15 ways to save money on clothes and shoes - Which? News (2024)

Shoppers are cutting back on how much they spend on clothing due to rising household bills, according to new data from Barclaycard.

In its latest consumer spending report, it found more than half of households (53%) are planning to reduce discretionary spending to be able to afford their energy bills this autumn and winter.

Of these, six in 10 (59%) will be cutting back on buying new clothes and accessories.

If you're also keen to reduce your outgoings, read on for 15 tips on how to reduce what you spend on clothes and shoes.

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15 top tips to cut the cost of your clothing bill

1) Buy children's shoes (for yourself)

Many big brands including Adidas, Nike, Converse and Dr Martens do children's versions of their most popular styles.

You don't pay VAT on children's clothes or shoes, so there are great savings to be made if you're a size 5 or under.

For example, a pair of Dr Martens 1460 youth white boots are £70 on the children's section of Schuh and go up to a size 5, but a pair of white 1460 'bex' boots in a size 5 retails at £169 - so you could potentially make a saving of £99.

  • Find out more:best shoe shops

2) Recycle old clothes for vouchers

These schemes all reward you for recycling old clothes:

  • H&M - receive a £5 voucher (to be redeemed against a £25 shop) if you recycle a bag of unwanted clothes or textiles from any store in any condition at a branch of H&M.
  • Marks and Spencer - receive a £5 voucher (to be redeemed against a £35 shop) if you donate items to Oxfam (either clothing or soft furnishings). They must not be damaged or soiled as clothes will be resold. You can also donate items in M&S stores under the retailer's 'Shwop' scheme - you won't get a voucher but Sparks members will get a free treat if they scan the QR code on the donation box.
  • New Look - take good-quality, pre-loved fashion to a Hospice charity shop (find them here), scan the QR code on the counter and receive 15% off your next shop at New Look.
  • Schuh - receive a £5 voucher (to be redeemed against a £25 spend) when you bring an old pair of shoes (any brand).
  • Sweaty Betty - receive a £10 voucher (to be redeemed against a £50 spend) when you recycle an old pair of leggings (any brand) to a Sweaty Betty store.

3) Try swishing

'Swishing' means swapping items of clothing or footwear with other people.

It works best if you arrange a 'swishing party', where you can lie out all the clothes you're willing to swap, and eye up what other people have brought along.

Even if you're not the same size as your friends, it can work really well for children's clothes.

4) Buy second-hand clothes

Buying second-hand clothes is an obvious way to save money - we've rounded up some of the best ways to buy them.

Where to buyBenefitsDrawbacks
Car boot salesYou can haggle on price and check quality before purchasing.They start very early and are usually held outside, so can be wet and windy. No refunds. You may have to pay an entry fee.
Charity shopsAll the money goes to charity to support good causes.Can't guarantee the item you're searching for will be there.
Depop appYou can search for specific items and haggle on price. All sales made via the Depop BUY button are covered by seller protection.Can't view the quality of the item before buying. You'll often have to pay for delivery.
eBayYou can search for specific items and bid, which means you could get a great deal, or sometimes 'buy it now' if you're in a hurry. Protected by eBay money back guarantee.Can't view the quality of the item before buying and will often have to pay for delivery.
Facebook MarketplaceYou can search for specific items and pick up for free if the seller's local.Local transactions aren't covered by purchase protection, so any refunds would be at the seller's discretion.
Vinted appYou can search for specific items and haggle on price. All purchases have buyer protection.Can't view the quality of the item before buying and you'll often have to pay for delivery. You have to pay for buyer protection, costing 3-8% of the item price plus 30-80p.
  • Find out more: how to buy second hand online

5) Hunt down discount codes

15 ways to save money on clothes and shoes - Which? News (1)

You can often save 10% just by referring a friend or signing up to a newsletter.

Coupert and Pouch are free shopping tools that offer to automatically find and apply every voucher available in one click, and apply them to your basket.

You can also get offers by signing up to a loyalty programme. For example, the H&M club is free to join, gives all members free delivery and you can build up points for every purchase which eventually leads to money-off vouchers.

