[Editor's Note: I'm a little late to the game in publishing this article. To make up for it, I'll add an additional holiday tip myself. Last year, I found that Christmas sweaters (ugly and regular) get huge markdowns following the season. I picked up 3 at more than 50% off then, so this year I'm all set.]
With the holidays fast approaching, you’re probably being bombarded with party invites and family obligations. It’s exciting if you’re a social butterfly like some in my family. However, it can also quickly add up price wise when you’re factoring in all those new, fancy clothes you’ll need to get through the company party, Christmas card photos, or outings with grandma.
But spending on fashion doesn’t have to empty your wallet. In fact, it doesn’t even have to cost you a thing! From kid styles to ugly sweaters, there are tons of ways to save on getting dressed for the season. Here’s how to stay fashionable this holiday season without going broke.
4 Ways to Save on Holiday Clothing
Thrift and Resales
One of my guilty pleasures is hitting up resale popups for my daughter’s clothing. It can be a bad habit, but when you walk away with 10 new items of clothing for a dollar each, it’s easy to see how it can become an addiction fast!
My trick is to only go to sales on the last day or during the final few hours – when most resale shops do steep discounts, such as dollar-dashes or half-off everything. Don’t be afraid to negotiate, either. The longer the item stays on the shelf, the deeper the discounts get. Even saving $1 here and there can go a long way.
I also like to buy holiday clothing out of season when other sellers or thrift stores are desperate to get rid of them. It’s a great thing to remember come spring when everyone else is shopping for tank tops and shorts!
Borrow or Trade
Having a fancy company holiday party to attend can really eat at the budget, especially for those attending black tie affairs. Women, in particular, will most likely need to find a new gown as I don’t know many who keep a long, evening appropriate outfit in their closet year round!
Instead of making a trip to a designer or even a big box store such as Macy’s or Nordstrom, check around with your friends first. Because evening gowns are so distinct, most don’t want to wear them a second time. Even more so, a friend may have a daughter’s prom gown lying around or a discarded bridesmaids dress that will work. Offer a trade for your past evening gowns for theirs. Who knows, it may lead to an entire closet exchange!
In addition, if you do want something completely unique, you can also use online services such as Rent the Runway, which allow you to “rent” an evening gown at nearly half the price, then return it when you're done. This service can be a savior if you have multiple parties to attend!
Men should consider doing the same thing with their suits and tuxes. Rental suits are relatively affordable, but booking way in advance is absolutely necessary if you want the best deals. Put your order in before Thanksgiving and score some great discounts.
Stick to the Basics
If your family style is more causal for the holidays, consider buying all year round. Simple, staple items such as a red sweater, a black dress, tights, etc. can all be re-worn during the holidays without looking out of place. And while buying holiday clothes and dresses for your kids are fun, they look just as adorable when wearing a cardigan and a pair of corduroy pants.
If you already have the staples in your closet, I suggest taking everything out and playing a matching game. Pair your red vest with a white button down and then replace the vest with a green sweater. Change up the pants from black slacks to brown… and suddenly you have three outfits with pieces you already own and love! Take pictures of each combination so you remember your options!
Saving money is hugely important during the holidays, especially when it comes to superficial things such as clothing or designer goods. You don’t have to buy up a store for your kids or hit up a shopping center for a party dress. By sticking to what you have, what your friends want to give, and the good deals out there, you can keep your holiday clothing costs to a minimum.
Michelle is a 20-something new mom, dog lover, and freelance writer/solopreneur living in Chicago. She's currently fighting back to get in the black while learning how to make great financial decisions for the future. You can find her personal debt story at fitnpoor.com and her site for parents wanting to raise money-smart children at everylittlecent.com
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