How much should you budget for clothing?

How much should you budget for clothing?

Clothing – it can be a luxury item but it’s also a necessity, if you live in polite society. How much should you spend on clothing in a year? How do you balance your budget with your values if you don’t want to buy fast fashion items? Do you need to buy high-end sustainable fashion?  Do you have to thrift everything? How do you calculate cost-per-wear? How long are socks really supposed to last?
Lillian (4’11”) and Will (6’5″) talk about the differences in budgeting for clothing based on your height, your job, and your climate, and include some quotes from listeners about their own clothing budgets.  The “rule of thumb” is 5% of your take home pay – but how does that map out? Is that realistic?

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How much should you budget on clothing_.mp3 (transcribed by Sonix)

Will Romey: This show is supported by generous listeners like you through our patreon. This episode is underwritten by the Tamsen G Association and Stephanie Powers. To learn more about ways to support Oh my dollar! and get cool perks like exclusive live streams and cat stickers, you can visit

Lillian Karabaic: Welcome to Oh My Dollar!, a personal finance show with a dash of glitter. Dealing with money can be scary and stressful, but here we give practical friendly advice about money that helps you tackle the financial overwhelm. I’m your host Lillian Karabaic.

Will Romey: I’m your other host, Will.

Lillian Karabaic: I like that we just call you Other hosts.

Will Romey: Other host, yea.

Lillian Karabaic: All right, Will. So here’s here’s the real talk. I spend a lot of money on clothing, and I’ve recently just started to realize how deep the hole goes. And I think I’m okay with it.

Lillian Karabaic: But I asked a bunch of people on the new Oh my dollar! forums.

Will Romey: Shout out to to the new Oh My Dollar! forums.

Lillian Karabaic: Oh yeah. Shout out to the new Oh My Dollar! forums which you can totally join and have fun conversations like this.

Lillian Karabaic: But I asked people about how much they spend on clothing, and this is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. As you – I think I mentioned to listeners before – I did a big project where I actually catalog my entire wardrobe, down to like what material each of my items was made from, and the original purchase price, and where I got it and what retailer. Like.

Will Romey: So, Thorough.

Lillian Karabaic: 3000 cell spreadsheet, was the total. I had like 12 pivot tables and that ended up turning into an article, that I did for, which is no longer, but the article is still up there and it has a bunch of graphs on my wardrobe. But I actually came up with the total purchase price, to me, of my entire wardrobe and it’s three thousand dollars.

Will Romey: That’s not as steep as I would’ve guessed. For someone who’s so consistently well-dressed, I don’t know.

Lillian Karabaic: I’m glad you think I’m well-dressed.

Lillian Karabaic: And to me I think one of the things that was surprising to me is because I have I have so much clothing that I got for free because I get a lot of my clothing and clothing swaps. And then when I do, I buy I buy almost everything used, and so I was sort of like “oh, I don’t you – know I don’t spend that much per item but I do when I splurge.”.

Lillian Karabaic: I tend to splurge on very high end stuff, so I have you know to go custom suits, that I have that are like made-to-measure wool suits. Those are not cheap.

Will Romey: Never.

Lillian Karabaic: And that makes up a huge percentage of my wardrobe. And then I have like you know a couple like 1920s vintage dresses that were pretty expensive when I acquired them because, you know they’re a hundred years old.

Will Romey: They’re old, yea!

Lillian Karabaic: I was really interested in this and I think clothing is one of those things that it’s really hard to set guidelines on it right. So it’s one of those things like groceries, where you can the amount that you can spend on it is like wildly variable. But even more than groceries, right like you need clothing.

Will Romey: Right.

Lillian Karabaic: But you only need like a very basic amount of clothing right. And you obviously like clothing is very much a luxury good, if you get up into the higher ends, or it can just be something very basic and you can not replace your clothing for years at a time. Do you – do you think about clothing spending, Will?

Will Romey: I have been –

Lillian Karabaic: We have very different styles.

Will Romey: Thanks thanks thanks for saying I have a style. I’m more of a functional clothing person. I’ll kind of just wear things until they’re falling apart. I like free T-shirts.

