Mar 18, 2010

Unnecessary Expenses: Part 6 (Merrick)

I grew up in a family where nice clothing was not really a big deal. We all dressed fairly well, and I never felt like my clothes were dorky or cheap looking. But none of us had a problem shopping at Ross, Old Navy, Payless Shoes, and other inexpensive clothing stores.

I would hope we could all agree that shopping solely at Nordstrom or Anthropologie or other high-price stores is an unnecessary expense. Those are luxury-clothing stores, and although they have great stuff and I see nothing wrong with shopping there if you have the money (and really love spending a lot of money on clothes), it is probably not the place to be shopping if you are looking for ways to cut back.

Here are a few things to consider when you’re shopping, and are several of the main reasons I shop at cheap clothing stores:

1. The majority of my clothes are not pieces that I will wear for the rest of my life. They are things that are cute for the season, so quality is less important to me because I won’t be wearing it in a year once it’s out of style.
2. Consider price per wearing – only spend money on something you’ll wear all the time. Otherwise, hit the sale rack. In the words of Victoria Beckham, the most expensive item of clothing is the one you only wear once.
3. When shopping for your kids, remember that they’ll grow out of it in six months (or less!), or put a hole in the knee the first time they wear those new pants, so shopping at cheap stores is definitely the way to go.
4. 5-10 years ago, Payless had a pretty skimpy selection of cute shoes. Old Navy’s clothes were trying to be fashionable, but just weren’t quite there. Now many cheap stores have really stepped it up and are selling really fashionable items for a fraction of other stores prices. So if you haven’t shopped at these cheaper stores in a while because of this reason, try them again and you’ll be surprised by the great selections.
5. If you’re willing to do a little searching, you can find great name brand knock-off’s at cheap stores. Emily of Cupcakes and Cashmere does fun “Crave or Save” posts every once in a while, showing nearly identical clothing items with prices on either end of the spectrum. The Sensibly Styled girls also show similar clothes with varying prices in some of their posts. It’s possible to save a lot of money if you are willing to do a little digging.

So readers, are you high-end-clothing shoppers? Or do you also get a rush by buying a five dollar top and eight dollar shoes? And if you’re cheap clothing shoppers, where do you shop and how do you save?


TheMoncurs said...

I'm a die hard cheap clothing person trying to be One Who Owns a Few Investment Pieces. I think there's kind of a happy medium because there are definitely a few things in my wardrobe that have gotten 10 years of wear and I WISH I had spent money on a nicer version because after 10 years your Old Navy cardigan? Not so pretty. But that doesn't mean I go crazy and buy $500 shoes.

Melinda said...

I haven't yet fully found my niche for adult clothes, but for my kids I shop at The Children's Place, Target, and The Outlet Mall. I also try and never pay full price for my kids clothes, simply for the reason that they will grow out of them too soon. I shop sales/clearance and use coupons. The only things I will pay a little more for are "Sunday clothes". Meaning, nicer looking pants and shirts for my son and cute little dresses for my daughter. However, I also try and plan seasonally- pretty easy here in TX- so that they can wear something twice, once in the summer with it being just a little too big, and a second time the next summer when it is looking almost too small.

Anonymous said...

I am totally both!! I stalk TJ Maxx (similar to Marshalls and Ross maybe?) like there is no tomorrow. I have gotten BCBG shoes for $12, Express skinny jeans for $14.99, and the list goes on. So, I can get quality items and still pay very little for them. I only shop the clearance racks at Target, and now I hate to pay more than $10 for any item of clothing.


the Danosaur said...

In addition to Ross, Marshalls, TJMaxx, etc., I love thrift stores, consignment shops, craigslist, garage sales, and even eBay.

If you're willing to hunt, thrift stores often have fabulous buried treasures, and they usually have a "50% off colored tags" or similar discounts regularly. And like consignment shops, inventory turns over fast, so it's a whole new treasure hunt every time you go in.

