Clothing is considered one of those unavoidable expenses. While your closet may not be packed with designer clothing, everyone needs to look presentable. But fortunately, we have a lot of control over just how much we spend on clothes.
Clothing can be a significant budget category, particularly when you have young children and teens who seem to outgrow their clothing at record speed. Many parents are looking for creative ways to spend less on clothing to keep those costs under control.
While there are some great clothing lines offered at retailers for very reasonable prices, you don’t need to be limited to these options if you want a bargain. Clothing is actually one of those items that you can get for free. So, here we’ll explore how to get free clothing for you and your entire family.
The tips and ideas that are covered in this article are broken into a few different categories. First, we’ll look at some options for those who are in financial need and not able to afford clothing. Next, we’ll look at some options that can work for anyone (perfect for those who are frugal). Lastly, we’ll cover a few ways to get deeply-discounted clothes.
If You’re in Need or Can’t Afford Clothing:
If you are in immediate need or can’t afford any new clothing, there are several options to help you.
1. Local Churches
Many churches have clothing programs to help those in need within the local community. These clothing banks may have set days or hours, but you can usually find details in local newspapers and bulletin boards. Another option would be to call churches in your area and see if they have a program for free clothes.
2. Local Shelters and Non-Profit Organizations
Another avenue for free clothing for those in need is local shelters and non-profit organizations. Again, these programs may have particular hours or days, but they tend to offer clean clothing in good condition for people of any age. Check with a local shelter or rescue mission.
3. Dress for Success
Dress for Success is an international organization that helps women with clothing for interviews. Trying to improve your financial situation can often be challenging if you don’t have the clothing to feel confident in an interview. This not-for-profit organization aims to combat this with facilities in more than 150 cities through 25 countries and has helped over a million women work towards achieving self-sufficiency.
4. Jails to Jobs
Jails to Jobs is another resource that can provide access to interview clothing or other items of clothing to help those in need. Whether you need work attire or warm clothing for the winter, Jails to Jobs provides a comprehensive list of the programs available throughout the U.S.
5. One Warm Coat
One Warm Coat is an agency that aims to provide coats for those in need. The organization does not directly distribute coats. Instead, One Warm Coat helps groups and organizations run successful coat drives in their local area. If you’re in need of a coat, you can check the locator on One Warm Coat’s website to find one of their partner agencies in your area.
Free Clothing for Everyone
Even if you’re not struggling financially, there are still ways to gain access to free clothing and grab yourself a bargain.
6. Buy Second Hand and Resell
Another great way to get free clothes is to buy second hand, and then resell them when you’re finished. This can be particularly useful if you have children who seem to grow like weeds or if you have a special occasion. There have been many brides who have bought second-hand wedding dresses and then sold them after the big day to reduce their wedding costs.
This can be a little hit and miss as you may end up buying a bag or box of mixed clothing, and some of it may not be in great condition. However, you’re likely to pay very little, and you may completely recoup your costs (or even turn a profit in some cases), by reselling a few of the higher quality items when you’re finished wearing them.
→ Related reading: How to Make Money by Selling Your Stuff
There are websites that feature a “free” section that can allow you to gain access to free clothes. Many people are giving away clothing, including kid’s clothes, to declutter their homes. In these scenarios, the “seller” may not have the time or inclination to list and sell their items.
Craiglist is the most widely known website offering a free section, and you may find listings of people giving away bags of clothing. Don’t assume that the items are not worth wearing, as you may find there are some real gems.
Many people give away nice clothing that may not have even been worn. For many people, it is easier to put all of their unwanted items in a box and label it as free.
You can also use these websites to find free items in good condition that you can sell online. You can then use the money you earn to buy new clothes at no cost to you.
You can list your unwanted clothing with Rehash and swap them for something else. During the listing, you can provide specifics for the items you want to trade for, or you can select “anything” and see the offers that come in.
There are no joining fees for Rehash, or fees to list your items, but you will need to calculate shipping costs with the other swappers.
9. Clothing Swaps
Clothing swapping is becoming increasingly popular, and you can find clothing swap sites or Facebook groups. If there isn’t a clothing swap in your area, you could even host your own by listing the items you no longer want and encourage people to offer items as a trade.
This can be a great idea for anyone, but particularly parents with children of a similar age. You can swap clothing with family members, friends, or anyone in your area.
The Freecycle Network is a global network with over 9 million members. This non-profit, grassroots movement allows people to give and get stuff for free in your town or neighborhood. Local groups are moderated by volunteers, and membership is free, with the ethos of reusing items and keeping good stuff out of any landfills.
You can search for your community on the platform or browse the groups to find items within your reach.
