When I first decided to start getting out of debt, one of the things that I had to seriously consider eliminating was my clothing budget. I really didn’t want to at first. I was fresh out of University, and my wardrobe was looking pretty pathetic as it was. I really wanted to spend a lot of cash on buying new, grown up clothes to suit my new, grown up personality.
Unfortunately, the first time I calculated my payment on my $27,000 in student loan debt, I knew that my dreams of having a beautiful wardrobe were probably going to be crushed before they were ever achieved. I just didn’t have enough cash to pay my rent, my car payments, and my student loans, while still investing in a gorgeous wardrobe.
So, I resolved to do something about my debt, and as I started to slash all of my discretionary spending, clothing turned out to be one of the things that was eliminated as well.
Now, almost 17 months later, my student loans are paid off. Part of this was my strictly controlled clothing spending. I tried out a few tactics, but eventually I was able to settle on a way to keep adding slowly to my wardrobe, while paying off a huge chunk of my overall $38,000 in debt. Here are a few ways to set a clothing budget.
I started out setting my clothing budget as a percentage of my income. Initially, it was 3% of my net income. I loved that budget. It allowed me to buy at least a shirt or an accessory every week. I stayed that way for a few months, and enjoyed it immensely.
I didn’t feel bad about spending the money, since it was a predefined amount in my budget, and it encouraged me to work hard at generating extra income, since the more I made on the side, the more I’d be able to spend on clothes.
Eventually, I’d updated all of the really worn out or out of style pieces of my wardrobe, and I didn’t need to buy quite so much. Instead, I switched to an as needed method of paying for my clothing. I eliminated it as a line item in my budget, and instead just spent money on stuff whenever I needed to replace a shirt, or buy some new jeans.
All of the money that I was spending on clothing, got funnelled into my debt. This wasn’t the best idea, since I was almost always tempted to spend the cash on my debt instead of clothing, to the point where I was avoiding replacing stuff so that I could pay just a little bit more cash towards my student loans.
These days, I allow myself about $50 per week in personal spending. This covers my hair cuts, books, make up, running gear, and clothing. It doesn’t cover my grocery spending or entertainment budget since my fiance and I budget for that together, but it does cover everything that I would buy for myself. I settled on having this personal spending budget because I was otherwise depriving myself. Of all the different ways I’ve tried to budget for clothing purchases, this is by far the way that works best for me.
If I want to buy a shirt or dress, I can, but I have to hold back on spending money on other things. I know that I need to have this money available in order to lead a healthy and balanced life, so I don’t worry or have guilt about wasting it.
Keeping clothing purchases to a manageable level can be difficult. For a 23 year old like me, resisting the urge to shop is tough! By keeping everything in moderation, I’m able to still have a decent wardrobe (though I have to admit, it’s not the MOST stylish one in the world) while still kicking butt at paying off my debt.
How do you spend money on clothing? Do you just buy it when you need it?
Or do you have a strict or loose budget? What is your clothing budget?
Today’s post is from my awesome staff writer Jordann. Enjoy!
Like lots of people, I love clothing. I’m not a clothes horse per say, after all, I tend to have a minimalist wardrobe, but I definitely appreciate a piece of well crafted clothing that fits properly, is well made, and priced right.
I’m pretty careful about what I buy these days. Back when I was a starving student I would only buy the cheapest clothing. I didn’t have a lot of money to spend and I just couldn’t justify dropping a huge portion of my piddly clothing budget on a single expensive piece of clothing with a credit card. The downside of this strategy was that my clothes didn’t last long before they shrunk, got holes, or were otherwise compromised.
Since I didn’t have much money to spend on clothing, I was usually very sad when something I bought only before fell apart, even if it WAS only $5.
Then, after I graduated from university and got my first real job, I found the wonderful world of brand name clothing. I did a complete 180 on my clothing philosophy. I still wasn’t buying much for clothing, since I had a ton of debt to pay down, but now I was only buying expensive clothes that I thought were much higher quality and much more suited to a recent graduate. Of course, once I fully grasped the magnitude of how much debt I was in, that spending habit stopped.
So, is buying expensive clothing worth it? I’ve had the chance to buy both bottom of the barrel clothing and reasonably high quality clothing, and the two are very different.
The verdict? Sometimes.
Not the definitive answer you were looking for right? Unfortunately, that’s the truth. Sometimes it’s worth it to spend the extra money on well made clothing, and sometimes it’s just not. Here are my top instances where buying expensive clothing is worth it, and when it’s not:
I’m running a half marathon this Spring. To prepare for this, I’ve been running a lot. In fact, some of my runs are over two hours in duration. For these situations, I need high quality performance gear. I’ve run in the expensive lululemon gear and the cheaper alternatives, and the expensive gear performs better every time. While this might not make a huge difference for the weekend runner, for me it’s the difference between making it through a run unscathed or making it through with blisters the size of quarters.
