how you can stop buying clothes to save money

How To Stop Buying Clothes To Save Money

Are you scratching your head trying to figure out how to stop buying clothes? 

Maybe you’re fed up with the lack of space in your wardrobe or did you feel inspired recently to Marie Kondo your wardrobe. Or maybe you’re just really broke from all those sales. 

I got you, friend!

Yes, you CAN stop buying clothes! It is possible and it doesn’t mean you need to wear the same clothes all the time. You can still get new clothes with little to no money. 

How you may ask? 

Let me share with you some tips on how you can stop buying clothes to save money, keep your style and have savings!


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How To Stop Buying Clothes 

If you’re here reading this article, you are probably looking for an immediate solution on how to not spend money on clothes. 

Whether it’s because you’re saving up for something, or you’ve received your credit card bill last month and are regretting all that shopping. 

I’m here to tell you, you can stop if you decide to. In a nutshell, here’s a quick list of things you can do to stop immediately:

  1. Review your current wardrobe
  2. Give yourself a 30-day challenge to start
  3. Identify your triggers
  4. Remove your credit card from your favourite online stores 
  5. Unsubscribe from your favourite online stores
  6. Tell your friends
  7. Wait it out
  8. Swap With Your Friends
  9. Attend clothing swaps
  10. Mend old clothes
  11. Repurpose old clothes
  12. Have a savings goal

1. Review Your Current Wardrobe

How To Stop Buying Clothes

A Wall Street Journal article notes that usually most people only wear about 20% of their clothes on a regular basis. 

If you are the sort of person that buys too many clothes that you’ve forgotten what clothes you have, or if your online hauls are stacking up in your room, then take time to pause and review what you currently have

If you have a lot of clothes, chances are you don’t even know what you have, and if you don’t know what you have, is it really fair to say you need to shop because you don’t have clothes to wear?

So the next time you feel like shopping, look in your wardrobe, open up those haul boxes and rediscover clothing you may have forgotten about.

It’ll feel like you’re shopping from your own wardrobe! 

Best part? It’s free!

2. Give Yourself A 30-Day Challenge To Start

For those of us with exercise new year resolutions, you probably challenged yourself to work out a certain number of times a week, like taking part in a 30-day challenge.

So in practice, no clothes shopping for 30 days

30-day challenges can be an effective way to pick up new habits or to change things in your life – no shopping included. 

Why it works is when you set a short-term, immediate goal, say for 30 days instead of not shopping for a whole year, your brain sees this as a “now” goal.

A “now” goal is seen as more achievable and more tolerable. Instead of giving up shopping for a year, you just have to try to do it for a month. 

Who knows, by the end of the 30 days, you might have developed the habit of not shopping completely! 

3. Identify Your Triggers

If you feel that shopping is a bad habit that you want to stop, then you’ll need to review WHY you shop in order to figure out how to not buy clothes. 

  • Do you shop because you can’t find clothes to wear? Review your wardrobe. 
  • Or do you do so because you’re stressed after a whole week of work and want to reward yourself? Go for a run to destress or take a nice warm bubble bath as a reward instead.
  • Maybe you shop because you want to impress other people.

But you know what’s more impressive? 

When you have money saved, goals met and you’re out there crushing life, instead of potentially dealing with debt due to shopping excessively.

4. Remove Your Credit Card From Your Favourite Online Stores

how to not buy clothes

Aside from identifying your triggers, you’ll want to also make it harder for you to shop by creating barriers.

One way of doing this is by removing your saved credit cards and addresses from your favourite online stores.

So that every time you want to shop, you will have to go through the hassle of getting your credit card out, and keying all your details in. 

Offline, you can do it by avoiding the mall and shops, and not bring your card or cash when you head out. Or bringing just enough to do what you went out for.

5. Unsubscribe From Your Favourite Online Stores

How To Stop Buying Clothes (2)

Another way to create barriers to buying clothes and to avoid being triggered to buy, is to unsubscribe from your favourite online stores so you don’t get alerted every time there is a sale or a new arrival.

You also have to go through the additional effort of manually going to the website if you want to shop.

You can use email clean-up services such as Unroll Me that help you identify which mailing lists you’re subscribed to and help you unsubscribe quickly.  

This also means unfollowing your favourite online stores on social media.

Out of sight, out of mind, they say.

