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  • Writer's picturePBMIF


Find PBMIF on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube for useful tips and facts in consumer and fashion psychology.

At the end of the day, clothing retailers, both online and offline, want you to spend as much money as possible. They use a variety of tactics to keep you shopping, just like social media companies use tactics to keep you scrolling. But don't worry, we have some helpful tips to help you spend your money on clothes more wisely. TikTok post.


1. Don't shop if you're hungry, stressed, or bored.

When you go shopping on an empty stomach, or if you're bored or stressed, this can trigger what is known as impulse buying.

Clothing retailers love playing on your emotions.

When hungry, bored, or stressed, you might make decisions without thinking them through first. You could be so hungry that you feel rushed to make a purchase in order to get something to eat as soon as possible.

Research has shown that hunger has the potential to impact us significantly when we shop (see Cazzato et al. 2022; Xu et al., 2015).

Before you go shopping, consider eating first. And, if you're feeling stressed or bored on the other hand, probably do some window shopping instead.

2. Unsubscribe from email lists.

The whole point in an email subscription is so that brands can keep you updated on their latest drops, sales, offers, and discounts.

You may be prompted to agree to receiving marketing emails via welcome pop-ups and when completing an order.

Sometimes you may only sign up to an email list to get access to a discount code, but afterwards, you have the option to unsubscribe if you don't want any further communications in your inbox. You can find this option right at the end of emails in the small print.

Out of sight, out of mind?

3. Don't create accounts.

If you don't make an account with your favourite stores you won't:

1) Feel obligated to purchase from them;

2) Feel pressured into earning loyalty points that expire quickly; and

3) Be able to save your card and address details as easily.

Make use of the 'guest account' options when purchasing items online.

Unfortunately, not all stores give you the option to do this such as ASOS.

4. Don't save your card details.

If you save (auto-fill) your card details on your web browser or shopping app then it makes it a whole lot easier to make a purchase compared to having to pull out your card and enter its details manually every time. The same goes for your shipping and billing address details.

Sometimes when we feel that something is just too much effort, we don't bother with it.

Not saving your information could also be considered more secure than leaving your information easily accessible.

This one is as simple as is.

5. Budget.

If you want to save money on clothes, it's important to set a budget.

Setting a budget will help you to stay on track and avoid overspending. When you know how much money you can spend, you can be more confident about making purchases.

Example: "I'm only going to spend £40 on clothes today."

6. Think about the environmental impact of your purchase.

Many people don't care or know about where their clothes come from and the process to produce them.

Although fast fashion is tempting to buy, convenient, generally cheaper, and easily accessible, fast fashion is not very good for the environment (and a list of many other things such as inappropriate working conditions and the poor treatment of employees).

Fast fashion is a major contributor to climate change and environmental pollution. It takes a lot of water, energy, and chemicals to produce fast fashion clothing and accessories, and many of these harmful substances end up in our water supply and oceans.

Whilst it's easy to blame the consumer, fast fashion retailers are the ones providing the products and services to consumers, and should therefore be more responsible and transparent as to where their products are sourced, honestly. Have you ever heard of greenwashing?

The next time you place an item in your basket, don't just take it for what it is at face value. Take a look at its description and what material it's made from.

Take a little moment to think about where the item supposedly came from.

It's also wise to be grateful for the clothing you own, take care of them appropriately and treat them with respect. We take our possessions for granted.

7. Ask yourself this important question.

Ask yourself this important question before making a purchase:

Will I see myself wearing/using this piece of clothing next year (or at another time)?

If not, then maybe it's not worth it.

Think about a time where you bought a trendy item that is no longer in trend. Where is it now? Somewhere at the back of your closet maybe? It was maybe in at the time, but probably not so much now. On a similar note, if you don't like keeping up with trends, you might want to start a capsule wardrobe.

Clothes that you don't necessarily wear or want anymore need not end up at the back of your wardrobe. There are many things you can do with your unused clothing items such as selling them on an online clothing marketplace such as Depop or Vinted, recycling them, or repurposing them.

