Swimsuit shopping can be a nightmare. Although there are some people who love it, many understand the pain of finding a swimsuit that looks good, fits perfectly and is still affordable. Luckily, there are some tricks and tips you can use to find a suit that satisfies all three.
From swimwear coupons to swimsuit sales, you can avoid blowing your summer budget by using the following savings strategies the next time you embark on a search for that perfect bikini.
1. Opt for Just a New Pair of Bottoms
Opting for just a new pair of bottoms can help you save money while finding the best swimsuit for your body. This strategy is especially helpful if part of your suit is still in good shape and you only need to replace a top or bottom, said Kendal Perez, a savings expert with CouponSherpa.com.
“For example, after the bottoms of a favorite yellow-and-white-striped bikini got ruined in a river, I found an orange Ralph Lauren bikini on sale at T.J.Maxx for $20," she said. "I didn't like the top, but I loved how the bottoms fit."
You might also have a little more luck snagging good clearance deals on single pieces that fit your body and budget.
2. Or Just Buy a New Top
Do you already own a decent swimsuit bottom? If you’re a woman who gets bored with re-wearing the same bathing suit again and again, simply changing out the top could save you a bit of money.
Be sure to check the clearance racks for swimsuit separates for the best possible deals. What you don’t want to do is buy a swimsuit set that costs more, when it’s the top that you’re really after.
3. Go With Store Brands
If you’re looking for cheap swimsuits, you’re going to have a hard time finding them from designer brands. You can, however, find the hottest trends with similar looks from stores like Target, ASOS, Old Navy and Forever 21 for a fraction of the cost, said savings expert Andrea Woroch.
"For example, Target's Xhilaration brand has a collection of bikinis for $20 very similar to those produced by Triangl, the high-end designer of bold swimsuits for [about] $89,” she said.
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4. Find Extra Savings With Coupons
Before you head out to the mall, search the best coupon sites for possible deals on swimsuits. CouponSherpa.com, Coupons.com and RetailMeNot.com are great places to start for online coupons and coupon codes, as well as printable and mobile coupons. Many of these types of coupon sites have discounts you can use at already-affordable retailers such as Macy’s, JCPenney and more.
“You can find deals such as 20 percent off swimwear at Kohl's, 20 percent off at Swimsuits Direct and an additional 25 percent off at SwimSpot," said Woroch. "You can also find a Target coupon to save $5 off your $50 purchase, or use the store’s Target Cartwheel app to find additional in-store savings.”
Combine your coupons with online and in-store swimsuit sales — if you can — and you'll end up saving a ton.
5. Only Shop Swimsuit Sales
If you’ve been disciplined enough to hold off on purchasing a new swimsuit, you’re in luck. Expect big sales on summer essentials, like swimwear, toward the end of summer as retailers work to push out summer styles to make room for fall fashion.
6. Compare Prices
Being a savvy shopper means doing a little homework before you buy — and this definitely applies to bathing suits, said Woroch.
“For brands like La Blanca, Roxy, Quicksilver or Jessica Simpson that are sold across department stores and multiple retailers, make sure to compare prices using the ShopSavvy app, and ask the sales associate to price match,” she said.
7. Head to the Outlets
If you want to buy a particular bathing suit from a high-end retailer or designer, scope out an outlet store for possible savings. You could save 40 percent to 70 percent off the regular retail price, said Woroch.
Although you’re already snagging a great deal on a bathing suit, “you can usually stack additional discounts by using coupons or applying holiday sales on top of the already reduced merchandise,” she added.
For brand-name swimsuits, Woroch recommended visiting stores like BCBG Factory Store, Saks OFF 5TH and Neiman Marcus Last Call.
8. Shop at T.J.Maxx, Ross and Marshalls
Stores like T.J.Maxx, Ross and Marshalls can offer top name brands for a fraction of the price and can be your saving grace when looking for cheap swimsuits, said Woroch.
“For example, T.J.Maxx features one-piece suits for as little as $25 [or lower], including trendy cut-out styles, while bikinis and tankinis are available for less than $15,” she said.
9. Take Care of Your Suit
The best way to stretch your money when it comes to swimsuits is to maximize the longevity of the ones you already own. The better the condition, the longer they last — and the fewer you’ll have to buy.
“Chlorine and swimsuit fabric don't mix well," said Woroch. "And without proper care, your suit is bound to become worn out and tarnished."
There are certain precautions you can take to extend the life of your swimwear. Soak your bathing suits in cold water after each use, remove as much chlorine as possible and avoid using a dryer that will ruin the elasticity, said Woroch. By following these simple tips, you can hold onto your swimsuits longer and save money.
