Back a few years ago, I had to learn quickly how to find and buy cheap clothes. My husband began his own company and our budget was very, very small – we also learned to spend only $200 a month on groceries. Luckily, all of these cost-saving things allowed a smooth transition into when my husband took on another full-time job with excellent pay so that we could keep our budgets low each month. So I want to share with you how to find and buy cheap clothes. I like to call it “Clearance Heaven.”
First, I buy extremely cheap clothes. I rarely spend more than $10 per item and I always buy brand new clothing. But that doesn’t mean you need to start buying cheaper clothes/brands than you already do. Generally, I buy my kids’ clothes at Gap, Children’s Place, and Target. The majority of their clothes are from Gap, I like getting their jeans from Children’s Place, and every now and then I’ll buy some random items from Target but I use Target mostly for shoes.
Second, I always look for clearance items. Gap and Target usually have some great clearance items and Target usually has a good stream of clearance items for most of their departments. I have found stylish shirts at Target for $3-4 for women, shoes for $4-8 for women and children, and some really cute baby items for $5 and less. My greatest find was a maxi skirt for $1.26. More recently, I found some really cute kid slippers for $2.98. Clearance items are what I buy most of but it does take time to sift through items. I am the type of person who likes well-organized stores with few items in the store so clearance buying is overwhelming to me, but worth it. Oh, and another kicker, I always have my kids with me when I shop clearance. They’re pretty good at being patient but sometimes taking a snack or reminding them of a reward later helps.
Third, I like to buy when the store is having a sale or promotion of some sort. Holidays and the weeks after Christmas are the times when most stores have sales. I have a bad habit of hitting up grocery stores for candy the day or two after a major holiday and spending a lot of time at Target the day after Christmas. But it’s worth it. This past Christmas, from using Target’s “Cartwheel” app, I saved even more on clearance items. Most recently, I shopped at Gap where clearance was 50% off, H&M was 50% off clearance, and Target was an extra 20% off of clearance. I bought a pair of really cute flip flops from Gap for $2.48. As long as you’re okay with clothes that aren’t brand new for the season and might have been worn for a few weeks by other shoppers, sales on clearance are the way to go!
Fourth, it’s very important to know in the first place what items cost. Without a number to compare the sale prices to, you won’t know what is a good deal. I follow many boutiques on Facebook and receive their emails to compare prices. Also, once you start shopping a lot like I do, you’ll know better when something is a good deal and you’ll get a better idea of how long to wait until something might be even cheaper. However, don’t wait too long to buy an item on sale, especially if it’s the last one, as it might be gone the next time you check on it.
Last, when the item may be expensive, I try to buy a year/a couple of seasons ahead. Flip flops, swim suits, and snow gear are the main items I focus on each year to buy ahead for the next year. At the end of Summer and during the Fall, flip flops and swim suits will go on some great deals. I tend to look for snow gear for the kids right after Christmas. This year I found snow bibs for $10 and coats for between $10-15.
So this is how I get into my “Clearance Heaven” modes. This process of finding the cheapest and best deals took a little time for me to master. It took me learning how some of my favorite stores work and price items, as well as buying items at almost full price only to find them deeply discounted the next week.