What is Your Annual Clothing Budget?

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With 2020 upon us, here’s a fun discussion we haven’t had in a while: what is your annual clothes budget— and does it vary month to month? (For example, do you periodically strive to not buy anything for one or two months of the year, or otherwise adjust your shopping habits throughout the year?) Where are you most willing to spend money on clothes — and what do you do if a good find falls outside your budget? For those of you who’ve been tracking this for a while, how do the past 5 years or so compare?

We’ve talked before about how to build an entire work wardrobe with little money, how to create a capsule wardrobe for work, as well as how much you spend on work clothes, how long you expect your clothes to last, and (for those of you trying not to spend money this month), here are my best tips on how to “shop your closet” and find new outfits (aka “playing clothes”). (Ah yes — and here are our discussions on how to stop shopping, as well as all of our discussions on budgeting.)

Some Annual Clothing Budget Questions:

What is your annual clothing budget for 2020 — and how will you keep track or enforce it? (Monthly? Yearly? YNAB? Special savings account? Other?)

What percentage of your annual clothing budget do you have allocated for work clothes?

At this point in the year, do you already know how you want to spend that budget in 2020?

Where do you spend way too much money on clothing (i.e., where are the obvious places to save money?)

For those of you who do a lot of returning, how do you keep track of your clothing budget?

For my $.02…

What is your annual clothing budget for 2020 — and how will you keep track or enforce it? (Monthly? Yearly? YNAB? Special savings account? Other?)

I actually never make an annual clothing budget, but I feel like I’m spending way too much on clothes, so I’m eager to see what everyone says! 

At this point in the year, do you already know how you want to spend that budget in 2020?

I truly do not need anything else in my closet at this point — but hope springs eternal that this will be the year that I make some major strides in weight loss and well then I’ll just need a whole new wardrobe, riiiight? 

Where do you spend way too much money on clothing (i.e., where are the obvious places to save money?)

Online shopping is a HUGE occupational hazard for me! I’ve gotten into a bad habit of stalking certain websites or pieces for sales (these are my favorite online shopping apps) — then when the sale hits not only is it bad for the budget (as I inevitably hunt around to get to the minimum for free shipping, and/or find fifty new things I just have to have need), but it also sucks my time, both in terms of spending too much time ordering… and then inevitably having to try on and return as well.

Another big waste of money this year was buying clothes for my older son, who, at 8, has decided he Has Opinions on what he will and will not wear, and half of the things he said “yes” to a month ago are all now “no.” I keep telling myself that all of the clothes I can’t return will go to good use for his younger brother but their proportions are pretty different, so we’ll see.

For those of you who do a lot of returning, how do you keep track of your clothing budget?

This is by far my biggest problem — I return about 85% of what I buy online. So it’s like I’m not buying anything, just loaning my money to stores temporarily, right? I have tried various ways to keep track of whether I’m getting my money back on returned online purchases, especially with Nordstrom — I think I noted one year that I bought myself a $500 gift card for myself to try to limit my purchases, and it turned into a pain in the butt because when I returned things the credited amount would go on a NEW card — so keeping track of all these little gift cards wasn’t ideal. I switched over all Nordstrom purchases to the Nordstrom credit card though, and it’s been amazing — I made a big payment back during the Anniversary Sale but returned so much that I’ve had a negative amount for months now, which has been fabulous for “guilt-free shopping.” (Yes, yes, I know.) It’s encouraged me to get things back in a timely manner to keep the balance from growing, also. (They just sent me a check at the end of the year to make up some of the difference in the balance, though, so I may actually owe money again soon, ha.) 

Photo credit: Shutterstock /  elwynn.

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