10. Take Advantage of Discontinued Brands
This summer, take advantage of Victoria's Secret's discontinued line of swimwear and Sports Authority's liquidation sale.
Victoria's Secret is offering up to 60 percent off over 300 swimwear styles, and Sports Authority is offering 30 percent to 50 percent off everything — and you'll likely find deals on swimwear for both men and women.
11. Browse Big-Box Stores
If cheap swimsuits are what you’re after, look no further than Target, Old Navy, Walmart and other low-cost, big-box retailers. Many of these stores offer several swimwear styles for less, said Perez.
“Plus, many of these stores sell designs based on the latest swimwear trends and patterns, so you can often find something that looks high-end but costs very little," she added.
12. Order Online
Shopping for swimsuits can be a battle in itself. But if you’re one of the many women who strongly dislikes dressing rooms and their fluorescent lighting, ordering online is a great alternative. Just make sure you shop on sites that offer free shipping and returns, said Perez.
"Plus, shopping online offers more selection and can help you find what you want when you have something specific in mind, like a basic black one-piece,” she said.
13. Shop Labor Day Sales
If you missed out on this year's Fourth of July deals, don't fret — Labor Day will also be full of deals. You can expect the Labor Day sales to continue throughout summer, said Perez. And during these sales, expect to find clearance prices on swimwear.
“If you can overcome the impulse to buy suits the moment they hit the shelves, you can save 40 percent to 60 percent in some cases," she said. "Like clothing, you can often find coupons for additional discounts during holiday weekends, including online.”
14. Buy More Than One Swimsuit
Finding bathing suits that you love doesn't come easy. So when you do, why not buy more than one — especially if the price is right? When you shop swimsuit sales, you might just find the price to be too good to pass up.
15. Shop Beach Sidewalk Sales
Do you have an upcoming trip to the beach in the works? Go ahead and peruse the sidewalk shops for possible steals, recommended Linda Condrillo, a savings expert and owner of the website FrugalLinda.com. You’ll typically find great sidewalk sales starting the end of July, she said.
“I scored big time at California Beach Hut's sidewalk sale — in Denville, N.J. — where the savings were too good to pass up," said Condrillo. "I got a Luxe suit — originally priced at $122 — for just $10.”
16. Look at Your Inventory
Whether you’re an avid swimmer or just a summer sunbather, Condrillo recommended taking a look at what bathing suits you already own. If you have the right number of pieces that still fit, only buy a new swimsuit when you find a real bargain, she said. This can save you from doubling up on pieces or styles you might not truly need, freeing you from spending unnecessarily.
17. Swap Swimsuits With Friends
Have you ever shopped your girl friends' closets? If so, chances are you and your friends have swimsuits with the tags still attached. Or, you might have a few you wore only once that might just be the right fit for one of your friends. Set up a Facebook event with your friends to organize a fun exchange — you might luck out and get an expensive suit for free.
18. Sell Your Old Bathing Suits
If you have bathing suits tucked away in your drawers that are still in style, try reselling them online or at your local consignment or resale shop. Or, try selling them online. Even if you only get half of what you paid, that’s still better than holding onto a bathing suit you’ll never wear. Plus, you can use the money you made to buy a brand-new bikini, one-piece or swim trunks.
19. Don’t Overlook Boutiques
Boutiques can be pricier when it comes to merchandise, but it can also be the opposite when it comes to swimsuits. For instance, if the shop doesn’t necessarily specialize in bathing suits, it might be more eager to clear them out to make room for new merchandise and will offer attractive swimsuit sales. You also might have better luck finding higher-quality or name-brand suits from these places.
20. Browse Websites Like eBay
Don’t pass up resale websites when in the market for cheap swimsuits. “You can buy swimwear for less when you shop on sites like eBay, or even online consignment stores like thredUp.com and RecycleYourFashions.com,” said Perez.
Before you buy, Perez recommends reviewing the return policy of the seller in case the bathing suit doesn’t work out. And before you make your bid, you should research the original price by doing a simple Google search so you don’t overpay in the bidding process.
21. Explore Thrift Stores
If you’re not squeamish about purchasing gently-used items, you might find cheap swimsuits at thrift stores. Or better yet, you might find swimsuits and swim trunks for men with tags still attached. This route might not be for everyone, but it’s worth considering if you're in the market for a good deal.
“Whatever you decide, always inspect the suit thoroughly before buying,” said Perez.
22. Buy Black Bikinis
If you really want to save money on women’s swimwear, Woroch recommended buying black.
