Six Ways to Save Money on Clothes


One of my goals this year was to find more opportunities to save rather than splurge. As you likely can tell by following along, I love to shop. I really enjoy purchasing and wearing new items that I think are cute. I’ve been dressing up since I was little (just ask my parents) and never really stopped. 


As you can imagine, my bank account does not love the fact that I always want to shop. Being a college student also means I must account for other expenses too, and my “fun budget” does not go solely toward clothing. The pandemic and quarantine life really pushed me to find ways to save rather than splurge in the past year, and I have also become more cognizant of spending on clothes.


I’ll share a few tips and strategies I’ve picked up throughout the past few years as I’ve added to my closet while being conscious of other expenses in my life. This post may seem funny coming from a life and style blogger, but as I hope you can tell from my posts, I try to find ways to save on a college budget. I hope in sharing these tips and strategies that you may find a few ways to save a few extra dollars, too. 


Shop sales.

If I had to guess, 95% of my closet was accumulated through shopping sales. Whether it’s 10% off a Target sweater with a weekly deal or 60% off a Lilly Pulitzer shift dress during the semi-annual After Party Sale, sales are usually when I score some of my favorite and most worn items. Retailers like Target and Amazon have these weekly or on a larger promotional basis (i.e. Prime Day, Black Friday, etc.) while some like Lilly, Tuckernuck and Vineyard Vines are more scheduled events and happen a few times each year. Other retailers like LOFT, J. Crew, J. Crew Factory and Old Navy have sales nearly every day.


To best take advantage of these sales, I recommend being aware of when the stores you shop have sales and keep an eye on pieces you really like. For Lilly and Tuckernuck sales with big markdowns that don’t come very often, I will likely know what I want to snag because I checked the sight earlier in the season (this also helps eliminate overspending too). Target and Amazon are great places to stock up on basics, and even those will go on sale. For those stores with sales nearly every day, hold out for the good ones. For example, last week a sweater at LOFT I wanted was 30% off early in the week but marked down 50% by Friday. Though it can be annoying, holding out for that extra 20% off it is worth it!


Save on trendy pieces that may go out of style.

As a college student and someone who spends time on Instagram and TikTok, I am definitely influenced by the current trends of other girls my age. Though there are some trends I would never try, it can be easy to want to try a few (they are popular for a reason, right?). 


If you’re trying a trend, I recommend opting for a more affordable retailer like Target, Amazon, Walmart or H&M before spending money at a retailer with a higher price tag. A low price is a great way to dip your toes in without facing a huge financial burden or buyer’s remorse. It also works well if the trend goes out of style after a couple months or a year. I used this strategy with headbands last year. My first headband was only about $5, but now that I know I like the way they look on me and think they’ll be around for a while (I hope!), I’ve paid more for a few and grown my collection.


Find student discounts and sign up for email promos.

I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but always check if the store you’re shopping has a student discount! ASOS and H&M are both places with student discounts that I take advantage of. Here is a great list of student discounts you may not even know about.


Though I am usually one that wants as few retailer emails as possible, I am signed up for those I shop most frequently. You can often get 10% off after signing up, and you’ll be notified early of sales and discounts (those free shipping ones always catch my eye). You can always opt out after your first purchase or a few days if you’re not enjoying seeing the sales or deals, but I find that signing up for places like LOFT and J. Crew are helpful when I have my eyes on a certain item.


Find items you don’t need to take to a dry cleaner.

An easy way to save after you’ve purchased an item is by avoiding the dry cleaner. If you’re a college or high school student looking to build your young professional wardrobe, I recommend purchasing pieces that are washing machine-friendly. Dry cleaner expenses can add up over time, and these days many machine washable pieces look just as polished. My favorite place to start building your professional closest is LOFT for their business and business casual clothes. They have a great selection of capsule pieces and most are machine washable.


Think ahead for special events.

I’m reminiscing on a time when I used to wear cocktail dresses (or fun costumes, ha) to date parties. If you have a special occasion like a wedding, graduation or (when safe to do so) party that you know about well in advance, you can find some nice, higher priced items on sale if given the time. There’s nothing worse than kicking yourself for not thinking of something sooner and having to pull the trigger on a high full price tag. Planning ahead is always best and can also save you money, too. (I am just talking purchasing here, but in college there are always opportunities to outfit swap with friends, which can help you save too.)


Purchase items that are multipurpose. 

This is easier said than done, but I really try to consider when I would wear something I want to buy and where I would wear it. Many pieces in my closet can be dressed up or down with the right bottoms and shoes, and though I like to shop, I also like knowing that I have closet full of clothes I actually wear often.


For those of you who enjoy shopping as much as I do, I hope you found this post helpful and can apply one or more of these tips to your shopping habits. While it can be easy to click “add to cart,” shopping strategically can help add to your closet without hurting the bank account. 😉 


Do you have any additional tips for saving money while shopping for clothes?

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