How to Shop For Clothes on a Budget

I love to shop, but I hate spending money on clothes. Yes, this is possible. The average person spends $161 on clothes and the average family of four spends $1,800 per year on clothing. As you can see, simply clothing your family can add up quite a bit over time.

With growing kids and the fact that we live in a state that experiences all four seasons, I find myself buying quite a few clothing items each year. Luckily, I’ve been able to shop for clothes on a budget by using a few helpful hacks.

Set Your Budget

The first thing you’ll want to do is set your clothing budget for the month or year. This can help ensure you have a target and don’t exceed it. If you don’t set a budget, you won’t really have anything to stop you from overspending. Believe it or not, my family’s monthly clothing budget used to be just $30. It was very low but it was what we could afford to spend on clothes at that time.

Now that we’ve added two kids, we spend a little more on clothes but just as needed. We don’t automatically go and buy clothing each month. But more often than not, someone ends up needing shoes or new pants.

You may want to review your clothing spend from previous months or add up what you spent in the past year to help you come up with a realistic amount for this budget category.

Take an Inventory

In addition to setting a desired spending amount, you can also save money by taking an inventory of what you already have. Do this before you even start to shop for clothes on a budget.

I like to use the notepad on my phone to make a list of the clothes we already have as well as a checklist of what we might need. If I’m preparing to shop for new clothes for the season, it can get expensive and I don’t want to go to the store without a plan. I’ll go through all the clothes one person has and count how many pants, shirts, etc. they have.

That way, I can make a realistic list of the items I’ll actually need.

Maximize Resale Stores

You’re probably already doing this, but if you’re not be sure to check out thrift stores and resale shops for clothes as well. Don’t be afraid to shop used especially when it comes to kids clothes.

Kids are so rough on their clothes sometimes and you can find quality brands at thrift stores and clothes that are gently used. Just wash them at home and they’ll be ready to wear.

I always go to a store like Goodwill to look for clothes before I go to a regular store. Sometimes, I don’t buy anything and just compare prices. Goodwill also offers deals on their items on certain days using colored stickers. One color maybe 50% off the other 25%.

 The average family of four spends $1,800 per year on clothing. Share on X

Stay Ahead of Schedule

Another way to shop for clothes on a budget is to stay ahead of schedule and know how retail sales cycles work. Usually, you can find a really good deal on sweaters and winter clothes at the end of the winter season. You can stock up and save money with end-of-season sales.

I’ve also found that deals are good at the very beginning of the season too. I start shopping for fall and winter items around Labor Daty and through the end of October. Recently, I was able to find one of my boys a nice pair of winter snow boots for just $4 at a thrift store. I’ve also been able to get some pretty affordable sweaters on sale at regular stores.

Check Out Discount Stores

There are a lot of excellent discount stores to choose from that offer quality clothes for the whole family for less. Stores like Burlington and Ross are some of my favorites because you can find good brands at a fraction of the price.

Sometimes, the prices in Burlington even compare to the prices at Goodwill. At that point, I’d rather buy the clothes new. This is why it’s important to comparison shop and really utilize these discount stores.

Online Coupons

A lot of us shop online these days. You can still shop for clothes on a budget right from your computer. Check out a coupons site to find deals and discounts for your favorite retailer. Or, you can join their email list to sign up for offers.

One of my favorite retailers that offers coupons for clothes is Old Navy. They always have coupons to help you save. Another popular one is Kohl’s. They help you stack coupons and you can earn ‘Kohl’s Cash’ whenever you make a purchase.

RELATED: Are Coupons Worth it?

Sell Your Gently-Used Clothes

If you’re just giving your old clothes away or worse, tossing them in the trash, you’re missing out on money. Sometimes you want to be generous and give your old clothes to a friend or family member. This is completely fine. But other times, you may want to sell them for extra cash.

Consider selling your gently-used clothing items on sites like Offer Up or Poshmark. You can also sell clothing hauls on the Facebook Marketplace. ThredUp is an online consignment store that will buy back your brand name clothes. They will give you store credit so you can buy more clothes on the site.


You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on clothes each year. Use tnese strategies to shop for clothes on a budget and find deals. Take and inventory and set a budget before you do anything. Then, check for deals, coupons, and clearance items first. Comparison shopping is also a great skill that can save your hundreds each year.

At the end of the day, you’ll be able to save more and help everyone get nice outfits that they love so it’s a win-win.

Have you ever been able to use any of these tips to shop for clothes on a budget?