Yes, you read that right. My family and I spend practically nothing on clothing each year. We have a monthly clothing budget of just $30 for our family of three and most months, we don’t even use it. If we did that would only add up to $360 per year.
It’s funny how we got to this point because I used to shop a lot. I did so much online shopping for clothes that I had my debit card number, expiration date, and security code memorized which is pretty dangerous for a shopaholic.
Once I got serious about getting out of debt, I chose to go on a clothing ban. It wasn’t too difficult since I already had a ton of clothes. Over time, I eased off the clothing ban and came up with a small clothing budget for my family.
It actually worked. If you’re looking to spend nothing on clothing too (or close to it), here are some tips that helped us.
Knowing What We Have
Knowing your inventory is the first step if you want to spend less on clothing. Since I used to shop a lot, I knew I already had a ton of clothes but sometimes they were hard to locate. My husband and son already had quite a bit of clothing to start with as well due to giveaways.
I started by organizing what I had and taking good care of it so it would last longer. Some of the clothes I used to replace were due to that fact that I lost the original item in the first place which was kind of careless on my end.
Using the Marie Kondo method of tidying up and organizing your clothes can also help you keep track of your inventory better. However, back then I wasn’t familiar with that method so I categorized my clothes by color and kept track of all my favorite pieces.
Once you know what you have and can cover the basic staples, you may find that you have everything you need and can spend nothing on clothing as well.
We tend to check out thrift stores like Goodwill and the Salvation Army whenever we do need new clothes. Some people don’t like thrift shopping but I love the hunt. I often find good-quality clothing for my son including durable name brand jeans.
He grows so fast I see little reason to spend a ton of money buying him brand new clothes that he won’t be able to fit a year from now.
My husband can also find nice shirts at thrift stores so it’s our go-to if we really need something.
Accepting Hand-Me-Downs or Giveaways
My family and I aren’t afraid to accept free clothes. My son gets a ton of hand-me-down clothes from family members which has been super helpful to us. I don’t think I’ve bought him a winter coat in years and I feel truly blessed to have a generous family.
I don’t get offered too many hand-me-downs but my husband does sometimes from his brothers or parents.
Giveaways are also a good way to get free clothes especially if you have kids. Last year a previous coworker of mine posted on Facebook that she had a ton of boy clothes and was looking for someone to give them to. When I found out most of the clothes were in my son’s size, I asked about them and was able to get a ton of nice boy clothes as a result.
My family and I don’t flat out ask for clothes as gifts, but friends and family like to gift us with clothing every now and then for birthdays. For example, I usually host a birthday party for my son every other year and friends often ask what size he wears so they can buy him clothes.
My husband also tends to get gift cards and clothing as gifts for his birthday. He has one friend who loves to buy him nice shirts for his birthday (without him even asking) so again it’s a nice gesture and reduces the need for us to go out and buy clothes.
This past Christmas, my mom gave my sister and I each a brand new coat she ordered. I also gave my mom boots but it was awesome that we each gave each other gifts we really wanted and needed.
Coupons and Utilizing the Off Season
Yes, we still go to stores occasionally to buy new clothes. When we do we use coupons. I like stopping by Kohls during the back to school season because they have a ton of discounts and coupons so shoppers can save.
ThredUp is an online consignment store I like to shop at because their clothes are already discounted and they even provide coupons for new shoppers and credits for those who get referrals.
I also like to shop the clearance section at Target because I can usually find clothing at great prices. Target also has their own app and they load it with coupons and offers.
Cash Back Rewards
While shopping online for clothes is rare for me, I do like to use cash back rewards sites like Ebates to earn money on my purchase. This ultimately reduces my out of pocket costs for clothing.
I also have a cash back credit card that I can use to help us pay for clothes should we ever need to do a huge haul. I use my cash back card for everyday purchases and pay the bill off in full. So far, we haven’t had any huge hauls because we obtain new clothes and/or shoes whenever we need to.
Remember, we do have a budget for clothing so it’s not like we can’t go out and buy new clothes if we need them. Sometimes we don’t use our clothing budget at all so we either roll that money to the next month or spend it on something else.
I still value having nice clothes that I love and enjoy wearing, but I don’t shop as a hobby anymore. Drastically reducing our spending in this area has freed up more money in our budget for experiences, debt payoff, additional savings, and other areas of our life that we value.
Do you think you could spend nothing on clothing each month or even for an entire year? Why or why not?