  • Find out more:shopping loyalty cards compared

6) Consider quality

Getting value for money doesn't always mean going for the cheapest option. You may have to spend a little extra for a higher-quality item in order to save in the long run. However, that's not to say that the most expensive items are always the best quality.

We tested 20 brands of jeans from 10 of the UK's biggest clothes retailers, to see how cheap pairs stacked up against pricier brands when it comes to durability. We found it didn't all depend on price.

A good way to check the quality before buying is to read the reviews and remember that if you are unhappy with the quality of clothes, you may be able to get a refund under the consumer rights act.

  • Find out more:what are your consumer rights when buying goods and services?

7) Rent clothes

Toluwa Akindele-Ajani from Essex saved £1,384 by renting rather than buying clothes in 2021 - it's ideal if you need something to wear for a one-off occasion.

The 29-year-old told Which? she started using the

By Rotation

app after learning about the harmful impact of fast fashion, and now rents out her own clothes as well to make money.

She told Which?: 'I was looking for ways to consume less. Once I realised I didn't need to own everything I wore, I jumped right in.'

Renting a dress from By Rotation costs from £9. The minimum rental period can be as low as one day. You can also rent skiwear.

Other, similar sites include My Wardrobe HQ, Hurr and, for children's clothes, Bundlee.

In addition, M&S now allows customers to hire out a capsule wardrobe of 10 different outfits between five days and a month with prices starting from £39, via a partnership with Hirestreet. Some of the items you can hire include winter coats, boots, jeans and blazers.

However, it is important to consider the environmental costs of renting. Speaking to the Which? Money Podcast, fashion journalist Olivia Pinnock said: 'It's important to say renting is one solution, but like anything we need to think about this consciously and whether it's the right thing to do.'

She said renting works well for a special occasion or if you know you are purchasing something which will just sit in your closet and not be used for a long time, however dry cleaning has a big environmental impact as well as transportation.

'It's important to look at the rental platforms and what they are doing to mitigate those impacts,' she added.

8) Care and repair

If your smart shoes have seen better days, consider taking them to the cobbler before buying a new pair.

A pair of men's smart shoes from John Lewis can cost anything from £70 to £450, depending on the brand and quality of leather, but you could replace the soles for as little as £30.

And you can buy a jumper debobbler for as little as £5 on Amazon to make your wool jumpers look new.

Some stores may even offer repairs. For example Uniqlo in London's Regent Street, has recently opened a repair studio where customers can get Uniqlo items mended by trained staff, from hemming trousers to mending holes. Prices start from £3. It also provides free alterations on selected bottoms such as minor resizing and tailoring services.

  • Find out more:10 ways you can live more sustainably

9) Wash your clothes less often

Washing your clothes too often could shorten their lifespan and wear them out quickly.

Levi's advises jeans be washed every 10 wears, and says they should be dried on a line (rather than a tumble dryer) to preserve the fit and avoid them shrinking.

It also says turning your jeans inside out and hanging them in a shady space will prevent them from fading and avoid soggy pockets.

  • Find out more:how to cut your laundry costs by £100 a year

10) Snap up display shoes

High-street shoe chains Schuh and Office both have specialist websites which sell reduced, ex-display shoes that may have minor wear-and-tear - and you can get big brands including Birkenstock, Adidas, Timberland.

Office Offcuts sells 'end of line, ex-display and last pairs of shoes' and all stock is new, and Schuh Imperfects says shoes may have scuffs, discolouration and other 'individual quirks'.

11) Get the most out of the sales

The best way to approach sales season is to set a budget and make a list of any particular items you want and their current price - you could save them in your online shopping basket or take pictures in the store. This means if they go on sale, you will know exactly how much you will be saving, and whether it's really a bargain.

If something goes before you get the chance to snap it up, you may be able to turn on a back in stock alert - for example, BackInStockAlerts.com will keep an eye on the likes of Amazon, Asos and Boohoo for you.

You may also be able to sign up for early access to discounts. For example, Zara offers shoppers that use its app first dibbs at the sale.