Lillian Karabaic: Laughs

Will Romey: Definitely. I’d say my my wardrobe is mostly composed of T-shirts.

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah you do your very T-shirts and jeans. Kind of practical. Do you get a lot of – Because one of the things that a lot of people brought up – is that they end up the investment pieces for them, even if they don’t have like a style so to speak is that they get a lot of like weather gear.

Will Romey: Yes, I’d agree. Any coats or jackets

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah.

Will Romey: There’s also a lot of like tall person solidarity. Like I feel like I feel like once people linger over like 6’4″ there’s like this understanding that it’s a pain in the ass finding clothes that fit. I got a lot of pass downs and hand-me-downs from from other large people.

Lillian Karabaic: I have like the there’s definitely no solidarity – but I get a lot of tiny clothes because other people shrunk them.

Will Romey: Oh yeah yeah yeah yeah.

Lillian Karabaic: Like all of my sweaters were at some point in time.

Will Romey: A Larger sweater.

Lillian Karabaic: A larger sweater and there is the clothing swap pile which is the like either I’ve grown out of it or I shrunk it pile at the clothing swaps. And that’s like my favorite place to go because you know I’m I’m 4’11”. So that’s one of the other disadvantages to me as I like obviously a lot of very whimsical stuff, and as Internet online shopping has gotten more accessible.

Lillian Karabaic: I am the standard size for a lot of Asian cheap fast fashion.

Will Romey: And I bet those are cool -.

Lillian Karabaic: Weird clothes. Yeah I can find a lot of cool, weird clothes and it’s very I think very dangerous for me because I was never someone who ever bought like new clothes at the mall or the store and I – I would always try to buy used for environmental reasons and once it became a lot easier to do online and I could get like super-strange you know a cat face shirts. That’s an actual example of a thing I own.

Will Romey: Strange cat face shirts

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah yeah like you know glitter hot pants that have.

Will Romey: Cats.

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah. Lightning bolts down the side or whatever. Once I was able to start getting, getting access to that without having actually physically go and shop, which is something I hate.

Lillian Karabaic: And then I started to spend a lot more and I tended to spend it on stuff that I don’t value as much in the long term. I’ve thought a lot about this, because I am really obsessed with these old school wardrobe plans, which were – including a budget. They were these classic things that would come out on an annual basis in women’s magazines and they were common like, from like the turn of the century up until like the late 1950s, and it would be an annual budget for exactly the items that a woman would need. And a woman to different stages of their life.

Lillian Karabaic: So there would be like a college budget and I’m going back to school budget. And they really had their height during World War Two austerity right. Well when there were like limitations – on like everybody, obviously had to switch what fibers they were using because you need to switch to using Rayon and things like that, because you couldn’t get natural fibers anymore because they were used for the war and they really, really had a height during that time. And I find them super fascinating, because that just doesn’t exist anymore.

Lillian Karabaic: Now the way that we talk about clothing, in mainstream media, is when they do talk about budget they really emphasize fast fashion. But when I look through and I actually did like the conversions and I did the inflation rate, the “budget-conscious things” would still come out to like a thousand dollars a year, in today’s dollars.

Lillian Karabaic: Right? So it would be like a one hundred dollar annual budget for the staples that you need like “3 skirts and you know- “.

Will Romey: Some blouses.

Lillian Karabaic: “A certain number of tights, and one nice dress to wear to church and job interviews. And like a suit. And that would all come out to about a thousand dollars annually, which is very close to actually what I spent last year. But I would I spent you know a large portion of that on a suit, and then the rest was a bunch of tiny items that I got used from eBay.

Will Romey: Some were a big purchase.

Lillian Karabaic: And I find it really interesting because now when consumer magazines talk about it they’re like “Five shirts you can get for under five dollars” at you know sketchy websites. .

Lillian Karabaic: Or, you know, buying things that H&M or other fast fashion. And I think we’re starting to realize the environmental and the labor impact that that does have. And there’s really, also with the rise of like KonMari-like clean out – People are starting to realize that like if you buy stuff just because it’s cheap and it only lasts for a season, are you really getting value out of that?

Will Romey: Yeah.