6. Tell Your Friends

Another way how to not spend money on clothes is to tell your friends you want to stop buying clothes.

Remember when you broke up with your toxic ex and you told your friends to stop you if you tried to call or text them.

Same thing. 

By telling your friends that you want to stop shopping and not spend money on clothes, you’re holding yourself accountable.

The next time they’re out with you and catch you eyeing a new piece, or they’ll also be more mindful of not telling you about sales or new purchases, reducing your possible triggers to buy more clothes.

7. Wait It Out 

Sometimes we buy clothes because we’re immediately attracted to something new in the store displays. 

If you’ve had moments where you’ve purchased something, got home or received it in the mail, and then regretted it, then you could try waiting it out for a week before you next buy something.

Sometimes we buy out of impulse, out of curiosity, out of boredom, among many other reasons.

Give yourself a fixed timeframe such as a week or a month, and if you still want that piece of clothing after a week, then allow yourself to purchase it.

Chances are you might realise you don’t need it anyway, or you got so busy with life you forgot about the purchase. Or the item might even go out of stock – and that will leave you with no chance to buy it – even better for you. 

8. Swap With Your Friends

How To Stop Buying Clothes

Now if you’ve done your wardrobe review and you’ve found a whole pile of clothes that you’ve outgrown, whether in terms of size or style, try asking your friends if they’d like to swap to save money on clothes. 

Your friend could be looking to refresh their wardrobe and also get rid of some of their old clothes. 

This way, both of you save. Plus, if they’re your friend, you both are probably likely to have the same awesome style, right?

9. Attend Clothing Swaps

Now if you want to know how to stop buying clothes but still want new clothes, then another way would be to swap your existing clothes for “new” ones.

Clothing swaps are growing increasingly popular as people become more conscious of how much of an environmental impact clothing production generates. 

If you don’t have friends to swap clothes with, then consider joining clothing swap sites, events, or platforms to refresh your wardrobe. Some sites/groups you can visit to swap your clothes are:

Some swap sites do come with a small admin fee or a point structure to ensure that you don’t abuse the system by providing unwearable clothes for other swappers. 

But apart from that, it’s definitely a cost-free, environmentally friendly way to not buy clothes but still add a few new pieces to your wardrobe.

10. Mend Old Clothes 

how to not spend money on clothes

Most of the solutions so far have been on how you can avoid buying new clothes by avoiding your triggers, making it more difficult, or by getting new clothes from others.

But what if during your wardrobe review, you come across items that may have lost a button, have holes, or are just a bit too long for your liking.

Put the needle to cloth and try to mend these old clothing so you can save on clothing by breathing new life into old pieces. 

If you’re not great at sewing, you could try some free courses on Udemy:

11. Repurpose Old Clothes 

If you’re not great at sewing, then you can simply expand the mileage of current pieces in your wardrobe by repurposing your old clothes or clothes that may have been a bit ill-fitting.

Have a dress that’s gotten a bit too short for your liking? Wear it tucked in as a blouse.

Got a skirt that you thought was perfect but ended up being way too long/short? Wear it as a tube dress or tube top, depending on the length.

If you have a pair of pants that is too big then use a belt. 

For pants that might be too tight but you can’t bear to throw them out, here is a quick life hack to keep those pants up. Tried and tested by mummies who use this hack frequently to accommodate their growing tummies. 

12. Have a Savings Goal

Beyond all these short-term measures, the longer-term solution is to think about your reasons why you want to stop buying clothes. 

If your goal is to save money, then think about what it is for. 

Is it a trip? Is it a house? 

Buying that cute outfit is going to bring you short-term gratification, but a trip will leave you with memories and a house will be a permanent roof over your head.

If you begin with the end in mind, then you’re going to keep thinking about that goal whenever you think of swiping your card on a new purchase. 

How To Stop Buying Clothes FAQs

how you can stop buying clothes to save money

Why Do I Keep Buying Clothes?

If you’re wondering why you keep buying clothes, it’s probably not because you need them – after all, if most of us barely wear 20% of our wardrobes then it’s likely not an issue of lack.

Have you ever bought some clothes you thought were going to look great on you, went home and then realised it didn’t work that well in your real life or back with your other clothes?

Some shopping experts think it might be because people shop with their hearts and not their heads

When we see a sale or a bargain item, we think we are going to need that item someday or we’ll wear it someday, so we buy it.  

