Getting a Handle on Clothing Costs

Clothing costs can be a real budget breaker, particularly in a family with children. Kids can outgrow clothing long before they have had a chance to wear them out. And if you need to maintain a certain kind of wardrobe for work, updating that wardrobe and laundry or dry cleaning services can be expensive too. So how do you combat the high cost of clothing?


Be smart about buying clothes first and you can really stretch your clothing dollars. For kids, buy from garage sales, secondhand and thrift stores or even discount stores like Dollar General. The kids will probably outgrow them before they wear out anyhow. Remember, because they are growing, chances are they will only wear the item for one season.

Don’t be afraid to accept hand-me-downs from friends, neighbors or family members. What you can’t use, you can always donate. For bigger ticket items like winter coats, snow suits or formal wear, try outlet stores and consignment shops.

For adults, you can also use the second hand and thrift stores. I have found some beautiful garments, some still bearing their original sales tags, for less than half their original cost in these types of stores. Once you put it on, no one will know where you bought it.

Another way to keep the costs low is to keep it simple. Consider most men’s office clothing. Most wear basic color for pants: black, brown, dark blue and tan. Shirts are also usually limited in colors and patterns. They can mix and match pretty easily by keeping to this simple color selection. They can spruce things up by changing ties to make an outfit look different. Women can do similar things. Buy a variety of blouses and tops and several skirts and slacks that can be mixed and matched. You’ll spend less on the clothing and have less laundry or dry cleaning to do.


If your clothes are dry clean only, wear them several times before having them cleaned. Slacks and skirts can often be worn more than once or twice before needing laundering. Learn to sew. You can make minor repairs like replacing a button or fixing a seam split. This will save you a considerable amount compared to having to replace the item.

Make Your Own

If you have a knack for sewing, you can shop for fabric on sale and create your own wardrobe. Yard sales and second hand shops often have fabric and sewing notions you can pick up affordably. Even if you just make pajamas, Halloween costumes or the kids clothes, you’ll save yourself a bundle and possibly spend some time engaging in a hobby you enjoy too.