Hello, everyone! I just wanted to share some tips that I have been using lately to help me save money and have a better shopping experience.
10 TIPS TO SAVE MONEY ON CLOTHES
- DECLUTTER. Use whatever method you like. For me, I like using the Konmari method. Basically, look or hold the item and ask yourself, “Do I love using this?” If the item gives you joy, keep it. If it’s something that makes you feel bad, let it go.
Examples of items to let go are:
- old, ratty, damaged clothes
- clothes that are torn / need repair, that you promise yourself you will repair “one day” but never do
- clothes you will fit into “one day” and clothes that don’t fit you anymore
- clothes you are holding on to just because it has a brand name, but are really not your style or don’t suit you at all. I was gifted an Anne Klein top that I keep using because it’s Anne Klein, but I hate the print and it makes me want to throw up every time I use it. It’s going.
I Konmari’d my closet and most of my things over the past few weeks. I still have 3 cabinets of stuff to go through but the stuff I use everyday has been decluttered. Yay!
I purged a lot of items that I was just holding on to because they were expensive, or because so and so gave this as a gift. I also let go of many things I was holding on to “just in case”. If I would not use or wear them right now, then out they go. If they are important (like a wedding dress or something like that), then I vacuum seal them in a storage bag.
There’s a pile of stuff that I feel bad about getting rid of (mostly bath & beauty products), so I am trying my best to use those up as much as I can or give them away. If I still can’t use them up after a few months, then I can truly justify throwing them out.
All this decluttering gave me a good idea of what I really use and what I need. If my things are not so crammed into drawers and cabinets, if there is breathing room for me to be able to grab something without having to relocate half the contents of the drawer before I can get to it, I find that I use it more.
Getting rid of things that I don’t love wearing or using has also freed me of the deadweight that they have become. Sometimes, I find clothes that still look good but I haven’t worn in a long time because they were buried in the back of the closet. It’s like finding new clothes to wear!
This gives me space for new things, too 🙂 I’m trying not to go overboard with shopping, but now I know what to buy – I only buy things I really need. I check the fit and everything before buying.
For example, after decluttering, I realize that I need more T-shirt tops and that I have way too many dresses and sleeveless tops already. I have jeans and shorts, but no casual skirt. I also have way too many coats and sweaters. So when I go shopping, I know that I need to buy casual, sleeved t-shirts, a casual skirt, and no more dresses, sleeveless tops and coats/sweaters.
For the items you are purging, you can give away, donate or sell.
- REPAIR ITEMS THAT NEED TO BE REPAIRED ASAP. If you have things that you like but don’t wear anymore because a button is missing, the hem is too long – generally items that need minimal repair – put them all in a pile/bag/basket and set aside some time to repair them. Or have someone else do it. Just get it over and done with so you can start wearing those clothes! If the clothes that need repair are not worth the time, money & effort to repair, just let them go. Instead of buying something new because you have “nothing to wear”, just repair what you have – you instantly have something to wear again! You just also salvaged some unusable items.
- TAKE ADVANTAGE OF FREE ALTERATIONS. Shops like Uniqlo Philippines provide free alteration for pants (basic hem), and a minimal fee for blind hem (for slacks). You’ll have to come back for them after an hour but it’s totally better to get it done as soon as possible.
Even if the shop charges a small fee, just do it. Often, we’re like, I can save money if I will have this hemmed elsewhere. For example, a shop might charge P100 for shortening the hem, and you know some neighborhood tailor shop will do it for P40, or your mom / yaya will do it for free.
Unless your mom / yaya can do it right away and have the necessary equipment to do it (sewing machine), and they have nothing better to do, I’d say just bite the bullet and pay the P100. If your mom also works, don’t give her the added stress of worrying about hemming your clothes. Also, how long is it going to take her to do it? To set up the sewing machine, get all the necessary equipment and materials, etc…? Just so you can save P100.
As for neighborhood tailor shops / mananahi, they are so difficult to find na. Most of them have closed shop. Unless you live really close to one, it’s just not worth the hassle of looking for a mananahi, bringing your clothes there, fitting it again, and then probably having to go back to pick up the clothes. Saving P60 is not worth the additional hassle. Trust me. Time is money, folks!
