Shopping for a New Wardrobe on a Budget

If there's anything that is hard to resist, it's the barrage of sale emails from your favorite stores that arrive in your inbox nearly daily. The shopping bug is hard to resist on a normal day. But, if you're in need of a wardrobe overhaul, or if you're working a new job, it can be hard to know how to start and maintain a budget while shopping. Nothing can kill a budget faster than a poorly timed shopping trip or a sale you thought was saving you money. If you're in the situation where you need to replace a large portion of your wardrobe, you need to take a good, hard look at your finances. You'll want to make sure you have the room to fit some shopping trips into your monthly budget and assess how much you can do at once. We've gathered some budget-smart shopping tips for anyone looking to overhaul or upgrade their wardrobes on a tight budget.

Be Smart About Sales

A great way to start shopping on a budget is to utilize all those sale emails you get, but not all of them, and not to an absurd extent. Keep an eye on the sales to know when you might be able to get the best deal on some higher-end pieces. For instance, watch for sales on items like blazers and pants, because those aren't always going to be on sale, and are often the pieces that will cost you the most when at full price. Don't buy things that are useless or impulsive sales buys, they may be tempting but it is necessary to buy sale items of use. Those impulsive kinds of items almost always go on sale, like sweaters, so you don't necessarily need to pounce on every single one.

Pace Yourself

The next piece of advice is to shop slowly; you might need to do a wardrobe overhaul, but that doesn't mean you need to do it all at once. This is again where you'll need to be strategic, because if you go out and buy every single thing you need in one shopping trip, you will easily break the bank. Set a goal of picking up one big ticket item a month with a couple smaller ones. Start by picking up a pricier, office-friendly blazer with some mid-priced tops and a pair of pants. If you go buy a couple key pieces or one outfit at a time, you'll be able to work your overhaul into your monthly budget for a few months. This way, you spend a little bit of money a few times over a few months, instead of one enormous budget-busting amount.

Don't Always Buy New

There's no rule saying that your new wardrobe must be entirely brand-new (it may seem like there's a rule about this, but we promise you, anyone telling you that all your clothes need to come from a high-end retail store is lying). There arepeople who can afford to replace entire wardrobes on a whim, and often, they will bring those likely-still-good clothes to places for resale. When you're looking for a lot of new wardrobe pieces, consignment shops and thrift stores are going to be your best friend. Thrift stores tend to have some lower-scale items and may be best for things like tops or accessories. Consignment shops are good, because they're designed to give money back to the people who brought the clothes, have some better quality and higher value items and would be good for your big-ticket items. If you spend some time scouring second-hand stores, you might be able to find some high-quality items for much lower prices than at retail shops.

Take Good Care

The best thing you can do to save yourself clothing money in the long run is to make sure you take good care of the clothes you have and take especially good care of any new, high-quality items you buy. Nothing ruins an expensive piece of clothing faster than one wrong wash or a bad storage job. Take care to read all the labels on your clothes, and wash or dry clean accordingly. Store winter clothes made of wool in dry places with cedar chips to avoid moth damage, and don't put anything in the dryer that shouldn't be exposed to high temperatures. If you pay attention and follow directions, your clothes will last much longer, and you won't have to replace items as often.