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How To Set A Clothing Budget

Today we’re going to talk about How To Set a Clothing Budget. We all need clothes, right? But what do we buy? How much do we spend?

How to set a clothing budget

Let’s talk Budget! Years ago, my husband and I took the Dave Ramsey course, Financial Peace, and my husband also taught it at our church. Financial Peace changed the way we did our finances.

Dave Ramsey says there are usually 2 types of people in the marriage. The nerd-the one who likes to play with the numbers and figures and the free spirit-the one who doesn’t. The free spirit likes to fly by the seat of her pants and not think about tomorrow.

I’ll give you 1 guess to figure out which one I am. Yep, I’m the free spirit. So talking about budgeting is not fun for me. As a matter of fact I have said some not so nice things about Dave Ramsey. 🙂

Truthfully, that class changed the way we did our finances and during those years when we were EXTREMELY tight, it was our lifesaver.

So here are my tips on How To Set A Clothing Budget:

1. Set a Budget! This is a no brainer but first you have to set a budget. Early in our marriage, Wayne and I would fight every month because I spent money on clothes and I usually spent too much.

What we both realized was, I was going to purchase a few pieces every month and we needed to budget for it. So for many years, each of us had a clothing budget, Wayne, Courtney, Cory and myself. (My budget was $90 a month during that time.)

We each knew what we could spend. We could save it and add it to the next month or we could spend it that month.

2. Shop end of the season clearance sales. Be smart with the money you have budgeted. One of the best ways to get the most bang for your buck is to shop the end of the season clearance sales. Banana Republic and Nordstrom are two of my favorite places to shop clearance sales. They have some great deals!

Also Marshall’s and TJ Maxx have good clothes and brands at discounted prices.

3. Buy quality pieces that will last. This is a hard one because if you don’t have the money, you can’t buy it. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that quality is sometimes better than quantity.

For instance, I buy better jewelry than I did 10 years ago. Stella & dot is one of my favorite places to buy jewelry. Why? Because their jewelry doesn’t turn green!

If I buy a pair of cheap gold earrings but they turn green a month later is that really a smart decision? I purchased these basic gold earrings from Stella & dot for $24. They are a little more expensive but I wear them a lot and I’ve had them for over a year and they still look great.

How To Set A Clothing Budget
What are some quality pieces that we need in our wardrobe? Here are a few basic pieces.

How To Set A Clothing Budget

Good jeans//White Collared blouse//White long sleeved tee//Black long sleeved tee//Chambray shirt

I know some of you will probably ask what I spend a month now?

Well, it’s different now that I have a style blog. I also get a lot of clothes given to me to style and I spend more on months that I share a fashion post everyday. It’s hard to give an exact amount.

One of the things I’m going to try and do for my 31 Days of Spring Fashion in March is to buy 7 pieces and style them 7 different ways. I’m hoping that will help all of us!

My plan is to announce the 7 pieces the week before so if you want to purchase them (some you might have) then you can do that. I’m also going to try and give some options on prices, some different price points.

What other ideas do you have for my 31 Days of Spring Fashion? Was this post helpful??

Beauty for the Heart~~The Bible has a lot to say about money. It’s obvious that Jesus knew we would struggle with it. We don’t ever want to love money so much that we become a slave to it.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21

Let’s be women who lay up treasures in heaven! Have a blessed day!


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  1. I struggle with charging things. I’m single, so it’s really hard not to reign myself in, because I don’t have a husband as “the nerd” to fight with – Ha!
    I’ve recently bought a book entitled “Your Money Counts” by Howard Dayton, and I love it b/c it is a Biblical view of finances; it’s not about just racking up $$$ for later years. It has really opened my eyes and made me look at money differently.
    If anyone is struggling with spending too much on earthly treasures, or is having a hard time breaking the credit card habit, I highly recommend that book!
    Well, that is a little off subject but I wanted to share. I think it’s something a lot of Christians struggle with, and we don’t even realize our debt and bad use of money can be sinful.

  2. Yep, very helpful! Thank you for sharing your personal story. I love to shop, but hate to fork out a lot of money for a trends that may not last. It’s such a guessing game! Thank you!!

  3. I found an amazing consignment store near my office and go there at least once a week.., and always find quality, trendy clothes at a fraction of the cost. I get comments from my co-workers all the time and confess that I bought items at the resale shop 😉

  4. These are important tips. As a working mom, my office and weekend attire are important. Since I will soon be a single mom, I’m going to use these tips and books references to help me balance my budget while still fulfilling my love for clothing.

  5. My husband and I just opened a new checking account for budget spending only. It has really been fun for me – he hates it (free spirit). I agree with the quality pieces. I wear my Loft denim 3-4 times a week. I can justify a couple of pairs. Also shoes of low quality last one season, so I buy very few of those. I tend to stick to classic pieces with a couple of fun things for each season. Thanks for the tips! Susan

    1. Susan,

      I am the same way. Being over 40, I try to lean heavy on the classic pieces that may cost more: a better pair of jeans, higher quality shoes, cashmere sweaters and coats, etc. Yet, I am a hound for a good sale. I did splurge on a pair of snakeskin loafers from guess about 3-4 years ago (not on sale–totally not like me). I wear one of the most common sizes and feared it would be sold out by the time they went on sale. I still have them and LOVE them. They literally go with almost everything and I can wear them year round. Completely worth it. Oh, but I struggled the day I bought them! Ha!


