If you’re at crossroads about spending your rent money on the trendiest workout sets from your favorite activewear brand, you shouldn’t!

You shouldn’t have to shell out a ridiculous amount of your hard-earned dough on a set as seen on an Instagram fitness model. But you should be able to shop your favorite activewear without breaking the bank.

I know, it’s hard. But what’s better than being a stylish shopper? Being a stylish and savvy shopper with a happy account balance. I think we can agree that consumer debt isn’t cute, so here are some options to buy your favorite activewear GUILTLESSLY!

Reassess your closet

You can’t make the most out of your budget without first making the most out of your closet.

To shop effectively on a budget, you should avoid purchasing duplicate pieces and items that don’t work with your current closet. There’s nothing more important than having a purpose while shopping- or while doing anything in life really.

Grab a sheet of paper and a pen and itemize all the active clothing you have. Make two piles labeled “Floss” and “Toss”, or whatever labels your heart desires as long as they rhyme!

Something to note, the toss pile doesn’t have to be literal trash, but rather a donation/recycling pile.

Clothes that are over or under-sized, worn-out (to your standards), or out of your taste should go in the Toss pile.

If you have items that have spent more time in your closet than most, don’t throw them in the Toss pile just yet.

The entire point of this exercise is to shop for exactly what you need. And what you need is a basic tee that goes with those leopard print leggings you haven’t worn for over two years!

Shop Thrift Stores

Thrift store shopping is a major winner for sporty-chic style on a budget, but may not be the best for performance wear.

If vintage sporty jackets, track jackets and pants, sneakers, baseball caps, and oversized jumpers are your thing, then thrift shopping is your friend.

However, this option probably won’t appeal to you if you’re eyeing a newly released activewear collection.

While shopping thrift, apply the same rules of inspection that you would if you were donating your used active clothing. Scope each item carefully to avoid purchasing a cart full of defective or worn-out clothing.

The good news is, most thrift stores are good about controlling the quality of their merchandise, but they don’t always have on-trend clothing.

FYI, don’t be discouraged if you don’t find anything on your first shopping trip. It might take a few tries but you’ll eventually find something. Ask the attendants about their regular inventory to avoid multiple trips to a store that never sells any activewear.

Shop Sale

When it comes to shopping sale, it’s a war against time, and you’re likely to lose the battle. Unless you’re awaiting a pre-announced sale or holiday sale, it’ll be difficult to avoid the urge to splurge.

Also, this isn’t your best option for new release items since new stock items stay at full price for a few weeks before going on sale.

Holiday sales to watch out for include: Christmas, New Years, Easter, Mother’s Day, Independence Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Black Friday, etc.

Likewise, you can expect a few brand-specific sales throughout the year such as birthday sales, restock sales, new collection/ collaboration sales, and more. 

Shop Used Online

If you get easily bored with your active closet, this will guarantee you a higher turnover. On online retail platforms, like Poshmark, you can share your own pre-loved active apparel and score some nice gear too.

I love this option because you can get sold out stocks from your favorite activewear brands for a lot less.

Also, check out Mercari and Depop for more pre-loved goodness. The best part is, you can bargain down to a reasonable and comfortable price point.

If you are selling your activewear on these platforms, prep your workout clothes as if you were donating them, and be as transparent as possible about any defects.

Shop Staples Only

If you are shopping on a budget with a long-term perspective, look no farther than versatile closet staples to keep your bank account happy for years to come.

Activewear staples are evergreen styles that withstand the test of time and perhaps our personal taste. Do you still rock your black Lululemon Wunder Under leggings from three years ago? Exactly!

You might want that tie-dye leggings-sports bra set today, but will you want to wear that next year? The fact is, in addition to dealing with the transient nature of fashion, we outgrow our own tastes, and once more we’re back to square one, “I need new clothes!”.

Combat this problem by infusing your closet with timeless pieces that will work for you for a long time.

While you’re shopping, keep your eye on neutral-toned activewear with minimal embellishments and patterns.

Also, stick with timeless styles like solids and color-blocks activewear.

Shop Consignment

This is another option that’s similar to thrift shopping except you’ll find higher quality clothing with less wear and tear. Consignment stores tend to carry more brand-name and luxury items at a less steep price.

Like thrift stores, the activewear offerings at consignment stores are minimal. However, you may find outdoor jackets as well as training shoes from luxury brands.

The same rules for thrift shopping apply to consignment shopping so make sure to scan the pre-loved clothing for defects.

Don’t be shy to ask for a discount on clothes with minimal damage like a broken zipper or a missing button. And for zero dollars, you could fix the defects if you already know how to do basic garment fixes.

Final tip, head over to more affluent neighborhoods as they’re more likely to be stocked with swanky articles. Consignment stores usually have a high turn-over so you’ll be sure to find a steady influx of active clothing.

Shop Dupe Activewear

Shopping dupes is a surefire way to get cheap activewear that’ll work with your budget. However, this is not my preferred option because of the issue of copying creations.

The internet is rife with copies of popular designs from noteworthy activewear brands. Smaller active clothing manufacturers have picked up on this profit potential and are going full steam.

If there’s a new Gymshark collection, trust that those manufacturers are churning out the same design for a fraction of the price.

The truth is, shopping dupes is a very inexpensive alternative, and if you feel that this is your best option then go for it.

Remember that what you gain in pricing, you’ll probably sacrifice in quality compared to the original item. You can shop activewear dupes from your fave brands at mega online stores like Amazon or Alibaba.

Exchange with a friend

Yes, find a friend who’s as crazy about activewear as you are and have your own little swap-meet. Who knows, with three or more of you it could turn into a Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants situation.

This is tricky if you and your friend are a few sizes or inches apart, but don’t let that stop you. Add a drawstring to leggings with a slightly loose fitting waist, or hem a longer but otherwise perfect pair of tights.

Turn a loose tank into a twist-knot top, or go to town on an oversized crewneck jumper with some scissors for a loose cropped look!

Last Tip: make sure to search for coupons before hitting that “Purchase Order” button. To find coupon codes while shopping activewear online, Google “Brand name” plus “discount code” and see what comes up.

I’ve found the most reliable promo codes and sales news on Retailmenot.com, PromoCodeWatch.com, and Coupons.com. It’s free money!

I prefer to do my budget activewear shopping only during sales, but I’m not always patient. Also, Poshmark activewear and athleisure finds do not disappoint!

What tips do you have for buying activewear on a budget? Share your tips with us in the comments below!

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