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How to save money and buy clothing on a budget

With the cost of living biting, households need cheaper ways of doing their daily spending.

And while clothes shopping can be expensive, there are some easy ways to cut costs.

How to save money and buy clothing on a budget

Here are ten top tips for cutting your clothes shopping budget.  

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Cutting clothing costs 

From inflation to higher mortgage rates, households are feeling the squeeze on their finances. And, from clothes to food, people are looking for cheaper ways to do their normal shopping.  

When it comes to clothes shopping, there are a range of different ways to cut back on costs and save money, so we’ve put together a guide containing some top tips and ways you can cut back on clothing costs.  

  1. Start by clearing out your closet 

Whether or not we’re prepared to admit it, most of us have some clothes hanging around that we rarely use.

And sentimental attachment or not, getting rid of these unused items is a good place to start when it comes to streamlining your clothing budget.

Moving on unloved items can help you earn some extra cash, so that before you do any clothes shopping, you’ve already got a little extra to spend.   

There are plenty of ways you can move on old clothing for good money, whether it’s peer-to-peer apps like Depop or Vinted, or existing recycling schemes that give you some money for your recycled items, clearing out is a good way to start shopping on a budget.  

  1. Choose quality  

The surest way to rack up an expensive clothing bill is to buy low-price, often low-quality garments that need replacing every few months.

Of course, buying designer items isn’t always an option, but sometimes targeting mid-price, higher-quality items can help you get the best value for your money.

Good quality clothes should last several years before needing to be replaced, so this is one strategy for keeping your costs down over a longer period of time. 

  1. Shop second hand 

Shopping second hand is one of the best ways to find affordable clothes.

From charity shops to websites to apps, there are plenty of ways for you to find affordable second-hand clothes.

While you always need to bear in mind that shopping online doesn’t come with any quality guarantee, second-hand clothes are a simple and easy way to cut down on your shopping bills. 

  1. Make do and mend 

Fashion retailers are getting better and better when it comes to repairing instead of replacing.

Certain retailers have started offering in-store repairs, while others offer a dedicated service that repairs any damaged clothes for free.

Many shoes can also be repaired by taking them to a local cobbler who may be able to attach a new sole.  

Repairing damaged clothes is more affordable than many people think, and is certainly more affordable and sustainable than replacing clothes every few years.  

  1. Swap children’s clothes 

While clothes for young children are usually affordable, needing to buy new clothes as they grow can quickly become expensive.

Fortunately, there are many ways to swap children’s clothes for free, thanks to businesses and platforms offering easy exchanges.  

Even if you’re not swapping clothes, it pays to try and source toddler’s sizes through families and friends who may be able to give you free items, rather than you having to buy new ones.  

  1. Buy children’s shoes 

If they fit, you could buy children’s shoes instead of adult shoes, and save several pounds in the process.

The same shoes, with usually the same quality, are sold in children’s sizes at significant discounts by major shoe retailers. Be sure to keep an eye out for the same shoes in children’s sizes.    

  1. Try to time your buying with sales 

It goes without saying the best time to buy your clothes is to wait until the sales.

Make sure to keep an eye out for January sales, Black Friday sales and end of season sales as these are normally the best times to find good quality clothes at major discounts.  

One drawback with eyeing up the sales is that clothes are frequently out of season.

However, this only means that you need to plan ahead and buy clothes that are out of season, and subsequently, much more affordable.  

  1. Target discount codes 

Discounts are a major part of any modern shopper’s arsenal.

From smart tech that scans the internet for discount codes to easy and simple discounts gained through filling in surveys, there are always a few discount codes hanging around just waiting to be used.

If you’re confident in your ability to get a good price, you may be able to make use of some.  

  1. Always shop around 

Never just settle for one price. Compare shops and similar items to find the best possible prices.

You may be able to find a similar item for a significantly cheaper price.  

  1. Keep a rein on your spending 

The best way to keep costs down is to maintain a good level of discipline over your spending.

Try to keep to tight spending rules, and for each item of clothing you buy, try to find one to move on, too.  


The cost of living is having an impact on all of us.

For help keeping on top of your finances, and for tips on how to best manage your money, speak to a financial adviser.

Find your next adviser with Unbiased.  

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About the author
Kate has written for leading publications and blue chip companies over the last 20 years.