For years I've filled our closets with clothes, shoes & accessories for $0 OOP. We don't even have a clothing budget, because we don't need it. I'm not gonna lie, it does take some work but it pays off in the end. I'm a fashionista. For those who haven't read my old blog, I grew up with parents who worked in the clothing industry. Also, if you go to Cape Town, you'll notice that most people are very well dressed. It's just the way we are. No shame in my game. The only difference between me and others who love clothes, is that I absolutely refuse to pay the ridiculous marked up prices for it. I know better (only because my dad taught me the ins and outs of the fashion industry). I love many name brand items and have my own personal style. So how do I do this?
Firstly, I use a few point earning sites like Swagbucks, Mypoints, Instagc etc (this does not include grocery earning sites. Those rewards are strictly for groceries). When I have enough points, I redeem for a clothing gc. Then I wait for it, wait for it, wait for it. A darn good sale. I'm not talking 50/60% off. I'm talking 80%+. Heck if you give me 90% off, I'm ultra happy. But wait, there's more. I combine the deep clearance sales with store coupons. Kohls is my favorite store for stacking coupons, because they'll allow you to stack up to 4 different coupons, as long as you reach the various thresholds for it.
The other way is that I sell all our old or unused clothes, shoes, accessories. I go through our closets on a regular basis (for the most part) and pull whatever we no longer use or care for. I then use that money to pay at the stores I don't have gcs for. Since I buy our clothes (I'm just gonna call everything clothes, but it includes shoes & accessories too) at really deep discounts, I ALWAYS make a profit on our old/used stuff. So still Zero money out of our budget. We just turn the old into new. Easy peasy. In most cases the profit earned covers all our clothing and most Christmas shopping for the year. I'm signed up for many stores, because how else am I gonna know when the good deals are happening...lol
The last way is I use any Birthday and other occasion money to purchase reduced or bonus gcs. Then use the gcs to splurge. My guys know that I prefer cash. I get really upset when they pay full price for things (the horror) or don't purchase reduced or bonus gcs. I don't know if this is good or bad, but I know DH doesn't mind, because it takes the stress out of finding me the perfect gift.
My Birthday is just before Thanksgiving. Yay me, cause it's just in time for BF deals. Last year I scored almost $700 worth of FREE clothes & food with Birthday rewards. These weren't huge rewards I received. If you know me, then you'll know that I can squeeze a $100 item out of a $5-10 reward. I just make sure to wait for free shipping days.
Of course I received cash for my Birthday :) So I used that cash to buy Bonus gcs at one of my favorite stores (I'm not gonna mention store because several items are gifts for my family & they read this blog). DH also got me a gc from the same store for Christmas. The gc came with a $20 bonus WYB $100 gc. I didn't know the man was gonna be extra generous last year. Between Christmas & my Birthday, I ended up with $600 gcs + $120 Bonus gcs. Whoo hoo $120 free money. That's like giving me a free $1200!
Then I shopped the Sale which started off poorly, but then turned into the best sale ever!! I've haven't seen such low prices in years.
So I got 37 items
Used $321.82 gcs + $120 bonus gc. That's $441.82 (incl tax).
Earned $7.64 from Rakuten.
Retail value $3025.50
Now some of you might think that I've lost my damn mind or that it's excessive. I beg to differ. I don't have to buy myself anything for the rest of the year again. I always tell people that there's method to my madness. I can assure you that my gut instincts always pay off.
Some of the items will be used as gifts. I love getting high end gifts for a song (saving my $$$). Even better, because I paid for it with gcs.
The rest of the items go into my spare closet. When it's safe to travel again, I can just pull new clothes from my closet for vacation. In 2019 we decided on a vacation at the last minute and I had to dash for new sandals & swimsuit. Thankfully I found a decent sale on the sandals, but the swimsuit was pricey. Never again. I'd rather buy the items at deep discounts and pull them when I need it. I'm all set for any & every occassion.
The other thing is that most things are scarce due to the pandemic. Burlington (a favorite of mine) has NO clearance racks (it's been like this for months). This is unheard of. Kohls cancelled many BF orders, because they didn't have the inventory to fulfill those orders. I'm one of those people who had several items cancelled. As in they cancelled over 10 items of mine. Thankfully they had us keep the KC and Y2Y rewards earned on the cancelled items. When I went to redeem those rewards, I was shocked by the high clearance prices. I always have BF rewards and know that the clearance prices are normally really good. Not this time. Due to low supply & high demand, stores can charge whatever prices they want to.
This is why I shop the way I do. I scored tons of items at rock bottom price. I spent $0 OOP for over $3k worth of goods. I don't have to worry about stores overcharging us when we need something. The best part is that I can sell any of my items for double or triple what I paid (or I should say the sale price since I paid with a gc) when I'm done wearing it.
Now I will sell our old clothes and have extra money to put into savings (I've already exceeded the number of items I need to list for the month). Yes, it takes work, but I'm happy to do it. I know that I've saved our family thousands of $$$ over the years, by shopping this way.
I'm also thankful that I purchased us each 2 new clearanced coats at the beginning of last year. DS's coats were $20/22 each (paid with gc) and mine was $12 each. Coats are currently hard to find and if you do find it, you're going to pay some ridiculous marked up price for it. I never ever pay triple digits for winter coats.
I was looking for sheets for when Kohls sends their mystery discount again. I only buy cotton and we need new ones (it's been years since I bought sheets). When I checked for the brand that I normally buy, they only had Twin & Full sizes. Only about 2-3 to choose from. This is unheard of. The mutant strain is making things even worse. Every single day I hear of friends & family in South Africa dying of it. So I know that the rest of the world is going to suffer through that too. Which means retailers will have to do with limited inventory for at least another year or more. Not us. If we need anything, we'll just go pull something new from our spare closet.
So that's how I clothe ourselves for FREE. I still have $278.18 gcs left. I don't need a single thing. I might splurge if I see something good, but I'm not looking to buy anything else. Gcs don't expire, so I'll save it for something good.
I also have $100 Kohls gcs that I've earned since BF, but I'm gonna use those on a few household items we need.
Silly Eddie Bauer keeps sending me $10 rewards. Now I can score free items that way, but they expect me to pay $7.99 shipping for a free item. No thanks!! It's a hard pass for me.
Columbia (I haven't shopped there in years) also send me a $10 reward. However, you can't purchase a $9.99 item with it. The item has to be $10 or more (as if stores mark their prices with round numbers. ugh). So I once again declined. I'm not looking to spend any of my own money on things that's not a need.