11. Rebate Key
Rebate Key provides direct access to exclusive rebates from manufacturer brands and products. This means that when you purchase an item, you will receive a check after a 35 day wait. When you purchase an item, you need to report your order number with your Rebate Key, and once the seller has verified your order, the rebate will be approved and credited to your account. Rebate Key holds the funds for 35 days in case of problems, and after this time, a check is sent out.
In simple terms, you just need to find great offers, buy the item and report your purchase in an hour or less, and you’ll receive a rebate. Some of the offers at Rebate Key wind up being completely free after a 100% rebate. Others may not be free, but will be deeply discounted after the rebate.
A high percentage of the offers on Rebate Key are from Amazon sellers, so if you have a Prime membership, you can get free clothing and free shipping.
Listia is a little like eBay except that you can enjoy free items. Essentially, Listia is an online auction service where you can give away items you no longer need for “free.” Listia members then bid on the items using credits unique to the Listia site. This means that you can “sell” practically any unwanted item and use your credits to bid on clothing that you will get for free. Listia credits cannot be redeemed for cash, but you can search for great clothing items and get them for free.
However, there are some potential costs that you need to be aware of before you start using the platform. Listia charges $1 to verify your PayPal, and if you set a minimum bid, you will also be charged.
Additionally, you need to decide the shipping options, so you need to be fully aware of the potential costs before you list any item or purchase anything.
13. Try Spree
Try Spree is a platform that has established a network with partner companies. This means that you don’t need to enter all of your information if you see an offer that appeals to you. The free clothing is one of the most popular sections on the platform. You can opt to receive free samples of items, including shoes, t-shirts, socks, and hats.
The Try Spree community post new clothing freebies to the page daily, so you can check back if you don’t see something that you want. Additionally, if you come across any free clothing offers yourself, you can post it on the platform, so other Try Spree users can also try it.
Many of these freebies are from companies that are looking for genuine reviews and opinions. You will receive a free item and then be required to answer a questionnaire or fill in a survey. Some companies have specific requirements for product testers, while others are more flexible.
14. Guide 2 Free
Guide 2 Free is a platform that posts genuine sample offers that are updated daily. The company searches the internet for the best free sample offers and posts them on the site. You can get free clothing, shoes, accessories and more. Like Try Spree, you will need to fill in some details and provide a review or answer a questionnaire after you’ve tried the product.
For example, currently, Guide 2 Free is promoting becoming a product tester for New Balance. The New Balance Tester Community is an elite group dedicated to helping improve New Balance products. If you’re chosen to become a member, New Balance will send you free shoes and apparel to your door. You will then try out the products before you let them know your thoughts by filling out a questionnaire.
You can also sign up for the Guide 2 Free email list, so you’ll be alerted to the latest offers and deals.
15. Start a Fashion Blog
Blogging can be a lucrative side gig, but it can also provide access to free clothing. If you develop a fashion blog, some companies may offer free clothing or accessories in exchange for the coverage they can receive on your blog. Typically, companies consider blogs with high search engine rankings and visitor numbers more favorably, but even if you’re just getting started, it can be worth putting out some inquiries. If you’d like to get free clothing by having your own blog, see How to Start a Blog for a step-by-step guide.
16. Start a YouTube Channel
Just like a blog, developing a successful YouTube channel can be a great way to get access to free clothing. You’re likely to have seen videos where the person thanks a company for sponsorship, and usually, this is because they have received a free item to review. The company sends you the free item in exchange for you promoting it to your subscribers. You can also use your YouTube channel figures to boost your profile if you apply to become a product tester. Depending on the popularity of your channel, you may be able to get paid for sponsorships in addition to the free items.
→ Related reading: How I Make a Full-Time Income on YouTube at 24
17. Referral Programs
Another way to enjoy free clothes is by shopping at online clothing stores. Many of these stores offer super discounts, and you can even earn cash for more free clothes by referring friends. Here are just some of the online clothing websites that pay in cash or store credits when you shop online or refer friends.
Thred Up: Thred Up is a little different, but it can allow you to refresh your wardrobe with new clothing for free. You will need to clear out your closet of any high-quality clothing that you no longer want. These are sent to ThredUp, who will assess it on receipt and give you a ThredUp credit for free clothes.
You can also boost your ThredUp balance by referring friends and family. You will receive up to $10 for each referral.
When shopping at ThredUp, you’ll only find clothing in excellent condition, so you can feel confident that you get great quality clothing at attractive prices, particularly if you’re using your store credits.
