12 Ways You’re Wasting Money on Clothes (and how to stop!)

wasting money on clothes

We’re all guilty of it. We spend way too much of our hard-earned money on clothes that never get worn and make their way to the back of our closets.

The pieces just add up and we look at our closet every day when we get ready and think, “I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR!”

I’ve been there. More than once.

When I went to collect my tax info for my blog this year, I had to look back over the entire previous year’s spending. It literally made me cringe how much I spent on clothes in 2018!! I had NO IDEA!

I also watched Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix and really re-evaluated what I need. So now when I go to buy things, I think about if they spark joy for me, and if I’ll use them long term. Since doing the big closet cleanout, the only things left are things I really LOVE and want to wear all the time.

I used to save my most loved pieces for “special days”. Those days were few and far between, and on the other days I would wear things that I didn’t like as much, that weren’t as flattering, and that I didn’t feel the best in. But they were easy.

So, how do we end up with a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear? Let’s talk about it.

PAYING FULL PRICE ALL THE TIME

I get that there are somethings we have to just suck it up and pay the full amount for. BUT there are also times when waiting will save you some money. If you sign up for emails from your favorite stores, you’ll know when the sales are and you can get those items you’ve been eyeing at a discount as soon as the sale begins! You can also typically get a discount code just for signing up.

This is another reason I love shopping second hand. Even things new with the tags still on are discounted. Patience is key, and if you can wait to get something, do!

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NOT SHOPPING SECOND HAND

So many people are afraid to shop second hand. I can’t understand why! I get tons of great deals just by getting stuff lightly used. I hate paying full price for something, so getting it second hand is a great way to save a ton and still get exactly what I want! Everything doesn’t need to be brand new.

Two of my favorite places to look are Ebay and Poshmark. I can shop sales from my favorite bloggers and other people with great style and pay less than half of what others are paying for things worn a handful of times!

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ONLINE SHOPPING & FREE SHIPPING MINIMUMS

This is probably my worst offender. When you’re shopping online, it’s easy to lose track of how much you spend in a month until everything starts coming in the mail and you have to hide the empty boxes from your husband (whoops).

Not physically swiping the card and seeing the money leave our account is what gets us. And then when we’re so close to getting free shipping we have to add something else we didn’t really NEED to get that free shipping. We’re spending MORE, but somehow we feel like we’re getting a deal. Genius.

Try to resist online shopping unless you have some specific to buy. Window shopping and those pesky minimums are how we get in trouble!

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FALLING INTO THE CONSUMERISM TRAP

We are constantly being sold to. There is marketing everywhere we look. It’s basically all we see on social media. And we get sucked in seeing how it looks on others, wishing we had it for ourselves. So we buy and buy in hopes to fill a void. It doesn’t work that way, y’all!

We have to resist the urge to buy just because it’s there.

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IMPULSE BUYING – SALES/CLEARANCE

If you want to know the biggest reason your closet is full of stuff you don’t love, this is probably it. Those little red sale stickers are so seductive with their low, tempting numbers and we ration that because it’s so cheap, even if we only wear it a few times, it’s worth it.

But what actually tends to happen is we leave it in our closet, tags still attached, unworn. Why? Because it doesn’t fit quite right, or it doesn’t look how we want it to. Avoid buying things JUST because they’re on sale or clearance unless you truly LOVE the piece.

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NOT TRYING THINGS ON

I’ve been so guilty of this. It also falls into impulse shopping, because typically we don’t try things on when we grab them on our way out of the store in our size, assuming it will fit. Then we get it home to see that it in fact does NOT fit. Now we have to take it back. Usually that means it just ends up in your closet because who has time to take things back??

Always try things on and make sure you love the fit before you buy! Seeing it on before you leave the store will save you the trip of having to return it later!

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NOT RETURNING THINGS

Speaking of which 🙂 This is another huge reason we end up with things in our closet we don’t love! We get it home, try to style it, and see it isn’t what we want. But we don’t make the time to take it back to the store, or mail it back for online orders. So we decide it isn’t worth the effort and just keep it instead with little to no intention of ever wearing it.

If you order things online, be sure to set time aside to return them if you don’t like them. Most online stores send pre-paid shipping labels and all you have to do is drop them off at the post office! It literally takes 30 seconds to run in, put the package in the mail slot, and leave.

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TOO MANY TRENDY PIECES

Trends can be super fun to try out, but don’t invest a lot of money in things that may not be in style in a year or two. The best places to get trendy items are less expensive stores like Forever 21 and H&M. That way you can try out the new styles but not feel guilty that you spent an arm and a leg on something you’ll wear for one season and never look at again.

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NOT INVESTING IN QUALITY PIECES

It may seem counter-intuitive that spending more will save you money, but hear me out. For those pieces you wear ALL the time, like a great white tee or your favorite blazer and jeans, they take a lot of wear and tear. By investing in great quality up front, you won’t have to buy that piece again next year. It will last you for a long time and save you from buying something inexpensive over and over when it falls apart. Plus, quality things just feel better and typically fit better, too!

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SUBSCRIPTION CLOTHING BOXES

I was so into the idea of this when I first started blogging. Having clothes sent to me to try on? Heck yes!