Lillian Karabaic: So I did a no spend clothing year I think a couple times 2016 was the last one I did where I didn’t buy any clothing the whole year.

Lillian Karabaic: And I wouldn’t say that like I had a lot of people are like “oh you just won’t spend anything but you’ll spend all the money that next year.”.

Lillian Karabaic: And I know I don’t think I had as much of like “a backlash”, but what it really did highlight for me is the value I get from the high-quality items in my wardrobe. So the stuff that I actually invested in, a lot of which were vintage, and most of which were things like wool or silk, like the more expensive fibers – animal fibers are always more expensive, just so folks know.

Lillian Karabaic: But I like them because they smell less when you sweat. And I bike everywhere. So you don’t end up smelling.

Will Romey: I think they breathe better.

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah.

Will Romey: And I guess-

Lillian Karabaic: They’re always great in Portland because it stays warm even when it gets wet and it rains for 9 months a year-

Will Romey: And it will get wet. Yeah.

Lillian Karabaic: Although you do have to kind of put up with the fact that if it’s like really wool, and you get wet, you will kind of smell like a sheep. Yeah.

Will Romey: Like I – I’ve grown to like that, though.

Will Romey: I don’t think I liked it when I first moved here but I’ve grown to like it. And one thing that I also find really interesting is how much your profession impacts your clothing, right?

Will Romey: It’s like if you work in radio, no one cares.

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah exactly. Like *coughcough* if you are an audio engineer it turns out you can wear whatever.

Will Romey: No one can see me.

Lillian Karabaic: But you do onsite stuff sometimes- But do you really, because you stay in the background as an engineer you’re just.

Will Romey: I can away with the black pants and a black shirt. I just sort of dress like a shadow and try to stay out of people’s way you know get out of the line of sight.

Lillian Karabaic: And look obviously like I work in radio but I also work in media where I am seen and so I- And you know I do a lot of talks and everything, and so there’s there are a lot of the clothing I invest in is stuff that I do specifically because I know I’m going to be wearing it on stage a lot, and because I travel, but I need to be dressed up for speaking gigs. I think that my biggest, most biggest investments are purchases of things that I know that are like wrinkle- resistant. But also we’ll look good on stage.

Will Romey: Wrinkle Resistance is key.

Lillian Karabaic: And I can wear multiple times.

Will Romey: I guess the perk of like conventional men’s dress is like I can get away with just like the pair of suits I’ve had for quite a while for forever almost anything formal.

Will Romey: Yeah right. There is definitely an expectation for people that present – present in a feminized way that you’re going to change, right?

Will Romey: Like never wear the same thing twice.

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah I especially like a wedding like you know. Like oh I wore it at one wedding this year. I can’t wear it on another end like.

Will Romey: Throw it away.

Lillian Karabaic: The same suit at like 20 weddings. Yeah. That’s definitely unfair. So the range on the forum so I ask people on Oh My Dollar! forums what they spend per year and the range was pretty large – from like I think on the low end, people spent like 100 bucks, all the way up to you like two thousand per year. I was definitely on the higher end of it it was I was like like at eleven hundred dollars last year, it seemed like 400 to 600 per year was pretty average but there were some interesting notes.

Lillian Karabaic: So people that needed specialized clothing for work it tended to be higher and a lot of people said that they didn’t even count that in their clothing category because they just consider that work expenses. So fire resistant clothing and steel toed boots.

Will Romey: Oh…I don’t even think about boots in my clothing category. I feel like that’s probably my most consistent expensive purchase. Yeah I mean not that I’m buying a lot but I tend to -.

Lillian Karabaic: Shoes are expensive though.

Will Romey: I still go back and forth. I find I will wreck like a pair of Doc Martins consistently in under a year, just through use. And they’re cheaper, but the more expensive ones, I think it more time out of I’m still trying to figure out where my like ideal boot range is.

Lillian Karabaic: I I’m incredibly jealous because, my partner works in tech and therefore is dressed up in all circumstances by just putting a small amount of effort in and they’re able to just get the same pair of black vans for 10 plus years now.

Will Romey: Yea.

