Tips on How to Avoid Overspending on Clothing

It can be easy to spend more money than you would like on frivolous fashion finds. One minute you’re scrolling through your phone and the next you’ve dropped hundreds of dollars on new clothing items you didn’t really need. With the opportunity to purchase new clothing at the touch of a button, the temptation to reinvent our wardrobes at any given moment can wreak havoc on our bank accounts. To reclaim control of your finances and learn to resist the temptation of new trends, follow these tips on how to avoid overspending on clothing.

Start a capsule wardrobe

A large reason why people end up overspending on clothing is that they feel like they have nothing to wear—often while also struggling to stop their clothing from bursting out of their stuffed closets. If you’re one of those people, starting a capsule wardrobe could be the solution to your problem. A capsule wardrobe is essentially a limited collection of a few essential clothing items that can be augmented with seasonal pieces.

Typically, capsule wardrobes consist of around 25 to 50 pieces that can easily be mixed and matched together to form several different outfits. While paring down your wardrobe rather than adding to it might not seem like a logical solution for feeling like you have nothing to wear, clearing out the clutter in your closet until it consists of only items you regularly wear can help reduce decision fatigue and simplify your life. Plus, once you realize how many outfits can be created by fewer garments, you likely won’t be as tempted to constantly purchase new items.

Establish a budget

Should you have a budget for your clothing? Absolutely. This is one of the best ways to stay in line with your finances and avoid overspending. It is easy to buy when the prices seem low or when items are on sale but once you’re done, you realize you have spent so much. A good practice is to incorporate in a budget the amount to be spent on clothing. Whether it’s monthly, quarterly or yearly, having a limit is helpful. 

I prefer the quarterly budget which gives you enough flexibility and is parallel to changing seasons. By being disciplined and smart with your clothing budget, you will realize very soon that you have more than enough and the extra cash could go towards other expenses. 

Shop with a purpose

If you aimlessly scroll through the websites of clothing stores, odds are you’ll end up buying something you didn’t actually need. Do your best to shop with a purpose. If you actually need a new pair of jeans or a new blouse, make sure to shop for only that item. By keeping your sights narrowed in on just the clothing items you need, you’ll be less tempted to impulse-buy an unnecessary bag or pair of shoes

This may sound silly but in the days where my finances were limited, I used to repeat these questions to myself every time I was about to buy something in a store. 

  • ‘Did I come in the store for this?’
  • ‘Was I thinking about this item when I walked in the store?’
  • ‘Can I do without it?’

When the answer was no, I always reconsidered the purchase. Try it for yourself. 

Beware the sale rack

Don’t underestimate the power of a sale rack to wreak havoc on your bank account. Just because an item of clothing costs significantly less than its original price doesn’t mean that its cost won’t still add up.

Often, people get so swept away in the excitement of a good deal that they end up buying something that they wouldn’t otherwise have purchased if it was full price. Before purchasing a sale item, make sure to ask yourself if you think you’ll get a decent amount of use out of it. If the main reason you’re purchasing it is that it’s a good deal, then you probably won’t end up wearing it that often anyway. It ultimately isn’t worth the discounted price you paid for it.


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