  6. Cyndi, I like your comment that you came to the realization you were going to buy a few pieces every month and needed to budget for that. A couple of years ago, I realized I was spending too much money shopping at a time when our budget was really tight but unfortunately, going shopping is a stress relief for me. And as the primary breadwinner as well as primary caretaker in our family, it was hard not to have some sort of stress relief (somewhere to go that wasn’t work or home). That’s when I started going to the thrift stores. We’re lucky we have a great one with two different locations here. I also gave myself a weekly budget, which is only $5 plus tax. I don’t count coats in this (when they’re a need) and will go over budget slightly to buy pants for work (again a need) althogh I still tend to take a chance and wait until a coat or pair of pants is half off before I buy it. Everything else falls into the $5. It’s not only fun to find name brands at such low prices – it’s a good way to see what brands wear well enough to be sold a second time. Recently, I bought some pieces for my sister-in-law who just underwent weight loss surgery and I was able to give her that gift without spending much. Now it’s hard for me to even shop clearance racks at regular stores. Love your blog and am looking forward to styling for spring!

  7. Wonderful wisdom and great ideas Cindi! I agree, quality jewelry is so much better than the trendy cheap stuff. It looks better, feels better and holds up way better. Recently I cleaned out my jewelry dresser and donated several cheaper items I never wear. I’m working on doing the same in my closet now and am trying to make better choices in clothing purchases. I’m excited for your 31 days of spring fashion! I love it when you show us how to make the basics in our wardrobe work for various styles. In your March challenge I’d love to learn some tips on how to transition winter pieces over to spring. I’d also like to learn the secrets of layering various tops so they are both flattering and comfortable and not so bulky.
    PS: Congratulations to Michelle for winning the Young Living gift set! 🙂

  8. I love listening to Dave Ramsey’s radio show. He has so many good ideas. Like you, I always buy on clearance. And Marshalls and TJ Maxx are two of my very favorite stores.

  9. Cyndi, wonderful post today. But I like all your posts. There is great wisdom in it and I love the scripture you shared. We have been budgeting for years and setting financial goals and although we have a lot to keep working for, we have come a long way because of it. I second your quality vs. quantity theory as well as I have learned the hard way that cheap isn’t always better. 🙂

  10. Setting a budget for clothing is sooo hard to do, especially when you love fashion!! You’ve given us some really great tips to follow, Cyndi. I do bargain hunt for my clothing. I never buy unless it’s on sale. I enjoy going to high end consignment shops and goodwill as well. My weakness is buying a new outfit and thinking I must acessorize with new jewelry, shoes, etc….knowing that I probably have something already at home that would work!! I’m looking forward to your 7 pieces, styled 7 different ways!!

  11. I LOVE your idea of buying 7 pieces and showing us how to mix them up. I would even like to see you do several “sets” of seven, maybe different colors or styles for different body types!

  12. Alas, I am the nerd. But I also love clothes. And I’m impulsive. In the end, I wind up buying lots of things I see and love. Because I know myself and that I may have impulsed on an item, I put it aside for a week or two, and usually end up returning at least half of what I buy after realizing it may not have been something I really will use or need. My husband says I have more fun returning that actually buying, and this routine results in overpaying credit cards too which just seems ridiculous. Am I the only nerd/free spirit that does this?

    1. Lori – I do that, too! Like Cyndi, I go for quality now and even though it might be a good piece, I think about it for awhile. And I’m hard to fit so with jeans, I make sure I know the return policy, leave tags on, and wear them around the house a few times. 2013 was a bad year for jeans until I came up with that. 2014 saw 2 pair of quality ($$$) jeans which are perfect and more than enough!

  13. My husband is an Accountant. I am glad to give him control of the finances. From the beginning he set budgets for every area and initially it was hard. But, as I have tried to keep them, I have gained his trust and he has trusted me with more. I know he loves me and he is generous. Thank you for this post. It is freeing to know that we are going to have needs but that we can budget for them and be creative and wise about maximizing our spending decisions for the greatest style and quality impact.

  14. I’ve recently lost 45 pounds since last April and this has awakened my love of shopping. Much to the dismay of the hubby! Ha! I never buy though unless it’s at least on sale and I’ve definitely been shopping the clearance racks. I never used to buy cheap shoes, but since my weight loss, I find that I can wear more shoes from Target than I used to be able to before. I still pay for good shoes that I know I’ll be walking a lot in.

    Anyway, this was a timely article for me, and I just found the cutest little black dress for $10 and a $1.59 belt to go with at a consignment store. I’m going to be looking there more often!

    1. Congrats, Mary, on the weight loss. I too had lost weight, 48 lbs. since last February. But since November (and falling off the wagon during the holidays), I have begun to gain some of it back. In fact, some of my current wardrobe is starting to feel tight! UGH! So frustrating! Any advice? What are you doing? (I know this is slightly off topic!)

