4 Ways to Get Quality Clothing for CHEAP or FREE

Getting clothing brand new is nice, but do you really need brand new clothes all the time? After all, many of today’s fabrics, styles and fashions are very cheaply made and wear out before their time. For example, I bought a brand new shirt 3 months ago, and with normal wear and tear, washing and such, it’s already threadbare. That $15 shirt was definitely not a bargain, was it?

Here is an idea for 4 ways to get quality clothing for cheap or FREE!

clothing cheap post

Consignment Stores

More often than not, you will find name brand clothing that is a good quality construction here. They are usually picky on what they will sell, so you are more likely to get clothing without tears or stains. I have found that in our area, clothing goes for about 30-40% of what it will sell for brand new. I have found jeans, shorts, jackets, shirts as well as shoes at consignment stores.

As a matter of fact, this is the only place I have been able to outfit my oldest son, as he is growing so rapidly and thrift stores don’t usually have his size in anything. Another bonus for consignment stores is that you can take gently used clothing to sell for cash or credit on other stuff. Decluttering and saving money on clothing? Win-Win!

Thrift Stores

This requires some careful digging to find good quality. We have an array of different thrift stores, with different quality in clothing. Some will just “hang and sell” whatever is brought in, no matter what the condition.

Others will actually inspect the clothing, make any minor needed repairs, and wash before moving out to the sales floor. Finding quality takes a bit of time, and knowing what you want. Sometimes, you may have to replace a button, or fix a hem, but you can really get some good bargains at thrift stores.

Yard Sales

Again, digging for quality is the key here. I have seen many people put out worn out and stained clothing at a premium price. Of course, if you are looking for rags, or quilt blocks, or “chore clothing” you may be able to get them to come way down on the price. Other yard sales I have seen great clothing at a great price.

Since you are most likely NOT going to be able to try the clothes on, it’s helpful to have an idea of sizes you need, and even know if those sizes vary by designer. For example, I can get a “5” in Abercrombie, but a “3” in Guess. Knowing what you or your family’s needs and sizes are will be extremely helpful as you navigate the myriad of sales.

Host a Clothing Swap

A clothing swap is a great way to build your community while getting quality clothing. It’s basically trading outgrown, gently used clothing with friends and family. It’s not hard to set up and the benefits are amazing! Check out full details here. 

That’s just 4 of the best ways I’ve used to get quality clothing for my family without breaking the bank…what other ideas do you have? Be sure to pin this for later!

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54 thoughts on “4 Ways to Get Quality Clothing for CHEAP or FREE”

  1. I have acquired clothes all four of these ways, though the “swap” was a homeschooling swap, clothes were involved. With six children, buying new is pretty much out of the question : ) Thanks for sharing this valuable information.

  2. Oh this is the ONLY way we shop. Second hand clothes mean you’re saving the environment, your wallet and your health since the nasty fire retardants have been washed off of them. Plus…they’re softer which is a good thing for kiddos with sensory issues.


  3. Theres Just One Mommy

    For clothes for the kids, hand me downs have saved me big time! My best friend has a little girl younger than my daughter and a son older than my son, so we swap clothes. Love seeing the clothes get used again!
    The kids consignment shop is my other big favorite — even better to shop at the end of season for the next year! Last year I got a new winter coat and snow pants in the next size for just 6 bucks for my youngest!

    Stopping in from Boost Your Blog Challenge!

  4. I’ve noticed lately that at the thrift stores they are creating sections with higher quality items and NEW items and letting you know their location in the store. This helps so much and saves time digging. I’ve seen so many wonderful new children’s items. Thanks for the post and have a wonderful day.

  5. I love thrift stores! I found this awesome Nautica sweater about 10 years ago (when they were popular) for only $5. The only problem it had was a small hole in the arm, which I quickly sewed up. It looked good as new and held on for a couple of more years. I will have to see if my local area has any consignment stores.

  6. I do all the above, with the exception of the clothing swap. With lots of kids we have to save money where we can, and one of thos eis by purchasing clothes that aren’t brand new. I also do not buy clothing that is not on sale at the store. My kids know this and when we go in a store, they bee-line right for the clearance rack. LOL It’s become so engrained in my 13 year old, that she only asks for pricey items as special gifts for birthday or Christmas. And she is beginning to shop the same way I do.

  7. I agree. There is no need to pay full price for quality clothing. And like you said, all the newer stuff wears out way faster than it should. Here in Tennessee, we have Goodwill everywhere. In fact, I have worked at one, inspecting the clothing. Most of the time I just go on Sundays because that is $1.00 day for the color of the week. And you can still find many nice clothes then. Thanks for participating in the Boost Challenge.

    I Create Purty Thangs

  8. Jazmin @ Frugality Gal

    I do a few of these already but have always wanted to try a clothing swap. Seems like a great way to get clothes for free and since a lot of my friends have the same style, it’s most likely going to be in styles similar to my own.

  9. Merissa @ Little House Living

    I’ve done all of the above! I love clothing swaps when I find some friends that wear the same size as I do, otherwise my favorite is rummage sales because of their super cheap prices!

