DIY. How to save money on clothes.

When it’s time for the seasons to change, we start putting away last season’s clothes and pulling out clothes for the new season, placing them within easy reach. Before summer actually arrives, I’m already impatiently awaiting the warm weather, long days of sunshine and summer clothes. The promise of autumn finds the same behavior of preparation with pulling out scarves, long sleeve shirts, jackets etc. Now, I know the trends change from year to year, but for the most part the seasonal colors remain the same. The styles are also pretty similar from year to year, e.g. wearing leggings in autumn is very popular. Instead of running out to purchase clothes for the new season, DIY or upcycle the clothes that are already in your closet. Do it yourself.

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One of the times I was doing the change of season routine and going through my clothes, I realized I have stacks of t-shirts left over from college. You know, you went to an event, a rally or sports game and got a free shirt, by the end of the four years you have a large stack of t-shirts with your alma mater’s logo or a club’s logo on them. I thought what should I do with these shirts? Donating them seemed silly, who else would want to wear shirts with my alma mater’s name and logo? Then it hit me … DIY. Do it yourself. I could remodel the shirts so they weren’t boring t-shirts. I started searching online and found great ideas on remodeling the shirts for wear as well as how to turn them into great tote bags. Some required sewing while other styles didn’t, but I wanted to sew.

I bought a little (a really little) sewing machine that would meet my needs and suit my little apartment. I played the how low can you go game (click here for the previous post) and found a bundle at a great price. I spent only $33 including the sewing machine, an electric scissors, thread, pre-threaded bobbins, scissors, measuring tape and shipping (you can see part of the bundle in the first picture). Pretty great deal! It was cute yet sturdy and got the job done. For my shirts, I changed the necks to square and boat neck styles and took in the sides. I also needed shorts for summer so I took out a pair of old jeans, one that was worn thin in the knees, and made a pair of shorts. I got great compliments and didn’t buy jean shorts in the store that cost $15 – 25 a pair. I know I can get a pair of jeans for this price so I wasn’t buying shorts for the same price; this is just how my mind works. My next project will be to take two shirts and make a layered shirt look for fall.


All in all, I spent $33 and saved about $70 on clothes. This is calculated by estimating a shirt could cost about $5 (staying on the low side, since shirts with emblems cost more) and multiplying that times ten shirts and estimating $20 for the jean shorts. I’m going to see how much I can save for fall. I’m already planning on wearing the shorts with leggings in a fall color. The goal is to be creative and see how you can save money. Do it yourself projects are a great way to keep more money in your pocket, especially when you fashion the pocket yourself. Do you have clothes that you can upcycle? How much can you save? How many new outfits can you make?

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About Dr. Maria James

Dr. James, The Money Scientist, has expertise with designing income management, debt management, and wealth strategies to help you live your best life. She is the founder of Pocket of Money, LLC and the creator of The Wealth Protocol™. Dr. James has also been a guest financial expert on ESSENCE, WEAA, Madame Noire and more.

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