      1. Hi Kim, I eat as clean as possible and very low carb. I refuse to go back there, I’ve donated almost all of my larger sizes, so I better maintain! Get back on the wagon, Kim, you can do it!

  15. I too am looking forward to your 31 days of spring fashion. I was just clicking on the links in the examples above. My mouth dropped to the floor when I saw a t-shirt for almost one hundred dollars. I could NEVER in a million years spend that on just a tee. That’s just my opinion. I love those looks, but I’m cheap…..it has come from being married for 24 years to a husband who is cheap. 🙂

    1. I agree with Kim. $100 for a t-shirt is quite pricey! Looking at the J-Jill clothes yesterday, while I liked them very much style wise, they seemed kind of pricey, as well. One reason I liked your blog (Cyndi) was I thought your picks were reasonably priced. Please don’t forget us budget-minded gals!

  16. Cyndi – yes, I totally agree with setting a budget and sticking to it (however hard it is to do). I am also looking forward to your 31 Days of Spring!! yeah! And I love the idea of posting the 7 pieces prior so we too could add it to our wardrobe and follow you along (great idea!).
    Last weekend my daughter and I were out shopping and I added a “military jacket” (similar to yours) to my wardrobe. I bought army green 🙂 I’m Canadian and bought it “Ricki’s” (see link below)…just as a side note, I didn’t pay the full price as it was on sale 🙂
    I think your posts are getting better and better! Thanks!
    Heather in Ontario

  17. I am a Dave Ramsey girl, the nerd! We have also taken and taught Financial Peace and it has changed the way we handle money as a married couple. As a nerd, I can squeak a penny, but I agree, quality clothes are a must, hey, we are the 40’s, we are worth a little time and money! Thanks for your post, and remember to be gazelle intense about debt and run like a cheetah if a bad purchase is calling your name!

  18. This was really helpful, because we have a son who’s a freshman at a very expensive private university, a 17 year-old daughter and a 12 year-old daughter. I’m having to really watch what I’m spending on clothing. I definitely want to learn how to work with fewer pieces.

  19. Hurrah for this post! I think money is something we all need to talk about as we “re-style” ourselves! After teaching preschool for almost 20 years, I’ve been trying to purge my closet and update my wardrobe. I participated in the fall challenge at gypo, follow you and Jo-Lynne and I’ve learned so much. I was picky about what I chose to spend my money on in the challenge. It can be overwhelming when you see so many cute things to add; but to go into debt for it, is not fun at all! That is why I’ve enjoyed following you three…I get great ideas! I understand that y’all are in the “fashion business” and that you style things sometimes through various promotions; how exciting! If I see things I can’t or don’t wish to spend quite so much money on…I just use that knowledge to find something like it within my budget! I l.o.v.e. the idea of seven items! I think this will be very realistic and a fun challenge to see just how many ways you can put those pieces together! Thank you so much for this! Now, I’m excited!! I live in Florida yet my spring/summer wardrobe is pitiful! This is something very doable and fun! God bless 🙂

    1. I love your blog. And I’m glad you wrote this post. I’m not yet 40 but getting closer by the day. I am still at a place in life where things are tighter. I would love to see you do a weeks worth of cute, quality clothes on a tighter budget. Thanks Cyndi!

  20. I am so darn excited about your 7-pieces! I’m on a budget as well and I’m always pulling my hair out because my wardrobe doesn’t mix or match at all and I ‘never have anything to wear’. I can’t wait to see just how it’s done!! Thank You!!!

  21. Really looking forward to your 7 piece styling. I listen to Dave Ramsey’s radio show everyday on my way home from work. Very informative and really makes me think about each purchase I make.

  22. I love your thoughts, however now in my life I’m not strapped so I have found release in saving as much as I spend. This has helped my see the virtue in being a good steward, and yet allowing myself to spend. I know money and budgets will always make everyone squirm a bit. I WANT to spend at JJill however it is not happening in my budget this month,and that is fine because I choose to save instead. Life is always the dreaded balance. Love your look and blog. Blessings

  23. Can’t wait for the 7 pieces blog. One idea I do is if a new piece comes in the closet and old piece has to go out. Helps with overcrowding.

  24. I love your blog. One of my new years resolutions was to try to go 6 months without buying any clothes. I am hoping that I have some of the 7 pieces for spring.
    Thanks for the Bible verses. They are my inspiration for the day!!

  25. I am on the struggle bus with a clothing budget. I have 4 kids (2 in college and 2 in high school) plus my husband. Any ideas on how to budget for everyone? My kids all love clothes and it seems like everyone always is in need of something. My husband and I end up last, with nothing. Lol Should I give each kid so much money? Prom is coming up for my daughter too. ugh Would that even be in the budget?

  26. New here! Interested to see the 7 pieces. Busy reading some of your post today. Love what I’ve seen so far. I’m getting ready to retire after working 40 years and am trying to tweak my wardrobe to be more casual/classic.