Smart and Frugal Tips To Shop For Clothes Online

by Millie Kay G. on October 20, 2008

More frugal tips on the subject of clothes. How much thought do you give to clothes shopping? Here are a few frugal ways to shop for clothes online.

clothes shopping online, shop for clothes online
Photo by Kelly Sue

 
For the last month or so, I’ve been on the hunt for a new sweater. It’s just starting to turn cold here, and I want something more stylish than my usual sweatshirt when I go out. Today seems like a good opportunity to hunt down some fashion bargains.

How I Shop For Clothes Online

Where To Get Luxury for Less

Believe it or not, even regularly more expensive fashion items can be had for less, as my following story demonstrates.

I decided to shop around for a cashmere sweater. It isn’t a status symbol of frugality, but I still admire its texture and comfort. With that in mind, I looked around, then fainted at how costly cashmere sweaters can be. I could try my luck at the thrift stores or consignment shops, but I’m on a tight schedule.

I checked Bluefly, and it was offering a v-neck sweater for $65.99. While over at eBay, I clicked on options, narrowing down my choices to my size, a price limit of $50, and items with the Buy It Now option. This search yielded nine choices, ranging from $12.50 to $39.99. I believed I could still do better, so I continued to shop.

Then I went to Target to see if I could find a sweater I liked. Cashmere — check. Less than $50? Barely — the one I liked most was $49.99. Then I saw the three words I dread when it comes to clothes: Dry Clean Only. I try to avoid the dry cleaners because of the expense.

Discouraged, I went to Amazon and found a sleeveless sweater for $4.99. The description said to hand wash it. Such a chore wouldn’t take much work — and I’d have a sweater that could take me through several seasons.

Tip: The sweater search taught me to be flexible when shopping for a specific item, to read the product descriptions to avoid dry cleaning, and that the place where I got books the other day sells more than I expected.

How To Dress Up in a Hurry

When I visit my local mall, I usually browse through the clothes racks on my own. But there have been times when I needed to pick up some items in a hurry. During those occasions, it’s best to flag down a salesperson to save yourself time — since, after all, time is money, unless you’re shopping for fun and leisure.

Tip: Need something pronto? Get assistance from a salesperson, try to stay on task while hunting, and stick to your budget. I like to ooh and ah at the purses, but by sticking to the dresses, I was able to get out of the store without dropping any extra dollars.

Men’s Clothing Ahoy!

When we need men’s dress shirts or trousers, I check out a discount clothing retailers such as Ross. Here, I’ve found good-looking pieces for $20 an item. I’ve also had luck with Old Navy — in fact, the last time I went there, I picked up a shirt and a shiny necklace for me for about $21. I’ve been in luck at these places securing more affordable pieces.

Every so often, I’ll also check the department store circulars that run in the paper. The sale prices can be comparable to the discount chains. I also keep a mental list of the sizes we need in case I have an opportunity to stock up; I really should list the sizes for my other family members in my notebook or cell phone.

Tip: Check your paper for fashion sales and discounts. Also, you’ll find great deals more easily when you keep a list of clothing sizes and styles for those people you buy for, close at hand.

Seasonal Clothes: Think Ahead

Last year, the temperature plunged before I thought to get a winter coat. Because I hadn’t planned ahead, I paid a premium price. However, if I’d had the foresight, I would’ve shopped the closeout on winter coats the year before. Take note that most stores clear out their fall stock for their Christmas items so certain clothing items usually drop in price when they’re “off-season”.

A search through the closeouts and clearances at Gap and L.L. Bean show great prices on clothes I can wear next year. If I have room in my closet, I can pay less for next summer’s T-shirts and swimwear.

Tip: If you have a general idea of what your children will fit into, you can spare yourself some of the back-to-school rush by picking up some basics to store. Buying off-season clothing items can snag you some great bargains!

What About Accessories? Some Affordable Options

If you have any inclinations toward crafting, then you already know that the best accessories are the ones you make yourself. Over the last few years, I’ve done up scarves, wraps, shawls, hats, and bags galore. To keep my costs down, I tend to use yarn and material I’ve purchased on sale at Jo-Ann, Michaels, and even the big stores like Walmart, where I’ve found nice purple yarn for $1.50 a skein.

If you aren’t into the DIY style, then check out local vendors or a place like Etsy, where you can find all sorts of handcrafted accessories.

Tip: You can really economize by making your own accessories. Who knows, your crafts and creative DIY projects may turn into just the perfect hobby that evolves into an income generating pursuit!

With some careful shopping and a bit of flexibility, it’s possible to look great and keep your wallet happy. So how about you? I’d be curious to know about the strategies you take and where you go shopping for bargain clothing!

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cathy Cameron October 21, 2008 at 8:03 am

The absolute MUST for ANY online shopping is retailmenot.com. It has coupons for every possible store. Look there before you hit the Buy button. The coupons are often for 10% off, bonus with purchase, free shipping etc.

Another awesome online tool:

Voyant:

http://www.planwithvoyant.com

I am loving this tool. I created a better plan than my financial planner gave me. I fired him. Iā€™m done with paper financial plans.

Happy shopping and planning everyone!

2 Tyler October 21, 2008 at 8:58 am

If you have a specific article of clothing in mind, you could save a search on eBay and then get notified by e-mail when an item is listed in matching your search.

You can get very specific when using the advanced search features – # of bids, minimum and maximum price, category, words to exclude, etc.

EBay sends out the e-mail notifications once a day – if something has been listed matching your Saved search.

To possibly get the best deals, you could search eBay for misspellings of the item that you are interested in.

ebuyersedge.com gives you this ability. Plus, you can also save your misspelling searches and had it checked eBay every 15 minutes for your item, rather than only once a day.

3 Alex October 23, 2008 at 2:41 pm

Cathy is right, RetailMeNot is something I can’t live without. I literally check before every purchase I make online, and generally find some sort of savings. I’ve found that the SlickDeals forums and Thriftfeeds.com are both great for finding specific store deals or discounted products.

4 SVB October 28, 2008 at 6:08 pm

Everyone,

Thanks for all the helpful leads and tips! I’ll be sure to check out the various online tools and forums that you’ve all suggested. šŸ™‚

5 wholesale clothes September 13, 2010 at 8:10 pm

Traditional shopping for clothes is now considered a waste of time. What has been presented in this article allows you to buy boys and girls shoes and clothing quicker, cheaper, with much less headaches and you can spend more time with your family.

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