Thursday, January 7, 2016

2016 Shopping Budget

My biggest fashion purchase for the year will probably be a suit, and a more conservative one than this one from The Good Wife.

One thing that surprised me while looking over my shopping posts for 2015 was that I actually managed several months where I bought very little, especially from a total number of items standpoint. As someone who realized early in the year that there might be no chance that I could ever stick to any kind of shopping ban for along, having a few very low-shopping months (and even one shopping-free month!) was quite a surprise. I do, however, often give in to impulse buys, though I try to frame them as "ideas for things that fill real wardrobe niches, just ones that I thought of very suddenly." Such impulse buys probably constitute roughly half of what I buy. It isn't the best habit, but one that is likely here to stay because new, unanticipated things will inevitably strike my fancy sometimes.

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For 2016, my budget for fashion-related expenditures (clothes, shoes, and accessories) will be $2040/year, which averages out to $170/month. As a general rule, I don't count activewear, socks, tights, and underwear as part of that budget because I'm reasonably confident that I only buy close to the bare minimum of what I need in those categories and am frugal about it, while still doing my best to buy things that last, even if some items come from fast-fashion retailers. I don't worry when I have a month that's a little, or even a lot over the monthly average, so long as I stay under my budgeted maximum for the year.

In 2016, I also plan to make a few major purchases that I will consider off-budget because they are intended to be one-time transactions and could be large enough to throw off the rest of my budget. I've been told that it's probably time to upgrade my business formal wardrobe of 100% polyester or other synthetic fiber suits (from The Limited and Ann Taylor) by acquiring one classic, conservative wool suit, possibly from Brooks Brothers (jacket, skirt not currently in stock online). The polyester suits are, in my experience, generally fine when one is a student interviewing for entry-level positions, including in large corporate law firms, but I've heard different things about whether some fields are rife with individuals who will judge a job candidate for wearing a "cheap" suit. It's also been a long time since I owned a pair of non-patent leather pumps, which means that a pair of basic low-heeled black leather pumps (maybe like this) for hypothetical future interviews is probably also a necessity. With those large purchases in mind, my fashion-related spending will likely still come out to around $3000/year, possibly a little more. There's a possibility that I'll add another item or two to that list of big-ticket, one-time purchases, and I'll report on any such purchases when they happen in the month's shopping budget.

What does your shopping budget look like for the next year? Is it different from last year's budget?

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