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Queen of free: Shop for clothes on the cheap

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It’s that time of the year when we dig through the dresser and throw open the door to the closet. The winter has come and gone and the warmer weather means we can finally put away the boots and coats, exchanging them for the short sleeves of springtime. It might also be that time of the year when we realize those clothes packed away for so long have lost a bit of their sparkle or even fit.

Shopping for clothing can be challenging and expensive if you aren’t intentional. However, there are certainly strategies for saving to follow so you can style yourself and your family well. Here are a few ideas to keep you from busting the bank this spring season.


No battle was ever fought and won without a plan. Your spring fashion plan should begin at home. Go through your closet and drawers to discover what you already have. Take note of what fits and is still in good repair. Donate those items that don’t fit anymore or you know you will not wear. During this experience, decide what new pieces you should seek out before you ever head to the mall.

Purchase basics

Every season has the “it” color that everyone seems to be buying and wearing. However, you’d be much wiser to stick to the basics. Solid colors in classic hues can be leveraged through any season, any year. If you must have a trend of the season, try to pick that item up in an accessory. Basics are much more interchangeable with each other, too.

Buy what you love

I love a great bargain. I have walked out of a store with an entire outfit for less than $10. However, I long ago made the policy that unless I absolutely loved an article of clothing — both in its appearance and the way it fit me — I would not purchase it. If you purchase an item you’re dispassionate about, it’s more than likely going to sit at the bottom of the drawer until you decide to donate it. Only buy items you love.

Seek out coupons

Before you leave home, be sure to take a few moments to search online for coupons for your favorite stores. If you have a smart phone, check to see if there are apps associated with your favorite store. Two of my favorite places to find coupons for clothing include Meijer’s mPerks and Target’s printable website coupons.

These stores don’t just offer discounts on groceries or household goods. There are typically several clothing coupons, too. Rewards programs at Steinmart, JC Penney, Kohl’s, DSW, and the Children’s Place offer both coupons as well as a “points” program, earning you discounts or even coupons good for $5 or $10 off a purchase. The Shopkick app is another great rewards program, offering coupons for a number of different stores in the mall.

Care for items

The longevity of your clothing is heavily dependent upon the care you give. From promptly and properly laundering to being intentional with how you store your clothing in between wears, you can give extra life to your garments.

Remember brands

Have a particular shoe that has gone the distance for you? Love the way your favorite jeans fit? Return to those brands.

You might end up paying a little bit more but knowing that you like the way a particular style or brand fits helps you predict how long it will last.

One of the easiest ways to sink your budget is to head to the store without a plan in mind. By following the above strategies, your checking account can remain a basic black instead of bold red color.

Clothes should last more than a season (or even a year), so take a few minutes to do your research and then purchase only the items you need and love.

Greenwood resident Cherie Lowe and her husband paid off $127,000 in debt in four years and now live debt-free every day with their two kids. Send questions, column ideas and comments to newstips@dailyjournal.net.

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