No, your Uggs don’t count. I’m not talking flash in the pan fashions that’ll be gone in a few years, I’m talking a simple grey winter coat that’ll stay in style and last for years. I’m talking about black dress pants or a suit. These things will still be perfectly acceptable to wear in several years, so paying for a quality item that won’t fall apart is worth it.
Personally, I don’t spend a ton of money on accessories. My reasoning for this is that I can easily update my wardrobe by purchasing a few accessories every year that are in style. Since those styles are apt to change in a few years, spending a huge wad of cash on those items wouldn’t really be worth it.
I’ve definitely spent more than a few minutes drooling over a party dress or bathing suit. The truth is though, when it comes to clothing I’m rarely going to wear, I don’t like to spend a lot of money on it. My $15 bathing suit is three years old and looks brand new because I wear it about three times a year. An expensive one wouldn’t look much better at this point. The same goes for that party dress, which, since I’m so frugal, wouldn’t be worn any more often than the bathing suit. For clothing that I don’t often wear, I tend to go for the more economical purchases.
When it comes to buying clothing, everyone is different. Some people might think I’m crazy to even be considering buying expensive clothes, while others are drawn to brand names like a magpie. I try to balance spending as little as possible with buying enough quality items that I don’t have to head back to the store every month to replace clothing that’s no longer wearable. To me, that’s a good balance between frugality and fashion.
Hey everyone! Today’s post is all about spending less money on clothes.
And there’s a giveaway too. I’m glad to be a part of another giveaway. I really am enjoying taking part in these, and I hope you guys still love winning stuff! If you’re anything like me, then you probably enter tons of giveaways every week.
I made a post early last year titled A peak into my insanity (AKA my closet). At that time, I talked about how I had TONS of clothes. My closet is actually the old laundry room (we have the washer, dryer, etc. in the basement), so this is a decent sized closet that I have. And it’s COMPLETELY packed. You can hardly walk into it now.
I don’t wear a ton of it because a lot of my daily outfits are business clothes for my job. I had over 50 dresses, over 20 skirts, over 70 shirts, and so on. And this is with me selling my clothes every month. If I never sold clothes or got rid of them every month, I can’t even imagine what my closet would look like.
While I would love to save that my shopping problem is under control, it most likely is not. Yes, I’m not spending as much money as I used to, but I really need to start selling things in my closet in order to make things more efficient. Spending an hour each time I’m looking for a specific clothing item is just a little excessive.
Jordann, on my blog, recently talked about Maintaining a Minimalist Wardrobe. This is something that I definitely want to work on.
Now, I don’t plan on just not buying anything ever again. I do love clothes and dressing nice. Instead, my plan will be to focus more on quality and not just quantity. Yes, I will buy the occasional “trendy” dress from Forever 21 or Express, but for the most part I want to be saving my money and spending it on better quality items that will last longer. I will also be following a lot of the tips that are listed on J’s site How to Save Money on Clothes. I love her website and how she’s able to come up with so many different ideas.
I also plan on not buying items until I clear out items out of my closet. For every 1 item that I buy, I want to put TWO items from my closet into a bag that will be either sent to be donated or sold.
I do want to start spending less on clothes as well of course. I want to spend the least amount of money out of my own pocket on clothes that I can. My goal is to spend less than $100 out of my own pocket on clothes per month. So this does not include whatever I spend on gift cards or the money I get from selling clothes.
This is not exactly a “no spend” year, but it is a start. I know many people who spend much more than this amount every week on clothes.
This doesn’t seem like too hard of a task for me to complete, but it’s also about me cleaning out my closet. I have a couple hundred in clothing gift cards already, and will make a couple hundred more from credit card rewards. Also, I already have a ton of clothes in my closet that will work for the next year and still look great, so it’s not like I’ll be going naked everywhere.
I have a decent amount of clothing gift cards that I have received lately. Some I received for Christmas from my sister, and some I have won from giveaways. I plan on trying to use gift cards to fund my clothing spending. This won’t be super difficult, as I also plan on using the gift cards and cash that I earn from my credit card rewards towards this as well.
I also plan on selling a lot of my clothes that are currently in my closet and using this money towards buying new clothes as well. Wish me luck! At the end of 2013 I will make an update post on how much I spent on clothes throughout the year, and how much I spent out of my own pocket on clothes.