Jan 082012

Free Women’s Jeans & Kid Jeans $2.48 each @ Target

If you have every wondered where to find cheap clothes for your family, you are not alone. As a mother of three boys with a very slim clothing budget, I have found that there are many ways to find cheap clothes, and the best part is that there are ways to make quality clothes fit your budget too.

Whether it is work clothes for your husband, school uniforms for your children, brand name clothing for your image conscious teenager, or whether it is dress clothes and special accessories for you, it is possible to find cheap clothes for everyone in your family without compromising on quality or look.

I saved $1700+ on clothing in 2011, and I spent a total of $273 for a family of five on clothing and shoes. I was able to keep my family’s clothing budget low by buying clearance and sales only, as well as by using coupons and gift cards earned online. You can see how the breakdown of my clothing budget here.

Today I am starting a series called “Where To Find Cheap Clothes”, where I will share tips on finding cheap clothes and share how I keep my family’s clothing budget low. 

2 Pairs of Kids Sandals for $4.85 at Kohl’s

Where To Find Cheap Clothes

  • The Clearance Rack At Your Favorite Stores
  • Outlet Malls
  • Season Sales
  • Online Clothing Stores 
  • Thrift Stores
  • Your Family’s Closet

Total $5.60 at JCPenney

My favorite stores to shop at when it comes to clothing for my entire family are: Kohl’s, JC Penney, Target, Gap Outlet, Target.com and Old Navy. H & M is my all time favorite clothing store, but unfortunately we do not have any close by. For myself I also love New York & Company. While some of these stores might seem expensive and out of your budget, there are ways to get the high original prices to fit within your budget.

Coupons: If you do not already do so, start considering coupons as money. Signing up for your favorite clothing stores is the first step to getting great coupons.
Kohl’s Coupons: Kohl’s offers great 15 – 20 percent off coupons, you can get a $5 coupon for signing up for their emails, and on rare occasions you will find $10 off $10 Kohl’s coupons in the mail, in your inbox and the newspaper.
JCPenney coupons: JCPenney often has $10 off $25 coupons online, which you can print and bring to the store. You can also get 15 percent off coupons, once you fill out surveys on your receipt. If you are one of the lucky few, you will even get $10 off $10 JCPenney coupons sent in the mail. How to get these is a mystery, but if you have their store cards, or shop online you are more likely to get one of these famous $10 off $10 JCP coupons.
Target clothing coupons: Target posts clothing coupons online, and once in a while you may even have a clothing coupon print at checkout. You can also occasionally find online clothing coupons for Target. 
Gap Outlet coupons: If you sign up for the Gap outlet newsletter you will get a 15 percent off coupon.
Macy’s coupons: Macy’s often has $10 off $25 coupons to print on their website.
New York and Company coupons: New York and Company often has some high value coupons available on their website.

Find Cheap Clothes at Online Clothing Stores:
I do not purchase much clothes online, simply because I can often find better clearance prices at the stores, and because online stores often have shipping costs. This past year I found two great deals where I was able to find cheap clothes online.

In the fall I bought $50 worth of clearance clothes for my boys at Target.com. I got free shipping by buying more than $50, I also used a $5 off coupon, and I only bought clearance clothes. I was able to get a big box full of kids clothing for about $2 a piece.

In the spring I bought a winter coat for my son for $12 at Kohl’s.com, and I also found girls Disney pajamas for $2 after a great clearance deal at Kohl’s.com.

The key to finding cheap clothes online is to look for clearance, find free shipping options and use coupon codes. When you buy clothes online make sure to go through Ebates, Shop At Home or any other money back program to add to your savings. I mostly use Ebates, and it works great.

Some great places to find cheap clothes online:
Target clothing clearance at Target.com – Only buy clothing that is marked free shipping on orders of $50+.

Kohl’s clothing clearance: $0.99 shipping per item or free shipping on orders of $75+. Find the latest Kohl’s coupon codes here.
JCPenney clothing clearance: When they have $10 off $25 or $10 off $10 coupons, you can find some great deals. Sometimes you can even get free shipping to your local store, otherwise you get free shipping on orders of $69+. Find the latest JCP coupon codes here.
Amazon Clothing Clearance: You can often find great off-season clearance at Amazon.com, and while you can find discounts up to 90 percent off, the prices are usually a bit higher to begin with. 
Amazon is a great place to find great deals on name brand clothing such as South Pole, Sean John and Quicksilver, especially when you look at clearance. Quite often you will get free shipping on orders of $25+, and you can sign up for the Amazon clothing store newsletter which will come with an occasional personalized coupon code, and sometimes Amazon also offers 20 percent off discount codes. Right now you can get 75 Percent Off Clothes at Amazon.

