Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Contemplating Clothing

Recently J. Money at Budgets Are Sexy asked, "How Much Have You Spent on Clothing This Year?" When I saw his post, I popped over to Mint to try and figure it out - the answer was $191.39. Some of that came from thrift store shopping, some came from daily lingerie. (All the gals out there can probably attest to how ridiculously expensive women's undergarments are.) The only new piece of clothing I bought, other than the undergarments, was a sweatshirt I bought for $29.00. It was a custom design that was put together for the big non-profit project I worked on back in March.

Last week, I splurged and bought three new shirts. Each was $14.00. They were exactly the kind of thing I love for fall - roomy enough so I could wear a turtleneck underneath but dressy enough I can wear them to work. They also don't require ironing, which is a definite plus. I bought the same style in pumpkin, dark chocolate and a mossy green. I hadn't been planning on buying any new clothes, but I have a Misc. Fund designed for this kind of purchase, so I had the money set aside.

When the clothes come home though, I have rules about how to handle them...

Back when I shopped a lot I instituted a "one in, one out" rule. Even though I am now doing most of my shopping at the thrifts, I still find that is a good system. It works with gift clothing I receive as well. My system goes like this - one large item for one large item. In other words, I can get a pair of pants and give up a shirt or a skirt - it doesn't have to be like item to like item, but on the other hand I can't get a pair of pants and get rid of a necklace. Pretty much if it is something that has to go on a hanger, I get rid of something on a hanger.

I carry that through to other things too - shoes can be swapped for boots, necklaces for earrings. As long as the items are about the same size in the closet or jewelry box, it is fair trade. Everything gets either donated or placed in the garage sale box for next year's sale. The system has worked pretty well for me for a number of years.

How about you? Do you have any rules for clothing shopping? How much do you think you've spent this year? Do you have a clothing budget?

Photo by: wiccked
via flickr


me in millions said...

I've spent about $1,400 so far this year on clothes. And that's with two no spend on clothes months! I'm trying to make October a no spend month as well. I'm really impressed with your $191.39!!

psychsarah said...

That's an interesting rule. I've heard of it, and thought of adopting it, but really, I never have much to wear, so when I buy something new, it's because I desperately need it! Perhaps if I stayed the same size for a while, I might accumulate a bunch of redundant stuff which would necessitate this rule, but as it stands, I don't sweat it too much.

Dawn said...

Me in Millions - Well, fortunately because I had a lot of good quality clothes in my closet, it meant I didn't have to buy much. Believe me, that is undoubtedly the lowest I have ever spent!

Psychsarah - I found that I was buying new things, but not getting rid of old, so the closet started filling up. Usually the things I get rid of still have "life" in them, but I only want so much in my closet. Good for you for waiting to shop until you really need it.

Miss M said...

I bought a few pairs of undergarments and one pair of shoes for $50. I think that is it for clothes this year! But I need to go shopping this weekend for some shirts, my new hair color doesn't work with my wardrobe :( I do not keep a separate clothes budget, it comes out of our "miscellaneous" budget.

Anonymous said...

I have spent $80 on clothing this year! This does not include undergarments. But I purchased 1 shirt new and 1 blazer.

I have never been into fashion at all, so I never have to have been into fashion! ;)

But the year is not over!! hehe

Dawn said...

Miss M - I don't keep a separate clothes budget either. I think I would like to, in the future. Either that or build my Misc. budget up so that if I saw a great deal on something I really wanted, I could just pick it up, you know?

Frugal Dreamer - Blazers are expensive, no question about it, but I love them. They are so versatile. They really stretch my wardrobe.

Finding my way to Debt Free! said...

When I read your post about what you've spent on clothes this year it got me thinking. I had thought I had done well this year on not purchasing very much at all, until I realized I couldn't see most of my purchases because I had aided in my current debt situation by putting most of it on *credit* (ack!)

So it amounts to this - 4 pairs of shoes (one for the wedding attire), 3 dresses (one a gift, one for a wedding and one because I needed a new properly fitting, sophisticated summer dress), and a pair of capri's! holy cow!! Obviously the most expensive stuff was the wedding dress and the gift dress I gave the bride of that wedding as well as required matching shoes. The other 3 pairs of shoes I really didn't need - but love, and the capris I probably could have done without. The dress was something I definitely needed as until this summer I'd never owned a summer dress. And with the garden parties, wedding stuff, engagement parties and such I knew I'd get some wear out of it. Grand total of the above = $630 (ACK!)

While I think your rule is a great thing, I am not a follower of that rule in that sense.

Four times a year I spend an afternoon with my wardrobe - the whole of it. I try everything on to see what fits, what I can almost wear and what is definitely too big/to small/too young looking. Put all of that into a box for donating to a local charity and be done with it. Having just moved I did it one more time once we got everything into the apartment. I have a tidy large size box of clothing and accessories that I haven't used/worn in more than three years that will be donated. All of my items are lightly used - I like to keep a rotation of things going and I keep them in really good shape.

It felt great when I had purged the items. The next rule I'm trying is if I haven't worn it in a year it's time for it to go.

J. Money said...

Thanks for the shout out! Glad it made you stop and think ;)

The only rule I have is that it HAS TO be on sale. It could be 10% off or 80% off, but if it's not on sale I usually won't buy it.

It's def. great for the wallet, but on the other side it limits the options. haha...