Tip #11: Never pay full retail price for clothes (or eyeglasses) again

70 Comments

This is tip #11 of the Save $1,000 in 30 Days Challenge.

Today’s tip is to never pay retail prices for clothes again using some sites you’ve heard of, and a bunch of sites I bet you haven’t.

new-clothes.jpg
How much do you spend per year on clothes? Think carefully about that question — if you buy a $300 coat, for example, you’re spending a minimum of $25/month on clothes. I don’t even buy clothes that often and I easily spent over $1,000 on clothes last year.

Now, if you’re a mom or on a strict budget, saving money on clothes is nothing new: You’ve already been checking price tags carefully. But many of my friends buy what they want, when they want it. While these tips are applicable to everyone, they get the most mileage if you’re buying expensive clothes. What you’ll see below is that you can actually get same clothes you buy at Macy’s — or better clothes — for a lower price.

Let’s watch Paul Singh from Results Junkies talk about how he gets custom-made shirts (which would normally cost $200+) for $30:

(He referred to CTshirts in the video. Sign up for their free newsletter, then wait a couple weeks until they email you about their monthly clearance specials.)

There are also lots of other places where you can save money on clothes.

Retail stores: Because I’m Indian, I love Ross and TJ Maxx. I just bought a Ralph Lauren coat at 50% off the other day. Even Target can have cool clothes. The funny thing is, as young people, we think shopping there is “weird” because, let’s face it, it’s mostly moms who shop there, and who wants to be caught buying a pair of pants at Target? This actually mirrors personal finance: Spend money on the things you love, but cut costs mercilessly on the things you don’t care about. For example, if you love a blazer at Macy’s, save up for it and buy it guilt-free…but cut costs mercilessly on pants if you don’t really care what they look like. You have to prioritize. Plus, for people who think it’s “weird” to shop at TJ Maxx: I can get over that weirdness when I’m saving $200 on clothes each time I go in there.

Buying abroad: Recently, I detailed how I saved $700 buy buying a suit and eyeglasses in India. Good news: Instead of walking the streets of Rajouri Garden in Delhi, you can do all of those things from your computer. Zenni Optical offers eyeglasses at $25 (and they’re not the only one — search for “cheap eyeglasses“). You can get custom suits made for $200, and a local tailor in your neighborhood will make the final adjustments (search “cheap custom suits“).

Buy clothes online: I know, I know, people have been telling me to buy clothes online for years, but I always have this nagging feeling that things will never fit. But when I saw the prices, I was saving 75% off buying it at stores — making it worth the experimentation. Plus, every retailer understands your hesitation to buy clothes online, so they make it insanely easy to return clothes. I like eBay and Overstock.com. Also try Shop It To Me, which lets you enter your size/style and you’ll get targeted emails about exactly the clothes you’re looking for. Frankly, I’d recommend trying buying clothes online once. Pick a brand whose size you know, and since returns are free, it’s literally no money out of your pocket if you don’t like it. Note: I have invites available for the invite-only site Gilt.com, which gives you access to high-end retailers (John Varvatos, Ted Baker, Chip & Pepper, etc) for steep discounts (i.e., hundreds of dollars off). If you want in, click here for an invite.

Buying something expensive? Use the Savings Goal strategy. Finally, there’s one bonus tip for buying something nice: If I see an expensive coat or jacket I want, I can either drop the cash right then, or go home, decide if I really want it, and set up a savings plan. You can probably guess what I do most of the time. Here’s how:

Remember how I wrote about my sub-savings accounts?

ing-sub-savings-accounts.jpg
Let’s say I want to buy a blazer that costs $200. I set up a “Clothing” sub-savings account and set up an automatic transfer of $100 each month into it and set up a calendar reminder to let me know when I’ve saved $200. This does two things: First, it forces me to save for any large purchase. Second, by the time the second month comes around, I sometimes realize I didn’t really need that thing anyway. You can use the Savings Goal strategy for any large purchase. Here’s the ING account I use (now called Capital One 360).

Be careful about buying clothes. People love to rationalize that they’re “investing” in their clothes for the long term, which is a complete lie because they keep buying stuff every year. Only buy something new when you get rid of something old. Pay for quality, but hold it (and wear it) for a long time. Cut costs on stuff that nobody sees, like your headbands or socks. And ask yourself if dressing in the newest Kenneth Cole shirt or Prada bag really gets you to your goals.

