Clothing Budget + Enjoying the Burn

The beginning of 2017, I set a strict clothing budget for myself. I even opened a separate checking account to keep all clothing transactions organized and separated from our main checking.

I was seeking strict accountability for what I buy and how much I spend on my clothing. Clothes are my weakness. If I'm tempted to impulse buy, it's going to be on my clothes.

Oddly, even thought I showed weakened restraint when it came to clothes and I had plenty of clothes, I wasn't buying the right clothes. There was still holes in my wardrobe and things that were not really my style...just not quite right. Worse, I kept buying similar items. Hello I do not need anymore button down shirts!

Setting a strict budget was my attempt to rein it all in.

I'm also keeping a list of each item I purchase throughout the year. The list allows me to really reflect on what I buy - How much did I wear it? Was this or that a good purchase?

I guess you could say I've made a hobby out of creating a wardrobe that I love. It's a creative outlet and it keeps me from dressing frumpy (as is so tempting for moms at home). It is a hobby that overlaps with the necessity that I get dressed everyday.

I'm almost 4 months in, and I'm really feeling the benefits of this strict budget.

- There is freedom in the budget. The money is allotted for me to spend on clothes, and I don't feel guilt about spending the hard earned family dollars impulsively.

(A word about my impulsive purchasing - what I mean is....impulsive for me, a person who is not very impulsive about purchases. It's relative. In general, I'm an under buyer.)

- I've become a more cautious and confident buyer. The budget provides clarity because if I'm going to spend my precious clothing allowance, I want to buy something I LOVE.

- It's made me patient. My allowance is enough to enjoy and buy beautiful, quality clothes. But it's not enough to run out and buy a full season's worth of clothes and accessories. It's a slow and enjoyable process.

Jennifer Scott describes in one of her videos (though I can't find the exact one) about enjoying the burn, the slow process of building a great wardrobe, buying the best quality you can afford. I love this concept - enjoying the burn. It's an exercise - to budget, to have self-discipline, to refine my style.

Do you have a clothing budget?
Are you satisfied with your wardrobe?
How much do you care about your clothes? A lot, a little?

P.S. You would be so underwhelmed if you saw how I dressed. I'm no fashionista. I enjoy timeless, simple clothing. Though I am trying to dress a little more elegantly by slowly acquiring more dresses.


  1. No clothing budget. My goal is usually to buy new things only when necessary.
    I also really dislike clothes shopping!

    I'm curvy and look best in classic styles.
    In a perfect world (where clothes prices just don't matter) I'd buy a bunch of Eileen Fisher separates/dresses/skirts and live in those. However I'm not ok with spending $200 on every linen blouse that catches my eye.
    Realistically... I have a modest wardrobe of classic items- some quite old- much of it serviceable but it just doesn't thrill me.

    Kim from Philadelphia

  2. SB, I remember seeing you in the grocery store not long ago, you had kids in tow,and you looked so put together! I remember commenting on it because I'm almost positive I had on my uniform of a t-shirt and a baseball hat. I need to get on your plan!

  3. ha! soul sister! I actually set out to not spend ANY money on clothes this year. Post baby - I'm back in my regular clothes - I know I won't be pregnant this year - so I don't NEED anything. What I have realized though is how much TIME I spend just thinking about what I want to buy. Planning my purchase.... and then I remember that I have set a clothes restriction on myself for this year. In some ways it has been freeing. It has also made me inspect closely the clothes I have - I have given myself the freedom to get rid of what doesn't fit well - usually the cheap stuff that I enjoy buying because I can just buy more cheaply... never replacing what I have... just adding to it. Don't have any advice... just commenting. I am about to start a list of what I'd love quality of... assessing what I realistically need. I also don't think that I need nice clothes -but we do a lot of friend-raising with RUF... and I need to look acceptable for that.....

  4. You dress beautifully. Steve - on several occasions - commented on how lovely you were at Charlie's baptism. He's like Mike O in that he notices clothes, etc. and he thought your blue dress was stunning!

  5. Clothing is my nemesis. I've either been pregnant, nursing, or both since December 2012 and each season find myself needing a whole new wardrobe. I hate shopping though, and always try to get everything I need in one fell (online) swoop. Which usually results in a painfully boring uniform each season that I don't even want to look at the next year because I'm so sick of wearing it! I do like nice clothes, but have a hard time wanting to invest in high quality staples at this stage in life where many things seem to get stained or ruined quickly, and when I'm down on the floor with kids all the time, so I usually find myself going middle-of-the-road and super simple...shorts, tshirts, leggings. Mom boring! And probably frumpy. The only part of rejoining the workforce once all our kiddos are in school one day that I look forward to is finally having a nice wardrobe again!


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