Lillian Karabaic: And they were like they were on sales so they just bought like a back stock of these black vans and their size.

Will Romey: That’s a good play.

Lillian Karabaic: The black vans are like not they look they’re like dressed up in Portland but underdressed in the Midwest right? You know like. But they’re the – I can’t wear black vans with the majority of my work clothing and be seen. I’m actually wearing snow boots right now because it’s snowing outside as we’re recording and I’m wearing it with a vintage dress with a crinoline which looks a little off.

Will Romey: So just just just like buying multiple boots. My little brother actually just stocked up on socks he got like a dozen pairs of the same socks. So he’s just set.

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah.

Lillian Karabaic: No that’s great.

Lillian Karabaic: Socks are actually one of the few things that I almost never buy because I feel like I get enough free socks.

Will Romey: You get free socks?

Lillian Karabaic: Conference socks are really big thing now – where conferences will like have, or like companies will have branded socks at conferences and I also tend to do- You used to get a lot of them because it got a lot of bike conferences, and so they would hand out like branded bike socks. And also those are the kind of things you can find at clothing swaps.

Lillian Karabaic: But since I tend to wear a lot of tights, I don’t actually I only really wear socks when I am working out and so I don’t have a lot of. I don’t have sophisticated socks. I was like never match my socks.

Will Romey: (whispers) I should buy some socks.

Lillian Karabaic: I know now we’re just tired about this. So quite a few people said they had to wear scrubs for work and they said that they scrubs can be really expensive but they do hold up for a long time because they’re meant to be able to be washed on high heat over and over again, and quite a few people that were scrubs for work still had them provided if they worked at the hospital had them provided by their hospitals so that what they wear for the majority of their day on their work days, they don’t have to pay for.

Lillian Karabaic: Oro on the forums said “I don’t spend enough on clothes, or rather I don’t buy enough of them. I’m always sighing wondering why I only have two pairs of pants that fit. And then refusing to shop.”.

Will Romey: I get that.

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah I definitely like. I think it’s- I enjoy buying +fun+ things. So when I buy clothing, I realize I own like five novelty skirts but I don’t own like a basic tee-shirt. Yeah. Oh. How did this happen?

Lillian Karabaic: A. on the forums is a postal worker and she says she spends one hundred dollars on shoes every six to ten weeks, because she goes through them so quickly.

Will Romey: I believe, that makes sense.

Lillian Karabaic: But she also says that she gets her uniforms from the postal union clothing swap, so the Postal Workers Union, has like a clothing swap and like kind-of library where you can just get all the uniforms and you can buy them and invest in them as a postal worker but she’s never bothered to do that.

Lillian Karabaic: Elle says “I think I probably spend close to a thousand dollars a year on clothes. My professional wardrobe is included, and it needs to be practical and look good. I need outdoorsy clothes, exercise clothes, and shoes and my clothes wear out. Some people are magic and their clothes last forever. Not mine. If I lived closer to good thrift stores, I’m sure I could bring it down but not to zero. Mostly because I had too many zero years and, so now I just don’t have enough clothes.

Will Romey: Yeah yeah I clothes wear out. I don’t know where all these holes in my sweaters come from, but they’re there.

Lillian Karabaic: I hate things that you can’t repair, like I have a lot of older clothing and those you can mend over and over again if they’re made from good quality fibers. But, the problem is that with like fast fashion stuff that I get like I used to only ever end up with like H&M stuff because I got into clothing swap – so one person had already been through it and then I would end up popping holes in the seams that were like unrepairable because the fabric is just too light.

Lillian Karabaic: One of the big things that was brought up – was taking care of your clothes can really make it last a lot longer and a lot of people don’t know how to take care of clothes. So one of the big things is that like if you have fancy workout gear, a lot of people don’t realize that almost anything that has a high percentage of spandex in it, usually needs to be drip dried or lie flat dry.

Will Romey: You can’t throw that stuff in the dryer. It wears out a lot faster. It’s important to think, about the fact that clothes are made of fibers and fibers are really just woven together threads

Will Romey: Tiny strings.