Swap.com: Swap.com is an online community of thifters to help you find quality, affordable, second-hand clothing for your whole family. The Swap.com team hand inspects items to ensure that they are high enough quality for second-hand use. Even items that are fair condition are reported very postively by customer reviews. This allows you to find up to 90 percent off the retail price of your favorite clothing brands.
Swap.com also provides hassle-free returns. The platform provides free shipping within 30 days if you don’t like the item, or it doesn’t fit for full cash or credit back. Additionally, there is free shipping on any order over $60.
The Swap.com referral plan is also very attractive. You will enjoy $10 for every friend you refer, and your friends will get free shipping and 20 percent off a future purchase.
Zulily: Zulily is a great place to find home decor, children’s items, and fashion at very attractive prices. In fact, some of the items are unique, and you’ll not find them elsewhere. Zulily aims to offer the best possible deals on any item, and the company even has a price promise that if you find the same item at Walmart or Amazon, Zulily will match or beat the price.
The Zulily referral program is also very attractive. You’ll receive $15 when your friend’s order ships, so if you have several fashion-conscious friends, you can quickly rack up enough credit to refresh your wardrobe for free.
MeUndies: MeUndies has a mission to make the best underwear with a softer than soft feel. The underwear is made using sustainably sourced naturally soft fibers to create a dreamy product.
MeUndies also has an impressive referral program. Your friends will enjoy 20 percent off their first order, and you’ll get a $20 store credit. So, if you refer lots of family members and friends, you could find that you never have to pay for great underwear again.
Homage: If you prefer a more retro wardrobe, Homage could be the perfect place for you to shop. Homage has a clothing range that pays homage to personalities in music, sports, and pop culture to allow you to have a sense of individualism and an old school look in your closet.
The Homage referral program is also very fair. Each friend you refer will receive a $20 credit, and you’ll also get a $20 credit, so both of you can enjoy some free clothing.
Bonus: Swagbucks ($5 signup bonus)
Swagbucks is probably the simplest way to earn points to buy your new clothing. In fact, Swagbucks has paid out more than $250 million to its members, with over 7,000 gift cards given out every day.
There are several ways to start accumulating points with Swagbucks. You can earn points by watching videos, playing games, and completing surveys. However, you can also earn points shopping and by searching the internet. Swagbucks also pays points for referrals, so you’ll receive a bonus when your friends sign up.
When you accumulate points, you can redeem them for gift cards at your favorite stores, including Target, Walmart, Sephora, and Amazon. You can even earn an eBay gift card, so you can get more great clothing by buying used. You can also use your points for a PayPal gift card or cash, so you can shop at whatever clothing stores you prefer.
Swagbucks even offer a $5 sign up bonus, so you can start earning points for your free clothes immediately.
While these are not options for free clothing, it is important not to overlook these lower-cost clothing options. Lower cost doesn’t mean that you need to stick to budget brands, as there are some ways to get high-quality clothing for less.
When you start clothes shopping, be sure to check for the clearance rack. You may find some super discounts that allow you to save a lot of money on your clothing. This can be particularly helpful if you are not the average size, as the popular sizes tend to be sold at regular price, leaving the rest to be reduced to clear the stock. However, don’t be put off looking through the clearance racks as you may be surprised at the bargains you can find.
Buy Out of Season
Another tip that can save lots of money on the clothing for your family is buying out of season. When you go shopping in late summer, you’ll see swimsuits and other summer clothing heavily discounted and likewise in late winter for your heavier items.
Buying out of season allows you to get clearance prices on the items that you will wear during the rest of the year. Since you won’t be able to wear these items straight away, it is a good idea to try the items on, inspect them, and wash them before you put them away. This way, if there is a fault, you can still return them before the end of the exchange period. Then you can pack the clothing away until next season when they are more weather appropriate.
Buying out of season can be useful even if you’re looking for clothing for your whole family. Just be sure to buy a size or two larger for children, so they can grow into the item.
Finally, don’t overlook your neighborhood garage sales for some great clothing deals. You may have neighbors who dress their children in high-quality or designer clothing that they will no longer need. This is a great way to get nice clothes for a great price.
People upgrade their wardrobe for a number of reasons throughout the year, and a garage sale is a quick and easy way to make a little cash. So, next time you see a sign for a garage sale in your area, it may be worth a quick look.
While according to U.S Consumer Expenditure data, Americans spend an average of $1,833 per year on new clothing, many of us can’t or won’t spend this type of money. Whether you need new clothes to impress at a job interview, want to ensure your kids look presentable, or simply prefer a more frugal lifestyle, there are lots of ways to get free clothes or great bargains.
If you don’t want to break the bank when it’s time for clothes shopping, you will need to be prepared to invest a little time, but it could score you some great free clothing, so it is well worth a try.