Happy people focus on what they have, unhappy people focus on what’s missing.

I used to hate getting dressed for work in the morning. I’d rummage through my closet and just feel unenthused. I’d begrudgingly put something on, look in the mirror, and think, “I hate how this top fits,” or “These pants aren’t long enough.” I was uncomfortable, both physically and emotionally. I never felt good about how I looked and and I didn’t think I could afford to do anything differently.

We weren’t making much money. At all. We were staring down over $100,000 in student loans and saving for our first house, so I never felt like I could spend money on clothes. Every time I bought something I felt guilty and I never allowed myself to buy what I really wanted.

This resulted in a closet full of cheap clothes. Pieces that fell apart seemingly overnight or didn’t quite fit or that I didn’t really like but bought because they were on sale. And the guilt was ever present. I felt like I somehow had to justify each purchase and there was never a good enough reason no matter what.

And then I had a simple epiphany. I realized we needed clothing budgets. It was literally one of the most freeing decisions we’ve ever made. We set aside a total amount of money that we could each spend on clothing for a year and just kept a simple envelope with receipts inside and a running total on the back.

This was a game-changing decision in three ways:

  1. I had permission to buy clothes! The guilt and indecision that had always plagued my purchases was instantly gone. Clothes shopping became a fun and intentional thing to do.
  2. Because I knew how much I had to spend across the year, I was able to buy some really nice pieces that I knew I’d get a lot of mileage out of. I was no longer looking for lots of cheap clothes, but for a few nice things that I could style many ways.  
  3. Because I had a set amount of money I could spend, I was forced to buy ONLY things I loved. I didn’t want to spend an extra $15 on a shirt just because it was on sale. If I didn’t absolutely love it, I didn’t buy it. And that in turn resulted in a closet full of clothes that I looked great in and felt great wearing!

Our clothing budgets are still in place today, over 10 years later. In fact, we now spend LESS on clothing each year because we’ve built up such a wealth of quality pieces that last. That’s right, we spend less but are better dressed than we’ve ever been.

If you think a clothing budget could be just the thing to turn your wardrobe around, give it a try and let me know how it goes! If you want to keep reading about how to make the most of your clothing budget, be sure and subscribe so that you never miss an article. There are so many exciting ways to stretch your dollars into some amazing deals! Thanks so much for reading.