Total saved: $50 to $500

* * *

Last thing to do
Leave a comment on this post describing how much you’re saving with this tip and any unusual techniques you use to make this tip work.

If you liked this tip, check out my Premium tips — one long, tactical tip per week. Save money or get a 100% refund.

scrooge

facebooktwittergoogle_plus

Related Articles

Watch this 18-minute video on happiness

I have something cool for you today. I’m sharing part of my video interview session with Gretchen Rubin, the ...

Read More

From no idea to an online business -- here’s what I learned

I hope you had a relaxing weekend, because this week, we’re going back to school. In this email, I’...

Read More

70 Comments

 
  1. I can definitely agree with this advice! I love Ross and T.J. Maxx and have bought most of my clothes there. But do I occasionally splurge on a great piece that I know will really enhance my wardrobe? Heck yeah!

  2. I’ve been shopping at TJ Maxx and buying eyeglasses online. Why pay more indeed?

  3. Next time I go shopping I’m going to try out those places. So outlets would be considered bargain centers too correct?

    I have a question…i was looking at my ING accounts and I could not see an option to send me an alert when I reached a thresold I set. How do I set that up?

  4. My previous employer was a jeans and t-shirt dotcom era style environment. When I changed jobs earlier this year, I needed a whole new business casual wardrobe upgrade. I bought a work weeks worth of pants altered to fit, blouses, sweaters and more from Target, and miscellaneous factory outlet malls with Nordstrom Rack, Ann Taylor, Gap, Liz Claiborne, Boss, and more. I didn’t buy a single thing at retail price. Almost everything I bought was 50-75% off the original price, all brand name, and all modern, professional and attractive. Sarah Palin should have hired me to do her wardrobe shopping for her!

  5. Filene’s Basement is a great place to shop and find good deals on clothes.

  6. When you’re in the working world and it’s business casual everyday all you really need is 5 nice dress pants/skirts and then you don’t have to repeat in a week. Then have shirts that you can rotate with each pair of pants. I have actually found plenty of cute tops at Target!
    I am a 24 yr. old female, so while many girls my age spend way too much money on clothes, I don’t buy anything unless it’s on sale and I don’t buy clothes very often since I’m usually wearing work clothes all week. Besides, most of it will be out of style next year, so what’s the point in dropping hundreds of dollars on stuff you may only wear a few times?

  7. I live in Washington state and there is a premium factory outlet mall with Kenneth Cole, Burberry, Coach, Eileen Fisher, Gucci, Kate Spade, and more designer stores that are heavily discounted. I personally can’t justify spending $1000 on a bag, but you can spend $1000 on a Coach bag instead of $3000 at the factory outlet. I still can’t justify spending on most of the stuff, even at factory outlet prices, but you can still find good deals. I bought a cashmere Burberry scarf that retailed for $300 for $50.

    If you do buy things at factory outlet malls, be sure to inspect it. They are mostly customer returns, but sometimes there are items with minor imperfections. I bought an Anne Klein city coat that retailed for $300 for $100. The only thing wrong with it was a loose button. 60% off for a loose button? I’ll take it! I took it home and sewed the button back on.

  8. two words: thrift stores. You literally would not believe the amount of perfectly good, brand name clothing people get rid of. It isn’t nearly as easy going to a store and grabbing the exact thing you want off the rack, but if you’ve got the time, you can save serious money this way.

  9. I’m pretty lucky in that my employer’s official dress code is: wear clothes (except when traveling to the customer site). So, I have my normal, day to day clothes and I have a small rotation of dress slacks and button down shirts for when I have to travel.

    I only spend money on clothes to replace something I already owned. So, every month, I set aside $50 for my clothes envelope. My envelope never goes empty, since most of the time, clothes purchases are small like getting new socks and unders. When it comes time to make a big purchase–shoes, boots, etc–I have a nice buffer built up.

    For the dress clothes, I shop at a thrift store, where I can get dress shirts, slacks or even blazers for under $10.

