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How much do you really spend on clothes each year?

Nikki ParkinsonFashion 15 Comments

A lot of conversations go down in this blog’s Facebook group (if you’re not a member you can join here). This week, this one caught my attention. 


Are you ready for it …

Off the top of your head – how much money do you think you spend on clothes, shoes, and accessories for yourself each year? 

Do you know how much you really spend on clothes? Do you budget? Have you recently changed the way you shop and what you buy?

Hunt + Kelly dress | How much do you really spend on clothes each year?

Hunt + Kelly dress (YES, you can shop it!!)

Here’s what some Stylers have shared (names have been omitted to protect the innocent!).

Waaaaay too much! Probably on average $200-$300 a month 😩

No comment 

$1500-2000 a season? No idea exactly. I’ve been losing weight so I’ve had to replace my wardrobe four times over in the last 2 years. Ok, it is a lot more than this but I think it is better I don’t add it up. I don’t buy lots of items but I’m fussy about quality.

I’ve spent at least $500 in the last week just getting smaller undies, bras, plus some new jumpers/long sleeve shirts to get ready for autumn/winter.

Too much each season 

I’m way to scared to add it up 

Not enough.

This doesn’t include gym gear and underwear right? Otherwise multiply my previous answer by about a million 😳

I’ve been tracking it since January last year and am averaging $80 a month.

I think probably about $1000 a month, scary when you add it up 😳

Mmmm no idea but too much … as I press continue on a pair of FRANKiE4s.

Who’s counting? 

Probably $10,000-12,000 per year. Yikes

1OK easily. 🙈

If I answered that question truthfully:
1. I’d pass out 
2. My husband would somehow find out 😅

My husband has a motorbike which he upgrades every couple of years no questions asked and in return we don’t talk about what I spend on my wardrobe. 😉

OMG!!! Too much , I’ve never tracked … a bit too scared probably 😂🤣🤣 my husband luckily for me indulges in my shopping addiction 😍

Very little. Being heavier than I want to be is a good disincentive. Funds are currently directed to gym fees instead 🙄 also I have plenty of classics in reserve for later. even in my corporate days I wasn’t a big spender. I’m intrigued with this obsession people have these days to constantly buy new “on trend” stuff, even our home styling is not immune.

This month alone $2.5k but on average $1000pm not including beauty, skincare or cosmetic injections. In saying that, I invest in pieces that are versatile and can be used for seasons and years to come.

I don’t want to know! 😂

What a question! At a guess $500 month for clothes/shoes. The amount varies in direct proportion to how many hours I am working. Currently I have no spare time for worship at Westfield, so my spending is way down. I am curious now, so will track my spending for May.

I would hate to think 🤔 I shop mostly online so very easy to make random purchases and they do add up!

Not as much as last year which was $100 plus a week. Now barely nothing. Can’t be bothered at the moment.

Hard question. I need to buy only what I love.

This financial year $740 – lots of shopping from my wardrobe.

Nothing. Like NADDA. Not even underwear or a pair of shoes. I have a teenager and that sucks all disposable cash (including the $$ I don’t have) 😫😂

$500 a month at least, not including hair and beauty. It would be interesting to add up what I spent last year.

I make a lot of my clothes, so do we count fabric? I don’t spend much on accessories (I have lots of scarves etc) or on shoes (one-two pairs per 6 months). I’ve bought four autumn/winter items of clothing and made five items so far. I probably won’t buy much more. Including fabric, it’s probably $300-400 per month. 

I used to spend well over $10k. Now I’m happier with owning less and buying less 😀

Yes, I believe in less is more, I do buy expensive items when I buy, yet I only have fewer clothes and every year I do a clean out. If I’ve not worn it for a year I chuck it

For me it’s not so much about the money I spend, it’s the money I waste impulse buying then never wearing. Oh to get all that money back and buy a few investment pieces instead 🙄

This is a really thought provoking question. I don’t think I want to know. My problem is I can’t resist expensive but classic clothes when they are on a good sale.

At least $8K so far – a conservative estimate though.

There are a lot of emojis, yes? A lot of fear about sharing – or just tracking/adding up what’s been spent. And a whole lot of laughing – at ourselves.

This topic has become something we default to joking about, hasn’t it? Who’s ever hidden a shopping bag or online order from their partner? Or dropped a “this old thing” when quizzed whether what you’re wearing is new? Or laughed about how much they’ve “saved” because they bought something on sale?

I’ve done all those things. I’ve joked about them with girlfriends. There’s no doubting that it IS funny – up to a point – but I think I’m FINALLY growing up and realising that maybe the joke’s on me.

For starters, I contribute equally to our family’s finances. I shouldn’t feel that I have to hide anything I buy. What I should feel is very ok and safe to discuss with my partner any purchases above a certain $ amount.

This was just one of a gazillion ah-hah moments I had at the start of this year after reading The Barefoot Investor.  He and his wife have an agreement they can buy anything under $400 without consulting the other. If you’re one of the thousands who hasn’t read Scott Pape’s bestseller and you think you need a little shake-up in the finances department, then do yourself a favour. I wish I’d started my adult life out with his no-nonsense knowledge but it’s never to late to make up for lost time – or money.

My other money guru is the incredible Denise Duffield-Thomas, of Lucky Bitch fame. I’ve done all of Denise’s courses and she just makes so much sense to me. Most of us have a tonne of issues and blocks around money – working on these with Denise’s help has been life-changing – and not just in helping me understand my shopping habits.

I also have to discuss my shopping elephant in the room, don’t I? I own and operate an online store selling clothes, accessories and lifestyle products. So, yes, I would very much like you to keep shopping. HAH! The very nature of what I do in my business is that each season I showcase new pieces I think you might like to add to your wardrobe.

