These days, you can easily buy a lot of clothes for relatively little money. And as strange as it sounds, without setting a clothing budget, it’s easy to spend a lot more on cheap clothing than you need to.
Alexandria Blaelock, author of Ms Blaelock’s Book of Signature Wardrobe Planning argues. “Setting a limit on your spending makes you think about what you need rather than what you want. You get more creative, and the result is a wardrobe that is more distinctively you than if you are wearing the same thing as everyone else. “
Here are Blaelock’s tips for setting the right clothing budget for you.
- Put Your Clothing in Context: If you don’t want to get arrested for public indecency, you have to wear clothes. But it might be that healthy food, secure housing or a car that reliably does the speed limit is more important than clothes. If that’s the case for you, that’s where your money should be going.
- Decide How Much to Spend: In the old days when clothes were expensive, people allocated 12 – 20% of their household income for clothing. If you were living in poverty, you’d be spending 12% (or less), and if you were well off, then 20%. But most “ordinary” people spent around 15%.
- Choose What it Covers: Is your budget just for clothes, or alterations and dry cleaning as well. Will you include makeup and jewellery? Skin and hair care?
- Decide How to Split It: Many people are part of families, and will share their clothing budget with partners or children. You need to decide what’s a fair division for your family. Logically, the primary income producer will require the largest proportion, but if they wear utility clothing and a part-time income producer wears suits, the part-timer may need more. You might thrift or hand-me-down for younger kids but buy new for older kids heading to college.
- Get the Best Value: Bear cost per use in mind, and spend more money on the clothes you wear more often – don’t waste 50% of your money on a ball gown that you might only wear once. Similarly, buy clothes for the life that you live right now – that might mean buying one expensive but good quality pair of shoes each year because you walk all day, but for someone else, it might be 27 cheaper t-shirts because they work with young children.
These five tips will help you develop a clothing budget and start spending your money wisely to meet your needs.
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