  10. I love the Buffalo Exchange for used clothes. I bought a gorgeous Chinese style silk dress for a party once for $25. I got so many compliments on it, I just smiled and thanked them. Nobody had any idea it was a used dress.

  11. Can I just say I have never been so excited about saving money daily… until I found this blog! Keep up the excellent work.

  12. I buy clothing and shoes online, mostly at eBay. I always find people that are too hesitant to buy online because it won’t fit. For some reason, I’ve actually been happier with stuff I buy online – maybe it’s because you have all the choices in the world and you can get whatever you want?

    I’ve even been meaning to buy glasses at Zenni Optical, and I don’t even wear glasses! I just want a fake pair of glasses and they have been everywhere recently.

    I personally think it’s better to buy something more expensive that fits very well, is made of nice fabric, etc. than whatever cheap thing I can get that may fall apart in six months. I don’t really care about “fashion,” but I buy clothes all the time.

  13. It’s difficult to buy clothes on sale or in discount stores if you are not average sized. I’m 5’2″ and just under a hundred pounds…i feel like I have to shop at high end designer retailers to find clothes that fit, or spend a good amount of money getting my clothes tailored. There is no way I can buy Target or Gap clothes. And, by the time clothes go on sale, they don’t have my size! I end up having to get my suits custom made. Does anyone have tips on that?

  14. The only reason Target, Ross, etc. are considered ‘weird’ is *because* they’re cheap. Obviously if stuff is cheap, there must be something wrong with it, right? This kind of social pressure is everywhere, trying to make you spend more!

  15. Ramit, I LOVE TJ Maxx! It’s definitely not just for Indians. I also shop at Kohl’s (Ross’s counterpart – I was quite happy when they came to California.) I buy all my khaki pants, black pants, etc. at these stores — and mix them with more expensive shirts.

    I recently got a pair of black dress pants at TJ Maxx. The tag from the department store was still on them — $280! I paid $80. They’re awesome.

    -Erica

  16. Hi Sandy,

    I’m 5’0″ and athletic/average build. You must be tiny! I usually find lots of very small size clothes at the factory outlet stores. Retailers usually end up with overstock on clothes under size 6, so I usually find lots there. I have to get my pant length tailored no matter what – petite cuts are very hard to find – sigh. I also sometimes take a weekend vacation to Vancouver, BC (I live in Seattle) where there are tons of Asian boutiques, who have much smaller builds than Americans. Things usually fit great off the shelf for me. I also learned how to use a no sew hemming tape to alter pant lengths myself to save on altering costs. It’s as simple as matching the length of your new pants to a pair altered to the right length, then using the hemming tape with an iron to seal it. Just do a search on “no sew hemming tape” on brands and where to get them.

  17. Hi Ramit! Loved the post. I have experience buying glasses online–I paid only 25% as much as my mother did when we both bought earlier this year. I highly suggest going through glassyeyes.com. Clicking to 5 big retailers from his website will get you an extra 5 to 10% off of your purchase. I used 39dollarglasses, and they turned out perfectly!

  18. I live and work in a very rural area so my dress code is basically like Jeff’s above – wear clothes. I know that in bigger cities there is a lot more pressure to dress for success but here that pressure isn’t as great. I love to shop thrift stores. Besides spending only a fraction of the cost of new clothes and the excitement of “treasure hunting”, usually what I purchase has already been worn and washed and has done whatever shrinking, pilling or whatever else might happen. There’s nothing I hate more than paying retail and then having something shrink or discolor in the wash. Buying eyeglasses online is something I might try in the future, though. But even so, since I just got a new pair and tend to keep the same ones for about a decade, I’m probably not going to save anything right away. I did manage to squeak even more savings out of my cell phone bill this month though, another 5 bucks a month off my son’s plan. And one of my credit card providers called with a special offer that I might be able to utilize with holiday expenses coming up. So I’m still making progress.

  19. Coolest service ever: Shop It To Me.

    You enter your size and the (often designer label) brands you like, and Shop It To Me sends you an email aggregating all the sales on the web, with pretty pictures, in YOUR SIZE only!

    It saves me money and tons of time that I used to spend browsing Bluefly.com or other designer discount sites for my size (takes forever).

