purchase items that can be tried out WITHOUT a dressing room. Sometimes the line for the fitting rooms is 45 minutes long. Find stores located close to a college campus if there is one in your area. Often, they have the trendiest clothes because that’s where students drop their unwanted stuff off.