We can confidently say that we spend a substantial amount of our hard-earned paycheck on clothes, but what exactly should our clothing budget be? To be quite frank, we had no idea, which is why we were excited to research this story. And just in case you’re in the dark about your spending habits as well, we thought we’d bring the matter to light with a super-simple equation.
To get to the bottom of it, we looked to award-winning financial planner Pete Dunn. Based on his expertise, we calculated what your clothing budget should be per month based on your salary. And because we still fully condone adding a few pieces to your wardrobe each month, we included a few on-budget items that we recommend for each of the salaries listed below. Keep scrolling to get ready for your reality check.
5% of Your Take-Home Pay
Who What Wear
According to Dunn, you should spend 5% of your monthly income on clothing. To find the exact dollar amount you should be spending per month, multiply your take-home pay by 0.05. For example, if your monthly take-home pay is $3000, you should spend around $150 per month on clothing. While everyone has a unique financial position and you likely know your own situation best, we find that the 5% guide is helpful for reeling in those oh-so-tempting shopping sprees. Read on to see the types of purchases that are appropriate for different income brackets.
If your annual salary is around $30,000…
You likely don’t have much cash to spare on non-essentials, so focus your spending at more affordable stores that are still high quality—such as Zara, Topshop, Everlane, Mango, H&M, and ASOS.
Your disposable income is growing, but your expenses might be too if, for example, you’ve upgraded your car or apartment. Accordingly, keep your thrifty shopping haunts in regular rotation and choose one clothing item a month to spend slightly more on.
You likely are feeling relatively comfortable financially and have the freedom to purchase a few nicer items for yourself. At this bracket, clothing and accessories from midpriced boutiques like Shopbop are a good fit.
If you’re in this income bracket, you can afford to splurge on a luxury item that you’ll have forever. Consider adding a classic pair of Manolo Blahnik pumps or timeless items to your closet. Just make sure to limit these clothing purchases so you don’t exceed spending 5% of your take-home pay.