5 Ways to Buy Clothes on a Budget When You Are Losing Weight

100_4641bWhen I was overweight, I often daydreamed about a time when I would lose weight and have a fun shopping spree.  When you’re very overweight as I was, shopping is no fun.  Nothing fits right, and shopping can be down right depressing and expensive.  (Have you seen the prices at Lane Bryant?  I loved their stuff but only shopped for a few items at a time because they were so expensive.)

However, between April, 2012 and April, 2013, I lost 33% of my body weight.  However, 29% of that weight loss came in 7 short months, from September, 2012 to April, 2013 when I first started an anti-yeast diet and then eventually switched over to the Paleo Auto Immune diet.

I have lost 6 dress sizes, going from a size 22 to a size 10.  I still have about 20 to 25 pounds to lose, so I think eventually I’ll settle in a size 8.

Dropping 6 dress sizes in 7 months means that I changed sizes every 4 to 6 weeks.  It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that shopping for new clothes every time I changed sizes wasn’t practical.

Instead, I took these steps to save money while buying clothes that fit my ever changing shape:

1.  Shop the closet.  I’m probably not alone among women, especially women who’ve had children, who have several different sizes in their closets.  I had clothing from before my first pregnancy that ranged in size from 14 to 18.  As I lost weight, I shopped my own closet first, which meant that I didn’t really have to start buying clothes until I reached size 14.

2.  Shop Goodwill.  My mom loved my aunt’s dress and complimented her on it and asked her where she got it.  My aunt’s answer, GW.  GW–Goodwill.  While the Goodwill by our house is nasty, nasty, nasty, the Goodwill by my mom’s house is full of great stuff.  Every time we visited my mom, I stopped by Goodwill and bought some pieces that fit and some that were a bit too small so I could fit in them in a few weeks.  Recently I went to GW and scored 3 capri pants and one pair of shorts for a grand total of $19.04.  You can’t beat that.

3.  Shop consignment stores.  I needed a nice shirt for Easter, so I went to a consignment store and got three shirts for less than $20.  One was from Ann Taylor Loft and one was from Eddie Bauer.

4.  Buy the minimum you need.  I do plan on eventually having a complete wardrobe, but while I’m changing sizes so frequently, I buy the bare minimum I need, which is generally 3 shirts and one or two pairs of jeans.  Why have a number of pieces when they’ll be too small in just a few weeks or months?  Once my weight stabilizes, I’ll buy a more extensive wardrobe.

5.  Raid your husband’s closet.  My husband is just 5’7″ and has a small build.  We were NEVER the same size, but now we are, and I often raid his closet.  Rather than buying t-shirts to wear around the house and when cooking, I just raid his closet and use some of his older shirts that are worn or stained.  I do have a few nice t-shirts for when I leave the house, but when I’m home, I just wear his.

Losing weight and having a changing shape is fun, but buying new clothes can be expensive.  These are some of the strategies I’ve used to limit the cost.  I’ve spent less than $125 in the 7 months I’ve dropped 6 dress sizes.

What are your favorite strategies for buying clothes that fit while losing weight?


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  1. When my wife was losing weight, she kept just wearing her old clothes that were really baggy on her. She said she was scared to waste money on skinny clothes if she’d just gain weight back. Eventually she realized that she won’t be gaining the weight back, so she spent some time and money in Goodwill and Walmart. Walmarts clothes don’t last long, but if you’re losing weight, you won’t last long in that size anyways, haha! Goodwill is pretty awesome. I always go with her now because I find stuff that Goodwill is underselling and I sell it on Craigs list for a profit! 🙂

  2. Very timely article as I’m struggling with this issue right now. I just buy clearance items for now and will wait until I get to the final size for the better quality.

    • I tried buying one shirt I liked brand new, but it was cheap and looked terrible after a few washings. The second hand clothes have held up much better and show less wear.

  3. My wife is constantly at GoodWill and Salvation Army buying clothes. Both are pretty good in our area, and the prices can’t be beat. We’ve got growing kids that constantly need new clothes, and we’ve both lost some weight as well (not nearly what you’ve lost though!) so we’ve been buying more than we have previously. Congratulations on the loss too!

  4. Wow! That’s a big weight loss! Congrats! When I lost my weight from WW’s, (of which I gained 90% back, but we won’t talk about that), I waited until I lost at least 10 before I got some new pieces in my wardrobe. It was an expensive year, because I really wanted to look good, and not wear baggy clothes.
    I am now buying the minimum I need as I’ve gained weight back (sigh), so hopefully I’ll get back to where i was.

    • I’ve never had the experience of gaining everything back because I’ve never lost so much before. I hope it stays off. Wishing you good luck!

  5. Holy cow! That is an amazing amount of weight loss. Congratulations. As someone who loses and gains and loses..I know how nice it is to lose weight. I agree with GW. We also have Salvation Army and Rescue Mission stores. It’s a challenge but there is usually nice clothes.

  6. I am impressed by the amount of weight you have lost. Is that a picture of you in the post? If so then I echo what Joyce said…”Holy cow!”

    • Yep, that’s me. Those pants fit in September. It’s amazing how much can change in a few short months!