Disney Cars Shoes $0.80 OOP at Kohl’s

Gift cards: Earn gift cards online, and use coupons, clearance and sales to stretch them. I always redeem my Mypoints points for $10 JCPenney and Kohl’s gift cards, and by combining them with clearance and coupons, I am able to double the value of the card several times.
Sales: Learn to distinguish between a real sale, and a hyped up sale. Getting the store newsletters in your inbox is a great way to keep up to date, and don’t forget to bring your coupons. After studying the prices on the clearance racks, you will begin to realize what is a good price for an item.
Clearance, clearance, clearance!: I love the clearance racks, and I rarely shop anything but the clearance racks. Unless I have a great coupon to get the price down even further, I do not even look at 50 and 60 percent off items. Once the store starts clearancing their clothes at 75 – 80 percent off the original price that is when I will start buying, and even then I bring along coupons and gift cards. 

Find Cheap Clothes Tip 1:
The price scanner is my favorite friend at JCPenney, Target, and Kohl’s. Quite often the marked price is different than the actual price, and it can go both ways so I prefer to stay in the know. I always gather up all the items I am interested in, and then I start scanning, before I give everything a final evaluation.

Find Cheap Clothes Tip 2:
Unmarked clothes without a tag or a price always end up in my shopping cart. At the end of my shopping trip, I take all of the unmarked items and locate a store employee. Most clothing pieces have a code on the inside that can be used to identify the price of a piece of clothing. Most people leave unmarked clothes on the clearance rack thinking that it does not belong, which can mean you will get a fantastic price. Always consider the store employees as your friend and teammate, and if you treat them so, chances are you will get a courteous treatment back. If I discover a piece of clothing without a price tag, and the employees are unable to find a price, I always ask, if they can give me a price similar to another item on the clearance rack. I have gotten some fantastic deals this way – and if I don’t like the price they give me, I can always put it back.

Find Cheap Clothes Tip 3:

Toddler Sneakers $1.68 at JCPenney

While price is very important in sticking to a low clothing budget, it is important to take the quality of clothes into consideration as well. When my oldest son was little, my husband and I were both in college, which meant that I had an almost non-existing clothing budget. I bought my son a lot of clothes at my favorite H & M clothing store in NYC, but I would never consider buying anything at full price. Instead I stalked the very small clearance racks, and I would buy him a few pieces here and there. Today, nine-years later and three kids later, the clothing is still in excellent condition. Some of it, even looks as great as it did the day I brought it home from the store. While I might have spent a few dollars extra, the clothes has tripled it’s value because it lasted through three kids.

Contrary to my H&M experience, I have often, if not always, been disappointed, whenever I have bought clothes at Sears and Kmart for the kids. The clearance prices are similar to those at Target, JCPenney and Kohl’s once I use coupons, but the quality just isn’t the same. The children’s clothes from Sears and Kmart just does not last through more than one child, before the clothing turns into playtoys, ends up in the donation or yard sale pile, or is simply tossed.

So my final cheap clothing tip for today is that you need to know where to buy the best quality clothes for the best money. When looking for ways to cut your family’s clothing budget, it is essential that you carefully weigh the balance between quality and price. Expensive clothes does not mean that the clothes are better quality, but not all cheap clothes are great quality either. Frugal clothing shopping is all about getting the best quality clothes for the best price possible.

If you think the list above is simple, I agree that it is. If you think you are already looking at these place, you probably are. The secret about finding cheap clothes for you and your family starts with you. Knowing where to find cheap clothes is not enough, you need to change the way you think about shopping and specifically about clothes shopping. When you get a coupon, make sure you spend what you need to be able to use that coupon…but nothing more.

In part two “Where To Find Cheap Clothes: Organization and Planning”, I will go into details about each of the places, where you can find cheap clothes for your family, and I will also touch on changing your way of thinking about clothes. 

  One Response to “Where To Find Cheap Clothes Part I: Clearance & Coupons”

  1. thank this is some great info

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