Guest Author - Reshma Vyas
Winter clothing and accessories can get rather costly. Here are a few money-saving ideas:
1. Use the bulk buying shopping strategy. By buying in bulk, you can save money this season and also stock up on clothing and accessories for next year. You can also use some of the purchases for gift giving. Bulk buying is not about snapping up anything and everything just because it’s on sale. Successful bulk buying is highly selective based on need, value and preference. Consumer shopping habits are largely dictated by habit. Habit is cultivated through a history of positive consumer experiences with specific apparel manufacturers and designers. Just as a fun exercise, examine your winter wardrobe and take note of the clothing designers or manufacturers that dominate the inventory. As you organize your shopping list, you may want to add the name of the apparel manufacturer or designer next to the clothing item. Save valuable shopping time and look first for clothing by these manufacturers or designers at your favorite stores. Your winter clothing budget can be stretched further by buying classic, versatile clothing items you can mix and match to create a variety of looks. Emphasize neutral colors in your selection for greater wardrobe flexibility. Staple items to look for: blazers and jackets, pants and leggings, cardigans and sweaters, skirts, assorted sportswear and athletic apparel. Do not forget about discount and outlet stores. Large outlet stores are excellent places for bulk buying. Specific items to look for: children’s and adult winter clothing, long underwear and thermals, shoes and boots, sleepwear, socks and hosiery and winter coats. Socks and mittens are reliable stocking stuffers.
2. Peruse consignment shops for “gently worn” clothing. You may be able to find designer clothing at significantly below retail prices in these shops.
3. Have a fun sweater swap with friends. This is a great way to get rid of sweaters that no longer fit your style. You can also organize a kids’ winter clothing swap with other families.
4. Make some of your own winter clothing and accessories. Winter clothing and accessories such as hats, leg warmers, mittens, neck warmers, ponchos, shrugs, sweaters, sweater coats and vests can be easily handmade. Free patterns abound on the internet. Organize a knitting or crochet get-together with fellow crafters once a week to exchange patterns and ideas. Skirts are rather easy to sew. You can also use old winter apparel such as corduroy jeans to make skirts.
5. Start a winter clothing price book. A winter clothing price book can help you keep track of all the store sales and the lowest prices. It makes shopping easier and more efficient. You will know which stores are best for buying specific merchandise. Discount stores, for example, may offer more savings than department stores on certain types of apparel such as activewear, long underwear, shirts, sleepwear, socks and hosiery.
6. Shop online for additional savings. Peruse the clearance section on the website. Some sale items may be offered exclusively online. Free shipping may be available (check terms and conditions). Sign up for e-mail alerts so you can keep up with the latest news and sales offers.
7. Always shop end-of-year clearance sales. You can pick up winter clothing in larger sizes for kids to wear next season. A few popular categories: activewear, coats and jackets, dresses, outdoor apparel, pantsuits, shoes and boots, skirts and women’s suits.
8. Shop on coupon days at your favorite department stores. Use coupons, whenever possible, to purchase already marked down winter apparel and accessories for additional savings. Depending on the promotion, the coupon may be good store wide or applicable only to a specific department or item.
9. Expand your comfort zone and find new stores. We can easily get into a rut by frequenting the same stores over and over again. The fall and winter seasons, which abound with retail sales promotions and enticements, offer a wonderful opportunity to discover new stores and merchandise.
For informational purposes only.