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The F3 Clothing Resources Guide: Getting the Most for Your Money

Article by: Kim Tilley
Dated: May 26, 2006

Here are all of the places I can think of to obtain clothing, rated from cheapest to most expensive. Where do your purchases fall? Of course, no one is expected to have an entirely free wardrobe or a designer one either. This chart is just meant to give you some ideas on where to look for cheaper clothing resources. If I have left any out, please email me and I will be happy to include them.


Swap with friends, relatives, and neighbors

Hand-me-downs from older siblings

Gifts (ask for clothing, most kids have more than enough toys)

Free boxes at yard sales

Curbside freebies - leftovers that did not sell at a yard sale, junk day items. You would be surprised at what people put on the curb, free for the taking!

Clothing made from recycled items (scaling down adult clothing for kids, cut-offs from jeans, turning a dress into a skirt or vest, etc.)

Free clothing from church and civic organizations

Community outreach programs - if you are a low-income family, you may be able to get free clothing from Salvation Army, etc. Our area also has a "Suits for Success" program, which helps low-income families find better jobs, and gives free suits and office wear to those who qualify.

Very Cheap (25 cents to $1 per item):

Yard Sales

Rummage Sales

Thrift shop specials (tag sales, etc)

Consignment shop clearances

Salvation Army "As Is" stores

Cheap ($1-$3 per item):

Store clearances

"High class" yard sales

Thrift stores -Good Will, Salvation Army, etc.

Moderate: ($2-$5 per item)

Classified ads in newspaper (occasionally there are some really good bargains, especially for maternity and baby clothes)

Store sales and closeouts

Dollar stores - Dollar General, Family Dollar, etc. (be careful- sometimes clothing quality isn't too good)

Closeout stores- Big Lots, UFS, etc. (These places buy closeouts from other stores and sell them at lower prices, but sometimes clothing quality is an issue at these stores, too.)

Buy-1-Get1-Free sales

Homemade items from on-sale fabrics

Dry cleaner leftovers - some people never pick up their dry cleaning. Some dry cleaners sell these clothes after they have been left for a while. Others donate them to charities and thrift stores.


Discount stores - Kmart, Walmart, etc.

Department store clearances, occasional sales

Expensive ($10-30 an item)

Department Store Sales

Department store clothing lines - some are in this range at full price such as Sag Harbor, and Crazy Horse (both have excellent quality)

Department store brands such as JCPenney's Hunt Club and St. John's Bay lines.

Discount store clothing Lines- KMart's Jaclyn Smith, Kathy Ireland, Walmart's Kathy Lee line (I like the Kathy Lee line, the quality is good, and the clothes hold up; great for work clothing)

Mail order, catalogs

Homemade from full price fabrics

High class consignment boutiques

Vintage stores (depends, some are cheaper, but most are pricey)

More Expensive ($30-$50 per item)

Department stores

High class catalogs

Homemade from specialty fabrics

Exorbitant ($50 and up)

Tailor-made items

Department store designer lines (Calvin Klein, Liz Claiborne, etc)


Men's specialty stores - Structure, etc.


Ungodly Expensive ($100s-$1000s and up)

Anything auctioned off that a celebrity has worn

Specialty costumes and gowns

Wedding attire, prom and homecoming clothing

Designer fashion show items

About the Author

Kim Tilley, a tightwad at heart, is a wife, a mother of three active boys and the founding editor of Frugal by force and later by choice, Kim cut her income by 60% to stay at home with her children and discovered that anyone can live better for less. Her work has appeared in print publications such as The Tightwad Gazette. In her free time, she entertains herself by chasing kids and finding ways to create something from nothing!
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