Research has shown that South Africans are responding to the downturn in the economy, depreciating Rand and less disposable income by buying more local clothes. Clothes, like food, is one of the most basic human necessities.
Alas, they don’t last forever. As they shrink and wear out, and the seasons change (as is now happening in South Africa and around the world), we have to buy new ones. Hence, it is a constant expense and an exceeding expensive one for people with kids.
But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t save on them. With winter looming large, here are a few tips on how to cut your clothes bills:
- Shop out of season, but beware of flash sales
This might sound counterintuitive, but going against the crowd and season always pays. Many stores now run sales and give large discounts on summer clothes. Likewise, they sell winter clothes at discounted prices during August in order to get rid of their leftover winter stock.
But, says finance blogger Kate Wood, please beware of flash sales that gets your adrenalin pumping and gets you spending more than you need to. Don’t fall for the misguided mantra of “the more you spend, the more you save”. Although you’re paying discounted prices, you’re actually buying things you don’t need and still paying for them. Cheap isn’t free!
- Go generic and drop brand names
Wood advises us to buy generic items for layering and other more informal purposes. Who’s going to see the T-shirt you only wear around the house anyway? Or the shirt that you only wear under all your other clothes? Those could be bought as cheap as possible from MRP Clothing or Pick n Pay Clothing.
And try to abandon your love of brand names. Sure, we all love them to some degree, but it’s much cheaper to have less of them and they don’t always get recognised. Buy them judiciously, especially for kids who are still growing.
- Buy good quality clothing
While you and your kids’ closets should not wholly consist of brand names and generic items are often necessary, it pays to often buy good quality clothes. Buying quality denims and jackets that will last you for years instead of cheaper ones that last a year or two (or less), will leave you frustrated and regularly out of pocket. “Yes, in general, you’ll get more value (or cost per wear) out of decent clothes that actually fit you and will last you longer rather than doing the ‘fast food’ approach to new clothing every year. Feel free to disregard this advice for kids, though,” writes personal finance writer Melanie Pinola.
- Fix and embellish
The easiest and cheapest way to save on clothes is of course to fix the clothes you already own. Some items might only have a tear in them that could easily be fixed. Likewise with shirts that miss a button or two. Wood also advises to dress up old clothes a little by adding new belts and scarves or replacing the old buttons on shirts or sweaters. This way they’ll look new and you could keep trying various combinations of embellishments.
- Shop for the current you or go bigger
There are always good and noble intentions behind buying smaller clothes, such as the intention to lose weight. But these lofty goals are often left in abeyance and so these clothes become almost obsolete. “Buy clothes that fit you well, and consider tailoring them in the event you do end up being a smaller size. The cost of having something tailored to fit will likely be lower than buying a replacement item if you don’t reach your goal,” says Sabah Karimi, consumer columnist for the finance blog Wisebread.
Kate Wood, 2016, “25 must-know ways to save money on clothes”, http://www.lifehack.org/articles/money/25-must-know-ways-save-money-clothes.html.
Melanie Pinola, 21 March 2015, “Top 10 smart ways to save on clothes”, http://lifehacker.com/top-10-smart-ways-to-save-money-on-clothes-1692775219.
Sabah Karimi, 30 July 2014, “8 Ways to Save Money on Clothes in Any Season”, http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/my-money/2014/07/30/8-ways-to-save-money-on-clothes-in-any-season.
This article is sponsored by Medihelp Medical Scheme. Are you looking for low-cost medical cover?
Click here and a Medihelp accredited advisor will contact you to give you free advice about a Medihelp Benefit Option that will suit your pocket and your needs.