Groom Your Clothing Budget

Your clothing budget and personal grooming category are two great places to cut expenses if your budget doesn’t balance. Let’s face it – most of these expenses are for things we want and not for things we absolutely need. With a little creativity you can trim without having to eliminate too many things altogether.

  1. Keeping your clothing budget under control definitely requires some willpower. You can help yourself, and make your money stretch farther, by establishing a few new habits:
    1. Designate a specific amount of money each month as clothing money and stick to that amount.
    2. What you don’t spend in a month rolls over to the next month, so you get a bit of a reward for not spending today.
    3. Stay out of stores. Don’t put yourself in places where you’ll be tempted to spend money you don’t have.
    4. Hit the sale racks. I never buy clothes at the retail price – it’s too easy to find what you need on sale.
    5. When you do buy clothes, don’t be frivolous. Buy items you need, and items that will go with other clothes and accessories you already have.
    6. Have clothes altered if they no longer fit, or repaired if it’s inconspicuous. Keep them clean and take care of them so they’ll last longer.
    7. Have shoes resoled instead of automatically buying new ones.

  2. Recently I was forced to “tighten my belt” and I went on a hunt for places to cut back. With a little calculator work I realized that I could save the cost of 2 salon visits a year by having my hair cut and colored every 6 weeks instead of every 4 weeks. I don't even notice a difference in my hair. Making this change gives me 2 months each year without a hair salon expense, and I was able to allocate that money to other areas of my budget to help cover my shortfall.
  3. I have a friend who moved from having her eyebrows done every month to having them done about 3 times a year. She can easily keep them cleaned up on her own for several months before she feels she needs to have them done professionally again. At $8 per session plus a $2 tip, she’s gone from $120 a year to $30 a year – a $90 savings – and neither she nor her appearance is suffering at all!

Don’t be too quick to assume a particular expense can’t be adjusted. Think about it for a minute. Get creative. And always be sure the change makes sense, and that it’s something you can live with. But you also have to be realistic – if you have a large gap to close between your income and expenses you will have to seriously consider eliminating some of the luxuries you now enjoy in your personal grooming and clothing budget.

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