Why You Need a Clothing Budget (& how to calculate yours)

by | Wardrobe Planning, Wardrobe Wisdom & Style Tips | 0 comments

When it comes to keeping my mommy wardrobe fresh and relevant, I’ve constantly been thankful for the help of both an ongoing shopping list and a clothes budget. I talk about clothes budgets here and here. But what if you don’t already have a clothes budget? Why is one helpful and how do you create one?

How can a clothes budgets help me shape an awesome wardrobe?

  • It presents a monthly reminder that you have funds set aside to invest in your wardrobe. That means you can’t use the excuse “I can’t afford to update my wardrobe”! I like not being able to use excuses like those. 😉 If you don’t use the funds one month, they simply add on to the next month. You’ll be surprised how much can “save up” in a couple of months, giving you the freedom to purchase what you need when you do get out shopping.

  • It sets boundaries to help avoid shopper’s remorse. (Read about the other important key to avoiding shopper’s remorse here.) In conjunction with a well-thought-out shopping list, having a budget makes shopping structured and purposeful. It naturally helps the priorities on your list rise to the top. You go home having bought what you really need and with zero anxiety about your bank account.

How do I figure out what my budget should be?

Every family’s budget will vary based on income, family size, and where you live. It will also vary depending on your shopping preferences. For example, someone who abides strictly by a capsule wardrobe each season may purchase less over time than someone who enjoys adding fresh items to their wardrobe on a consistent basis. (I’m the latter of the two.) 

Results from a budget survey

Recently I asked my blog readers to share their monthly clothing budgets. Here some of the responses I received:

Monthly spending ranged from $10-$50 because budget is unique to the individual.

If you don’t currently have a determined budget for clothes, there are a couple of ways you can figure it out. It is up to you whether to have a family clothing fund that includes you or a separate fund for yourself. The total amount spent on clothes is what we’re after here:

  1. Determine your budget based on your current spending. Go back a few months and determine how much you’ve spent on clothes. 6+ months of history will provide the best data. Find the average per month. Then multiply by 12 to determine your yearly spending on clothes. Divide that number by your yearly income. That’s the percentage your spend on clothes per year (without budgeting). You can choose to leave it as is or challenge yourself to save by making this allowance smaller.

  2. Determine your budget based on your income. Dave Ramsey, finance author and speaker, recommends allotting 2-7% of your income to clothing for the whole family. He also includes laundering cost in this allotment. To figure out what this is for your family, multiply your income by a percentage in that range. Divide by 12 to determine the monthly budget. Start small and challenge yourself to get by on less! However, if month after month you find yourself going over the budget for legitimate reasons, simply raise the allowance to adjust. Check out this helpful budgeting PDF by Dave Ramsey.

Keep track of your spending in an app or on paper. My hubby and I use a simple notebook to record all our expenses. If an app works for you, there are some amazing ones available! Check out these top-rated apps on the App Store: Mint, Spending Tracker. In Google Play Store: Mint, Spending Tracker.

RELATED: The Key to Feeling Awesome About the Clothes You Buy

If you’re at a junction with your wardrobe that requires a major closet purge and makeover, you might consider a special allowance for a month or two until you purchase the essentials you need.

Are you still awake?

Impressive! I personally find numbers extremely boring, so I leave most of the finances up to my husband! Haha! But I’ve found huge value in finding the perfect clothing budget for my family of four. The freedom it provides has made it simple and guilt-free to create a functional mom-wardrobe. Currently, it’s helping me shape a maternity capsule wardrobe that will take me through this spring and summer pregnancy in comfort and style.

I post my monthly budget and clothing purchases on the blog at the end of each month. Check those out here:

If you’ve made it this far, why not take 5 minutes to determine your ideal clothing budget? Let us know in the comments if this post was helpful!

In This Post