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8 Frugal Ways to Dress Like a Million Bucks on the Cheap { Or How We Save Money on Buying Clothes!}

save money on clothes shopping

Is it just me or does the cost of good clothes seem to just keep going up year after year? I guess it is the latter, right?

Although, we live on a budget, we, also, like to buy good {and often, branded} clothes and accessories but only as many as we can use regularly without stuffing our wardrobe with every latest fashion statement.However, with the spiralling costs of clothes, looking good on a budget doesn’t come easy. BUT, with some thought and planning, we’ve learnt how to dress smart on the cheap.

That’s right.

Here’s how YOU can also learn to save money on clothes but still have a fantastic wardrobe and look great:

1. Make a list

This really helps us in keeping our shopping spend low. We make a list of all the things we need in our wardrobe from shirts, t-shirts, cargo-style shorts and pants for me, dresses and skirts for Manini or outfits, handbags, shoes for Prerna. We sometimes make the list on paper and keep it neatly tucked in our wallets but mostly we make and keep it on our smartphones and strike out whatever we’ve bought to keep it updated.

2. Stick to what you need

As with most things if you stick to what you need and not want you would hardly ever bust your budget. That does not mean that you shop mechanically and can never try the latest trend or something that catches your fancy. As long as you focus mostly on what you need and less on what you want you are unlikely to overspend.

3. Sign up with favorite stores for sales updates

We love to stick to tried-and-tested brands for most of  our shopping needs. So, we mostly buy our western clothes from Marks & Spencers, Shoes from Clarks, ethnic wear from a store called, Suvaasa and so on. We leave our mobile number and email address with these stores to get updates on sales. Most of the stores here in India, have sales twice a year which normally start on a weekend.

Since we receive these updates in advance we get to the store on the first day of the sale and get to choose best pick from the stock. Some stores also run a special weekend sale for registered customers before they open it up to the public.

The next time you’re in your favorite shoe store or clothes boutique, ask them if they too have a customer loyalty program and sign up!

4. Pick designer brands for a dime

We save quite a lot when picking outfits from stores that offer export surplus clothes. A lot of consignments of designer or otherwise great brands sometimes are not claimed by the buyers for various reasons. These clothes are then sold at a fraction of the original price and are real steals. We often get brands like Tommy Hilfiger, GAP and a host of others at a fraction of their original cost at these stores. You can check out online stores like dress-for-less and The Outnet  for the same kind of shopping experience!

5. Shop ahead of the season

We generally stock up on winter wear for the next year at the end of the season sale. We do the same for summers and often get unbelievable deals on apparel and accessories.Stores, often, offer heavy discounts at the end of the season since they’re getting ready for the new season launch, and so want to get rid of whatever’s left from the previous season. Good for them, better for you!

6. Be a wardrobe-savvy shopper

Take a good, hard look at your wardrobe and see what are the basics that you already have, the dominant color palette and then, mix-and-match when you buy. Need help finding your sense of style? Here are some fashion tips by stylist Jill Marinelli.  Keep your wardrobe and your personal style in mind when adding new pieces.

7. Avoid credit cards

I know I may be stirring the pot here but I,  personally,  am a big fan of credit cards as long as one uses them with restraint. However, if like a lot of people, you find that credit cards tend to make you overspend then leave them at home before you go out to shop for clothes. If you just carry some cash with you then you can never overspend on that awesome pair of boots or the perfect dress that you see in the store.

8. Shop online

You can sign up for sites like Amazon, that let you select the retailers and items you want from one convenient place and often at attractive discounts, cutting back on the number of emails and alerts you’ll receive and also help you knock off some of the items on your list which you can’t find in the stores or find at full price.

More Frugal Fashion Resources:

Budget Style Tips for the Work-at-Home Mom

How to Buy Clothes for Your Toddler

15 Ways to Save Money on Holiday Shopping {but really applicable everywhere!} 

How do you save money on buying clothes? See you in the comments!

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Mayank is married to Prerna Malik and is blessed to be working with her in their business, Social Media Direct. He and Prerna enjoy brainstorming content strategy and social media solutions for their clients.
About Mayank Malik

Mayank is married to Prerna Malik and is blessed to be working with her in their business, Social Media Direct. He and Prerna enjoy brainstorming content strategy and social media solutions for their clients.


  1. I have a thrift shop near me that often carries higher priced labels like Anne Klein and Anne Taylor. I like those brands because the designs are classic and I can change the look with accessories.

    I also have Kohl’s card which I use during their Kohl’s cash times. I buy clothes at Kohl’s that I can’t find at the thrift shop and get the cash back. I also get the kids’ shoes on clearance at Kohl’s. For me, I shop the clearance racks at DSW and use my rewards.

  2. That’s great Barb, you can sometimes get absolute steals at these clearance racks.

    Thanks so much for sharing.

    Mayank :-)

  3. We visit thrift stores and clearance sales. I started making our own clothes using the Lutterloh system… the clothes fit better than most store purchases and the beauty of Lutterloh is that I don’t have thousands of different patterns for my family. I have only about a hundred mini-patterns that are used to draw out a full-size pattern. Easily adapted for growing children. I’ve been able to find fabric and notions through clearance and “bulk” fabric stores and websites.

    • Thanks so much for sharing!

      It’s awesome that you make your own clothes which fit well and don’t break the bank as well.

      Mayank :-)

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