  • Find out more:our Black Friday shopping tips are relevant to sales all year round

12) Give jeans a new lease of life

15 ways to save money on clothes and shoes - Which? News (4)

Black jeans are notorious for fading, but you can re-dye them for as little as £3.

You can buy Dylon pods of dye for your washing machine for around £6 on Amazon, or £3 for hand dye - this is much cheaper than buying a new pair of jeans.

If your jeans are beyond the stage of re-dyeing, they can still be used for other purposes before being thrown out. For example, old jeans can be cut into denim shorts, and can be handy for doing DIY around your home.

  • Find out more:best ways to save money

13) Max out on cashback

You can earn money back on purchases if you choose to make them using a cashback credit card. Just remember to pay back your full balance each month to avoid cashback gains being wiped out by interest charges.

It's also worth checking your credit or debit card provider's app to see if it offers any specific cashback deals on a service you want.

Cashback sites such as Quidco and TopCashback can also be lucrative. You can currently get up to 10% cashback at Very and Matalan via Quidco, and up to 12% on Asos, 15% at M&S and 15% at JD Sports on TopCashback.

  • Find out more:how to use cashback sites

14) Visit an outlet store

Even if you don't have any bricks-and-mortar outlet stores near you, many brands have outlet stores on eBay, where you can save up to 70% on clothes.

Brands include Crocs, Sports Direct, Superdry, Office, Joules, Oliver Bonas. Once on the eBay website, just select brand outlets at the top to see what is available.

15) Haggle if the item has a fault

If you notice a missing button or stain on the item you want to buy, you might be able to haggle to get the price down.

The worst that can happen is they say no - and if they do, would you really want to be paying full price for something which is faulty? Buttons can easily be resewn on and stains can be removed - depending on how severe it looks in the store.

Watch out, though - many shops will only offer a discount on the basis that you can't return the item if you change your mind.

Get help with the rising cost of living

Households across the UK are struggling right now with the rising cost of living.

Which? is dedicated to offering tips and advice on how to cut the cost of your household bills and make the most of your money.

  • Find out more:ease the squeeze - cost of living news and advice from Which?

Have you successfully used our tips to help save or make money? We'd love to hear from you. Get in touch at money-letters@which.co.uk.

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15 ways to save money on clothes and shoes - Which? News (5)

This article has been updated multiple times since it was first published. The last update was on 2 November 2022 to include details about Barclaycard consumer spending data and M&S's rental scheme.

15 ways to save money on clothes and shoes - Which? News (2024)


How to buy a lot of clothes with little money? ›

5 Tips for Buying Clothes on a Budget
  1. Shop Your Closet. Work Clothes Donations. ...
  2. Purchase Basic Items to Mix and Match. It's always a good idea to buy some basic pieces that you can easily mix and match. ...
  3. Check out Thrift Stores. ...
  4. Limit Expensive Name Brands. ...
  5. Take Your Time.
Oct 12, 2023

How do we save money now? ›

10 Best Ways to Save Money
  1. Eliminate Your Debt. If you're trying to save money through budgeting but still carrying a large debt burden, start with your debt. ...
  2. Set Savings Goals. ...
  3. Pay Yourself First. ...
  4. Stop Smoking. ...
  5. Take a Staycation. ...
  6. Spend to Save. ...
  7. Utility Savings. ...
  8. Pack Your Lunch.

How can you save money by shopping wisely? ›

Some ways to save on shopping each money include buying items on sale, shopping at outlet stores, using online software that helps you search for coupon codes and discount offers, purchasing non-perishable items in bulk, shop once a month, signing up for loyalty programs, and rewards card, and buying generic products ...

What is the 30 day rule for clothes? ›

It forces you to pause before clicking buy and ask yourself, 'will I actually wear this 30 times?” If the answer is not 100% yes, then you don't make the purchase. The 30 Wear pledge is created for those looking to reduce their fashion footprint without forgetting what's important - how to be fashionably sustainable.

Does hanging clothes save money? ›

Energy Savings from Line Drying

Plus, you can potentially save anywhere from $256 to $590 per year by simply making the switch from clothes dryers to a clothesline.

