You and your spouse don't need to spend half a paycheck on clothing each year. Here are a bunch of money-saving ideas. They may be obvious, but odds are, you only do one or a few of them, at most. Try to do them all and you'll get the most bucks for your bang.

  • Care for the clothes you buy properly. If you don't, you'll end up with things like pants shrunk too small to wear or your spiffy red socks bleeding onto your nice new white shirt.
  • When you're ready to get rid of old clothing, donate it to an organization such as the Salvation Army or Goodwill, where you can get an itemized receipt to file with your taxes. A pile of old clothing and shoes (not to mention other household goods) can represent a small windfall in charitable tax deductions.
  • Consider buying some clothes for your kids slightly too large. They'll likely quickly grow into them and will get to wear them a little bit longer than if you'd bought something smaller.
  • Seek out hand-me-down clothing for your younger children from friends, neighbors, and relatives.
  • Convert old T-shirts and pajamas into useful rags by cutting them up. Then you won't have to buy towels and rags.
  • Shop for clothes at the end of the season, when you'll find the best discounts. Parkas will often be cheaper in February than in November. (Of course, you might find some exceptional sale prices during the season as well.)
  • Look for factory outlets, where you can often get extra-low prices on name brands. If you're looking for a Gap outlet, call a Gap store and ask where the outlets are located. If you're after Nike footwear, call and ask about those outlets.

You'll find many more handy tips on our Living Below Your Means discussion board. The board's directory of tips is especially handy. Once you've saved some money, put it to work for you -- learn more in our Savings Center (which features some special interest-rate deals).

One more tip, if you're a fashion devotee, is to put some of your money where your interests lie -- in apparel companies and retailers. Some possible investments to research further: Chico's FAS (NYSE:CHS), Gap (NYSE:GPS), Deb Shops (NASDAQ:DEBS), and American Eagle Outfitters (NASDAQ:AEOS). That way, you might ultimately end up making more on clothing than you spend on it!

Here are some recent articles on these firms:

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