Lillian Karabaic: And so anytime you’re stressing that, which is what a dryer does because you’re not only exposing it to a bunch of pressure, you’re also exposing it to a bunch of heat, dryers are really, really hard on clothing.

Lillian Karabaic: That is one of the big ones. A lot of people, you know, I’m one of those people that lake absolutely hates the concept of taking anything to a dry cleaner, because I hate paying per item.

Will Romey: Yeah.

Lillian Karabaic: Theoretically but I wear a lot of wool and so I use a hand wash almost all my wool at home using woollite, and that helps extend the life of my clothing and I’m – I’m blown away by how much – I’m really into this metric of cost per wear.

Lillian Karabaic: And it’s very helpful if you’re buying an investment piece or just any piece and you’re curious, to keep track of how many times you wear it. There’s a couple different apps you can use for this. I use a spreadsheet, but there is an app called stylebook that will actually, if you at the time that you get it you can enter a little picture in. And then every time you wear it you can enter it into a calendar and it will automatically calculate the cost per wear for you.

Will Romey: That’s cool. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Lillian Karabaic: And it’s also just fun because you can see what all the outfits you wore and maybe go like oh I have one pair of leggings and I wear leggings every single day. Maybe I should buy a second pair of leggings.

Lillian Karabaic: You know you can start to see like the patterns or the holes – the holes in your wardrobe -.

I’ll mining – my hole in my wardrobe I’ve developed lately has been my lack of winter clothes which is like a big, big step down from my time and living in cold places. And I’m headed to Anchorage, the end of this month, and I definitely need to pick up a new pair of snow pants and new long underwear.

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah.

Will Romey: It’s gonna be so cold there. We’re hiking out through a cabin with my little brother. My mom doesn’t know I’m coming, but she doesn’t listen to this show. So whatever. Don’t tell her.

Will Romey: I was going to be so cold –

Lillian Karabaic: I’m offended by the fact that your mom doesn’t visit home.

Will Romey: Maybe She does. This is going to backfire. But we’re gonna – it’s gonna be so cold we have to bring heat packs to keep the beer from freezing on the way in.

Lillian Karabaic: Oh wow. Wow.

Will Romey: So I need new long underwear is where I’m going with that.

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah. Yeah.

Will Romey: And those are the thing that’s like it really helps to invest right. So if you get the super cheap version it often goes like long underwear is totally a thing where they’ll end up busting out if you don’t get the nice version.

Will Romey: So my little brother works for a schmancy outdoor clothing company and probably gonna take advantage of his discount.

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah a lot of people brought up clothing swaps which is the things – I thing I do a ton of. And I wish – they’re also sometimes called Naked Lady parties.

Will Romey: You never heard that.

Lillian Karabaic: It’s because you’re kind of just throw everything into a pile like everybody’s like running around trying on things. I’m a huge fan of those especially as people are getting into KonMari’ing their wardrobe and getting rid of things that no longer spark joy for them.

Will Romey: I’ll take your things.

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah. No I think it’s great. It’s also I. I go to enough of these that you see the same weird pieces that cycle around from clothing swap to clothing swap- like the skirt that everybody thought they could make work for them and then they can’t and it just keeps ending up back in the pile.

Lillian Karabaic: Or like the you know glitter spandex shirt that everybody buys and wears to one costume party or you know or picks up at the clothing swap wears one costume party and then brings it back to the next one.

Lillian Karabaic: So I’m a huge fan of organizing under friends, I’ll put in the show notes a link of, like how to organize a clothing swap, if you’ve never done one before. You can also in some big cities find like massive clothing swaps, where you like are required to bring like a paper grocery bag full of clothes for entry.

Lillian Karabaic: Sometimes you have to pay like a five dollar donation but then you can go to this huge mass of clothing. Well it sounds cool. Sometimes they’re organized by size, so sometimes they’ll be like people that are XL and L or people that are extra small and small and that can be really helpful because if you have a small group of friends that is pretty diverse in size, then the clothing swap can be often not as fun.

Will Romey: Not Very useful.

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah. Yeah simply because like I don’t have a lot of clothing that’s going to fit my friends that are a large and extra large because I’m so petite.

