Value for Money

This is a guest post by Robert, who lives in Calgary and worked as a financial adviser before retiring at age 35. He is married, has three kids and has returned to school with the goal of eventually living and working overseas.

This past week, my wife was overcome with the urge to change her wardrobe. I’m not complaining, because this is an urge that only strikes a couple times decade. It’s time to update her style, so the question becomes: where does she shop?

One choice would be WalMart. WalMart has a large variety of clothes at really cheap prices. The clothes are cheap not just in price, but also in quality. You really do get what you pay for, and in this case, you get clothes that are thin, made with low quality materials and can’t be expected to last a long time. This would be a really good choice for someone who wants to change their wardrobe frequently, because the quality and price make the clothes essentially disposable.

Another choice would be Holt Renfrew. Holt Renfrew also has a wide variety of clothing, but the prices are very high. Part of the reason is that the clothing is high quality. It’s made with good materials and craftsmanship. The other part of the reason is the designer label that’s attached to the clothing. For some people, that’s really important and they are willing to pay for it. In any case, the clothing is high quality and can be expected to last for a long time.

There are a number of stores that fit right in between. I’m going to name Reitmans, but only because I own shares. 🙂 I’m sure you can think of a store where the clothing is reasonable quality, reasonably prices and reasonably stylish. The items will likely last as long as high end couture, but the prices are lower. If we compare these three types of clothing stores, we can judge fairly easily which offers the best value for money, although some of that judgement will depend on what you value.

Then we come to my personal favourites. I like to shop the clearance racks in nice stores. I don’t mind wearing last season’s styles, as long as I can get good quality items at good prices. I also don’t mind shopping for second-hand clothing, especially in consignment stores. My wife, however, is even smarter. She shopped the clearance rack at a high-end consignment store and bought 12 nice items for $150. If we have to go shopping for clothes, that’s a great way to do it.

How do you shop for clothes? How do you ensure you get value for money when shopping for other necessities?

9 thoughts on “Value for Money”

  1. 12 items for $150! Great deal 🙂 I find you get the best deals at places that sell many brands under one roof/website. So the high-end consignment store, eBay, a thrift store, Amazon, Winners, Kijiji, Walmart (of course Walmart isn’t great for quality!). On eBay or Amazon I sort all searches by lowest price. Sometimes the deals you can get from clearance at brick and mortar stores can’t beat even eBay’s prices though.

  2. I’m a bit picky with my clothes and my budget so I shop the reduced rack as well and don’t mind last years styles. My wife is similar but it depends on what she is looking for. If I can find what I’m looking for at a good price I’ll grab it, maybe even two. I hate to spend money twice if I don’t have to. I’d rather have quality clothes that last. I could care less about labels though. I also like to find pieces I can mix and match. I’ve found some amazing high quality clothes at Value Village even with tags still on them. Mainly, I’m a t-shit and jeans guy but I do like my style. One of my mates had a laugh at my scarf, asked why I was wearing one (he judged me) and I thought, it’s style mate.. it has nothing to do with…. well I just ended it there.

  3. I personally hate shopping for clothes (yes I am an adult and yes I am still wearing my older brother’s cast offs.) When I can’t avoid buying (mostly) new clothes I’ll hit Value Village or Goodwill. If I need something fancier (for a wedding or such) I go tho the local consignment shop where I am more likely to find the appropriate level of dress.

  4. I have a longer than average inseam, and have to wear dress pants at work. I have yet to find anything long enough second hand. There are one or two places that have dress pants long enough that also have a week long factory sale once a year, so I get 2-3 pairs (the one’s I bought the previous year are usually just about worn out by then as well).
    Intimates I always buy new, but never full price.
    Tops, coats, and special occasion clothes, I either scour the clearance racks or buy second-hand.

  5. I don’t own any clothing nice enough to wear to shop at Holt Renfrew.

    I used to shop at Value Village but I have a great fear of bed bugs and the cost of eliminating bed bugs so I no longer shop at second hand stores.

    I have heard that it can cost 5k to rid your home of bed bugs.

  6. I like to shop at Winners.. prices and selection are usually pretty good. I prefer to buy fewer pieces and choose something that will last 5-10 years.

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