If you have a special occasion and aren't particularly keen on wearing the same piece of clothing again, then consider renting items instead of purchasing them. Some retailers such as Selfridges and John Lewis can provide rental services.

Other questions you could consider are:

  • Does this item go with my current wardrobe?

  • Do I feel good in this item?

  • Is this item of good quality?

  • Is this item durable?

  • Can I resell this item?

  • Can I give this item to someone who will love it more than I ever did/will?

  • Am I able to maintain this item?

8. Carry a smaller tote/shopping bag with you.

In the UK, a majority of stores should now charge at least 5p for carrier bags. This is to prevent customers from littering, contributing to unnecessary waste, and to encourage customers to carry their own carrier bags. In the UK and Europe, customers generally pack their own bags compared to the USA and some other countries where employees can, oddly, do this for you. (Don't get me started on full service fuel stations.)

Consider getting a tote bag to go shopping with. You can find many cute tote bags online, at stores, and from independent sellers on sites such as Etsy. You can keep your bag folded and placed in your handbag or pocket.

The bigger the bag you have, the more chill you'll feel about buying more. The smaller your bag, the less items you can walk away with.

Trolleys work the same way. The larger your trolley, the more space you'll feel obligated to fill, and the more you'll spend.

Also, maybe don't walk around with a basket during your shopping trip. A basket can encourage you to pick up items.

9. Go easy on the caffeine.

Your iced vanilla lattes could be costing you more than you think.

Intaking caffeine before you go shopping can lead to impulse buying according to a study by Biswas et al. (2023).

If you're going on a shopping spree, maybe think about skipping that trip to Costa beforehand?

10. Wait on it.

If you set your sights on a clothing item you really like then it can be tempting to feel the need to purchase it straight away before it gets sold out.

FOMO (the fear of missing out) drives us to impulse buy.

Sometimes you might see limited time offers in stores and online such as:

  • "Free ____ ends in x hours."

  • "Only x items left in stock."

  • "Selling out fast!"

Wait for sale periods. Don't rush to make a purchase. Sometimes something that you think you wanted might not be as important as you thought it was in the end. Better yet, something better might catch your eye.

11. Have a look through second-hand online marketplaces.

There's nothing to be embarrassed about when shopping for second-hand items, ever heard of thrifting?

Second-hand shopping is a great way to save money and find unique pieces. Sellers can list items for cheaper than you can find them in store. There are many great online marketplaces where you can find second-hand items, including:

  • eBay: eBay is a large online auction site where you can find a wide variety of second-hand items, including clothes, shoes, and accessories.

  • Vinted: Vinted is an online marketplace for second-hand clothes and accessories. It's a good option if you're looking for gently used items at a discount.

  • Depop: Depop is similar to Vinted and is a good option if you're looking for unique and vintage pieces.

  • Vestiaire Collective: Vestiaire Collective is a luxury consignment marketplace. It's a good option if you're looking for high-quality (and mostly luxury) second-hand items.

When shopping second-hand, it's important to be aware of the condition of the items. Read the descriptions carefully and ask questions if you have any concerns. You can also take advantage of the return policies offered by many online marketplaces. Moreover, some sites allow you to make offers.

With a little bit of effort, you can find great deals on second-hand items that are both unique and stylish.

12. Beware of exclusivity.

Exclusive? Yeah, right.

Can you find this item or similar items on other websites? Probably you can if you look.

Ever heard of FOMO? Exclusive items play on our fears of missing out.

Are you really missing out on anything though?

13. Free next day delivery?

Chances are, you've probably seen an offer to get free next day delivery, but only when you've spent a certain amount.

Ask yourself whether it's worth just getting the item you want alone with it's delivery fee or whether it's worth spending way more due to adding items to your basket that you don't want nor need just to get free delivery.

14. Is this really a bargain though?

Some retailers may list an RRP alongside an item's current sale price. This is known as price anchoring which highlights a price difference. It may seem like a bargain to know that you're getting an item for much cheaper.

