Monday, December 30, 2013

Money Hip Chats: Clothes-Shopping Strategies

Lisa: Okay Lauren, my turn to pick the topic. Let’s talk about clothes.

Lauren: That’s a good one. I think one of the best ways to save money (and space in your closet) is to figure out what you have and what you actually need. If you have the patience for it, I would go through your closet, donate/discard the stuff you never wear, and actually inventory the remaining clothes. I used this app (only for the super anal-- you have been warned), but you could just do a simple count by type. I did this this summer and realized I have approximately five billion skirts and only two pairs of shorts. I love to buy/get skirts, but I really only “need” four to eight church outfits. Shorts, on the other hand, I wear six days of the week (in the summer). The next time I bought clothes, I passed on skirts and bought shorts instead-- a much better use of money.

Lisa: So funny, I never thought of that! Good idea. I’ll have to check that out. Does it analyze your wardrobe for you and tell you, “Seriously, Lisa. Stop buying black/grey/dark blue shirts. Move on.” Well, as someone who is basically limited to online shopping, my tip is to buy in bulk (being 6 feet tall, few brick and mortar stores have clothes that fit me well and if they do, it’s usually limited). I can usually get great online coupons (up to 50% off) and free shipping, but sometimes you have to hit a minimum purchase amount. I shop Banana Republic/Gap/Old Navy a lot because they have so many “tall” clothes. I have the Banana card (my only store credit card besides Target--if you’ve read our credit score posts, you know to be wary of having too many store cards) so I get free shipping at any of these stores if my purchase is $50 or more. Rather than buy what I want and add a bunch of random things I don’t need to hit that minimum, I wait until I need several things and buy all at once. So Lauren, how often do you buy new clothes? Do you buy new clothes for every season? (Having grown up in a family whose motto was “Friends don’t let friends pay retail price,” I didn’t even know the concept of buying new clothes for every fashion season even existed until recently. The stuff that’s new and “in fashion” is usually the pricey stuff!

Lauren: I am not a recreational shopper. In fact, I kind of hate it a little-- I cannot explain this since I love clothes. Aaron and I usually do one big outlet run a year and just get whatever we need then. (I am not one of those people who enjoy the thrifting process- but if you do, more power to you. Although online sites like may change my thinking-- I am definitely going to start using this for kids' clothes.) In the meantime, I usually fill in the gaps with online purchases and birthday and Christmas gifts. I tend to put things off until I really need something. Like until it’s embarrassing and has holes in it. This has more to do with being lazy than being cheap. Last weekend I finally broke down and bought a couple pairs of maternity jeans (which I have trouble buying online). I was so frustrated with my other, ever-tightening, regular pants (which all either had holes in the knee, were being held together at the waist by a hair band, or were ugly and I never liked them anyway)  that I spent a HUGE chunk of my maternity wardrobe budget on them, but I felt pretty good about it. I really like them, and I literally am going to wear one or the other of these two pairs of jeans EVERY DAY for many more months. I’d say generally I like to spend more on pants, shoes, and jackets that I plan on wearing frequently, and less on tops or colored pants and shoes. What do you spend the least on and what do you spend more on?

Lisa: Yeah, I shell out a little more for the staples (a friend I met in college successfully turned me into a leather shoe snob) but I buy the “trendy” items cheap (H&M, Forever 21, etc). By the time those items fall apart, it’ll probably be out of style anyway. And I understand what you mean about shopping stress. Yay for being debt-free a couple months out of college (so worth all the scrimping), but one casualty of our “no-frills, no new clothes” budget period is I lost all of my clothes shopping skills. My new strategy is to Pin outfits to my “Outfits” board and when I’m out shopping, I pull up those pictures and try to match items. It’s kind of embarassing how fashion-challenged I am, but we do what we can, huh?

Okay, since you told everyone the last fashion item you bought (yay for pregnancy jeans--so comfy), here’s the last thing I bought: A necklace from H&M. I used a coupon from Wrapp, so at the end of the day, I shelled out $4. I like it because it matches most things and can jazz up drab outfits (my goal for most necklaces).
Sorry for the awkward face crop out. I took this picture the morning after my first flying-alone-with-a-baby-and-toddler experience, so I was looking less than totally refreshed. ;)

Lauren: I just checked out your Pinterest board-- and I may or may not be stealing all of your ideas... Well, now it’s your turn, folks! Tell us about your clothes shopping strategies, successes, and annoyances!

Share-- How do you save money on clothes?

Tell us-- What do you splurge on?

What type of clothing are you willing to spend extra on?


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  2. I should definitely go analyze my closet. And buy more shorts.

    1. Excellent :) My wardrobe was so unbalanced it was ridiculous.


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