You heard the news: Inflation has recently reached its highest level since the 1980s. That means we’re all paying more for food, gas, rent, utilities and clothing.
Clothing inflation was not a problem for the 2003 budget fashionista’s history. But here we face a new budget fashion challenge in 2022. Since we’re squeezing pennies out of our monthly budget to stay stylish, we need to take those pennies into account to buy more or less.
Specifically, the January inflation report from BLS found that clothing prices rose 5.3% year-on-year. Across the board, prices rose 7.5%. The big movers were in the power sector, but food and car prices also rose significantly.
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The 5% increase in clothing prices is significant for anyone. But for those of us who do price-shopping, looking for coupons, tracking sales, and strategically earning cashback, it can be even more painful. We’re already doing budget fashion things – and now we need to find more ways to save?
Sadly, yes, we must find more ways to save. Here are six strategies I am implementing. Feel free to add more in the comments or give me a note at [email protected].
1. Create (or modify) your budget
If you do not have a budget, make one. As a starting point, see if you can work out a 50/30/20 budget. Use paper, an app or a spreadsheet – whatever – to crunch numbers.
If you have a budget, change it to reflect the new reality of high prices. You will need to increase your spending allocation for gas, food, clothing and other items. If there is no place for it, you must double the savings and shopping hacks.
2. Shop quality
Now it’s time to buy quality pieces – not the $ 5 tops that stand out during the first wash. Sorry, Forever 21 and H&M. A $ 20 top that lasts six times more than the $ 5 top is a good deal.
You need to use all your budget shopping skills to spend as little as possible on quality pieces, but I trust you. Stick to the clearance collection and use the remaining four strategies below to stay within budget.
3. Your rebate level
Play your cards properly and you can get three levels of discounts / savings on your clothing shopping:
- Cash back from your credit card. I have a no-fee Citi Double Cash Card that offers 1% discount on purchases and 1% on payments. For this to work for you, you have to pay off the balance every month.
- Cash back from Rakuten or Coupert. Depending on the store, these discounts can range from 1% to 8%.
- Return cash from your store loyalty program. Loyalty programs that do not require a credit card can offer discounts of 1% to 3%. Some store programs offer discounts of up to 10% if you use their store credit card. Of course, these are only valuable if you use them. This is easier if you limit your clothing purchases to a small number of stores, so that you can “save” those credits for future use.
Suppose you want to buy পোশাক 100 worth of clothing from Banana Republic. You can get 2% refund from your credit card, 2% refund from Rakuten, also 1% refund from Banana Republic Prize. Once you use your Banana Republic Rewards, you can save up to 5% – almost enough to offset inflation.
4. Avoid statement pieces
When money is tight, your available cash should only go to Mix-N-Match Garments. Think solid, neutral colors. Wearable Basic You can dress up or down. A single top that could play the role of five different outfits (no one notices that you wore the same shirt twice this week). Jeans that will take you to work and play.
Statement pieces and conversation pieces are less cost-effective because you can’t wear them frequently. That amazing pattern of clothing that everyone notices and appreciates? Or patent log boots that look very cool with a midi skirt? This piece is much more memorable to wear all the time.
On the other hand, think of a silky, baby blue t-shirt. You wear that top under the blazer on Tuesday and no one will notice if you wear jeans and a pendant necklace again on Friday.
Takeaway? Invest in versatile pieces that you can often re-wear. That way you will need less clothing and less cost in the end.
To add pop to your outfit, lean on cheap items like lip color, nail color and neck scarf.
5. Shop used
You get the urge to dive into some retail therapy, store use. Shopping used instead of new ones will save a considerable amount of money on dealing with inflation.
If you don’t like thrift store shopping, try shopping online. At the moment, I like ThreadUp’s collection of sweaters under 15. I have a look at a navy, V-neck loft sweater that sells for $ 5. You can also find many beautiful spring and summer tops in the 10 to $ 15 range.
Your best bet is to focus on non-designer brands that you know and trust. Where you will find the highest value for your shopping dollars. Of course, if you like labels, you can find them too – but the price tag will be much higher
6. Sell before you buy
Selling your used clothes empties the toilet space and creates a breathing space within your budget. Okay, you’re not going to make big money selling old things. It’s a lot like the 1% rebate you earn on a loyalty program – only after you get dressed.
For example, I sent four dresses and two tops to the thread. Labels include Express, Loft, and Rock and Republic – so, lower range stuff. My total cash payment from this piece was $ 15.91.
I sold clothes at Poshmark and Threadup. Pashmark is more likely to earn, but it is more work. I like Threadup because I don’t have the time or motivation to market my stuff in Pashmark.
Through threadup, you send your clothes and they do the rest. It’s easy. The big drawback is that it takes Forever. You can wait a few months to hear what items they have received in your invoice. (Unacceptable items are donated free of charge.)
Fighting rising clothing prices
Clothing inflation is here, but it doesn’t have to squash your style. Adjust your budget, focus on the quality of the clothes you wear most often, and work on those discounts. Make habits out of those habits and you will manage through this inflation cycle as smoothly as before.