Top Tips For Buying Clothing On A Budget

This article is filled with budget-friendly tips to save money on your wardrobe so you can look great all year round.

Shopping bags on a pink background
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With the current living crisis taking its toll on everyone in some way or another, we are all tightening our belts. This can make it hard to justify spending on your clothes but it doesn’t have to make it impossible. With some of the savvy saving tips we have to share, you can spruce up your wardrobe no matter the size of your budget.  

Avoid the shopping impulse

Woman with a number of shopping bags

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The simplest way to save your money is to avoid the shopping impulse altogether but that doesn’t mean that it’s the easiest thing to do. According to Fashion United, an average household in the UK in 2022 spent approximately £109 per month (or £1,308 annually) and, with the cost of living going up, Vertical Leap has noted that 57% of Britain is spending less on non-essential items; to the dismay of many, this includes clothing. 

 Although we say that the simplest way to avoid overspending on clothing is to avoid impulse shopping, we aren’t in the business of removing the joy that comes with fashionable items. Letting yourself purchase items you love on occasion is actually a great way of making sure you stick to the budget you set yourself. Ironic, we know. 

It’s like a restrictive diet - eventually, you splurge on every chocolate you can get your lips around. When you are deciding on the budget that works for you, make sure to add a tiny bit of wiggle room so you can get that new jacket or that dress that’s caught your eye so you don’t splurge it all in one go. But if you’re like so many people out there who can’t resist a good shopping spree, check out our tips to get the biggest bang for your buck!

Outlets

Red sale sign for Adidas, Nike, Under Armour and more

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We all know that, in the right sales section, you can find some truly spectacular pieces (if you know where to look that is). Outlet sections and stores are like an ongoing sale of permanence and they bring with them some huge savings if you what you’re looking for.

If you’re shopping online, many brands like Nike, Adidas and House Of Fraser have outlet stores available which contain some of their most popular and sought-after products. In addition, they also offer many online sales and discounts. If you prefer shopping in person, there are a total of 37 big outlet centres in the UK where you can get your hands on a whole village's worth of clothing at a fraction of the cost. The biggest outlet village is Cheshire Oaks which can be found in Ellesmere Port where you can save up to 70% on retail prices. When you dive into what outlet stores have to offer, whether physical or online, you’ll find discounts like this throughout every fashion category. Retailers such as Matalan and Peacocks also offer regular sales and discounts.

Whether you’re looking to make some savings on the newest addition to your footwear collection or you’re planning on overhauling your entire wardrobe whilst sticking to your budget, outlet stores are a great source of huge savings.  

We've also compared fashion discounts on Black Friday and January Sales to find the best time to restock your wardrobe.

Renting Your Wardrobe

Woman stood by a window in a fluffy green top

(Image credit: MyWardrobeHQ)

Deciding on the overall style of your wardrobe can feel like a mammoth task and it always ends up with an unruly collection of clothes jammed into your drawers. A brilliant option to avoid the build-up of clothing is to rent your clothes. Doing this means you can have a constant circulation of clothing so you can stay on trend seamlessly.  

There are debates about whether renting your clothing is a more sustainable practice because of factors such as the amount of water used to clean the garments between renters as well as the carbon emissions that are created by sending items back and forth consistently. However, what can be agreed on is that renting your clothes can save you money.  

Sites such as MyWardrobeHQ, HighStreet, and Selfridges Rental are brilliant places to start and, as rental clothes become more popular, more and more brands are becoming available to rent such as Lady Dior, Ganni, and even the occasional Chanel. 

If you’re searching for the perfect outfit for an event, renting your clothes is a great way to add a luxury look to your repertoire for the night without the luxury price tag. MyWardrobeHQ has given us the perfect way, to sum up what renting clothes is all about; “The UK is at ‘peak stuff syndrome, we have more than we need, but we rarely have what we want … the luxury subscription offer is … the ultimate way to enjoy fashion, there is the thrill of the online shop, without any of the credit card, or planet, remorse.

Whether you’re looking for just one item or you want to circulate your entire wardrobe, opting to rent your clothes is a great way to experience a bit of luxury whilst sticking to your budget.    

Clothing Swap-Shop

Clothes on a rack

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Have you ever been jealous of something in your friends' wardrobe but not had the cash to get the look yourself? Why not swish with your friends to create a rotating collection between you all? You can relax - swishing isn’t as dirty as it sounds!  

Swishing is a term that means swapping clothes for clothes and it’s a great way to refresh your wardrobe regularly. Some also hold swishing parties; much like Avon parties, family and friends gather with some items from their wardrobe they are willing to swap and trade between them until each of them has new additions to their wardrobe.  

If you’d like to swap your wardrobe but don’t fancy anything your friends may have, you will be happy to know that there are a number of clothing swap shops where you can find some amazing clothes and clear your wardrobe out whilst you’re at it. This is a great way to achieve a completely new look without actually having to spend a penny! 

Sites like theswapshopuk.com and thenuwardrobe.com provide everyone with the ability to chop and change their wardrobe as many times as they want until they have curated the perfect clothing collection. According to Fashion United’s investigation into how much of our wardrobes we DON’T wear, the UK public is guilty of wasting a whopping 73% of clothing by just leaving it to gather dust in the back of the closet. Meanwhile, the USA leaves 82% of their wardrobe untouched and Belgium, a surprising 88%!  

clothing wastage graph

(Image credit: Fashion United)

When we see these numbers, swapping some of your items of clothing out may begin to make a bit of sense, and you can do it all with the convenience of several apps such as Swancy App, Swopped, ReGain, and even Vinted. Swapping your clothes enables you to change and update your wardrobe as frequently as you like without worrying about the cost and do your part to help the environment in the process.  