  10. I always look for sales everywhere and there are thrift stores in our areas everywhere. They sell very cheap clothing but are of good quality and totally fashionable!

  11. Shannon @ GrowingSlower

    I hate shopping and try to do it as rarely as possible, so digging at thrift stores and consignment stores seems overwhelming to me. A clothing swap might be a good option. A great way to get free clothes and share with your friends as well.

    1. I hate shopping too! It’s one of the reason’s I like to buy clothes this way. At least if I HAVE to go shopping, I don’t feel like I have been robbed when I am finished : )

  12. I absolutely love consignment sales, the Spring ones are just starting up and I can’t wait to go shopping. I usually get our daughter’s entire wardrobe (minus special pieces) at the sales and save so much! I’ve also gotten real big into thrift shops here lately and have scored some really awesome pieces for both my daughter and husband. Yard sales around here aren’t so great, people want almost full price for their items. I can sometimes go to the store during a really great sale and use discount codes and get things much cheaper than some people’s yard sale prices. We’re on a tight budget so I’m all about saving 🙂

  13. I don’t do well with digging but I might have to search out the consignment stores to see if the ones in our area are a bit more organized than the thrift stores. I usually just watch for the sales and I am blessed to be surrounded by boys who simply don’t care what they wear.

  14. Great idea about the clothing swap. The biggest problem with consignment stores for me is I am so tall that it’s hard to find things that fit.Visiting from BYB.

  15. Good tips. I am 17 weeks pregnant and don’t want to spend all the money it takes to buy NEW maternity wear. I will definitely try out some the locals you’ve listed. I am also going to suggest a clothing swap with some friends.

  16. I think I was just here for #SITS! I know I added your blog to my feed. I’m a little overwhelmed with two challenges back to back! #BYB100

  17. Great little space you have here. We live in East TN on farmland that has been in my family for 4 generations, so your place feels a bit like home. Hope we can cross paths online and share some homesteading tips.

  18. Oooh, I like the idea of a clothing swap! Sometimes you can just find some fantastic sales in the off season too….as another idea for cheap clothing. I usually hit consignment, etc -but… -I always keep in mind to shop off season!

  19. You’re speaking my language! I LOVE thrifty finds and can spend hours digging through thrift store and consignment racks – I think it’s super fun (much to the annoyance of my kids!) and can’t figure out how people justify full wardrobes of full-priced clothes when there’s so much stuff out there for so cheap that can be super cute and unique

  20. thanks for the great suggestions. I LOVE thrift stores and finding great bargains. I have a hard time paying full price for things and it just doesn’t seem as fun as stumbling across wonderful deals.

  21. These are all great tips. I find that these work well for my kids and even my husband. I, on the other hand, have the hardest time finding clothes this way! I guess I just need to do a better job of searching out some quality consignment stores in my area.

  22. Ya know I recently found some really great Target clothes at a local GROCERY store! On clearance! Between that and a couple of awesome consignment store finds, I’ve totally reevaluated my shopping experiences. I’m definitely going to be shopping more at thrift stores and consignment stores!

  23. We have some great Thrift stores in our area which I frequent quite often. It’s unbelievable what you can find if you are willing to take the time to look. I haven’t been to a clothing swap yet but it’s a great idea! Visiting from the BYB challenge.

  24. these are fantastic ideas. It’s hard for me to buy used. I’m not sure why – I guess it’s the unknown. However, I don’t have the money to buy used so I don’t do anything at all. 🙂

    Thanks so much for participating in the blog challenge! It’s so nice to meet you.

  25. Chrystal @ Happy Mothering

    Great tips! We do get pre-owned clothing for the girls often because they grow so quickly! I don’t buy myself a lot of clothes, but I do go for quality when I do!

  26. Carin Kilby Clark

    This is great! Thanks so much for sharing – as a single mother of three I needed to be reminded of ways to save money. Just in time too, we will be Spring shopping soon.:-)

  27. Love the ideas!! I can always use more clothing–especially for my clothes queen 7 year old daughter (and only girl). 🙂

  28. I do most of my clothes shopping at thrift stores like Goodwill. There’s also a really awesome charity store nearby that sells clothes for super cheap. So awesome!
    I’ve always wanted to host, or at least take part in a clothing swap. It sounds like so much fun!

  29. Love thrift store and consignment stores when looking for clothes. I have scored a ton of good deals. Not much time for yard sales and never been to a clothing swap party but sounds fun!

  30. Lisa @ ShopGirlDaily.com

    Great tips! I’ve always wanted to go to a clothing swap… maybe I should just host one myself this spring!

  31. These are all excellent tips! I love buying clothes at thrift stores and consignments shops. There is a great children’s consignment store in my city called Once Upon A Child and most outfits are about $5. Plus the employees are very selective with what they will accept so you know that anything you buy has been carefully selected and is in excellent condition.

    Another great way to get cheap/free clothes is through websites like freecycle.org and believe it or not, Facebook! I’ve been seeing more and more ways to buy used clothes on Facebook through different local pages.

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