  20. Susan, great tip! I’ve used them before. I added a link to them in the post above.

  21. I discovered a web site called savvycircle.com – it has tons of stores on it and it lets you keep a shopping list of items that you want and it will email you when the item goes on sale.

    I found a cute shirt I liked at Anntaylorloft.com, it was $50, I saved it thru savvycircle. A few weeks later I received an email that it was on sale, I logged onto the Loft and found it on sale for $29.99 plus an additional 40% off as a web special.

    Whenever I buy anything online I always search on Google using key words like “free shipping” and “coupon code” with the name of the store I am buying from and I was able to find a coupon for an additional 10% off plus free shipping! All told I purchased a $50 shirt for $16.

  22. I second Zenni optical. Since my kids were born, many pairs of my glasses have been mysteriously smashed by the “dog.” Since I can’t afford $250 a pop, I tried Zenni (and another site Goggles4u) and have loved the glasses at about 1/10th the price.

  23. I’ve bought shoes once online before and they actually turned out to be fine. But I don’t really buy shoes that often so I don’t really do it a lot. Plus there is something to be said for actually wearing pair of shoes before you buy them.

    I’ve found some great deals getting clothes at Costco. Every time my wife and I go there we usually split up for about 15 min and check out there clothes. Sometimes we both come away with nothing, sometimes I’ll find a Calvin Klein dress shirt for $17. They’re always cycling out stuff so there’s some variety. One drawback is no dressing room to try stuff on, but they have a very easy return policy if get home and find you don’t like something.

  24. I’m a guy who doesn’t care about clothing, but even I enjoy shopping for clothes at Goodwill. In most places, you can get perfectly good T-shirts for $1 or less!
    (I should note that I go to school in New York, and was surprised to find out that T-shirts are sold here at a five-dollar minimum at all the nearby Goodwills…)

  25. Ramit, this tip can be a problem with the imitations and fake products. For example, everybody knows that in ebay and other online markets all the perfumes are fake. They buy (generally in the same website) the empty perfumes bottles and they refill them with an imitation fragrance.
    If you are goingo to buy other products, like sunglasses, the problem is the same. Maybe you’re going to buy a 30$ pair of Ray Ban online, but, they sent you an imitation from Paraguay, China or another country.
    I don’t recommend to buy clothes or perfumes online, unless you know that you’re going to get what are you expecting to buy.
    Being cheap is often more expensive.

    Cheers,
    Hernán.-

  26. I’m a big fan of consignment shops and one great one in particular that’s in many cities is Plato’s Closet

    The store buys and sells brand name, gently used clothing. I once found a gorgeous Ralph Lauren black label angora turtleneck sweater for $30. You can also empty out your closet and make a few bucks selling clothes you never wear anymore.

    Becoming The Marshmallow

  27. Great post! I buy my clothes at thrift stores, sample sales online, second rate boutiques and high end discount stores. I stopped shopping at places like Old Navy, Gap, F21, etc because the quality of the clothing is so poor. I would buy a shirt to wear to work and 3-6 months later, it’s, pilled, stretched out of shape, and just worn out = waste of money. I buy higher end clothes but never at retail prices.

  28. One of my friends referred me to ShopItToMe.com, a site that digests sales information based on the brands you pick out and with the sizes you wear to your email box.

    The problem I have is, are these really sales? The links take you directly to the designer’s sites, but with the MSRP listed and then the discounted price listed, is it really being discounted or is it all just a marketing ploy into getting the consumers thinking they are saving money?

    Has anyone else used this site?

  29. Hernan: But if you can’t tell the difference between the brand-name perfume and the imitation, then what you’re paying for is the brand-name, not the perfume :)

  30. As a (recovering) sales addict, I have a caveat. It is too easy to get caught up in the idea that it’s better to buy a $300 item at 70% off than a $70 item at 40% off. It’s important to learn to gauge quality and to relate quality to cost.

    See my blog for the tale of my St John jacket!

  31. Here’s my big question – you’ve mentioned the Orange Savings Account at ING Bank several times previously, and I love the idea of creating sub-accounts. I’ve got an Orange account myself, but I cannot figure out how to set up the sub-accounts. How do you do that?