Will Romey: I don’t think you and I have much that could go.

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah like Will & I are not going to be a good clothing swap.

Will Romey: Maybe hats, but that’s about it.

Lillian Karabaic: And I find clothing swaps so valuable because it also just helps me personally like feel better about letting go of stuff. And one of the big advantages for me, like you know always I’m so into tracking data. But one of the big advantages of tracking everything I wear is that I literally know what items I haven’t worn.

Lillian Karabaic: If you don’t want to use a spreadsheet, the old school version of this is to put a record or something or like some sort of ribbon on your closet and then wear – every time you wear something, you move it to the other side of the ribbon, on the hanger in your closet.

Lillian Karabaic: And so you’ll be able to see it go through. Yeah. You’ll as you wear stuff you’ll start to realize like oh there’s these things that never move from the other side of the ribbon. And that also works with like you can use a record on your shelf. So if you like stack things in your dresser then you can use the do the same thing. So it’s a side of a record. And I think that can be really helpful way to do it if you’re not going to track all the data.

Will Romey: I think actually just got some old clothes, I got to get rid of some some hand-me-downs, that didn’t quite fit but there are there actually some really nice suits from a an unnamed person who was running for mayor a while back –

Will Romey: Some so some great mayoral campaign suits that I got a donate, there’s a dress, dress for success as the organization, I keep on meaning to get them to I know they support people trying to get jobs, like just hooking up nice suits for interviews.

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah. Dress for Success is actually, really awesome. And if you don’t if you’re not at the income level where you can benefit from their programming, if you have one in your town, usually they have a semi-annual sale of their old stock, and it is crazy cheap.

Lillian Karabaic: Almost all of my like professional like pencil skirts and blouses have come from there and they’re – it’s like five bucks. So the one in Portland is really great, but I know a lot of other cities have them. So just like become friends with your local Dress For Success chapter, because you can get on their mailing list, and if you are in need of a professional wardrobe, like if you were if you work a very office-y job and you need suits, Dress for Success is absolutely amazing. So.

Will Romey: And they’re so they- also they they do like kind of a basic starter kit for folks as well doing, like job training and stuff like that where people and office jobs, but their clothing their clothing sales to die for.

Will Romey: Good. Okay? Noted.

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah. Good good to know if you are also looking to sell clothes like Well I recommend poshmark is an online clothing place that is like easy to list stuff. And it’s like a peer-to-peer one. There’s also a couple different Web sites where they will just like send you a bag and you stuff it with all of your old clothes, and they will sell out it on their own marketplace and get rid of whatever they won’t sell threadup is one of the really common ones.

Lillian Karabaic: The thing about that is you’re gonna get a lot less money for your clothes from something like that than you are doing peer-to-peer selling on something like Poshmark or eBay.

Will Romey: Yeah that makes sense.

Lillian Karabaic: If you’re just looking to get rid of stuff in massive You don’t wanna organize a clothing swap, you can find your local “buy nothing group” and those most of those run on Facebook, but often you can start you can either say like “hey I got all this small clothes, you have to pick all of it up but you can take whatever you want and then pass it on to the next person what you don’t want” or you can even do what’s called “starting a clothing bag”.

Lillian Karabaic: WHich a clothing bag is like, you pack as much clothes into it as you want to get rid of, You start it, you hand it off to the next person and then they take out what they want, and then they move it around and – and those can be kind of a fun way to like get rid of clothes and get new clothes.

Will Romey: Like a decentralized clothing swap.

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah. It’s yeah it’s pretty much like a long-running, decentralized clothing swap. And they all are kind of based around your neighborhood, the buy nothing group. So, those end up being like pretty local. Craigslist can be very hit or miss but sometimes you can get like batches of clothing on there if you’re just like “oh I need to restart”.

Lillian Karabaic: M.J. in the forum said I – “I usually spend almost nothing on clothing between thrift stores and clothing swaps and friends pawning off old clothes on me. But last year I went ham on fancy under things and spent like 500 dollars on lingerie. Plus new sneakers, T-shirts and a dress and consignment store Frye boots and work shoes and and and…”.

