As promised in last week’s Focused Frugal February post, I’m going to deep dive into our first budget category: Clothing. Now, I’m not saying that you should never buy clothes. That’s a bit extreme. Although, Angela from Tread Lightly, Retire Early has been on a clothes buying ban for years now. What I am saying is that there’s probably a way that we can all do this category a bit better. So, for those of you using Focused Frugal February to hone in your clothing budget, let’s get started:

What Do You Have Now and Never Wear?

I don’t know about you, but with the coronavirus having taken over the way that I run my life, my day-to-day wardrobe has drastically changed. The name of the game has been ease and comfort. Even in just that one section of my wardrobe, I’m finding that I still only wear a fraction of my clothes. This honestly surprised me as I don’t think of myself as a person who has that many clothes. So, the odds are that this could be your situation as well.

The first step in this adventure is to actually take a look at all of the clothes you own. Take the time to look in the back of your closet and the bottom halves of your drawers. What are things that you haven’t worn in a while that you really love? I found several shirts that I had completely forgotten about. Basically go shopping in your own closet. You never know what you might find.

On the other hand, you may find that there are a lot of clothes that you no long want to wear. That’s a great opportunity to donate them to a local charity or homeless shelter.

Where Can You Source New-to-You Clothing?

As is the case fairly often, the cheaper route is also the most sustainable. Shopping at thrift stores for used clothes is the best way to get good quality clothing for cheap. It can be a struggle to find pieces that fit your style when thrift shopping, but the savings and zero-waste are worth the extra effort.

Luckily, there are now services like ThredUp and many others that make thrift shopping an easier and more enjoyable experience.

Another way to save money on clothing is to have a clothing swap with your friends. In the times long before COVID-19, I had done this in college when I couldn’t afford new clothing. Some of my friends were in the same boat that I was, which made this option a bit more accessible.

Quick LGBTQ win: Being with someone of the same gender, who is of a similar size and stature was a great cheat code for doubling my wardrobe. Not saying that it can’t be that way for heteronormative couples as well, but this was a lovely, unexpected perk for me.

Set Yourself Up For Success

If clothes shopping is one of your weak categories, the odds are high that shopping in your own closet could work for you. However, if you do feel the need to purchase new clothes, I recommend the following steps to set yourself up for success:

  • Try some new online thrift stores.
  • Wait a minute before you hit buy. This can give you the space to realize that maybe you don’t really need the piece of clothing. Sometimes the company will send you a coupon or discount on top of what you already saved by thrifting.
  • Start a sinking fund for clothing to allow you to put smaller sums of money away all year long. That way, you will have the money when you need it, for example come back to school time.

What are some of the best ways that you have found to curb your clothing spending? Let me know in the comments below!