  32. Ramit –
    Great tip! I rarely buy new clothing, but I am quite familiar with TJ Maxx and shop at consignment stores in my area. I have always been wary of buying online, for many of the reasons you mention – sizing, hassle of returns, etc. I’m glad to see your advice here, maybe I’ll give online shopping a try next time I need new clothing!

    Another tip – check out the second-hand stores in upscale areas. Last year I was visiting friends in Boston and wandering around town while they were at work. I found a RL Polo sweater that fit me perfectly for $3.50 at a Salvation Army!

  33. @Tex

    When you login in, you should be shown your account(s). At the bottom of all your accounts there is a link to open another account. Just click that follow the prompts and select savings and that should be it.

    :)

  34. Marshall’s is another store that we have a few of here in the Twin Cities and it has some awesome bargains. Inventory is hit or miss as most of those stores probably are, but the deals are too good to pass up. $300 shoes for $70, $500 suits for more than half off, on and on. This past summer they had an influx of golf shirts from Nike, Addidas and other brands for 70% off or more.

    Nordstrom Rack is a more upscale version of Marshall’s that we have at the Mall of America. It sells higher-level brands and still very steep discounts. Great post!

  35. What about re-investing in your classic clothes? I just spent $10 fixing the heels on last year’s boots instead of dropping $130 on a new pair. That’s $120 and many exasperating hours in the stores saved.

  36. @sandy I have the same problem, although it’s the opposite. I’m almost 6’1″ and have an inseam of 34-36″. I’d love to be able to shop in discount stores, etc. What most stores, including the department stores & brand names consider “tall” is barely above average. Tailors also can’t usually just pull matching fabric out of the air to add length to clothes. If you are willing to invest the time I have found a few great things at Goodwill, etc. As someone said, it’s amazing the things people give away in perfect condition (I have a great “little black dress” I picked up there that looks brand new). It does take an investment of time to find things at less than full price though and I don’t usually have that time. Like you said I also can’t wait for it to go on sale because everything in my size will be gone. I’ve found that I have to be willing to buy some things at full price when I find it. Sometimes you can get a store to hold something for a few hours or day which gives you a chance to think it over and not be to impulsive. I also can’t save up for a specific item for the same reason. For me it works better to save to go shopping at some point in the future. And then I try to be smart about buying quality pieces that I can mix and match – even if they cost more. I try to maintain core items and buying just a couple of new pieces (skirts or tops) and accessories to change them up each season.
    My biggest “savings” tip in this area is to take very good care of your clothes so you don’t have to buy as much. I rarely use my dryer. I hang almost everything dry. I started doing this to avoid shrinkage problems. The secondary benefit is that I have clothes I’ve had for 5 years that look brand new.

    MY QUESTIONS: Anyone know of any online sources for clothes that outside the standards sizes AT DISCOUNT PRICES? Any tips for finding a tailor? I hear a lot of advice about getting clothes tailored to fit better, but I’ve never seen anything about finding/choosing a tailor.

  37. @Cathy: Thanks for the tip on Asian boutiques…I will check those out. The only thing is that I find boutique clothing to cost more than Macys and they rarely go on sale. I really need to make a shopping trip to Asia and get some custom made clothing like Ramit! Haha. I do hem my own pants, but then I have a lot of clothes I need to be taken in, and there is no way I am skilled enough to do that. My job requires me to be in a suit and I want to look polished and not frumpy.

    @Liz: It is hard to be out of average sized! I don’t know of any discount stores…but I do know that Banana Republic sells pants that are 36″ in seam and when things go on sale, they will usually have most sizes online. Unfortunately for me, I am small all over so everything has to be taken in. In terms of tailors, it’s a hit or miss. I think going on Yelp is a good place to start looking for tailors. Also, asking where stores like Neiman Marcus or Saks sends their customers for tailoring is a good bet. However, tailoring a whole suit can cost up $150…so yeah, I’m still struggling with how to save money in the whole clothes department.

  38. I found a tailor online in Shanghai who made my wedding dress from a photo and measurements for a total of USD175.00 including postage. Quite a saving on the USD1750 price tag of the dress I asked her to copy! It was perfect.

    Part B of my frugal plan is to sell the dress second hand – for more than I paid!

