Any household’s expenses comprise essential items such as monthly rent/mortgage payments, energy bills, food, etc. Some of these spending areas are fixed – that is, they can’t be restricted – while others are elastic, meaning they leave some room for saving. When we try to make a budget we have to focus on elastic expenses. One such expense, although we incorrectly often think of it as fixed rather than elastic, is clothing. Here are five simple ways to save on this spending area.
Think long term when you buy One of the main reasons why people spend too much on clothing is because of impulse shopping. They do not think about their needs: they purchase according to their immediate desire when they walk by something nice. The first step towards saving money on clothing is to stop buying just because you feel like it: buy clothes when you need them. It is worth buying more expensive clothes rather than cheaper ones. Indeed, if the price difference is due to a better design and a higher overall quality, you ought to consider paying it: these clothes will tend to last longer (unless you are just paying for the brand). Another way to think long term is to purchase garments whose design will not go out of fashion over the coming year - evaluate the lasting fashion potential of the pieces you covet.
Wash according to the instructions People wash their clothes altogether, without paying attention to… the washing instructions. Although it is easier and faster to just put the whole content of your drawers in your washing machine when you need to, this way of washing your clothes can damage some of your garments which can be sensitive to water temperature, washing cycle or colour mixes. By taking care of washing your clothes according to their properties, you will maximize their lifespan… and reduce your expenses.
Choose the right machine Because washing machines are expensive, some people tend to buy the cheapest one on the market, thinking that the lower upfront cost will translate into savings. In fact, paying a little bit more is likely to reduce your expenses in the long run: not only could the machine be less prone to breakdowns, but is could also be more eco-friendly (like the Energy Star certified products), which will result in lower energy costs every time you do the laundry. Moreover, when your machine has a problem, you will probably be more likely to haveyour appliance repaired by professionals instead of just buying another cheap one.
…But minimize its use Here is another reason why people spend too much money on their clothes: they wash them too much. Most of the time, a pair of jeans or a t-shirt is not dirty after it has been worn only once. Wearing your clothes twice before washing them (when possible and hygienic) will not only reduce your energy and cleaning products bills: it will also prolong your clothes lifespan since washing contributes to their attrition and colour fade. Obviously this tip does not apply to socks and underwear - to clarify...
Dry less Dryers do not only entail energy costs, but the high temperatures at which they function can also cause severe damage to some fabrics, accelerate the attrition of others and make some garments shrink. That is why you ought to avoid drying your clothes in the machine when possible: air drying is much gentler, and cheaper.
About the author: Alexandre Duval is a blogger for Service 2000, a Montreal-based company which repairs your appliances at home.