5 Fashionable Ways of Saving on Your Wardrobe Cost

Shopping can be an expensive hobby. Here, we discuss some easy ways of reducing this cost by addressing some of the common mistakes shoppers make without much consideration.

lady in a dress by the beach

Shopping can be an expensive hobby. According to the Singaporean government survey of household expenditure, an average household spends about S$200 on purchasing clothing, footwear and other personal effects on a monthly basis, amount to S$2,400 of shopping expenses per year. For avid shoppers, this budget could be easily be multiple times bigger, given that even the cheapest Chanel bag can be thousands of dollars.

If you are purchasing 5-10 new pieces per season (20-40 pieces annually), you could easily end up spending way too much while clogging your home with an ocean of clothes that you never wear. Here, we discuss some easy ways of reducing this cost by addressing some of the common mistakes shoppers make without much consideration.

Related: 3 Best Credit Cards For Women In Singapore

Smart organisation can help you save money

The very first thing you should do is to organise your wardrobe in a systematic way, such that you can build a very good sense of what exactly is in your wardrobe.

folding clothes
Source: Unsplash

For example, you can compartmentalise your wardrobe by category of clothing (dress, pants, shirts, accessories, etc.), by colour, and by theme or occasion (daily wear vs special occasions). By doing so, you can keep track of what you have, and plan what you may want or need to buy: if you find that you already have more than as few black dresses, the next list on your list should perhaps be something else. Not only that, you will probably rediscover a few pieces of clothing that you used to love wearing, but have completely forgotten about for a long time.

Related: Minimalism: Save Money and Simplify Your Life in Singapore

Once you know what you own, then you should start taking count of what you actually enjoy wearing and what you never wear. For most people, this exercise should result in a pretty clear guideline in terms of how they can shape and alter their shopping lists.

For example, you should expect to replace some items that have gotten old because you’ve worn them frequently, while you should really cut back on purchasing things you tend to never use. If you are in mood for something new, this guideline should still be able to help you assess if it fits into your style and goes well with your other clothing.

More tips on organising your wardrobe

  • Aim to buy one item per category: for most fashion goods, you only need to own one or two items per category, like one small bag vs big bag or one red dress vs yellow dress. For a truly budget friendly wardrobe, aim to get one per category and expand the selection of your wardrobe instead of increasing the overlap among your clothes.
  • Sell rarely used items: If you’ve identified some items that you almost never use, you should consider selling them in the second hand market. Platforms like Refash or Swap & Buy can be great venues for you to earn some cash while also freeing up more space in your home.

Buy quality for staples, cheap fast-fashion for trendy items

The fashion industry is built on convincing consumers to purchase the “it” or “must have” items every season. When every website, storefront and instagram post is relentlessly showcasing the newest, trendy wears, it’s not difficult to understand why some shoppers get tricked into spending more than they otherwise planned to.

If you are intent on staying on point with the latest trends, you can still reshuffle your shopping habits to be more budget friendly. First, it’s generally advisable to purchase high quality basic items that you use often, even if it means higher prices.

For daily staples, it’s important to emphasise quality since you want them to be durable; in a way, you are optimising for cost per wear, instead of the cost of purchase. A basic, simple black dress that lasts years can actually be cheaper than constantly rebuying a cheaper one that becomes unwearable after a wash or two. Not only that, high quality basic items always look great, and can easily be jazzed up with cheaper accessories that you and mix and match anytime.

Related: Thrifty Hacks To Create a Maternity Wardrobe Without Spending a Fortune

Source: Unsplash

On the other hand, fast fashion brands like Zara can still provide economic ways of following the newest and hottest trends. These companies have shortened the fashion cycle, such that they are constantly changing their floor selection on a weekly basis. That also means that what was hot last week may not be so popular the next month.

Fast fashion may not provide high quality clothes may not last long, but their combination of affordable pricing and trendiness make them ideal for spicing up your style once in awhile.

More tips on purchasing

  • Avoid dry cleaning: Some “quality” items actually be much more expensive to own than their price tags suggest. In general, we recommend avoiding items that must be dry cleaned.
  • Avoid buying cheap shoes: Shoes are the epitome of “staples” item that deserve a good investment. No matter how pretty a pair is, you are likely to never wear it if it’s uncomfortable.

Related: Investing In Sneakers: What Factors Drive Up The Resale Value?

Rent for special occasions, especially luxury items

Every once in a while, you may need some specialised clothing for special occasions, like weddings, prom or even pregnancy. Instead of buying expensive, luxury items that you are going to wear only for a short time (if not just once), you can save an incredible amount by opting to rent them.

luxury goods
Source: Unsplash

There are many platforms in Singapore whose rental costs can be only a fraction of the actual purchase price. Below, we’ve summarised the most well-known fashion rental websites for your convenience.

RentadellaRent dresses and gowns 50-80% discount to retail price
Rent-A-Gown SingaporeRent wedding and bridesmaid gowns at a fraction of retail prices
Style TheoryMonthly subscription service for unlimited rental
Open SpaceRent designer bags on demand

Purchase with a shopping rewards credit card

To attract shoppers as their clientele, many banks in Singapore have created credit cards that provide attractive rewards specifically for shopping.

A lady using her credit card to earn frequent flyer programme points
Source: Unsplash

Some of these cards provide up to 6 miles per S$1 spent on shopping, while other cards provide an immediate saving via 5-10% in cashback directly credited to your statement. By wisely choosing a card designed for shopping, you can easily shave at least 5-10% off of your bill.

Examples of credit cards that offer attractive shopping rebates

Earn up to 30 miles per S$5 spent on your shopping with the UOB Lady’s Card

Apply now and enjoy a dining experience for two at Michelin-starred restaurants & a Jo Malone Gift Set. For new-to-UOB Credit Cardmembers only. T&Cs apply.

UOB Lady's Card

What makes UOB Lady's Card unique is that it allows you to select a preferred spend category, be it beauty, dining, entertainment or fashion, and accelerate your accrual of miles on the selected category

UOB Lady's Card


  • High miles rewards (30 miles per $5 spent) on two categories of spending
  • No minimum spend


  • Cap of 2,800 bonus UNI$ (5,600 miles, equivalent to S$1,000 spend) per month
  • Points have a 2 year expiry
More Details

Earn up to 6% in cashback on shopping and transport spend with the DBS Live Fresh Card

DBS Live Fresh Card

Best eco-friendly online shopping cashback card.

DBS Live Fresh Card


  • Great rewards on contactless payment methods (Visa payWave)
  • Green cashback on eco-eateries and retailers
  • Various entertainment discounts and promotions


  • Lacks travel and overseas spend rewards
  • Not suitable for low budgets
More Details

Shop late in the season, or around holidays

This is probably the most obvious and well known tip. Brands and department stores always create sales events around holidays, especially when they need to clear out the old styles to make space for new ones. These are amazing opportunities to acquire your coveted items at up to 70-80% discounts.

christmas shopping
Source: Unsplash

In general, most brands introduce seasonal items about a month early, and start discounting them half way through the season. Therefore, you can save big time by resisting the urge to purchase the latest fashion items and instead buying them when they are actually in season.

Now that you have been equipped with the above savvy shopping tips, make sure to check out all the latest credit card offerings so that you can start making your shopping expenses work harder for you.

Compare The Best Credit Cards in SingaporeFind Out More

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