Now you’re probably wondering how many different free ways does she have to clothe her family!? The truth is, I have at least five ways that I get both adult and kids clothes for free.
I have a hard time stomaching regular price on things, especially clothes. We’ve always been frugal, even before accruing six figures of student debt.
Now that we have trimmed our budget to nearly the bare minimum, we really try to keep clothing costs down. Every dollar that doesn’t go toward clothing can go toward our debt! Just remembering that motivates me to spend as little as possible on clothes for our family.
I’ll start by sharing all of the ways I get clothes free, then I’ll share with you my favorite! Hopefully you’ll find some ways that you can stretch your clothing budget too!
Consignment store credit
When your kids have outgrown clothes that are still in good shape, you can bring them to your local consignment store. Someone will inspect your items to make sure they meet the store’s standards. Quality and inventory standards vary by store. They will price your items and do the rest of the work.
When your items sell, you will get a percentage of the price. The percentage varies by store, but is often higher if you choose to receive your payment in store credit instead of cash. Even though you’re only keeping a percentage, it adds up because consignment stores are able to charge higher prices than you would make at your own garage sale. As your earnings add up, you can spend them at the consignment store for clothes that you need.
Pro tip– When you’re at a yard sale or thrift store that has a “stuff a bag for $1” sale, this is a great time to get a stash of clothes to consign. Just be sure to look items over well so that you only grab clothes that your know the consignment store will accept.
I haven’t consigned anything since we were in law school. Since we live in the boonies, we don’t have a consignment store close and our time in town is precious (and busy).
Depending on your childhood experience, you either love or hate hand-me-downs. I am the oldest in my family, so any hand-me-downs I received were from outside of my family. I was always excited to look through any clothes that were outgrown by older kids of family friends or people at church.
I know that others, who were further down the line in their family were less excited about hand-me-downs from older siblings, as the items were not as fresh and exciting.
Hand-me-downs are a great way to get clothes for free! Sometimes it is awkward for people to offer hand-me-downs, so it’s important to let others know that you are open to receiving them. Ever since college, my younger sister (who is much more stylish than me) has let me dig through her give-away box before she brings it to the thrift store and I always find treasures for myself, my husband, and kids.
Whether it’s through your church, mom’s group, or just a group of friends, a clothing swap is a great way to freshen up your wardrobe without making a dent in your budget.
It’s simple to set up. Everyone brings clothes that they want to give away and all the clothes are displayed together. Then everyone can take home whatever interests them. You can have rules if you want (take as many items as you brought, start by choosing only x items, etc.), but rules are not usually necessary, especially if you have a small-scale swap.
Clothing swaps are easy to organize. You just need a location (church, community center, someone’s living room, etc) and friends. If you plan a swap in spring cleaning season, you’ll all be cleaning out your closets anyway. Better yet, do a swap after your book club reads The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
Pro tip– Organize the swap by size and gender so that people can easily find what they are looking for without digging through everything.
Schoola is an online seller of used clothing that gives 40% of the proceeds from each sale to schools. When you donate, you can choose the school you’d like the proceeds from each of those clothing items to go to. This is my kind of fundraiser. Way better than having your kids pester friends and neighbors to buy overpriced cookie dough or wrapping paper.
But back to how I get clothes for free. After I tried Schoola for the first time (when you sign up you get $20 credit), I shared my referral link. It’s easy to share your referral link with your friends by email or on Facebook or other social media. With the referral link, your friends will each get $20 credit and you’ll get $20 after they use their credit.
When you initially sign up, you’ll get $20 of free clothes (right now there is even free shipping with no minimum purchase!). Then, with your referral credits you can get more free clothes. Schoola started with women’s and children’s clothing, but now carries men’s clothing too (currently grouped with teen boys). Most online used clothing sites don’t carry men’s clothing so I’m super excited about this!
And now, my favorite way to get clothes for free….
My favorite way to get free clothes is on ThredUp. ThredUp is an online used clothing boutique for women’s and children’s clothing. They are very particular about the clothing they accept. They only take top name brands that are in pristine condition. Most items that I have received from ThredUp are nearly new.
Their high standards can be frustrating if you want to send clothes to them to earn money, but it’s great for shopping. I have been pleased with the quality of all of their clothing.
My strategy to get clothes for free from ThredUp is similar to what I do for Schoola. When you sign up, you get $10 of store credit.
Pro tip– To make my credit go further, after choosing the size I’m looking for, I sort by “price low to high” (the default is “newest first”).
After spending the initial credit, I share my referral link. Each person I refer gets $10 credit to spend. After they spend their credit, I get $10 of credit too. Because I have been so pleased with their clothes, it is natural for me to tell others about them. As with Schoola, you can share your referral link with friends and family on social media or share directly through email.
Once you start getting clothing free, it’s hard to go back to paying for it. If you’re ready to cut your clothing budget, I recommend trying out some of these ways to get clothes free! You’ll never pay retail again!
How about you?
- Do you get clothes free for your family? What is your favorite strategy?
- How do you keep your clothes budget at a minimum?
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