The only time it’s better not to have it altered at the store is if you bought a lot of clothes, and the alteration cost would be very, very high. In such cases, it makes sense to have them altered at a cheaper place because the savings would be worth the hassle. Just make sure your seamstress does quality work.
But generally, just pay the P100 and let the store do the alteration. They are already familiar with what to do, they know the clothes, and they should have the correct thread colors, too. And just in case they botch things up, you can probably talk to the store about replacing the item.
That’s it. It’s done. When you go home, you don’t have any more problems. Your clothes fit properly and only need a wash before they are ready to be worn.
- SHOP EARLY. This has to do with the cut-off period for the alteration. Most stores have a cut-off period, like, at 7pm or 8pm. If you give them something for alteration after the cut-off period, you will need to come back for them the next day already. And who wants an extra trip to the mall/store when we’re all so busy? Save yourself the hassle of going back to the mall.
- DON’T BUY CLOTHES YOU CAN’T FIT PROPERLY. I used to buy clothes at tiangge stalls, but not anymore. With the branded clothes from H&M and F21 becoming more affordable than tiangge prices, especially when there’s a sale, I seldom buy from tiangges anymore. It’s very important for me to be able to fit clothes before buying. I don’t have the typical Asian body type so most clothes for the general public don’t fit me well. There were so many times when I regretted buying something from a tiangge because they didn’t fit properly when I got home, or because the cramped space to fit the clothes in the tiangge and the small mirror made me miss something important. For example, hindi pala pantay yung print (the print is not aligned) from the front to the back of the dress, or the cloth is too thin and is see-through in certain lighting. Those clothes are such wastes of money – I don’t like wearing them, or I need to wear a half-slip or a cami underneath with it. Hassle.
So now, I am sticking to buying clothes from shops with a proper fitting room, large mirrors, good lighting, and return policies. When fitting clothes, try to walk, sit, etc… For button downs, does the gap between the buttons open when you stand/sit/slouch? Do you need to put hidden buttons or use safety pins to secure them?
And unless it’s a coat, don’t fit clothes while still wearing your clothes underneath (patong lang), that won’t give you a good fit. You’ll probably miss if the neckline is too plunging, or the cloth is too sheer.
- KNOW YOUR STYLE. Know what looks good on you. There are many resources that can help you with this. There’s the Dressing Your Truth school of thought, there’s What Colors Looks Best for Your Warm or Cool Skin tone, etc… This will hopefully prevent you from buying fashion mistakes and save you money. Buy clothing items that look good on you and that make you happy to wear them. Don’t force yourself to buy something just because it is on sale or a certain brand. Browse during a sale, but if there is nothing you find you like, it’s okay to walk away without buying anything.
I personally prefer solid colors, and wearing busy / tiger / leopard / graffiti prints literally makes me want to throw up. Busy prints may look good on other people, but I just have such a physical reaction to it when I’m wearing it that I’m just not going to do it anymore. I’m purging all my clothes with those prints.
- DON’T GET HUNG UP ON SIZE. Different stores have different sizing. In stores with American sizing, I am a Medium and sometimes even a Small. In some stores with Asian sizing, I am an XL. I even have a dress that’s 3XL! Fit the clothes and pick the one that looks best on you. For some clothes, I choose the Small because it looks better with a tight fit. For others, I chose the 3XL because it looks better loose. Don’t limit yourself to thinking that you are a Size 4 and then you’ll always buy a Size 4 everywhere else, even if the fit is bad that you’ll just end up tossing the item. That’s so limiting. Buy the clothes that look best, whatever the size.
- TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SALES AND KNOW WHAT YOU ARE BUYING. I am not a fashionista. I don’t care if what I am wearing is last year’s collection. However, most of the sale items are “fast fashion” and are not really made to last. And that is fine, they are really very inexpensive. During sales, I pick items that I can see myself wearing even next year (di agad mawawala sa uso, something that will not go out of fashion so quickly). Once in a while, I will pick something trendy. But generally, I stay away from the weird-looking clothes. At Forever 21, especially, most of the clothes on sale will make you go, “WTF is this?” 😀 But scour through the racks and there are still some nice, normal-looking clothes to be had.
Personally, I find most of my clothes at H&M – I just find them to have more normal-looking clothes that fit me. As for Uniqlo, the menswear looks great, but the selection they have for women right now just scream japanese hobo lady to me… drab, dour and thick as if we have winter here. So oba-san! 😀 I can’t wait for their Spring/Summer clothes next year.