  39. Does anyone know how Gilt works?

  40. Another option for tailor-made suits from China is http://www.indochino.com. It’s a Canadian company partnered with a tailor in China. Great quality work. I ordered a suit 2 weeks ago, and it arrived within about 5 days of my order. The price was less than it would cost to get an off-the-rack suit at Banana Republic, and it’s already in my size! Great option.

  41. @Sandy: When I was in Seoul, Korea, it was like shopping heaven. Everything fit my petite size, and was very high quality and super cheap! Altering is very, very cheap there – like $5 a garment. It’s the culture to have high quality, inexpensive clothes that are altered – no frumpy looks. There are so many tailoring competing that altering was so inexpensive.

  42. “Because I’m Indian, I love Ross and TJ Maxx.”

    What? How do those 2 facts come even close to being related? My ancestry is Scottish and eastern European; what stores should *I* love?

  43. Very interesting post, and thanks for the Gilt.com invite. One thing though: Gilt lets me invite who I want, and for everyone that I invite that purchases I get a $25 credit. I can only imagine the same thing happened for the hundreds of invites that you were willing to send out. It might have been a good idea to disclose that you stood to benefit from those invites, for transparency’s sake.

  44. I just recently went to India and bought suits and shirts from there. The quality is excellent. The main thing to do is to get shirts that are ready made rather than get them stitched.

    Keep it up Ramit! Great 11 tips so far

  45. Excellent advice, Ramit. I’ve bought lots of suits and sports coats from Lands End online, but I never thought of Googling “cheap custom suits” or even “cheap eyeglasses.” You can bet I will use this suggestion.

    Great job on the tips. Keep them coming.

  46. http://www.rehashclothes.com- Trade your unwanted clothes for other’s unwanted clothes… pay nothing but shipping your items to them. I’ve stocked up on Nine West and Yves, among a TON of other things, and have spent less than 5% of what these items would have cost me otherwise.

    http://www.dealnews.com to find all items quite cheap, they update constantly.

    http://www.retailmenot.com lists online merchant coupons. go there before you buy anything online.

    http://www.beatmyprice.com- put in the item you are going to buy, the site, and the price, and this site will tell you prices from all over, trying to beat the price you’ve found.

    http://www.freecycle.com- get rid of unwanted items by posting a local ad. And stock up or get stuff you really need (for free) from others.

  47. I have used online eyeglass services before and unfortunately if you have a prism, you are SOL. Unfortunately you just suck it up and pay a good $20 or more extra for it.

    I ended up getting a better deal with my work related VSP insurance. I got a really nice set of frames with a 2 year warranty and good personal service for $65, which honestly is what I’d pay online from so-called cheaper places.

    The best part was that my local place even turned the cheap $50 glasses into sunglasses by tinting the lenses for me (which VSP paid the $10 charge for.)

    As for clothes, well I’m a JC Penny’s clearance rack kind of guy. Back when I was a bit of a fatty they were the only place that carried clothes that fit me well. Now I admit a lot of my new pants come from Walmart and Target.

    Of course, I live in Massachusetts (not Boston) so people aren’t really so concerned with custom tailored suits and such. In fact, I’ll probably never have a use for a suit save for a job interview, let alone a custom tailored one.

  48. Best website for shoes on steep discount is 6pm.com. I sign up for their email list and check back once or twice a week to see if they have what I want on sale. They rotate sale items at least once a week.

    At one time they had all vans for $20 and all pumas at $30. A massive steal. But they also carry dressier shoes, if that’s what you are looking for.

  49. If you’ve gotta have something new, do some research and look for coupon codes, that usually saves you at least a decent percentage. And if you don’t need something absolutely brand new, thrift shops are awesome. You can usually find clothes that are stylish, and barely used if used at all for next to nothing.

  50. Amazon.com sells shoes for LESS than their child company, Endless.com. Just bought a pair of $79 Palladium shoes for $24.99.

    Amazon also works for bulk grocery items (on avg. 20% less):
    *vitamins
    *tea
    *canned goods
    *face / body products
    *every other non-perishable

    Note: I don’t work at Amazon, I’m just cheap and like to order things online.

