As you can imagine, working at StyleDemocracy means I have a lot of clothes.
Every time I look into my closet, I’m reminded of a piece of clothing I bought on a whim at a warehouse sale and then never wore. Sometimes the temptation is just too hard to resist but lately, I’ve been looking at my budget and second guessing past purchases.
That got me to thinking: how much are we really supposed to be spending on clothes? Sure, I have saved tons of cash limiting my shopping to warehouse sales and saving up to 80% off, but am I spending too much? Am I on budget?
According to the award-winning financial planner Pete Dunn, you should only be spending 5% of your take-home pay. For example, if your annual income is $30,000 after taxes, you have a $1500/year or $125/month clothing allowance. If you’re making $60,000 after taxes, you have a $3000/year or $250/month clothing allowance.
Freaking out a little? Don’t worry. So am I. Just breathe.
Everyone’s finances are a little different. The 5% is meant to be used as a basic guideline. If you have a little wiggle room in other areas, for example with your rent, it’s okay to go a little over. However, if you have debt or bills that need attention, those should probably be tended to first.
If you really don’t want to give up new clothes, there are a number of other things you can do to supplement your clothing habit.
1. Take advantage of consignment stores
Seriously! There are so many consignment stores across the city that you can take your clothes to and a.) sell for cash or b.) trade in for a new (gently used) wardrobe. If you’re going to spend the money on clothes anyways, always take option b! Consignment stores will offer larger store credits than tangible cash.
2. Check out local clothing swaps or host your own
You might not be able to find something to wear in your closet, but somebody else probably could! Cruise Facebook to find local clothing swaps or host your own! Round up a gang of girls (or guys) that are in your same size range, pick a meeting spot, and swap! You won’t spend any money, you’ll get to hang out with friends, and you’ll get some new duds.
3. Get a part-time job at your favourite clothing store
Easier said than done, I know. But if you’re seriously committed to shopping, it’s a good option to think about. Working a couple of weekends a month at your favourite store will mean that you’ll have extra pocket cash on top of your regular income and you’ll get that staff discount. Plus, you’ll always be the first to know when something new comes out!
How much do you spend on clothes? Let us know in the comment section.
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