Raysha Duncan Purdue University Student and Peer Counselor
It’s that time of year again! The weather is quickly turning chilly and everyone is shivering on the walk to class in the morning and sweating on the walk from class at the end of the day. A friend of mine joked last January that you could tell how early someone had gotten to campus by the several layers they had on. And that is totally true for this time of year. I drive 20 minutes to campus, so every morning I know if there’s the smallest bit of a chill I need to have my jacket on because my car will be COLD. And as the time comes for putting on layers, the time for spending money on those layers comes as well.
It can be really tempting to buy a new coat every year or the newest hat because you know you’ll wear it every day, right? But, keep in mind that while it is important to stay warm as it gets cold, you don’t have to break the bank to do it. Three of my favorite jackets for this in-between warm and freezing season are from Goodwill, and I paid only $8 for all three. Great deals like this aren’t the easiest to come across, unless you’re willing to look. And if you want to save money, you have to be willing to look.
I would suggest that you start your seasonal clothing shopping in your own closet. What can you transition into for the colder months? What can you layer? What do you still need? Move to your closet at your parents’ house (if you still have stuff there too). Maybe there you’ll find your winter coat or a jacket you liked but it wasn’t cool at your high school so you couldn’t wear it until now. See if your family members have extra gloves or hats that you can have as a ‘just in case’ for the winter months.
Now, from here you will have to start spending some money on your seasonal clothing, and you want to be careful about how much you are spending to advoid
draining your hard earned savings. Since you are spending money, you should definitely budget and plan ahead accordingly. You do this when you grocery shop, why shouldn’t you plan ahead for your necessary (and some unnecessary) clothing purchases also? Figure out what it is you’ll need for the winter (warm clothes, waterproof shoes, shirts with sleeves, etc.). Be reasonable and only plan to buy things you will actually wear. You could always make an imaginary shopping cart online so you know what you want to be keeping an eye out for, or to avoid the temptation of clicking ‘check out’, you could always make a fashion board on Pinterest. This is always how I shop first. I shop in an imaginary world, figure out what I like, and then go purchase for super cheap (usually at Goodwill). I like to plan ahead… So my Pinterest fashion board is huge.
I always advocate for thrift shopping, so I would suggest that next, you move to your neighborhood thrift shop. My personal favorite is Goodwill, and we have a pretty awesome one near campus. The first Saturday of every month is 50% off day, so if you can make it to one of those days, you can buy twice as much stuff for the same price as any other day. You have to be patient with thrift shopping. You have to look through everything and be willing to admit that you really do wear 7 different sizes in pants because all brands are different. But, there are some real gems in there if you just keep looking!
If you are still struggling, I would suggest signing up for store notifications to get the best deals you can on clothes. I just shopped the Old Navy ‘Thank You’ event after getting an email from them and got 30% off my entire purchase (including clearance items). That’s a steal in my book.
What if you’re set for the winter? Plan ahead for the next season, some places still have swimsuits and flip-flops on sale. You could be all set for spring break before second semester even starts.
What are some ways you save money when shopping for seasonal clothing?