Money & Career

Want to save money on clothing? Be patient

My husband is a very patient clothes shopper - he makes a point of going back to his favourite stores, waiting for stuff to go on sale. The guy can stalk a pair of pants for weeks (months even) until they get cheap enough.

My husband is a very patient clothes shopper – he makes a point of going back to his favourite stores, waiting for stuff to go on sale. The guy can stalk a pair of pants for weeks (months even) until they get cheap enough. He never buys anything full price – and he has an eye for quality. 

I am not that kind of shopper – I lack patience. And as I’ve learned, this lack of patience is a major barrier to frugal living. It’s not that I overspend on clothes – I always stick to my budget. It’s just that I’ll often go out and buy cheap stuff in the moment, without holding out for more quality items to go on sale so they fit my budget. Especially when I don’t have much time to shop in my life. 
A classic example of this was my attempt to buy new work clothes after my daughter was born. My old stuff was so tight I couldn’t breathe properly. So with a limited budget, I quickly went to a cheap and cheerful shop I like and stocked up on staples – a pair of pants, a skirt and a few shirts. I looked and felt great, for about a month. 
Then, after a few washes, one of the new blouses I’d got for $19 fell apart… literally. The pants quickly lost their fit and colour, and the t-shirts all got little holes right at belly button level (why does this always happen?). After a few months they went into the rag pile. By the time the season was over, I was back to square one with my wardrobe.
Since then, I have been trying to change my ways. I’ve been trying to become more frugal about how I shop for my clothes – I’m now aiming for quality and in order to afford it, I’m shaking up my whole clothes shopping approach. 
For example, this summer, I bought a couple of quality work staples at a higher-end store. All the items were from the previous winter, and heavily discounted. It took a few visits to the shop, but I ended up patiently buying some good staple pieces for my wardrobe – I have worn them many times already and they still look great. 
I also waited until January to buy my winter coat even though I was dying to pick one up in October. It was well worth waiting because I saved 60 percent off the original price. I have also discovered eBay for clothes – you can try on the item you want at a store, and then find it in your size online usually for a lot less. Sure, it takes some time and planning but it’s worth it. 
Having laid off the cheap stuff (for the most part) in pursuit of a little bit of quality, my closet looks a lot better. Of course, I still love my cheap and cheerful shops – but I’m really wary of loading up on low-quality stuff that’s going to end up in a landfill after a few months. I’d rather get something that’s built to last. 
Now, if any of you have tips for frugal clothes shopping, I’d love to hear them!