Craigslist and garage sales are great places to find children's clothes at a fraction of original prices. And if you know exactly what you're looking for (my favorite pair of jeans, for example), you can set up eBay to send you alerts when that item becomes available. This way, I have stocked up on my favorite pair of jeans, so that when I get a hole in the knee or the bottoms fray up, I have another pair.

Of course, that means that I am also not wearing cutting-edge fashions, which I think are an unnecessary expense! I try to buy clothing that is more fashion-neutral so that I can wear it next year and the year after that and even the year after that. Putting down even $10 or $15 here and there for a trendy article of clothing that you won't wear in six months adds up quick, especially if those dollars could have been spent on something that you would be willing to leave in your closet for a few years.

Miriam said...

I've been kind of tickled at how many blogs I've run into where people are buying something at thrift stores and remaking it into something really fabulous. Takes some effort and creativity, but good for them! When my kids were little many of their clothes were remakes from some adult item (that had usually been given to me,) so it was virtually free. Can't beat those prices.

Anonymous said...

I admit it, I like nice clothes, especially since I work full time. Some of my co-workers come to work in corduroy or old T-shirts, and my mother would have killed me for doing that. I try to compromise on my work wardrobe by shopping sales, taking care of my things to make them last several years, and buying classic pieces that work whatever the season. I have fun with my (cheap)accessories in order to make myself feel fashionable.

I really love fashion and following it, but there's an art to "doing it for less" and a lot of fun as well. I might drool over some $300 dollar shoes, but I would never buy them!

Mary said...

Oh, I am defintely a cheap clothing person. I never pay more than $5 per item for any of the kids clothes I buy. I shop clearance racks and sales only and buy bigger sizes for next year when they're on sale. For me, it's harder to stick to the $5 an item rule, but generally I never pay more than $15 on any item of clothing for myself, including a $90 jacket I bought last year for my self using a sale, a coupon the store had mailed me, and a gift card so it was free! I also shop consignment stores and thrift stores for clothes for my family as well. Also Freecycle eis a great way to get clothes for kids, or give away some clothes your kids may have outgrown. Expensive clothes just are not worth the expense to me when you can get something amazing for more than half the price!

Mary said...

When I was an unwise teenager/ college student I spent waaaay too much on clothes. Now I hardly ever even buy myself anything. My husband always gives me clothes for Christmas, birthday, and Mother's Day so I call that good. And he definitely does most of his shopping at stores like Old Navy and Target. There is no way that I could justify buying expensive articles of clothing at this stage of our lives (maybe someday again).

But I wanted to mention that I just found out that if you buy your children's clothes at Sears and they wear out before they have been outgrown, Sears will replace them with no questions asked. My six year old son is always putting holes in the knees of his pants, easily before they are outgrown, so this is an option I am planning on investigating futher!

Tristen said...

I don't like to spend a lot of money on clothes for anyone in my family...I shop Target (tons) for my kids and get really cute clothes on sale for less than $5 all the time! I have bought my little girl most of her dresses at Costco (for Easter even) for only $15!! They are beautiful dresses and I feel like I could justify buying two different dresses for spring and summer for that price. I love a good deal!

Carly Jane said...

I do not spend money on clothes very often (as in, except for a few maternity items, I haven't bought anything in about a year and half). So what I buy has to be quality. I'm all about the sale rack... but I just don't like buying cheap clothes. I usually wear things for years (as in, I have a sweater that I bought in high school over ten years ago... and still wear). Since clothes money doesn't make it to the top of my budget very often, I believe in buying quality clothes that will last a long time. (Especially shoes. I will totally spend $50-$100 on shoes if I know they will last longer and not kill my feet. I might be wearing just one pair over and over, but to me it's more than worth it).

I haven't had to buy too many things for my son yet (hooray for baby showers and great parents!)... but even there I have a hard time buyign the cheap stuff. I want a lot of kids... and I believe in hand-me-downs. Since I know my son will only wear it for a few months, if I take good care of it, my next child should be able to get a few months wear out of it too.