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah no lingerie, is one of those big things where it lands it it is really expensive and it really helps. I tried to you know update mine every three years or so and I have to like plan ahead in advance to really do it, because those are one of those things where like I used to get all of my bras from clothing swaps. And that doesn’t really mean they fit.

Will Romey: Right. Right.

Lillian Karabaic: And then I got like a properly fitted broad I was like. The heavens have open.

Will Romey: Life is better.

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah. One of the big one of my big tips, is if you like fancy under things but you want to save a little money is to look for the outlet stores for fancy department stores – so like places like Nordstrom Rack tend to be really good option.

Will Romey: THey got big shoes, too, there.

Lillian Karabaic: Big shoes? I like what you’re like where do we find the tall people things.

Will Romey: As a size 15 shoe, I cannot wear all shoes. Yeah it’s it’s it’s a thing.

Lillian Karabaic: Size fifteen?

Will Romey: Fifteen.

Lillian Karabaic: That’s not a real size.

Will Romey: Yeah yeah it’s often not a lot of them just go up to 13.

Lillian Karabaic: Wow that’s.

Will Romey: Their loss.

Will Romey: It’s their loss.

Lillian Karabaic: You and the 10 other customers that were size 15.

Will Romey: Yeah yeah.

Lillian Karabaic: Man that’s brutal. Okay I mean I knew you were tall. But that’s your- you have very big feet.

Will Romey: yeah. Well if I didn’t have that big feet I would be would be unstable and fall over – it’s proportional.

Lillian Karabaic: One I think one of the reasons I’m so good at jumping and landing *ahem* in figure skating is because I am 4’11” but I have size 10 feet.

Will Romey: Yeah.

Lillian Karabaic: Yes she is you know I have excellent landing platforms.

Will Romey: Jecka: said I spent about sixteen hundred dollars in clothes which seems awfully high, I will say I started a new job and spent a good deal on upgrading my work wardrobe, as well as buying a whole new set of bras, underwear at once. I also invested in some good, heavy-duty winter gear” like you were talking about Will.

Lillian Karabaic: “and upgrading from the this will last me two three seasons to this will last me 10 seasons stuff like boots and a ski jacket.”

Lillian Karabaic: “It’s been a great investment. I’m so much more comfortable outside well and more likely to go for a walk when it’s 25 degrees out.” Someone- Someone said that they spent 676 Canadian on clothing for all three of their family members, which was mainly their kid continually growing out of footwear.

Will Romey: I’m glad I’m done with that.

Lillian Karabaic: But they also said that their pet clothing costume budget however might have been a bit higher.

Will Romey: That’s cuter though.

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah. Much cuter you feel more rewarded by that. So things that I want to take away from this is that there is no set amount. it’s highly variable. It sounds like people get a lot of value from actually spending slightly more and investing in the long term. The folks that, on the forums that talked about this that kind of were happiest with their spending, said like oh I like to do investments so you know I don’t spend a lot at once but I, I you know get stuff that’s going to last me multiple seasons.

Lillian Karabaic: I’m a big fan of finding a way to track what your cost per wear, is and think about things in terms of cost per wear. Because if you’re buying a 15 dollar shirt, but it only lasts you one season and you can only practically apply it to two parties where it has a glitter theme, you’re gonna get a lot less value out of that than a two hundred dollar winter coat that you wear.

Lillian Karabaic: You know for.

Will Romey: To Winters themed seasons.

Lillian Karabaic: Winter themed life.

Lillian Karabaic: Another thing I’m really into is to actually look at your wardrobe from like a comprehensive standpoint and see where the gaps are. Because you may realize that you’re actually like – the big – you constantly are buying skirts or something like that but you would be getting a lot more value generally out of your wardrobe if you had one more black blouse or something like that.

Lillian Karabaic: I’m a really big fan of that, even obviously someone who owns 12 Bowie costumes. I have a lot of impractical clothing, but I try to get my cost per wear down by making it part of my job to wear them.

