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Frugal Clothes Shopping

Shop at Goodwill, ebay, or Host a Clothes Swap

Copyright © 2013 ; all rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without author’s written permission; Author’s Google profile; Posted January 11, 2013


A Goodwill clothes purchase receipt; photo © Kelly Smith

If you’ve done any shopping lately, you know how expensive it is. And it is obvious how high the mark-up is; when items go on a 40% off sale, you know the store is still breaking even or better.

No store, not Macy’s, Target, or even Walmart would be able to stay in business for long by taking a loss. But take heart, frugal clothes shopping is easy if you know how to do it. Here are a few ideas.

Clothes Shopping at the Goodwill Store

I now buy almost all my pants and shirts at Goodwill. I know many of you are raising your eyebrows and saying, “Eeyuuuuu”. But hear me out. Last summer my daughter did volunteer work as part of joining the Junior Honor Society at school.

One of her gigs was sorting incoming donations at Goodwill. Items with any flaws were rejected. Americans are so generous that they can afford to do this. So basically, everything that goes on the rack is as close to new condition as possible.

And the prices? Look at the receipt scan at the top of this article. This is the purchase I made while researching this article. I paid $7.99 for a new pair of Levi’s jeans (retail: $48 MSRP) and 5.99 for a Magellan fishing shirt ($35 MSRP).

Yes, you can get close to these prices on eBay (I checked), but you still pay shipping and you can’t physically examine the item before you buy it. Also, Goodwill is a charity that helps those in need with the proceeds. Win-win.

Organize a Clothes Swap

A clothes swap is an idea that has been gathering momentum over the past few years. Schools and churches usually host these events, but there is no reason you can’t hold your own.

What do you need? A driveway, some card tables, and a method of hanging clothes on hangers. This can be as simple as a clothes line hung between trees or a length of PVC hung between the roofs of two cars.

Basically, friends and neighbors bring their items and set them out for display. They can swap them for the same amount of other people’s items. This type of event lends itself especially well to families with infants and growing children.

Shop on ebay

Ebay has really grown over the past few years and you can find virtually anything there. For example, when I bought my Kindle Fire 7" with LCD Display from Amazon, I turned right around and ordered the same standing leather case they sell from ebay and saved about $30.

The same savings apply to clothes. As mentioned above, you can’t physically examine the item, but you can get a good idea from the photo and description. If you like hard-to-find items, this is a good way to go.

As an example, I love guayabera shirts but they are hard to find and expensive when you do. Ebay is always an affordable source. Be sure to clean items you buy in your washing machine just to be safe.

Garage and Estate Sales

These are always good hit-or-miss opportunities. You can always find bargains but you never know what you will find. Garage sales, like clothes swaps, are very good for baby clothes; estate sales tend to have adult clothes only.

These are just a few ways to experience the frugal clothes shopping experience. Even if you are a high maintenance lady that only wears “name brand” clothing, you can still find these easily and frugally, and no one will know where you got them.

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