  51. stack codes, rebate sites, and clearance/sale items on websites and matching competitors sites!
    for example my recent purchase:
    i went through a rebate site link (ie ebates, fatwallet, luckymagrewards) to get 5% off immediately (the rebate comes back quarterly)
    i only look at the sale items on anntaylorloft
    then after i get my items in my cart, i enter another promo code i found on retailmenot for additional 20% off and freeshipping (whatever doesn’t fit i can return at my local store for free)
    so i got $500 of clothes (retail price) for $130 (that is after sale prices, the 20% promotional code, and the 5% rebate i will get in a few months through the rebate site)
    amazing huh?
    granted this only applies if you buy things you need to replace, no recreational shopping. but i love bargains!

  52. A $300 jacket? You’re kidding, right? My annual budget for clothing my entire family of 7 is less than that. You’ll find me at my sewing machine or Goodwill. I’ve never had much luck finding merchandise at Ross or Marshall’s that wasn’t damaged.

    Today’s Tip: $0
    Cumulative: $40.75

  53. For me, flea markets have been a good place to get super-cheap clothes if you look real hard. Most flea markets in my area have new T-shirts and jeans. Just recently I bought a new pair of Mossimo jeans (made for Target stores) for $6! I also bought a leather Targus laptop bag for $4. However, these incredible bargains have led me to believe that these items have been stolen.

  54. [...] to be rich, Day 11 Posted in November 21st, 2008 03:22pm MST in Computer Day 11: Stop paying retail for clothes. Ramit clearly doesn’t know who he’s dealing with here. I’m wearing $220 Diesel jeans today that I [...]

  55. I wouldn’t agree with eye glasses. Neither cheap rim, nor cheap lenses make sense – I’d rather have lenses tuned up more precisely for me with some guarantees, and have a nice frame that is going to be comfortable, sturdy and won’t break.

    It’s the same as when people buy modern desktop computer and fit it with average monitor, and crappy keyb/mouse, chair and desk.

    It’s saving on your health and day-to-day (with glasses, especially you have very bad eyesight like me, minute-to-minute) comfort…

  56. Just a note – tiniest thing can matter; I buy cheap jeans and t-shirts and have no problems with that, but I had bad experiences with cheap glasses; worst one was when one of those small nose paddles on a cheap rim was slightly off; I couldn’t fix it myself and I was essentially screwed productivity wise for about 3-4 days until I replaced the glasses – they kept sliding into slightly skewed position all the time and I couldn’t concentrate on anything having to constantly re-adjust them.

    I usually change glasses every 4-5 years or so; paying $400 for quality glasses (well, that was in Russia, not sure how much I will pay in Canada, I suspect not much more tho) once every 4 years is $8.33 a month.

  57. @ Sandy

    I can sympathize — I’m 5’5″ but I also weigh little under 100lbs and it can be difficult to find good work clothes that fit well.

    I highly recommend checking out http://www.yesstyle.com. You can find well-known Asian brands from South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and other countries in Asia —- meaning very stylish, cute, quality clothes in sizes that will fit a petit frame, and they have some good discounts each month. Plus, if you plan on spending more than $150 in one purchase, the shipping is free.

    I go there mostly because the clothes have a more stylish construction and design than I find in most stores like Banana Republic or NY&Co.

  58. Zenni is awesome for eyeglasses. I’m wearing one of my 4 Zenni glasses right now. These were $20 and are better made than the last ones I paid over $200 for. Plus, you can have prescription sunglasses for under $30!

    Bluefly.com has great bridge lines (Tocca, Rebecca Taylor, and the like) for a LOT less than retail. Prices are comparable to a good sample sale in the garment district. Petite commenter Sandy will find tons of clothes there that fit, as those lines’ sizes run small, and their return policy is awesome and easy.

    I buy all of my cashmere on eBay. I’m a cashmere addict, frankly. Here’s a little secret: One company sources the basic cashmere lines for Bloomingdale’s, Saks, Bendels, and even Macy’s in-house lines. Meaning it’s all the same stuff but with different labels. Search eBay for the store’s in-house line (e.g., Sutton Studio cashmere) and get good-quality cashmere for under $40/sweater. I narrow search results down to “new with tags” to make sure it’s not some pilly old thing. Now you can wear cashmere–which looks great yet keeps you superwarm w/out the bulk–and you won’t feel like you have to treat it like some precious commodity.