Part and parcel with that is that I’m given way more clothes, shoes and accessories than I would buy if working in another role or business. This is incredible perk of my business and not one that I take for granted. It means, by default, that I buy way less for myself than I did five years ago. 

What I do do each season is keep my wardrobe extremely well edited and this is the number one thing you can do too to help form more mindful shopping habits. Knowing what’s already in your wardrobe really does help you to only shop for things that you need to fill gaps or suit different occasions.

The second most important thing you can do is plan out your outfits every week. This very process is what we dive deep into in my Ultimate Capsule Wardrobe online style program

The third most important thing you can do? Track your income and your expenses. YEP. The B word. Everyone’s budget is VERY different. There is no judgement from me when it comes to what people do and don’t spend on clothes and accessories. 

But if you’re keen to track your clothing expenses, I’m going to point you in the direction of blogger – Beth from Almost Posh. 

This is my third year of tracking just that. 2017 was $2556 actual spend with a total RRP of $5846. YTD for 2018 is $687 with a RRP of $1647. I have an Excel spreadsheet with formulas that calculate monthly and YTD spend as well as cost per wear. I jot down the prices in the notes of my phone and wrap up the purchases each month on my blog.

You can read Beth’s overview HERE and link to download a blank version of the cost tracker spreadsheet. 

So, tell me, are you up for sharing what you spend on clothes and accessories?

I’ve put together an anonymous survey. Head HERE to take it. It’s super simple. One question! 

Comments 15

  1. This is such a tricky question to answer because for some of us the amount we spend is determined by what ‘spare $’ is available.

    Personally, my recent spending has been from op/thrift shops with the odd new piece but I am also consciously trying to reduce, reuse and recycle what I have. My wardrobe swap to cooler clothes [for Brisbane] this week yielded several pieces for the op/thrift shop bag and the last eight weeks at the gym have meant that my weight is finally going down and not up.

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  2. I actually don’t know, and am quite happy in that ignorance and denial.
    It probably wouldn’t be as much as my hubby would say it is though, as most of my clothes are my own creations from work. Also being a Mum, I don’t get out to the shops as much as I’d like as I just don’t have time, and I’m also not an online browser, as I like to have a touch/try on.
    I tend to just have “blow outs” – like Hawaii last week when I would have done around $1000 in a weekend on shoes and clothes.
    I’m proud to call the gorgeous Beth a friend though and have loved her budgeting advice and spreadsheets.
    Well done for highlighting a hotbed discussion Nikki

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  3. @julie rielly I have been in your position before when my kids were young. After paying bills there was nothing left at all. Try to look after your mental health and above all be kind to yourself. Bad times eventually become memories and make us appreciate what we have. X

  4. Being unemployed for the last 12 month, my spending on clothes/shoes/accessories is null & void and I have zero/zilch in savings. After a Centrelink payment of $648.60/fortnight and then taking out rent, bill payments (car or contents insurance on differing fortnights), debt re-payments, I am usually left with between $10 – $22 (depending on which insurance fortnight it is) and out of this I then still have to buy groceries, petrol and sometimes medication (anti-depressants).

    I follow along on here to get ideas/inspiration of how to shop in my wardrobe.

    I just wish that there were more low budget options featured sometimes to enable the people who are on low incomes or nil incomes to be able to afford a bit of new style choices.

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  5. Well, I just started Beth’s spreadsheet challenge and created one for my hubby and one for me – now that is a scary comparison! I think it will definitely help me be more mindful. Love your capsule wardrobes Nikki – they have definitely helped me get more milage out of items in my wardrobe which I love.

  6. Hi Nikki – thanks so much for the share! Tracking my expenditure on clothes and accessories has been so educational over the last few years – especially looking back over the cost per wear and the impulse items – albeit cheap – still sitting there with an “0” next to them until they are finally crossed out and given away. It is also great for identifying gaps in the wardrobe and deciding if I need to reel it in and wait until next month to click the checkout button!

  7. Since becoming part of this community I shop much more mindfully than in the past and I can easily walk past something if it doesn’t fit in with what I already have.

  8. I am probably not in a position to be spending the $$$ I am spending on clothes at the moment. Two small kids, massive mortgage and I still cannot resist the urge for something new. I went through a stage where I was on my own paying a mortgage and I simply could not afford to buy clothes but now I see something weekly that I love and want to own. Online shopping doesn’t help! Sometimes I feel like I’m trying to fill a void that isn’t there and feel constantly guilty about the purchases I make.

  9. I am very grateful for your capsule wardrobe group Nikki.
    The benefits of last years purchases are coming to fruition, with mindful choices and planning my spending is less than before so I feel that I am becoming more about timeless style and less about fast fashion.

  10. I used to do budgeting for a company as part of my job. Then one day I had a light bulb moment and thought it should translate to home expenses. I allow myself $2500 to $3000 a year on clothes and shoes which is a lot less than when I used to shop mindlessy. I now think about what I purchase, and actually wear it. One of your best tips Nikki was to take everything out of the wardrobe. Really makes you think

  11. I have been buying less and chooosing better since last year Nikki I am trying to fill gaps and not buy things on sale just beacause they are cheap.
    I haven’t added up what I’ve spent but it’s roughly $ 350 this year so far not including Bali purchases Xx

  12. Hi Nikki, this is interesting. Made me stop and think. My circumstances have changed, plus Mum and Dad are watching what I spend my money on, and believe me they are quick to comment! I have lost about 9kgs since January so have bought a few pairs of cheap jeans (KMart), and a few cheaper tops to see me through. Plus a top from your shop, and 2 pairs of Frankie4s. (One pair for next summer being organised lol) Great post! x

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