How to Stop Spending Money on Clothes

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Do you need to learn how to stop spending money on clothes? In my late teens/early twenties I was a clothing addict.

As soon as I had a bit of disposable income I was like “Woo, shopping spree.” And it wasn’t about quality either.

It was ‘what’s trendy now?’ and ‘how much can I get for a hundred quid in New Look/Primark?’, so after all those years of buying new clothes – I don’t have anything to show for it.

Fortunately for my budget’s sake (not to mention the environmental impact), I came to my senses in the last few years and pretty much stopped buying clothes altogether.

Nowadays, I actually hate shopping for new clothes. I only buy things as I need them and no longer keep up with trends.

I try to invest in quality basics that will last and I’m no stranger to buying secondhand.

So what helped me to learn how to stop spending money on clothes? Ultimately, it’s a mindset shift. And it won’t happen overnight.

But by implementing some of these tips, slowly but surely, you’ll feel less urges to spend and adapt a more considered and mindful approach.

Let’s jump in shall we?

Why Do We Buy So Many Clothes?

According to Statista.com, clothing is one of the main areas where consumers spend money. In fact, in 2016 consumers in the UK spent £68.1 billion on shoes and clothing.

When researching this post, I came across the Ideal Budget by award-winning Financial Planner Pete Dunn.

Interestingly, he suggests that we should budget 5% of our take-home pay on clothing. So I thought I’d do some number crunching.

Gross Annual SalaryMonthly Take Home5% Monthly Clothing Budget5% Annual Clothing Budget
£16,000£1,210£61£726
£18,000£1,323£66£794
£20,000£1,437£72£862
£25,000£1,720£86£1,032
£30,000£2,003£100£1,202
£40,000£2,570£129£1,542
£50,000£3,137£157£1,882
Calculated on a standard tax code for 2020/21 rounded to the nearest £

I don’t know about you, but even the smallest salary’s monthly budget of £61 seems high to me!

What do you think? Do you spend in line with this? Let me know in the comments.

So why do we buy so many clothes?

To Keep Up With Trends

We’ve probably all been guilty of this at some point. It used to be the glossy spreads in magazines that would tell us what the seasonal trends were going to be and what ‘must-haves’ we needed this summer.

Now with social media at the tips of our fingers, this information is even more accessible and in our faces.

Brand newsletters flood our inbox and tell us what we’ve got to have this season.

Influencers we follow on social media looking like they’ve stepped out of a catalogue tempt us with their swipe ups.

We keep up with trends to fit in. To look the part. So people won’t judge us on wearing something ‘so last season’.

Social Media Influence and FOMO

Following on from the above, we are glued to social media and every aspect of our lives is now documented for the world to see.

Friends and acquaintances share pictures from holidays, festivals and nights out looking all glammed up and it makes us feel insecure.

We feel like we need to look good to feel good and then get trapped in that vicious cycle of spending.

Influencers share images accompanied by the caption ‘so many of you guys have been asking where my dress is from, swipe up to buy’.

And it’s all there for us. All too accessible and all too easy. We’re adding stuff to our carts before we’ve even realised it.

Clever Marketing Ploys

And it’s not just social media and influencers who sell to us and make us want to spend money.

Brands are clever. They know what we’ve been looking at on their website. They know if we add something to our cart and don’t check out.

Then they’ll email with an offer we can’t refuse. A money off offer to tempt us in and seal the deal.

Emotional Spending

And of course there’s the emotional spending aspect of it.

How many times have you found yourself buying things as a knee-jerk reaction to the emotions you are feeling?

Bored? Go shopping.

Low self-esteem? Buy some nice new clothes.

Had a good week? Great, let’s celebrate with a new wardrobe.

Had a bad week? Bummer, why not treat yourself?

It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of emotional spending, and obviously that isn’t limited to just clothes.

But it’s always much harder to get back out of it.

How to Stop Spending Money on Clothes

So how can we stop spending money on clothes? Breaking bad spending habits can be tricky. It takes time, patience and perserverance.

We won’t get it right straight away. It’s like any addiction. We have to wean off slowly and you can bet your life there will be relapses.

But with a positive and determined mindset, and by building on positive small habits, we can get there.

Unsubscribe from Mailing Lists

Buying clothes might not even be on your mind. Then suddenly an “up to 70% SALE starts NOW!” email will drop into your inbox and before you know it you’ve got a cart full of clothes, half of which probably aren’t even in the aforementioned sale.

Sales are a great place to stock up on things you need, but only when you need them.

Just because it’s x% off, doesn’t mean it’s a bargain. You save 100% if you don’t buy it!

Next time one of these tempting emails hits your inbox, unsubscribe before you even read it.

You might also enjoy…How to Be Intentional with Your Spending

Invest in Quality Basics

“Uhhh, I thought this was how to STOP spending money on clothes?” – well bear with me!