We buy for an ideal version of ourselves, but it might not be necessarily what we need right now.

How Can I Save Money And Not Spend Money On Clothes?

Most times, when you find yourself buying clothes, you probably came across a sale. 

When we buy items off sales, there is a tendency to think about the money saved, rather than the money we’re spending. 

But, when you buy something for $20 at 50% off, you didn’t save $10 – you spent $10 to save $10

If you want to save money on clothes, buying cheaper clothes isn’t the solution, not buying clothes is. 

But if you don’t mind spending a little on adding a piece or two to your wardrobe every few months, then knowing how to spend less money on clothes is important. 

To know how to get a lot of clothes with little money, sales can be a good way only IF you practice self-control and give yourself a goal (eg. to add five versatile pieces to your work wardrobe to wear with your other existing pieces), and if you set yourself a budget

In this way, you’re not buying something because it is cheap, rather you are capitalising on the sale to get something you already decided you need, and you’ve set yourself clear markers on what you can buy and what you can’t. 

You can also get a lot of clothes with less money by knowing how to mix and match the basics and items you have, and having a capsule collection.

Trends are not important here. It’s more about searching for quality, timeless, classic pieces that can complement each other. 

If you want to know how to get started, here are some ideas:

Is Buying Clothes A Waste Of Money?

save money on clothes

The short answer is no. 

Buying clothes is not a waste of money. But buying clothes you don’t need, already have, or you don’t end up wearing IS a waste of money.

If you want to know how to save money on clothes, consider what you already have, consider clothes with longer-lasting fabrics, quality pieces, and lastly think about whether you really need them. 

If you buy a fancy dress thinking you may wear it to a friend’s wedding someday, let the wedding come first then think about the purchase. For all you know you might find something newer and cheaper by then. 

If you still need clothes somehow, then how to save money while shopping for clothes includes going to second-hand clothing stores, joining clothes swapping events, or shopping from vintage stores that offer stylish items at a fraction of the price.

Fashion trends repeat every twenty years or so, so who knows, you may just find the very next fashionable item at a vintage store. 

How To Resist The Urge To Buy Clothes?

The best way to resist the urge to buy clothes is to take stock of what you already have in your wardrobe, remove all triggers such as online store newsletters, and make it difficult for you to buy clothes. 

Getting social support from your friends, family and loved ones is also important.

 If they know you’re trying to stop buying clothes, they’ll be less likely to keep you posted on sales and flaunt new purchases in front of you.

Plus you can also reach out to them if you suddenly have the urge to click check out on your cart or head to the mall.

A more drastic measure would be to cancel your credit cards – with no credit cards, online shopping would be extremely difficult. 

And if you do decide to buy from the physical shops, use cash instead. Studies have shown that people do spend more when they pay with a credit card, so to save money and to feel the pinch a little more, go with cash so you will spend less if at all. 

Also if you do find yourself grabbing something on impulse, put it back and then revisit the item in a week. Chances are you might not want it as much after the time has passed.

What To Do With Clothes You Don’t Wear?

If you have looked through our wardrobe and found a whole bunch of clothes you don’t wear and don’t know what to do with them, here are ways you can get rid of them:

  • Bring them to a clothes swap event (and get more clothes while at it for free!)
  • Donate them to a charity like Salvation Army 
  • Resell them to secondhand stores that might offer you a token sum for clothes of decent quality 
  • Drop them off at retailers like H&M which has a garment collecting initiative – You will also receive a shopping voucher, but remember to shop wisely with this!
  • Sell them for some cash on sites like Carousell, Refash, Poshmark and Facebook Marketplace.

Other Ways To Save Money 

Apart from learning how to stop buying clothes to save money, some other ways you can save money include:

If you’re ready to take things up a notch then try adopting some of these extreme frugal tips to see how else you can save money in your life:


If you want to save money, then just knowing how to stop buying clothes is just the first step.

Challenge yourself by starting with no new clothes for a month, then work it up to a quarter (three months), then a whole year. 

Along the way, you can probably do clothing swaps, and purchase some secondhand clothes, but you’ll soon find that new clothes can be quite overrated and that you may not need that many clothes after all. 

You can still be stylish with the clothes you have or get for cheap.

Your clothes can make you look better but if you are saving for your goals, only buying things that you really need, and not having debt, know that that is the best look and choice you can make for yourself.

How To Stop Buying Clothes To Save Money

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