How To Shop For Clothes Without Wrecking Your Budget

Here’s how to stack your wardrobe up on a budget, and while staying on-trend with Instagram influencers who make it all look so effortless.

Food, rent, clothes: choose two. Now that we’re firmly in the millennial era of side hustles and skyrocketing costs of living, it can be hard to spare a second thought for replacing that pair of leggings you ripped a hole in that no one can really see if you’re careful. After all, you have more important things to buy, right?

Here’s how to shop for clothes on a budget, while staying on-trend with Instagram influencers who make it all look so effortless.

1. Look For Discount Codes

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Instagram influencers are great for getting ideas from, but the stuff they wear isn’t always accessible to the average budget. However, the secret to nabbing your favourite piece on a budget is a discount code, which your chosen influencer might have available in their captions or bio. Hold onto those codes and stack them on top of key sale times, and you can grab a bunch of clothing at once for way less than you’d pay at full price. Make sure to always peep who they tag for hints on which brands they’re rocking!

Some companies that have codes and discounts (and include plus sizes!): Fashion Nova, Pretty Little Thing, and BooHoo.

2. Grab Honey

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Honey is a life saver (#NotSponsored). Whether you choose to install it on your browser or use it as an app, Honey scans every coupon, discount, and sale code available once you hit checkout on your haul. If you already have the best deal, Honey will tell you. But if you don’t? Watch Honey comb through tons of discounts you didn’t even know existed to get you the deal you deserve. Whether it’s a percentage off, or free shipping (especially helpful when buying from companies outside of Canada), Honey can save you money – maybe enough for just one more pair of slides.

3. Get Into Thrifting

Fast fashion (quickly, cheaply made pieces) has made clothing borderline disposable. Things go on and off trend so fast that people tend to get rid of things without a second thought. That’s where you benefit. Heading to more densely populated areas will net you some really good finds at their thrift stores, as they will have more selection and a bigger size range.

4. Shop Sales

Waiting for certain times of year can be extremely beneficial to your bank account. We all know that Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Boxing Day are all good sale days, but American companies, in particular, have random sales based on holidays year-round. Look for days like President’s Day (the third Monday in February), Memorial Day (the last Monday in May), Independence Day (July 4th), and Labour Day (September 1st). Those days are often used to either clear out old stock, offer free shipping, or briefly discount new merchandise.

5. Buy Off-Season

The best time to buy what you need is definitely not when you need it. While summer calls for swimsuits, it doesn’t exactly call for swimsuit sales. But early fall or even winter are great times to pick up deeply discounted swimwear. Same goes for winter coats -who needs one in April, as the spring blooms? (Unless you live in Edmonton, in which case you will probably need that coat until May or so.) Buying a winter coat after winter will guarantee you save at least a few dollars.

6. Carefully Curate Your Pieces

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One key to keeping your wardrobe low-cost is to be selective about what you buy. Look for good quality items that you can be sure you only have to buy once. While it may be tempting to buy a couple of the same shirt from a cheaper place, buying one good one for the same cost as those few will save you more money in the long run. A good example is leggings: rather than buying a bunch of cheap ones, I invested in a single $50 pair (which I only paid $30 for–thank you, sales) from Aritzia ten years ago. That same pair is still my go-to leggings to this day.

7. Find Inspiration, Then Start Shopping

One of my favourite things to do is window shop (but from the comfort of my own home, online, in my PJs). I often end up looking at gorgeous pieces that I know I’ll never be able to afford, and then I start hunting. Finding dupes of high-end clothing is not only a fun challenge but a great way to keep your wardrobe current and affordable. Forever 21 is a great place to start that journey, as they are quick to keep up with trends and turn out new product constantly. The key with this strategy is to be patient: you may not find what you want immediately, but you never know when the right jacket may cross your path.

Hopefully, some of these tips will help you build a wardrobe you can be proud of!

Featured image: Pexels