Clothing, like food, housing, and transportation, is a necessary expense in your budget. But just like the other required spending categories, you do have some control over how much you spend on clothing.
I personally seem to go through phases where it feels like I’m buying clothing every other week, and then other times where I can go months without buying anything. More often then not, it’s a factor of events I’m attending, and the changing seasons (I live in the north).
No matter what your personal purchase patterns are, you may still be looking for ways to reduce how much clothing you buy.
Start with a Clothing Purge
The first step to buying less clothes? Purge your existing clothes.
Go through your closet, your dresser, your mudroom, etc, and get rid of clothing that you don’t wear. Create a donate pile for clothing in good condition.
If you haven’t wore a piece of clothing in a long time, or if you don’t enjoy something, pitch it! A good question to ask yourself when going through each item of clothing is, “does this make me happy?”
This activity will help you more easily answer the following three questions:
- What style of clothing do I seem to like? Pay close attention to the styles of clothing that you are keeping. Notice how you probably a have preference for look and feel of clothing. Also, you’ll probably note that when you try to buy something different, it ends up in the donate pile after some time.
- What brands of clothing do I prefer? Just like style, look at the clothing you are keeping to see what brands and sizes you are deciding to keep. It’s common to find a select few of brands that work well with your body type and preference.
- What items do I have too much/not enough of? Now that you have thoroughly gone through your closet, it’s easy to take inventory on what you have. Do you have more than enough sweaters, but maybe don’t own a pair of jeans for professional settings? Take note!
By asking yourself these questions, you are able to make better purchasing decisions in the future.
Tips for Buying Less Clothes
With your clothing purge and assessment complete, you are ready to make better purchasing decisions for your clothing. Because you are being more effective with your purchases, you can also learn to buy less clothes overtime. Here are a few tips.
Buy Brands and Styles You Like – Stick to brands and styles of clothing that you know you will enjoy. By doing so, you’re going to get more use out of your clothes, as well as be happier wearing them. Avoid being “trendy” outside your comfort/style zone.
Buy Based on Need – Only buy clothing that you need. Even if you really love sweaters, you don’t need more than you can reasonably wear. Be realistic about your needs and limit yourself to purchasing quality clothing for your lifestyle requirements.
Limit Your Closet Space – Have a limited amount of space for all of your clothing. Creating physical limits for your stuff will help you prioritize your purchases, and give you a visual understanding of what you already have.
Get in Shape – You look better when you are in shape… you are also healthier too. By being in shape, clothing will fit you better, and you will have more clothing options. Getting and staying fit can help save you some serious cash on clothing.
Budget For Clothes – Set and stay within limits of spending. As part of your normal budget, you should have a unique line-item for clothing. Knowing how much you want to spend throughout the year, divide the number by 12 to create a monthly allotment.