Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Guest Post: Setting (and Keeping) a Clothing Budget from Franziska of Franish

One of my goals this year is to spend less money on clothes. So far my main method for spending less is buying NOTHING, but with spring rapidly approaching, I knew I was going to need some help on setting and sticking to a budget. 

Franziska is a budgeting and blogging babe! She regularly scores amazing thrift store finds and never pays full price for anything, so I knew she would be perfect to give me (and you) some advice!

Hello everyone, my name is Franziska, and I blog at Franish. I work as coordinator in a research lab, but will be leaving this summer to start medical school. Right now it's really important for me to save money, so I have a clothing budget I try to stick to each month. Shopping is my hobby, so I've really worked at and learned how to stretch my money. I hold a monthly link up called Budgeting Bloggers - it's all about sharing how we stuck to our budget, cheering each other on when we stick to it and feeling guilty when we don't ;)   

Here are my tips for starting and stretching your budget!

Setting a Budget

My monthly clothing budget is $150. I read up on budgeting before I set it, and figured out my other monthly finances first. I read that you should use 5-8% of your income on clothing, so my budget does fall into that range while still allowing money for frivolous things like rent and groceries.

Keeping Track of your Budget

Since I blog about my budget each month, I try to save pictures of everything I buy. If I buy something in stores, I save a picture to a folder on my computer that is titled with where it's from and how much I paid for it. I keep a running tally in my head about how much I have left that month. I also have started to do a lot of thrifting, so I usually document my thrift finds on instagram and then use those pictures in my monthly post. I know many people use and love using it, while others use a simple excel sheet. Find what works for you and then stick to it!

Stretching your Budget

I'm cheap at heart, so I rarely pay full price for anything. I sign up for all my favorite retailers' email lists, and then automatically put each e-mail received into a folder titled "Shopping'. When I feel like doing a bit of online shopping, I check that folder first for any coupon code. I also google for codes and refuse to pay for shipping or returning (I told you I was cheap!). I also believe that there are great pieces that can be found on the sale racks - they aren't just for the pieces no one wants!

I've also recently gotten into thrift shopping a lot. It's shocking what you can find if you are willing just to dig a little bit - just in the past month I found a Christian Dior blazer, a Burberry jacket, and a Barbour Vest. I couldn't afford any of these items in a store, but for no more than $8 each? They're coming home with me! My advice for thrift shopping is to figure out which store in your area has the best finds, figure out what deals they have (mine have 50% certain color tags on Fridays and Saturdays), and then just have fun with it - try everything on you are interested in! Don't buy anything just because it's cheap because that defeats the purpose, but you can find amazing things at ridiculously low prices.

When it comes to sticking to my budget, I don't always stick to it. Some months I go over, and some months I'm under. Having a number I should stick to helps curb a lot of impulse buys, which means I'm really working towards having a workable wardrobe. I have a running list of items I'm hoping to add to my closet, so that also helps when I feel like I need a pair of ridiculous heels or bright orange pants because I realize I probably don't need them. I feel good about the purchases I'm making and I don't feel guilty about adding pieces to my closet anymore.

I hope this helped a bit for anyone who is thinking about setting a monthly budget. I'd love for you to join us for budgeting bloggers!


ashleigh said...

This is very helpful. My problem is being plus sized, I'll have a list of things, and then...nothing looks right on me. And I'm in the store anyway and everything else is MUCH more expensive than the items I originally wanted. Thanks for the tips!

Selah said...

I totally agree with you about not paying for shipping & returns! ASOS and Nordstrom Rack have free shipping and free returns on everything. They are more expensive sites but you can score some good deals on clearance. I will pay shipping at Wal-Mart ($0.97 on clothing) and return it at the store if necessary. I also keep a wish list of items that would fill "holes" in my wardrobe. When you say 5-8% of your income, I assume you mean your net income, right? Still, that seems high to me. I only budget $75 a month for my family of 4. That's like 1.5% of our net income. Even if you count unexpected purchases (like when my son outgrows every single pair of pants in 1 week!) I don't think we hit 5%.

Jessica @ Here&Now said...

I think budgeting is sexy! I am totally on team "never pay for shipping" & dream of being as much of a thrifting rockstar as Fran is one day!


Franziska said...

You can order things from Nordstrom Rack online?! I had no idea - we don't have a NR in the entire state of Wisconsin so I have no experience with it but I hear great things!

For me the 5-8% is from the income I have that comes into my bank account. Right now I'm not married, don't have any children, and really shopping is the only "fun" expense I have - I don't go out drinking, I don't go on many trips as my boyfriend studies a lot, and we spend most weekends apart so I just find ways to entertain myself. Everyone's lifestyles are different, as I'm sure you can attest to as a mother, and things change. Once I start medical school in the fall my budget will grow a lot tighter, so clothing purchases will take a back seat to text books :)

Selah said...

Yep, just go to

I got this cute plaid shirt for $13.49:

Of course you're right about lifestyles being different. I rarely get the chance to shop for fun. Plus, my husband's job is business casual, our church is casual, I work from home, and our kids are homeschooled, so we our clothing needs are pretty simple. Also, we budget for things that other people would probably think are weird, like $35 / month for board games because that's our family hobby.

Crystal said...

Great tips! I am such an impulse shopper (well, I've had to tone it down lately) and my bank account is so thankful. LOL But I will definitely keep these tips in mind. Thanks! Adding your blog to my reader too!

Going Loopy said...

You have some good tips, but It's a lot harder to stick to this kind of a budget when you're plus size...especially when only a handful of retailers actually carry your size in the first place. I mean, sometimes I can squeeze into a 24, but mostly, I'm a 26 or 28. And those sizes are not standard in any of the major department store chains. (The plus size selection in department stores also kind of sucks.) Consequently, the chances of finding them at places like Ross or TJ Maxx or Marshall's - or god forbid at an actual thrift store - are miniscule. When you have to do a big chunk of your shopping online, you will have to pay for shipping sometimes. Not always, there are coupon codes and order minimums and the like, but often. I have found things at Target (if you can find the one Target in a 20 mile radius that has a decent plus-size section), and they have more stuff online, sometimes super cheap (I bought like 4 dresses for $50 last summer). They also allow you to return to the store if things don't work. Not all of the retailers who are plus size online only allow this.

Lesley Raymond said...

I love the way you dress!! You look great!

Katie said...

found you from audrey's blog! love reading about clothing budget's and finding deals!

Sara said...

Thanks fo the budget tips!

Alicia Talavera said...

Love your ideas on thrift shopping! Recently I went to Goodwill and picked up a few button up shirts! I also enjoy looking at the clearance racks at Clothes Mentor.. it's like a Plato's Closet but for work clothes!

D'Rae said...

I have been enjoying your guest posters!

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