But they really hurt your wallet in a few different ways. First off, most have a “style fee”, AKA a fee you’re charged just to send you the box (even though they offer free shipping, a great marketing trick). They say it’s credited toward your purchase, which is actually another genius marketing ploy to get you to buy. You feel obligated to keep SOMETHING in the box so you don’t lose that styling fee.

Second, the things in these boxes are never on sale. You’re paying full price for everything you get, which is another big waste.

Once I realized that, I cancelled all of mine. I can shop for myself just as easily as they can, AND I’ll find way better deals!

The only subscription box of any kind I still get is FabFitFun because all of their products are full size and you get an amazing deal — over $200 worth of stuff for $50! Get $10 off here.

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RETAIL THERAPY

I saw a meme once that said “Retail therapy should be covered by insurance” and I laughed out loud. Wouldn’t that be so nice??

The sad truth is we are conditioned to buy things when we’re feeling down in order to make us feel better. We’re under the impression that buying things will make us happy, and usually it works in the moment. But it can mean regretting it later!

Avoid shopping to make yourself feel better. Try to exercise or indulge in a sweet treat instead of swiping your card. Your wallet will thank you!!

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NOT SELLING YOUR UNWANTED CLOTHES

Once you realize you don’t want something, you don’t just have to give it all away! Sure, there are some things that can easily be donated. But there are also things you can re-sell and get some of your money back!

Selling my clothes is a big side hustle for me! I even wrote a little e-book to help people learn the best ways to sell clothes for cash. Don’t just throw everything in a bag for Goodwill. Sort out the nicer, gently used things and post them for sale.

Get all of my tips for selling your clothes for the MOST money here!

Now that we’ve covered them all, do you have a game plan for saving yourself from repeating these?! Let me know your worst offender in the comments!



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1 Comments

  1. Great tips, Dani! I’m definitely guilty of quite a few of these mistakes. My biggest one – saving the nicest things for the right occasion. I end up never wearing it. I’ve had shoes that literally fell apart in my closet that had only been worn once or twice. What a waste!

    Posted 2.12.19 Reply

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  • Simple is always better. I tried so hard to figure out what I was going to wear for Easter. I spent a good hour trying things on the week before. I sent my sister tons of pictures asking her thoughts. In the end, I wasn’t really satisfied with any of them for some reason so I decided to just go with an outfit I know I love and feel good in. For some reason wearing white just makes me feel super put together. And I managed to not spill anything on myself or get chocolate on my pants which is a major win y’all. .

We don’t need to overthink things so much. It just causes unnecessary stress. I do like to plan ahead because it saves me time, but I also should have realized sooner that the dress I was trying to make work just wasn’t working. Even though I love that dress, it doesn’t flatter me how I want it to and it might be time to let it go. Don’t be afraid to let go of things that don’t give you exactly what you need. You don’t have to settle, something else will always come along. Or you probably already have something else in your closet (or life, this isn’t limited to clothes!) that’s even better than what you’re trying to make work!
  • Happy Easter 🐰❤️
  • Casual Good Friday ❤️ this was yesterday’s work outfit but I jazzed myself up before we went to church with Jakes mom and stepdad last night. I cried like a baby. Good Friday always both kicks my ass and reminds me how blessed we all are. 
The beautiful KC weather this weekend is so exciting!! I’m so happy when it’s Spring weather 😍 Have a beautiful Saturday!!
  • “There is beauty in simplicity”
My simple wardrobe makes me so happy and I love the seemingly endless possibilities I have with it. Having a love of neutrals really works well for me with this! 
Happy Good Friday ❤️
  • The only things in my life these days are the things I really want there. This isn’t limited to the stuff in my house and the clothes in my closet. This includes my job, relationships, hobbies, everything. I’ve even started eating better as a by-product of simplifying my life and I just feel better over all. .

By removing the things and people that don’t make me happy, I have more time and energy for the things that do that I used to put off and not prioritize like I should have. We spend so much of our lives being “busy”. But what are we busy with? Most of it is actually unimportant when you break it down. .

I say no to things much more now and that allows me to spend more of my time relaxing and enjoying life. I used to constantly feel rushed or like I should be doing something. If I wasn’t moving, I felt like I was wasting my time. But the truth is, resting and just being home with Jake and the boys is my happy place. It brings me so much joy, so that’s what my priority is. .

Having more time to just BE has been amazing. Being more picky in my relationships has helped me really value the ones I hold most dear and has brought me to an amazing new job because I wasn’t willing to settle for anything less. Respect yourself and your time and prioritize the things that matter most to you. Life’s too short to live any other way.
  • “When you love what you have, you have everything you need.” So many wonderful things have happened since I simplified my life. Changing my outlook on life wasn’t really intentional, but I’m so thankful it happened when it did. I was kind of at a breaking point. Fed up with where I was and how things were going with my old job. Struggling with depression and comparison. I knew something had to change but I had no idea what. Simplicity was that thing. .
.
Now, I spend way less time on social media. I deleted Facebook off my phone and haven’t  looked at it in weeks. I’m much happier without it. I read a lot more. I’m getting much better at ignoring the impulse to pick up my phone and when I am on it, to compare my life to the perfect pictures people post. I even cut a few inches off my hair! 💇🏻‍♀️ I want things as easy as they can be right now. It takes a lot of stress out of my life. Try to go a whole weekend without social media and see how awesome it feels!

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