You look like a million bucks! Who doesn’t love to hear that phrase when you are sporting that new outfit? We all need clothes but do you know how much you should be spending in clothing? Should you be spending that million bucks or perhaps, just a few dollars? Today, we are going to talk about how to put together a clothing budget that will work with all income levels. Maybe you have never been on a budget before–don’t worry about that! With just a few easy steps to follow, maybe you can purchase that fabulous Kate Spade purse sooner than you think or maybe, you may need to hold off a while longer.
Several years ago, my husband and I took a course called Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey. We had thousands of dollars of debt with no real plan to get rid of it. We just spent money on whatever we wanted or on whatever we thought we needed. Since taking the Financial Peace money course, we are completely debt free and plan to stay that way. The Financial Peace course taught us that it is ok, no actually good, to spend money on things that we want as long as we budget for them. You can find the Financial Peace course information here.
My husband likes to spend money on golf and biking equipment and I like to spend money on clothing and vacations. (I actually think that the golf and bike equipment cost more than clothing and vacations but that is for another post!!)
The budget plan that Dave Ramsey recommends is to spend around 5-15% of your net income/after taxes income on clothing for everyone in your family budget. If you are in good financial standings, then by all means spend up to the 15%. But if you several children to feed and bills to pay, your spending amount needs to be closer to the 5% mark.
I recommend to moms that you do not combine your clothing budget money with your children’s money. Have them in separate categories or you will end up spending your money on them.
Now I love clothes and when we were getting out of debt and even still today, I cannot spend a lot of money on clothing. I just can’t bring myself to do it. My husband can but I cannot. This is why I need a budget. The budget lets me know that it is OK for me to spend the money on clothing because that is what it is for and I do not have to feel guilty about spending it. Now if you are a spendy person, you definitely need a budget so you do not get yourself into a money mess.
Here are some budgeting tips to follow when looking for and purchasing your clothing.
- Number one of course, is to set up a budget. You need to know how much you can spend on clothing per week or per month. This will keep you out of trouble and save you lots of heart ache down the road.
- Purchase quality items. Quality over quantity as the old phrase goes. You need to purchase quality pieces that will last, can wear over again and inter change with other pieces in your closet. Not sure what clothing items you need in your wardrobe. Click here to read up on a few basis pieces that we all need and should have in our closets.
- Use cash or debit card. When you go shopping, it is a lot harder to spend that cash than it is to just simply swipe that credit card. Using cash will cause you to think twice about whether you really want that cardigan or not. A debit card works that same way as cash but you just need to make sure that you have the cash to use in your checking account or you will be in a mess.
- Shop on eBay. eBay has a fabulous selection of quality clothing at great prices. May you have never have purchased anything on eBay or not sure what to look for? You can check out my great eBay clothing store called Busybethie. We carry Misses through Plus sizes fashions at reasonable prices–perfect for the busy woman and her crazy lifestyle.
- Shop clearance and end of season sales. All of the mall stores have clearance sales when the seasons change. Get there early and find some great stuff at great prices.
- Consignment stores. In our area, they are several fabulous consignment stores that have a great selection of the mall items for half the cost. You can google consignment stores with your zip code to locate the ones in your area. Most of the time with consignment shops, you can sell your own clothing to them and then use that money to add to your personal clothing budget.
- Always ask for a discount. This is something my husband started doing after we took the Financial Peace course. Dave Ramsey teaches to always ask for a discount. I used to get embarrassed when my husband would do this but now I am doing it. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t and that is OK. You never know until you ask.
Developing a budget takes time and practice. Do not get discourage after the first try and I promise you, you will get discouraged and frustrated. Keep at it and try again. Having control of your money will give you control of your life. When you have control of your life, you can do anything!