Swap apps are also a great option when children are involved in the conversation. The average British parent spends £764 a year on clothes for each child as they grow so many are now turning to other options to save money without giving up on a fresh wardrobe for their little ones. There are loads of apps and sites that specialise in kids' clothes and shoes so if you’re looking to cut your clothing bill in half, it’s a great way to do it.

Secondhand Clothing

Woman looking through racks of secondhand clothing

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The stigma that went along with buying second-hand clothes has begun to fall away over the last few years or so which is more than a little help for those of us who would like to fill our wardrobes with choice items with budget-friendly price tags. This has led to the number of places that sell second-hand clothing rising.  

If you’re leaning toward the classics such as eBay and charity shops, you’ll be happy to know that this method of shopping offers a lot of styles, fits and price points. Finding your next look in charity shops and eBay can take a little time and persistence to find the items you’re looking for and you can find huge discounts off the RRP.  Sometimes eBay even offers discount codes on secondhand clothing and more.

Secondhand clothes are always something you should bare in mind when you’re thinking about shopping on a budget. Not only is it a great way to find some new gems for your wardrobe but it’s also a good way to stop your wardrobe from overflowing and to build your budget (something we talk about in our next tip). 

If it's preloved clothing you're after, we've got a breakdown of the top sustainable clothing apps out there to get stuck into.

Sell Before You Buy

Taking photos of clothing

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It can be frustrating when you want to add some new looks to your wardrobe but you don’t have enough space or cash. @Ms.RachelBoo, a sustainable clothing Instagrammer, has told us that one of her best tips is to “...sell clothes to buy clothes…”; it might sound simple, but it’s a tip that can easily slip your mind when you’re planning another shopping spree. Selling clothes has never been easier than it is in today’s world thanks to platforms such as eBay and apps like Vinted, Depop, and PreLoved.  

It feels like a lifetime ago when the only options available to sell your clothes was car boot and garage sales. Selling your clothes online is more than fruitful in comparison. Whether you’ve got an entire wardrobe to sell or just a few items, you can make a pretty penny right from the comfort of your sofa. 

When you sell on Vinted, for example, you will receive your full payment when someone purchases an item because Vinted doesn’t take a charge from the seller and instead takes a commission from the buyer. 

Vinted claims that you can make around £150 a month on average by selling new or secondhand items which, for many, is a decent bit of extra cash. According to Clothes Aid, around “350,000 tonnes … of … still-wearable clothes goes to landfill in the UK every year”, but resell apps and sites make it easy for you to breathe a new lease of life into your favourite items.  

Selling your items online can make your clothing budget climb so you can enjoy the fruits of your labour in the form of a new wardrobe. The best things in life are also the most simple and that is true of this tip! Sure, it may take a little leg work but it will be worth it when you can add an extra item or two to the shopping basket. 

Self-editing and Fixing Clothes

Scissors, needle and a selection of threads

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Adding new clothes to your wardrobe doesn’t mean you need to shell out for the most expensive items on the market to stay on trend. A great way to stretch out your budget is to search your collection for items that could do with a bit of a facelift and get to work.  

There are many ways to make your old garments work for you again, from just sewing up holes or letting out waistbands to making shirts into dresses and painting with bleach. In Britain, we collectively spend an average of £45 billion on textiles and clothing each year but this can be knocked down considerably with a little bit of DIY.

 If this sounds like something that you’d like to look into, take a look at our article, ‘Budget Friendly Fashion: Self-Editing and Upcycling Clothes’, for loads of tips on how to upcycle your wardrobe on a budget.    

Buy Kids Shoes

We've talked about ways you can save on kids' clothing before. But did you know that kids' shoes don't have VAT added? This makes them much more affordable than their adult counterparts. 

The best part is that kids' sizes go up to an adult's size 5. So, if you're a size 5 or less, you can slip into some savings by buying a kid's pair instead. For example, a pair of Nike Air Force 1 '07s are £109 at Nike in adult sizes. But you can get your hands on Nike Air Force 1 LE for kids that go up to a UK size 6 or only £67. That's a whopping £42 cheaper, or 38% cheaper. 

And let's not forget that you can still use a discount code or a student discount on top of that to drop the price. As full-priced items tend to be eligible for more discount codes it can be a really great way to buy footwear on a budget.

Buy Display Models

Some retailers will sell ex-display models of shoes and trainers for discounted prices. Typically, they're good-as-new, but they may just have a little bit of wear from customers having a look at them. 

Schuh has an entire section of their website called Schuh Imperfects that sells footwear with up to 75% off shoes. They have a few nicks and scratches, but the price drop is hard to ignore. Likewise, there's Offcut Shoes at Office that offers trainers for £30 or less.

Keep An Eye Out For Discounts

red discount tags

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One of the easiest ways to guarantee yourself some savings is to find the best discount codes and deals for your next shopping spree. From free delivery, multi-buy offers, Buy One Get One Free deals and good old-fashioned money off, we have loads of fashion promo codes to help you get the biggest bang for your buck.  

There are countless ways to save on your wardrobe; some may take a little more leg work than others but you’ll see the fruits of your labour in the form of that new hoodie, chic jeans or stylish shoes. So, before you spend a shed load on a new outfit, why not try out one of our top tips for saving on your newest purchase?  

Shona Moreland
Fashion Editor

Hi there! My name is Shona and I’m the Fashion Editor here at MyVoucherCodes. I’ve been writing for 5 years, and now I’ve been focusing on fashion, and I’m loving every minute of it! From the freshest releases to the hottest trends and movements that keep the industry buzzing.

I have a number of interests, ranging from playing the drums, drawing, reading and writing to enjoying nature with my puppy! And let’s not forget about the all-important interest … Fashion!