Adoration 4 Adventure’s 7 ways to save money on clothes to spend on travel.

I want to do more than just inspire you to travel, I want to help you make those dreams a reality. And one of the biggest barriers to travel can be funds.

So I am sharing my methods to show how you can save money on clothes. Although these will be from a female perspective, the suggestions can be applied to most lifestyles. I am by no way a fashionista so this won’t be a list of places to buy discount designer brands but rather practical changes that can be applied to everyday wardrobes.

Some tips may seem simple, while others a little radical but you can pick and choose what works for you. The important thing is that you are making positive changes to the way you spend and putting it aside for your goals.

So let’s get started! Here are some easy ways you can save money on clothes, including some which also benefit the environment.

For more budget tips, read how to save money on beauty products to spend on travel and achieving your travel goals in 4 easy stages.

1. Minimize the contents of your closet

Knowing what you already own is the first step to being able to control your clothing costs. And it’s hard to be familiar with your inventory when your closet is packed full of clothes that you don’t even remember buying. I suggest doing a major clean out (have a supportive friend with you if necessary).

1. Go through each item in your closet and assess when the last time you wore it was.

2. If you haven’t worn it within the past 6 months – it’s going (12 months if the item is seasonal).

3. Establish 3 piles: keeping, donating, and trash.

Be ruthless! It may seem difficult at first, but you are really just getting rid of things that you don’t use. Also, you will feel so much better and in control when you can see and remember what is in your wardrobe. This makes it easier to make smart purchases and quickly match-up outfits.

If you need more inspiration, check out the latest trend of the 30-piece capsule wardrobe including a list of staple items (with much more stylish options than I have).

Once you have a more slim-lined, functional wardrobe it’s important not to fill it back up with impulse purchases. Try implementing a “one in, one out” system, where you have to discard an item when you buy a new item.


2. Wear your clothes until they are dead

A good way to save money on clothing is to maximize your use of the items you already own. Basically, as a piece of clothing starts to get worn, repurpose it into clothing that you wear to go to the gym or clean the house.

When packing for my travels, I will often take older items of clothing. On my 9-week backpacking trip to Central America, I filled my backpack with clothes that were due to be trashed/donated. And then as I traveled and no longer needed the item, I would discard them, returning with a near-empty backpack.

This idea is great for so many reasons – firstly, a lot of clothing would have gotten worn or damaged during the activities I was doing anyway. And secondly, this makes room in your backpack to pick up some nice souvenirs or local crafts! (Just make sure resist the urge to fill up your bag with more impulse-bought clothing).


3. Make sure it’s a match

Now that your closet is sorted, you will know exactly what’s in it.

When you do go shopping, make sure that you are looking for items that are versatile and work with your existing inventory. My rule is that the item must match with at least 4 other pieces in my wardrobe (I also apply this to when I am packing for a trip). There’s no point of cluttering up your closet with statement pieces that you will only wear once to a party and never be able to wear again.

Read my packing lists for warm weather and cold weather (female and male) including downloadable checklist.


4. Buy basics

Make your wardrobe even more versatile by purchasing clothing in block colors and avoiding patterns. I also steer clear of white as it tends to get marked or stained more easily. If you decide to purchase something with a pattern, try to keep it simple by sticking to 2 colors e.g. stripes or polka dots. This will make it easier to match up with existing items. There’s nothing worse than buying a great new shirt and then realizing you only have one pair of pants that you can wear it with.

I love having basic pieces like scarves and tights. These are really functional and multi-purpose. Scarves can be used as a shawl, beach towel, sarong and pillow (a must for plane travel!). With tights, I can wear them with a shirt or under a dress. I prefer owning tights over jeans as they are also lighter to pack, take up less space and usually cheaper to buy. If tights aren’t your thing, consider buying cotton or khaki pants as an alternative.


5. Borrow and swap clothes

I will try everything I can think of before actually investing in a new item of clothing. Not only because I don’t like the activity of shopping (who else hates trying on clothes?) but also because I would much rather spend that money on a trip!

Rather than buy new clothes, consider swapping or borrowing. Think about who is in your family and friendship circle that you could borrow or swap clothes with. I often borrow or exchange things with my Mum, as we have a similar dress and shoe sizes. I have also borrowed from a boyfriend’s wardrobe on more than one occasion.

While living in New York City, I used to attend regular “clothes swapping” events (found through the website Meet Up). These events had strict guidelines about the quality of clothing and swapping process (donate one, take one) to ensure fairness for all. Try searching online for clothes swapping event near you, or even start your own with some friends. I’ve also heard of these being organized for high-cost designer wear and handbags. It’s a great way to increase your wardrobe, while getting rid of clothes you no longer like, without spending a ton of cash.

Another time, while backpacking around Europe, I had not packed warm enough clothes. Luckily, I had a friend in every city that I was visiting and in each place, my friends would lend me a jacket, scarf, and even a pair of boots! If I had needed to buy all that, just for the trip, it would have been a terrible waste of money.


6. Thrift stores

If I have to shop, then I prefer to hit up thrift stores (op shops). Often you will get a better quality of clothing for less money. And the items are always well-washed and often in great condition. I’ve purchased many lovely brand-name sweaters and corporate-type clothing from thrift stores in New York City, Vancouver, and in my little city in the north of Spain.

7. Choose quality over price when buying new

Buying cheap clothing can be a real temptation and I’m just as guilty as the next person. However, in my experience, the majority of inexpensive clothing starts deteriorating pretty fast. Not good for the environment and not good for your wallet. I would recommend choosing quality over price, for a good long-term investment. Check out this list of 35 fair trade and ethical clothing brands that are against fast fashion.

Of course, there will be exceptions to these rules, after all, we need to get dressed up for fancy events on occasion. However, I am confident that if you apply these guidelines you will save money on clothing which you can put towards your future goals (travel or otherwise).

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Adoration 4 Adventure's 7 ways to save money on clothes to spend on travel including how to maximize your existing wardrobe and spend less on new clothes.

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