If you are trying to be frugal with your money, you should start by looking at the amount you spend on clothes. Some people fall victim to impulse buying and waste a huge chunk of their budget on clothes. But it’s easy to go too far the other way and avoid buying clothes at all. The problem is, wearing worn out clothes can knock your self-esteem and it can cause you a lot of discomfort. You need to buy new clothes sometimes, but you also need to avoid overspending, and this can be a difficult balance to get right.
Often, people don’t really know how much they should be spending on clothes. So, how much of your budget should you spend on clothes?
The 5% Rule
There is no exact answer to how much you should be spending on clothes but the 5% rule is a good guideline to follow. On average, you should aim to spend no more than 5% of your monthly budget on clothes. This is a good rule to follow because it is proportionate to your income, which means that you can afford to splash out a bit more if you are doing well and you have a bit more in your budget, but when things are a bit tight, you don’t risk overspending.
However, you should consider other factors and adjust the rule slightly. For example, it may be worth spending a bit more than 5% of your budget if you are buying good quality clothes that will last a long time. A good winter coat that will last you 5 years is going to save you money in the long term, so don’t worry about spending a bit more on it. It’s also likely that you will go over budget on clothes at certain times of the year. If you are a family and the kids need school uniforms, for example, that could push you over the 5%.
Where Should You Spend Your Budget?
Knowing how to divide up your clothing budget will help you avoid overspending. The key is knowing which items to spend more on and when you can go for the cheaper option. Shoes, for example, usually make up a large percentage of people’s clothing budget. Although you could go for very cheap shoes, the quality will be bad and they won’t last, so you will end up spending more overall. So, always go for quality when buying shoes. Jeans and coats are also worth spending more on because quality items will last for years to come. However, you should still look for ways to make savings on these key items. If you are looking for the best place to buy shoes, check out this post for a list of places to make savings. Waiting for sales and buying off-season is another good way to make savings, especially on things like winter coats. If you can save on the big items, you will free up more of your budget for other things.
Once you have bought the key items that are likely to cost more, you should try to stretch the rest of your budget further. Things like t-shirts and basic tops, and underwear and socks can all be picked up cheap, there’s no need to go for the most expensive options. That doesn’t mean you should go for the cheapest option because you still want quality, but look for mid-range prices and always try to pick things up in a sale.
Also, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to spend the full 5% every single month. Some months, you might not need anything new, so don’t buy things for the sake of it just because the money is there. In months when you spend less than your allotted 5%, put that extra money aside so you can spend more later on without going over budget.
How To Make Your Clothing Budget Go Further
If you want to make your clothing budget go further, there are a few key things you can do:
- Use Overstock to get big discounts on a range of clothes (they have lots of other great items too).
- Always wait for clothes to go on discount and track online prices to get the best deal.
- Buy second-hand clothes from thrift stores or on eBay.
- Go for quality pieces that will last instead of buying lots of cheap items.
- Sell old clothes that you don’t wear anymore.
If you can stick to the 5% rule and use these tricks to stretch your clothing budget, you can keep your spending under control.