For example, a shirt may be priced at £125 with an RRP of £250. This makes the sale price seem like a 50% discount, even though the RRP is not always an accurate reflection of the true value of the item. After all, RRP means recommended retail price... Recommended by who exactly though? RRP might be intentionally inflated by manufacturers to make items seem more valuable than they really are.

Many clothing retailers use price anchoring such as TK Maxx (TJ Maxx).

It is important to be critical of price anchoring when making purchases. Ask yourself:

  • Is the RRP a fair reflection of the value of the item?

  • Is the sale price actually a bargain?

  • Are there other retailers selling the same item for a lower price?

15. Look around.

You have the option to look around different websites, so do a search online and compare prices across different websites.

If you're looking for a specific item, type its features into your preferred search engine and you will most certainly find alternatives within your budget.

Similarly, you can do a reverse search, use 'search within image' features, or 'view similar items'.

16. Clear cookies (no biscuits here).

Once in a while, clear your browser or social media cookies/advertising preferences settings.

If you're shown clothing that you might be interested in, you'll be tempted to buy them.

If you're in Europe or the UK, you should have the opportunity to disagree to targeted advertisements, which are personalised to you according to your browsing habits on the websites that you have visited before.

If you're using Google, you have an option to turn off your advertising ID in order to show you generic and less relevant advertisements compared to personalised ones that you will most likely be intrigued by and want to explore further.

If you use social media sites such as Instagram, TikTok or YouTube, you should have the option to turn off personalised/targeted advertisements.

Websites can use your date of birth, gender, and location to show you advertisements that may be more relevant to you. Consider whether it's worth providing this information when you sign up to accounts.

You may want to use incognito mode.

17. Read product reviews.

Reading product reviews gives you the chance to evaluate whether or not to consider purchasing an item. People may describe their likes and dislikes of the item, specifications, the purchasing process, flaws, and condition of items.

You can find reviews on product pages themselves and review sites like Trustpilot.

These days, it can be very hard to spot a fake review on websites, so maybe be aware of:

  • If the most recent reviews are weirdly all highly rated and includes detail (Would you leave a lengthy and detailed review about your backstory and how you came to purchasing the item you did? Probably not...);

  • If the item is sponsored;

  • If the profile pictures or names of reviewers look strange or if their accounts are new;

  • Whether the review page is officially verified by the owner.

18. Search for those discounts.

The internet is a very helpful place where you can find anything that you want as long as you know where to look.

You can find discounts, vouchers, and promotional codes on a variety of websites just with a quick Google search. Some websites post a list of codes which you can copy and paste for free. However, sometimes you may need to try all of the codes to find a few successful (valid) ones. Some news websites offer discount codes.

Check if you're entitled to discounts through education or employment:

  • If you're a student, most likely you'll be entitled to receive student discounts on apps such as UNiDAYS and Student Beans.

  • If you're a healthcare worker, you may be entitled to 'key worker' discounts.

  • If you work for a company, you may be entitled to a range of employee benefits/incentives.

You may also find codes on clothing retailers' social media pages including Pinterest and Instagram.

Additionally, TV adverts may display promotional codes from time to time.

Fashion psychology shopping tips: 18 ways to save money when shopping for clothing.
PBMIF is now on Pinterest!

Thank you for reading this post. If you have any questions, you may leave them below. :)



Biswas, D., Hartmann, P., Eisend, M., Szocs, C., Jochims, B., Apaolaza, V., Hermann, E., López, C. M., & Borges, A. (2023). Caffeine’s Effects on Consumer Spending. Journal of Marketing, 87(2), 149-167.

Cazzato, V., Vicario, C. M., & Urgesi, C. (2022). 'When hunger makes everything better looking!': The effect of hunger on the aesthetic appreciation of human bodies, faces and objects. BMC psychology, 10(1), 98.

Xu, A. J., Schwarz, N., & Wyer, R. S. (2015). Hunger promotes acquisition of nonfood objects. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(9), 2688-2692.


Sep 12, 2023

Biscuits ✅

Sep 12, 2023
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