Clothing is one of those items that many people don’t include in their monthly budgets but should consider including it in their yearly budgets, and that involves saving during the year for a once (or twice) yearly event.
Winter clothing is a particularly important item for which to budget because we seem to wear out our winter-wear so much more quickly. Maybe it’s the harsh environment or maybe it’s because we feel so uncomfortable one year with an item or article of clothing that we resolve to replace it before the onset of the following winter.
Summer clothing doesn’t seem to be replaced as often, and when it does, it’s usually for style reasons, rather than functionality. Besides, we don’t wear as much clothing in the summer as we do in the winter, so there’s less to spend on.
By the time you get boots to replace the salt-ravaged ones from last winter, a set of replacement gloves for the ones you stored away somewhere and now can’t find, and maybe a heavier coat than the one the wind blew through last year, you’re easily several hundred bucks down.
When it comes to winter clothing, most style-conscious advisors will tell you to spend your money on being stylish underneath your utilitarian exterior shell. Besides, it’s better to dress in layers because layers trap air between them, and air is one of the best insulators.
So, you may thing you need to spend a couple hundred dollars on a winter coat, when spending a hundred on a wind-proof shell with a bit of insulation may do you just as well for braving the cold between the door and the car, and then is set aside when you’re in the climate controlled indoors (at the restaurant, at the mall, at the office, etc.) and people can see your fabulous taste in the clothes you wear beneath the utility of your outerwear.
Sweaters provide an added layer of insulation underneath the winter-proof outer shell, and a slightly heavier shirt or long-sleeved T-shirt will add the layer beneath that, next to the skin.
As an added benefit, lighter winter outerwear will allow you to prolong the use of your fall fashions through the cold weather months, and then switch over to your spring clothes as winter nears its end. It also allows you to deal with the fluctuation in temperature on those inconsistent days where you leave the house in below-zero temperatures and then go out for lunch after temperatures have climbed into the fives — you can leave the sweater behind and just go with the winter shell over your Tee, or you can leave the wind-protection behind and just go with your fall sweater.
In short, spend the bulk of your fashion budget on the clothes in which people are going to see you most often, and when you really think about it, they usually only see you in your winter coat for several minutes a day.
And as with any large expenditure, it makes it easier to pay for it when you’ve worked it into a budget. The best way to budget for necessities —clothing, shelter, food, etc. — is based on past experience. Thus, keeping track of past expenditures will allow you to set a budget for future purchases (whether you choose to pay less for it or work in an allowance for inflation).
Set a yearly budget point, divide it by 12 or 26 or 52 (depending on whether you want to put money away on a monthly basis, bi-weekly or weekly) and put that money away to spend when the chill starts blowing in from the north.