I won’t say the dollar amount (yes, I am embarrassed), but it was a ridiculous amount. With our work computers, we could check how much money each of the employees spent just at that one store alone, and one of the girl’s I worked with had a dollar amount of over $12,000 since she started working there.
According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average person in the U.S. spends around $1,700 on clothing each year. Even this amount sounds like a lot to me.
Since I left that job, I have learned how to properly shop and budget for clothing. I don’t spend anywhere near the amount that I used to spend, and I don’t think I even spend $1,700 a year either.
Here is what you can do to lower your clothing spending expenses:
Washing and taking care of your clothes helps keep them in good condition for longer. Those tags on the inside of your clothes aren’t just for decoration, you should actually read and listen to them!
Wash dark clothing with darks, whites with whites, dry clean items when needed and so on. It doesn’t take too much extra effort, so stop being lazy.
When I say “buy quality,” I don’t mean that you have to spend $100 on a T-shirt.
It mainly just means that you should shop smart. Look at the tags before you buy clothing and see if they are using quality material. A good quality item should last you multiple washes, not just one or two.
If I know for a fact that I will only wear a clothing item once or twice, then I usually don’t spend a lot of money on it.
It’s just not worth it to me to spend $75, $100 or $200 on something worn once. If I want something trendy, I usually head to stores like Forever21.
Websites like RetailMeNot have saved me a lot of money. All I have to do is type in the company name plus “coupon” in an online search and usually several coupons will pop up. Takes about one minute and usually I save anywhere from $10 to $50.
If you have clothes that you no longer wear, sell them! You can then put this money towards future clothes so that it’s sort of like a revolving cycle.
A few weeks ago, I sold a bag of clothes for $75. It didn’t make me rich, but I put it back towards my clothing budget.
If you can’t control your spending, then you probably shouldn’t bring a credit card with you. You might want to think about only bringing cash or a prepaid card with you.
The Emerald Prepaid Mastercard (if you want more info on the Emerald card, click here) can help you spend smartly because you can only spend what you have. With credit cards, many people come across the problem of overspending.
Below are more details on the H&R Block Emerald Prepaid MasterCard:
Today, I have the pleasure to partner with H&R Block to give away a $200 H&R Block gift card to one of my readers. H&R Block has asked me to help promote the Emerald Prepaid MasterCard. The prize was provided and will be shipped to the winner by H&R Block, but all opinions expressed in the post are my own and not those of H&R Block. Entrants must be 18 or older and located in the U.S. only. No purchase necessary in order to win prize. Winner to be chosen at random via Random.org
Also, they have asked me to share clothing I’ve been loving lately – I don’t shop as much as I used to, but I still do a lot of online “window” shopping. My favorite online stores include LuLu’s, Spool72 and Modcloth. Below are some possible dresses I found that I LOVE (the below are all from Modcloth), and I also found some more outfits I like and I pinned them on my Pinterest board – to go along with the giveaway below
There are three possible ways to enter, and all you have to do is answer the questions below. You can do one, or all three.
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?
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. It’s worth it to get quality gear from RejuvaHealth rather than relying on cheap gear. 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.