“Black bikinis are a good investment since you can typically match any color or pattern with this basic hue," she explained. "When you want a new suit, simply buy a new top or bottom in a different color or pattern. This cuts down on your personal cost, especially if you look for tops and bottoms when they're on sale."
23. Use Athletic Tops and Shorts
“Swimwear is typically composed of nylon and spandex, so athletic bras and tops composed of the same materials can double as swimwear,” said Perez. “This option opens up your ability to bargain shop since you can pick up sportswear on clearance during sale time, or from discount or big-box retailers for less than $10.”
Likewise, some running shorts that are lightweight and fast-drying can also double as swimwear bottoms for both men and women. “Just make sure the material won't be ruined by exposure to chlorine,” warned Perez.
24. Buy Timeless Pieces
Just like clothing pieces, you should think about purchasing swimsuits that will last beyond this summer’s trends. Fortunately for men, there seem to be fewer changes when it comes to style. Women's trends, on the other hand, can vary from year to year. So when you shop, skip bold prints or cut-outs — buy classic swimsuits with solid colors and simple designs.
25. Consider Your Body Type
Buying a bathing suit that fits the body you wish you had is a waste a money. Instead, buy what flatters your body now.
Perez recommended trying on several different styles until you find one that works best. Most department stores sell bikinis separately, so you can try on different sizes of tops and bottoms to find the best combination.
“In general, women with large busts will probably like suits with supportive straps," said Perez. "Women who want tummy control will likely prefer tankinis or one-piece suits with ruching for a flattering and functional style."
26. Save Receipts
If you want to cash in on swimsuit sales, you’ll want to hold onto receipts. This way, you can return the suit if it doesn’t work out or if you qualify for a price adjustment.
“After you buy your swimsuits, you can track your purchases using the TrackIf tool in case the swimsuit you purchased goes on sale shortly afterward, as you may be entitled to an adjustment,” said Perez.
27. Don’t Remove Tags and Lining
In addition to saving your receipts, also remember that swimwear return policies are typically a little more restrictive. You’ll usually need tags and lining still in place. So before you yank the tags and pull away the hygiene strip, be sure you’re keeping the swimsuit. Otherwise, kiss your refund goodbye.
28. Consider Opening a Store Card for Discounts
If you’ve been holding off on opening a store credit card, you might want to take advantage of the extra savings while purchasing a bathing suit. Or, find a retail credit card that at least gives you rewards that you can use toward a future bathing suit purchase.
For example, the TJX Rewards Credit Card gives you 10 percent off your first online purchase. And with the Gap Credit Card, you can save 15 percent on your first purchase and earn rewards points that you can redeem later.
29. Buy for Performance, Not Fashion
Sometimes, you have to spend more to save more.
If you’re a regular swimmer, purchase a swimsuit for performance instead of style. Performance or athletic swimsuits are typically built to last and could save you money on swimsuits in the future. Lands’ End sells the AquaSport collection, and Speedo offers its Endurance Lite line.
30. Negotiate Swimsuit Deals
Did you find a small snag or a little pen mark on a swimsuit you like? If so, tell someone who works at the store — you might be able to get a discount of 5 percent to 10 percent at the register.
If the store employee is unsure, feel free to ask a manager. Just don't be afraid to ask, especially if the swimsuit is the last one they have in stock.
31. Keep an Oldie If It’s Still a Goodie
Do you have a bathing suit that you love but its age shows? Instead of buying a new one, keep the swimsuit and save your money. You can wear the worn-out suit when swimming in your backyard or when you just don’t care about putting on a fashion show. That way, you aren’t overusing and wearing out a brand new swimsuit.
Also be sure to truly ask yourself: Is a new swimsuit a want or a necessity? This just might stop you from falling prey to impulse buys.
32. Scan Clearance Racks
When you walk into department stores — Target and the like — always scan the clearance clothing racks. You might find some great swimsuits at special pricing.
34. Opt for a Stylish Cover-Up
Maybe you're one to never take a dip in the pool or strut your stuff while in a swimsuit. If that's the case, save yourself from buying yet another bathing suit that only your eyes will see, and purchase a fashionable cover-up instead.
Some popular styles right now include embellished kaftan dresses and tunics. You can find more fashionable deals at H&M, Target, T.J.Maxx and more.
35. Try an Easy DIY Swimsuit Project
If you excel in arts and crafts, scan Pinterest for great DIY swimsuit ideas. For instance, you can make a one-piece bathing suit from a two-piece swim set by adding lace to the middle. Other DIY bathing suit ideas include adding contrasting straps to strapless swimsuits, gluing on embellishments and using scissors to make cut-out one-pieces.