How can I look expensive with little money? ›

How to Look Expensive & Elegant on a Budget?
  1. Make sure you understand your beauty type & body architecture. ...
  2. Dress pastel, gemstone & neutral colors. ...
  3. Make sure your clothes fit you correctly. ...
  4. Pick high-quality fabrics. ...
  5. Don't wear wrinkled & stained clothes. ...
  6. Clean & Fresh Hair. ...
  7. Perfect manicure & clean nails.

What is the most profitable clothing item? ›

One of the most profitable niches with good profit margins is custom all-over print clothing. These are items that have your designs printed on the entire fabric, creating a unique and eye-catching look. You can sell t-shirts, hoodies, and even leggings with your own artwork, funky prints, or customized designs.

How to be cheap? ›

  1. Admit that you need a budget. There's no way around this. ...
  2. Search for deals and discounts. Coupons and sales are always on the radar for frugal people. ...
  3. Rethink your meals. ...
  4. Keep your home clean for a cheap. ...
  5. Don't be fooled by “Get Rich Quick” schemes. ...
  6. Use every drop wisely. ...
  7. Purchase used items. ...
  8. Do-it-yourself (DIY).
Aug 22, 2023

What are the 50 ways to save money? ›

50 Ways To Save Money
  • Identify what you're saving for. ...
  • Remember that you can negotiate. ...
  • Focus on cleaning up your credit card record. ...
  • Nickname your savings account. ...
  • Reduce expenses. ...
  • Pause retirement and other contributions. ...
  • Get your F--k Off Fund right. ...
  • Take out cash for your weekly budget.
Jan 14, 2024

What is the 50 30 20 rule? ›

The 50-30-20 rule recommends putting 50% of your money toward needs, 30% toward wants, and 20% toward savings. The savings category also includes money you will need to realize your future goals. Let's take a closer look at each category.

How to grocery shop smart? ›

  1. 8 Smart Shopping Tips to Save on Groceries. Oct 05, 2023. ...
  2. Make a grocery list. One of the easiest ways to save money while grocery shopping is to create a grocery list before heading to the store. ...
  3. Set a budget. ...
  4. Use coupons and discount codes. ...
  5. Buy store brands. ...
  6. Don't shop on an empty stomach. ...
  7. Buy in bulk. ...
  8. Shop online.
Oct 5, 2023

How to shop intelligently? ›

9 top tips for smarter shopping
  1. Stay cool. Smart shopping is about taking it slower and making more conscious choices. ...
  2. Practice money mindfulness. ...
  3. Shop off-season. ...
  4. Waste not, want not. ...
  5. Brand new secondhand. ...
  6. Declutter and donate. ...
  7. Green is the new black. ...
  8. Try before you buy.
Mar 24, 2022

Why do we shop wisely? ›

Shopping wisely can mean you not only get exactly what you were looking for, but you save time and money. Here are some simple tips that will help you shop smarter. If you know what you want initially, you are more likely to make sure you get what you need. By making a list, you make sure you don't forget anything.

How much money should I save for clothes? ›

According to Dunn, you should spend 5% of your monthly income on clothing. To find the exact dollar amount you should be spending per month, multiply your take-home pay by 0.05. For example, if your monthly take-home pay is $3000, you should spend around $150 per month on clothing.

What age spends the most money on clothes? ›

The 45-54 age group spent the most on women's and girls' clothing in 2021, averaging $995. This age group is more likely to spend more money on clothing than other age groups.

How do you spend money on clothes wisely? ›

Here are six ways to dress well and spend less.
  1. 1 Shop your closet. Before you go shopping, take a look at what you already have in your closet. ...
  2. 2 Buy secondhand. ...
  3. 3 Choose quality over quantity. ...
  4. 4 Shop smart. ...
  5. 5 Care for your clothes. ...
  6. 6 Rent or borrow. ...
  7. 7 Here's what else to consider.
Apr 18, 2023

How do people budget for clothes? ›

How Much Should You Spend on Clothes? Most financial experts say to keep clothing spend to around 5% of your take-home pay for the entire family. So, take whatever your monthly pay is and multiply it by . 05 and that is the MAX you should spend in a given month.

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