As the weather gets warmer and the sun starts to shine, it’s the perfect time to fling open your closet doors and breathe fresh new life into your wardrobe. You’ll be shedding layers as you say goodbye to winter, and, like other fashion-forward shoppers, you want to reveal a trendy new look in the spring.
The only problem is updating your wardrobe for a new season can be tough on your wallet.
Luckily, this guide is here to help. From practical money management skills to simple shopping tricks, these tips show you how to fill your closet for less.
Set a Spending Limit
Standard rule of thumb says to spend one percent of your annual net income on clothes. But like any financial rule, there’s some wiggle room. You can tweak this depending on your current needs and capabilities.
If you have a lot of expendable income, you may be able to afford to spend more money than one percent. However, if you have less money to go around, with financial obligations like credit card and installment loan debts, you may have to spend less.
You won’t know what you can afford until you make a budget. You can do it the old-fashioned way with some paper and a pen, or you can punch in your numbers using one of these helpful apps.
Use Your Credit Cards Carefully
Cash is king to many financial advisors. That’s because it’s impossible to spend more of it than you have in your hands, making it easy to set a budget for your shopping trip. Just go to the store with a specific number of bills in your hand, and that’s all you have to spend.
But in today’s world, you probably aren’t going to the store as often as you normally would. Online shopping takes precedence when you’re trying to keep your distance.
Enter the credit card. Most people have four cards in their wallets, with the average person carrying more than $6,000 in credit card debt.
To ensure you don’t fall down the debt rabbit hole, you need to follow these simple rules when using your card online:
- Treat it like cash. Only charge what you can afford.
- Pay it off. You’ll get dinged by interest and finance charges if you only make the minimum payment.
- Leverage rewards. Many stores provide a small discount when using a participating credit card. You can also redeem points on the latest haul you’ve been eyeing.
Understand How Credit Fits into Your Plans
While you may need a credit card to snag an amazing deal online, other financial products shouldn’t accompany you on your next shopping trip. Installment loans and line of credit loans are better reserved for emergencies.
That means a line of credit or installment loan may be a convenient safety net when you take your car into the shop for an oil change, only to leave the garage with four new brakes and rotors.
These financial products can also help you with clothing emergencies, like when you have to replace your work shoes before your next shift. Personal money loans help you with this kind of unexpected expense when you don’t have savings.
Although personal loans may be helpful in a tight situation, you should never use them like a credit card at the checkout.
Sell Old Clothes
You’ll have to make space in your closet for pieces, so you might as well use a purge to your advantage. You can sell old items to generate some shopping money, giving your spending a boost without touching your budget.
There are a couple of purging methods you can apply to your closet.
- Oprah suggests getting rid of anything that you haven’t worn in the past eight months, excluding items like that little black dress you need for funerals or job interviews.
- Marie Kondo recommends discarding any article of clothing that doesn’t inspire joy, even if you’ve worn it more recently.
Once you’ve amassed a pile of threads you’re ready to say sayonara to, post them on these consignment apps or online classified ads.
Organize a Clothing Swap
A clothing swap is a party where you and a group of friends get together to exchange clothes. With your friend’s best used items on offer, it’s an easy way to update your closet without having to sink in any money.
If you and your friends think the perfect weekend afternoon is spent at the mall, they’re probably looking for ways to update their own spring wardrobes. It’ll be easy to convince them to participate in a clothing swap.
Download Shopping Apps and Extensions
You’ll always be spending money when you shop, but there is a way to spend less than the sticker price. With the right app or browser extension, you can easily find sales, discounts, and even rebates on the items in your cart.
RetailMeNot, SnipSnap, Honey, and Rakuten are some of the most popular apps and extensions used by frugal fashionistas today. But for a greater comparison of money-saving options, take a look at this list.
Download the ones that offer the best savings and bring them along to your next shopping trip.
Have a Fresh Wardrobe for Spring
Updating your closet for a new season can get expensive, but it shouldn’t bust your budget. Remember this guide the next time you hit the aisles. These money management tips and shopping tricks will help you get a trendy new look just in time for spring!