I love clothes! I love to mix and match. I am not one who follows the trend, though, and I prefer to wear clothing that I am more comfortable with. I like small purchases that I would usually buy from a garage sale for my daily and casual wear. I only visit the mall if there’s a special event, like a wedding that I have to go to, expecting that they have more presentable choices. I may sometimes give myself a bit of a shopping spree when I feel blue or deserving of a treat.
Brands don’t matter to me, but comfort, style, and quality. I can’t deny though that less expensive items may sometimes wear off faster than costly ones. But because I have this mindset that I haven’t really spent that much, it is okay for me to purchase another one. I like to have new ones anyway. I am the type who doesn’t wear the same gown on two different occasions.
But this is just me, how about you?
Why is clothing important?
Originally, garments were created for protection against various climate conditions. Different parts of the world would require different clothing fabrics against intense heat or cold. And not only that, but weaves of clothing also play a role to ensure comfort and adaptability given extreme weather conditions.
Additionally, it is also part of building an impression. Like, when applying for a job, a well-dressed candidate would most likely be considered than the underdressed one.
Clothing also represents a person’s culture, religion, social status, sex, and even occupation. It takes familiarity to grasp and translate the meaning behind a specific set of clothes. Like in Western countries, a white wedding gown is customary while Koreans wear their traditional hanbok.
How much money should you spend on clothes?
According to most financial experts, we should allocate 5% of our household income to clothing. Take your monthly household income and multiply it by 0.05, and that’s your budget. This allocation covers EVERYTHING. As it is part of a household expense, it includes your own, your spouse’s, and your kids. It covers not just garments but shoes, bags, and other articles worn as well.
This is just a number. Your spending still depends on you. If your job is dependent on what you wear, then you might need to allocate more towards your clothing budget. If you want to make a bit of a twist to your budget, consider some of the following tips.
How to make your clothes last longer?
Caring for our clothes would save us a lot of money and save our environment too. Here are some ways to lengthen the appearance of your wardrobe favorites.
Sort your clothes properly
Since there are fabrics that may discolor the lighter ones, make sure to separate the colored from the whites before washing them. Soiled garments and bath towels must also be washed separately.
Wash denim in cold water
Fading is an obvious sign of frequent washing and usage, and washing them in cold water may at least delay losing their color. Also, jeans can be worn up to 3 times before washing, unless of course if they are heavily stained.
Let them air dry
Besides the fact that we use less energy and save money, hanging our clothes dry reduces wearing or possible shrinking of our clothing. The high-heat from the machine-dryer can hasten the wear and tear process.
Zip up zippers
Zippers’ metal teeth can catch other clothing on the washing machine that can damage especially your delicate items. To avoid potential tears, fully zip your garments and turn them inside out.
Turn them Inside out
As clothing is prone to fading, turning garments inside out before washing will preserve their color and appearance. This technique can also ensure that the items are in close contact with the detergent and can be possibly, thoroughly cleaned.
Keep those dust bag
They will keep your bags and shoes dry and free from dirt.
Iron with care
if you are not doing it properly, there is a chance that you might burn your garment or stain it because of too much heat. Make sure to set it to the right heat level to avoid ruining the fabric.
Different ways to save money on clothes
Sell what you don’t need to wear
There are items in our wardrobe that we don’t wear anymore and stocking them will just consume space. We can opt to drop it at a consignment shop, and even if we don’t get the full profit from it, at least we have earned from it with less effort.
Shop at thrift stores
If you are like me, shopping at thrift stores can grant you good buys too. Some items still have tags on them while some are only gently used.
Take care of your clothes
Proper washing of items is important to make clothes last longer. If we follow ways of caring for our jeans, delicates, and other wardrobe essentials, they can last a few years and can save you some cash.
Shop out of season
Retailers would make significant price drops on items through clearance sales so they can clear stocks from their stores. Save the date!
Don’t buy it because it is on sale
An item that is on sale even at 50% off but you don’t need now will just be another sale item collection in your wardrobe. Make good deals and choose wiser spending.
Do a bit of DIY
Some people are gifted in making their own clothes, but that’s too much to ask from all of us. Only, we must learn the basics of sewing. Rushing to professionals for button replacement or simple hemming would be costly.
Buy the basics
If you shop for tank tops, loungewear, or plain tees, the brand won’t really make a big deal so it is best to buy them at cheaper stores.
Don’t be shy to borrow
If you need to wear something only once, consider borrowing from a friend or family of the same size. It will not just save you 100 percent of your supposed budget, but a space in your closet too.
Swap outfits with friends
Trading clothes with family or friends will also save you some cash while having new options to wear on occasions. Shopping for your friend’s closet will let you have something new to wear, and so does she.
Know when to skip renting
If you need a tuxedo more than once, then having your own will be an investment. Repeatedly renting a tuxedo will soon sum up to the same amount of a new purchase, that you should have already owned.
Buy uniforms at discount stores
Some stores offer working outfits and school uniforms at a cheaper price, compared to those that we can buy through work or at school. We just have to do some store hunting so we can make a better deal.
Shop for a high-quality swimwear
Buy a swimsuit that can last you for years as a less expensive one may cost you more in the long-term. Just make sure to care for it properly so it won’t sag, shrink or stretch.
Choose the basic style
Classic style and basic pieces can be worn longer than trendy ones. Keeping up with the trend is impractical, as it may be at its peak now, and then will soon be out of fashion.
Spice up with some accessories
Some people wear the same set of clothes, but they can look new once they accentuate with colorful varieties of accessories such as necklaces and bracelets for women, or ties and even scarves for men. It is more fun to explore your creativity in expressing yourself.
Make a list
And then check it twice! Shopping for clothes is like grocery shopping. If you list the items you need, you will not end up shooting extras on your carts or paying for an impulse buy.
Buy what you need to wear now
Buying items that don’t fit you now will just use up some cash, and may eventually be a waste of money. You may gain or lose weight in time, and that garment may be out of your style.
Shop what you can pay for
A basic rule on spending is, we only buy what we can afford, and if we can’t, then we must skip it. If we bought an item on sale but used a credit card for it, then not paying the due entirely will just incur interest, making the item more costly than its sale price.
We all have different clothing styles, so our clothing budget. I have learned personally that we all have the freedom to spend our money, but we have to think of long-term benefits. Some families who have adopted a frugal lifestyle are living comfortably even with non-branded clothing or hand-me-downs.
Nowadays, people don’t dress up to protect their bodies, but because they represent their culture, signify their social status, build their own identities, and even explore their sexuality, especially young adults. As we exhibit our individuality into the world, we must also be practical in our decision-making. Practicality comes in the sense that we should know the consequences of our actions, and we take prudence before making any.
Some people may wear a white t-shirt and jeans but are financially independent and stable, while some dress-up with brands from head to toe and are struggling with their credit card fees.
Again, it all goes back to our budget. If you have the budget, then go for it. But if you are dealing with bills and debts to pay, this may not be on top priority for now. Try the 30-day rule. It may save you.
Your financial journey is yours to take, and with the right set of financial goals and spending management style, branded or not, surely, you will look like a million dollars.