  59. You can find great stuff at the Goodwill, Salvation Army…lots of these type stores. I got my husband 2 pairs of almost new Levis for $4.00 each. I know I have given them almost new things that someone else bought! Check it out…

  60. This is my strategy….stop gaining/losing weight. Figure how much you can handle (from health AND self esteem standpoints) and stay there. Adults shouldn’t outgrow their clothes.

  61. [...] brands for a fraction of the original price. That said, great deals are always around and since paying retail is rarely necessary, the final piece of advice that should be followed even when shopping for groceries is: make and [...]

  62. http://www.trendyblanks.com = wholesale American Apparel. Good quality clothes, and if you get a few friends to go in on it with you you can make a bulk order and get the shirts you would normally buy for $40 at the retail store for $7.

    I stole this site from the sororities at my university who order their event t-shirts from there. Clever girls.

  63. I am 5 feet and well I won’t say what I weigh, but I wear about a petite size 6-8 depending on where it comes from. I find that the petite sizes at Penney’s fit me really well and I go in and check out what they have-try on clothes, etc and wait for a sale. There is always a sale. I never buy retail. I have found great clothes that fit me and really good prices. They also occassionally send out $10.00 coupons good on any purchase of $10.00 or more and then have the coupons for $10.00 off of $50.00 on merchandise that is already on sale.

  64. When buying items online check out retailmenot.com for coupouns from various online stores.

  65. [...] I Will Teach You To Be Rich Today’s tip is to never pay retail prices for clothes again using some sites you’ve heard of, and a bunch of sites I bet you haven’t. [...]

  66. [...] Never pay full retail price for clothes or eyeglasses again [...]

  67. Cosmetics anyone? Here are MY tips from someone who sold expensive cosmetics at Nordstrom.
    #1 GO TO THE DRUGSTORE TO BUY ALL OF YOUR COSMETICS FROM NOW ON! The ingredients are EXACTLY the same as the expensive department stores and no one can tell the difference, except your pocket book!
    #2 NEVER BUY MAKE UP UNLESS IT IS ON SALE!
    Almost every week my local drugstores (Walgreens and Rite Aid) have a BUY ONE GET ONE FREE sale on cosmetics. So find your favorite mascara and get one free. I stock up and get a 6 month supply of whatever I need. My favorite mascara is about $8 a tube, so when it’s on sale it ends up to be only $4. My favorite lipsticks are about $4, on sale they are $2.
    #3 BUY YOUR “FANCY” SKIN CREAMS AT THE DRUG STORE TOO. They go on sale and frequently can be purchased at the BUY ONE GET ONE FREE price too. THE INGREDIENTS ARE EXACTLY THE SAME AS THE EXPENSIVE STUFF IN THE FANCY DEPARTMENT STORES.

    I was constanly amazed at how much women spent on these overpriced cosmetics. Many of these people had bad teeth, yet had no problem spending $75 on a tube of lipstick, lip liner and some mascara every month. I always wanted to say “Lady, get your teeth fixed, you’ll look a million times better.”
    I spend only $9 on these same items.

    #3 RUN YOUR MASCARA WAND UNDER THE FAUCET when it starts to get a little dry. Then stir it around in the tube. It will last 3X as long. Many times the mascara is already a little dry when I open the tube for the first time.

    The bottom line is: EXPENSIVE MAKE UP IS A FOOLISH WASTE OF MONEY! Ms. Lancome doesn’t care if you don’t have enough money to get your teeth fixed. Mr. Chanel doesn’t care whether you can pay your mortgage. Mr. Creme De La Mer doesn’t care if you have $50,000 in credit card debt. They only want to keep you believing that you can’t live without their $25 mascara, $130 1OZ jar of face creme and their $30 lipstick.

    So from now on head to the drugstore to buy your cosmetics! AND REMEMBER TO BUY THEM WHEN IT’S BUY ONE GET ONE FREE!

  68. There is another great top designer sale website called http://www.ruelala.com – I think it might be invite only. (Amazing items though.)

  69. Difficult to get around this site. Gave up.