The cheap, fast fashion clothes are also not made to last. I buy them knowing that they will last me for 1-2 years before falling apart or fading, and that’s fine with me. By that time, I’ll be sick of them or probably want something new, anyway. Some do last a while – I’ve had my black Zara cardigan for more than 5 years already, but then, I don’t use it that often because it’s almost never cold in Manila.
Then there are the clothes that are better made. Some brands that I have had that I find are better quality and last longer are Marks & Spencer (tailored), Old Navy (denim jackets), and Bossini back in the day (have not purchased anything recent from Bossini so I wouldn’t know their current quality). I also find Zara, Mango clothes (the tailored pieces) to be better than their cheapie shirts and tops. As for Plains & Prints, I have always loved their clothes but they just don’t fit me well, but they look like good quality clothing. If you find something from these brands that you like and they are on sale, take advantage. They are pricier than the fast fashion brands but if you pick something classic, it’s worth the investment. I mean, pick something you can wear for 5-10 years – like a nice trench coat, suit jacket, or a tailored dress or pants, etc… Even if the jacket is P5,000 (sale price), if you are relatively sure that you can wear it for 10 years, then that’s just P500 per year. I mean, like, it can be your signature jacket and you don’t have to buy another jacket ever.
I have a friend who is still wearing clothes she bought from some of these shops 10 years ago! It helps if you can maintain your size for all that time, haha 🙂 She still looks expensive and put together even if she’s actually on tipid (thrifty) mode. These better quality clothes don’t look laspag (worn & used up) as fast as the cheaper clothes. Buy fewer but better quality clothes. How can you tell if the clothes are good quality? Generally, it’s the quality of the material used, the stitching (should be even, smaller stitches), the lining (if any), and extra details like: did they make an effort to give a better fit like put darts, did they reinforce the stitching on parts that get constant wear, did they put enough buttons or skimped and used cheap buttons, is everything properly stitched (not just the center of an applique), etc..
But if you’re like me who can’t maintain a steady weight, just go for fast fashion so you won’t feel so bad when the clothes don’t fit anymore 😀
- USE YOUR CARDS. Some of these shops get discounts or earn points when used with some cards. Examples of these are the SM Advantage Card, where you can get additional discounts during sales. The promo varies but basically, if you shop at certain times, like the first 2 hours of a 3-day sale, you get additional 10% discount on top of the standard discount. Sometimes, credit cards have promos where you can also get discounts at these shops. Pay attention to those discounts and shop accordingly!
- BE CAREFUL ABOUT BUYING MULTIPLES OF THE SAME THING. I am guilty of this sometimes. I’m not talking about underwear or socks or uniforms here. We find a nice tank top or T-shirt, and we end up buying 5 of them in different colors since they’re on promo 😀 Or maybe we love an item so much we actually buy multiples of the same item in the same color. And before we know it, our closet is overflowing with 10 of the same item. But how many of those do we actually end up using, I mean, really using? Most of these just end up as closet clutter. Unless you really need all the multiples, just buy the one that you are actually going to use. You don’t want to look like you have a uniform. Just buy the colors that look great on you. If you only need black or only need white, then buy only those.
And honestly, if you have multiples of the same thing, just in different colors, you’re probably not going to wear all of them because it will be like wearing the same thing over and over again, only in different colors. And that would be a boring wardrobe. And at least for me, I get sick of it very quickly. I actually end up regretting most of my “multiple” purchases, because I would rather that closet space be used to store something more unique. When I open my drawer and look at my clothing options for the day, I’d rather see something nice and cute and unique than see “this thing again?!”. So for me, buying multiples of something makes me get sick of it quickly, and ends up being a waste of money since I’m going to declutter it eventually.
If there’s a promo for the item, like a Buy 2 for less or Buy 1 Take 1 promo, then I’d probably get the 2 items, but that’s my limit.
Here’s an additional tip!
Keep these essentials in easy access in your closet:
- Scissors – to cut any dangling thread, no need to hunt for scissors when you’re in a hurry to get dressed
- Sewing Kit – so you can quickly fix things like loose buttons, etc…
- Lint roller – sometimes clothes just have lint, and you need to get them out before leaving the house
Hope these tips help you maintain a better closet, look better and save money! 😀
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The Barat Queen
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