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.

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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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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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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