If you buy the right clothes to begin with, you won’t need to keep spending money on clothes.

Sure Primark jeans are cheap, but they certainly don’t last forever!

Cheap clothing is a false economy and you’ll end up spending so much more in the long run.

Invest in high quality, long lasting pieces and you won’t need to shop for clothes as often.

I’m not saying you have to go down the capsule wardrobe route (although great if that’s something you think you could do).

But buying a few key pieces that can be mixed and matched will mean that you need to buy less.

Don’t Shop Online

There’s something about online shopping that feels less ‘real’ than physically shopping in a store.

As you’re browsing rails, picking things up, you can see your arms getting more and more full with items which gives you a bit more self-awareness around how much you’re actually spending.

Online? Well, it’s not so easy to keep track – you click ‘add to basket’ and before you know it you’re checking out a couple of hundred pounds worth of clothes…

And it’s not only that. Shopping online you’re more likely to take risks.

You can add items of colours and styles you wouldn’t usually go for, items that don’t suit your body shape – it’s not like you can try them on first.

And then when all that stuff turns up and you realise you don’t actually like 80% of it you’ve then got the hassle of returning it.

So then you might even shove it in your wardrobe, convincing yourself ‘I’ll wear it one day’ only for it to stay hanging, tag in tact, never to see the light of day again.

Don’t shop online!

Don’t Buy For Special Occasions

Again I’m pointing the finger at social media here, but since the rise of Facebook and Instagram it’s no longer deemed socially acceptable to wear the same outfit to a special occasion more than once.

One good rule of thumb when buying an item of clothing is to ask yourself, “will I wear this at least 30 times?”.

If the answer is no – don’t buy it.

“But what about occasion wear? I’m never going to wear the same dress 30 times!”

Well – maybe not. But why not try to buy something more versatile?

A little black dress is a wardrobe stable for a reason – dress it up with different coloured shoes and handbags.

Make it look different by changing up your hair and makeup.

Style it differently with jewellery and accessories.

Get creative!

Another great way to stop spending money on occasion wear is borrowing from a friend or relative. You can return the favour by letting them borrow an outfit from you too.

You might also enjoy…How to Say No to Spending Money Without Feeling Guilty

 

How to Save Money on Clothes

Always Search for Discounts and Promo Codes

I would say this about literally any purchase you could ever make.

Always, always, always search for discounts, promo codes and cashback.

There’s certainly money to be saved. Even if you’re shopping in store.

Many shops offer student discount and NHS discount – it’s easy to buy a NUS card, even if you’re not a student!

And the Blue Light Card is also widely accepted – don’t be put off by the name, a whole range of careers can qualify including the prison service workers and social workers – head to the Blue Light website to see if your job is on the list.

 

You might also enjoy…7 Ways to Save Money on Eating Out

Ask for Gift Vouchers

Some people hate giving and receiving cash/gift vouchers for birthdays and Christmas.

They think it’s an impersonal gift with no thought behind it.

However, I personally love to receive gift cards.

It means I can go shopping and buy exactly what I want without reaching into my own purse.

Shop Secondhand

One of the main ways I save money on clothes is by buying secondhand.

I’ve bought clothes from car boot sales and charity shops.

But I also love to shop on ebay.

I picked up a pair of like new, Old Skool Vans for less than £20 and have more than got my money’s worth out of them.

You might also enjoy…How to Save Money on Baby Clothes

Need New Clothes but Got No Money?

Have a Sort Out

When was the last time you had a proper sort out of all your clothes?

I wrote this post – Declutter and Organise Your Wardrobe Once and For All – which talks you through the steps of getting your wardrobe clutter free and organised once and for all.

How can this help you when you need new clothes? Well quite often, we have pieces hidden away that we forget about.

Most of us only wear a small percentage of our wardrobe and it’s easy to become blind to the rest of it.

Having a clear out allows you to look at everything you own with fresh eyes.

You may find some hidden treasure, but if not – you may find a lot of stuff you can sell.

Sell Your Old Clothes

Following on from above, have a sort out and sell the stuff you no longer wear.

Not sure where to start? This post – The Ultimate Guide To The Best Places To Sell Clothes – might help.

Clear some clutter and make some money to buy yourself some new pieces.

Clothes Swap

Clothes swapping events are becoming more and more popular.

And there are new apps popping up just for the purpose of clothes swapping.

With many of us steering away from fast fashion and becoming more environmentally and ethically conscious, clothes swapping is a great way of getting new clothes without spending money and without putting your old clothes in landfill.

Head to Get Swishing to find swapping events near you.

Summary

Like I said earlier, breaking a shopping addiction and learning how to stop spending money on clothes won’t come overnight.

But by implementing some of these tips and tricks, you’ll definitely learn to spend less.

 

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