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Clothes shopping on a budget

A person's hands rifling through a selection of clothing

Hollywood tells us that shopping for clothes should always be a montage involving two best friends and an unlimited budget, but the realities of trying to clothe yourself on a tight budget don’t always feel so fun.

Shopping on a budget doesn't always mean sacrificing style, but it helps to know what your options are (and where they are in relation to campus). Here are a few tips that we've put together:

  • Check online to see if there’s a sale on. Websites like often have advanced warning of large sales like the one at Next, where huge reductions are given across the store.
  • Plan out what you need before you get to the shops. This will help you stay focused and avoid impulse purchases.
  • Shop at discount stores. There are many great discount stores that offer high-quality clothes at a fraction of the price of department stores.
  • If there’s a particular shop/brand you like, check their website and on eBay to see if they have an outlet. The Next website clearance section and the Superdry eBay outlet, for example, continuously offers big discounts on items even when there’s no sale on in the main stores. Even if they don’t have an official outlet, other eBay stores might still get their items to clearance.
  • Swap clothes with friends. If you have friends with similar styles, consider swapping clothes with them. This is a great way to get new clothes without spending any money.

Using charity shops can be a great way to get hold of good-quality clothes at a discount. There are lots in Plymouth city centre, but there are also some closer to campus.

Close to campus:

  • Barnado’s Donation Centre next to Domino’s Pizza in Woolwell
  • Barnado’s shop next to Tesco Roborough
  • St Luke’s charity shop in the precinct below Asda in Estover

St Luke’s charity shop in the Transit Way Tesco precinct

Mutley Plain

There are less charity shops on Mutley Plain than there were pre-Covid, but the Shekinah charity shop near The Hyde Park has an Instagram account that shows off some of their favourite items, and the outfits you could put together if you bought them.

City centre

For clothes, the Barnado’s in the Armada Way shopping centre has one of the wider selections, although some of the items can be more expensive than your usual charity shop price. There is also a large St Luke’s and a PDSA adjacent to each other on Cornwall Street, just outside Drake Circus.

St Luke’s Hospice

You’ll find St Luke’s Hospice charity shops are located across the city. In their larger stores they also offer used furniture, which might be helpful if you decide to live off-campus. They are also connected to B.Kinda, and online service offering pre-loved women’s clothing through a “blind box” system. You can find their website here:

More clothing shopping tips

Here are some additional tips that might help you save money on your clothing shop:

  • Buy classic pieces that you can wear for many years. This will save you money in the long run, as you won't have to replace your clothes as often.
  • Take care of your clothes. Read the label to find out what kind of washing machine cycle they need, and store them carefully when you’re not wearing them. By doing this your clothes will live longer and need replacing less often.
  • Get creative with accessories. Accessories can add a lot of personality to an outfit, and they don't have to be expensive.
  • Shop with a friend. Having a friend with you can help you stay on budget and make better decisions.