Will Romey: *Laughs.*

Lillian Karabaic: So tracking data, and buying used is a really big one. And then weirdly it’s super important to take care of the investments, and I think a lot of people underestimate, the portion of their, the portion of their kind of clothing budget that needs to go to care of garments and – and that doesn’t have to be dry cleaning – like there’s plenty of other options other than dry cleaning, like dryel or whatever.

Lillian Karabaic: But it also can mean just thinking ahead to be able to drip dry and line to your stuff, and not throw your fancy workout gear or your wool in the dryer.

Will Romey: We didn’t even touch on a laundromat budgets.

Lillian Karabaic: Laundromat budgets.

Will Romey: It’s a big deal for another day.

Lillian Karabaic: It’s a big deal. 1. So when I do when I teach an in-person class and actually one of the exercises in my book, I have people like walk through different budgeting choices and one of the budgeting choices is that doing laundry in your house is more expensive than doing it at a laundromat and a lot of people are like instinctively like “that doesn’t make any sense, like it’s free if I do it at my house.”.

Lillian Karabaic: But I like to let people know that that is part of the built-in cost of your housing, so you’re usually paying more for your housing if it does include a washer-dryer, which could just be in rent, but it could be that you own a house, and you’re paying for you know the carrying costs of having a house that’s large enough to be able to have that or – so it’s not tried and true – obviously you might be at a point in your life in either I don’t know you maybe you have eight kids and are doing laundry constantly.

Will Romey: Can’t go the laundromat anymore.

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah yeah even.

Will Romey: Even between laundromats I haven’t found the bougie, more expensive one to be cheaper because it’s faster.

Lillian Karabaic: And you don’t have to do as many loads. Exactly. Yep. Higher capacity. It’s really interesting to think about laundromats in terms of like both your cost time, too, right. So if you’re like oh I have to spend four hours to get all my loads done, because I only have two things, and I only go once every six weeks, because I hate doing laundry. Like if you spend four hours at the Laundromat but you could go to a slightly bigger laundromat that costs slightly more, but cut your time in half. Well what’s your hourly wage rate?

Lillian Karabaic: So thinking about things like that.

Lillian Karabaic: I am not personally that pro laundromat because most of those machines are incredibly hard on your clothing, but some of the fancier bougier laundromats, are willing to get there, have the nicer machines that are kinder to your clothes.

Will Romey: Oh this one is free detergent too

Lillian Karabaic: FREE DETERGENT! makes such a big difference, and then you don’t have people that are like stealing your detergent, which is totally a thing. Also having to haul it there with no car, it’s like oh.

Will Romey: No I do want – I do want my own washer and dryer.

Will Romey: We’re drifting.

Lillian Karabaic: We’re drifting-

Will Romey: Things Will wants.

Lillian Karabaic: Anywa, so things are will link to in the show notes.

Lillian Karabaic: I will talk about the, I will link to some of those classic 1940s a wardrobe plan, wardrobe budgets. I think it’s a good way to think about things. They tended to have a lot less clothing than us back then. But when you actually calculate against inflation costs it’s totally, totally different.

Lillian Karabaic: One of my other favorite personal finance blogs is called The Luxe Strategist, and she’s really into designer clothing but she never pays, you know sticker price for them. And she talks through a lot of the different strategies for getting designer or higher end clothing. And I am by no means an expert on that, because I like trashy clothes. I’ll link to her.

Lillian Karabaic: And yeah, I will also link to the forum so if you want to continue this discussion in the forums – have at it!

Will Romey: Have at it.

Lillian Karabaic: All right. I think that wraps our show for today Will.

Will Romey: It’s wrapped, it’s folded, it’s dry.

Lillian Karabaic: I feel compelled to buy less clothes after this show.

Will Romey: Feel like I could buy more clothes. Yeah.

Lillian Karabaic: I think we might be on the opposite end of clothing spending. But. That.

Will Romey: That wraps our show for today and we love hearing from you so e-mail us your financial worries or successes your

Will Romey: Clothing acquisitions at Or tweet us @anomalily or @ohmydollar.

Lillian Karabaic: Our producer is Will Romey – and our intro music is by Aaron Parecki. I’m your host and personal financial educator Lillian Karabaic. Thanks for listening. Until next time, remember to manage your money so it doesn’t manage you.

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