Aug 122014

For quite some time, this question has been in my mind:

are you a builder or an editor?

(Not that I really know what that means. Usually it pops into my mind in conjunction with the idea that I’m getting rid of some article of clothing but I don’t really have anything to replace it in my wardrobe.)

So, the way I see it, each proclivity – building or editing, shopping or biffing – has its problems. And either could wind up with nothing to wear. Most wardrobe advice seems to come from the angle that we all have a closet stuffed full of clothes and nothing to wear, but that is not the case for me or for most of the people I have talked to about it. I had somebody tell me recently that if we were to do a closet audit she would have to go shopping first or there would be nothing to audit!

So, how much is a reasonable amount to spend on clothes? In Dave Ramsey’s budget worksheet, 2 to 7% is the suggested amount. Even with our moderate income, I have been spending less than that. Actually, I have not spent enough For some people (builders), the budget should be taken as a limit; for others (editors), it needs to be a minimum. You can live on less for a season, but perhaps it shouldn’t become a lifestyle. If “He makes me lie down in green pastures” (Psalm 23:2), why do I want to settle for scorched earth?

My suggestion: if possible, budget 2% per person, up to 7% for a family. Beyond that, creativity and economy can be employed to stretch the budget around the number of kids you have. Chances are, if you are consistently spending too little, your wardrobe isn’t really working for you.

  3 Responses to “Budgeting for clothing”

  1. Ooh – great question and observation. I’m doing a little quick math: 2% of my income (going conservative here) – even though I clothe 7 people (actually, make that 6- my husband buys his own clothes without telling me) – I’m spending not even 1/4 of that on clothing. For seven (six) people. I’m not sure there’s even that much money THERE for me to spend 2% on clothing, ha! Perhaps I should set a goal of actually spending 1% of my income on clothing in a year? Then I could save up over a few months and get some high quality boots for myself. Or keep up with my growing boy in shoes (I haven’t even tried, so far)….

    • If you do, I think when you reach this (empty nest) stage of life you will be glad you did. 🙂

      One of the next assignments coming up in my training involves me sending in pictures of myself in completed outfits, so I really needed to be shopping. Today, when I was in Goodwill, it took discipline for me to use my clothing budget rather than my spending money.

      Of course, the percentages are all relative to one’s income. Way back in the day, Larry Burkett used to say no one could do it for less than $10 per person, per month. Now I think it is alot more. I have been using the official figure of $1 per year of age, per person, per month; not spending it; spending my birthday money; and not having what I need. We like Jockey underwear; even on sale, it is hard to buy just underwear and, like you said, good boots!

      Anyway, the hero is in total agreement and next month we are moving to 2% each. 🙂

  2. This afternoon I took a moment to review my purchases from the past two months (when I made the choice to buy at the top of what I could afford, but be very picky about what I allow in my wardrobe). I’ve bought two bras and six tops (one of which I resold, and another of which I’ll probably resell), and three dresses for almost exactly 1% of my income. So I’m actually doing quite well at spending money lately.

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