How Much You Should Really Be Spending On Clothing Every Month

We have the scoop on what your clothing budget should really be. The number might surprise you!

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    PHOTO: Mija

    We can confidently say we spend a substantial amount of our paycheck on clothes, but what exactly should we be spending? 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. Get ready for your reality check…

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    5% Of Your Take Home Pay

    According to award-winning financial planner, Pete Dunn, you should spend 5% of your monthly budget on clothing. To find the exact dollar amount you should be spending per month, multiply your take-home pay by .05.

    ​For example, if your monthly take home pay is $3,000, 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 oh-so-tempting shopping sprees. Read on to see the types of purchases that are appropriate for every income bracket.

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    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, and ASOS.

    For example: Zara Leather High Heel Geometric Pattern Sandal ($100); Topshop Lazer Cut Satin Skirt ($84); ASOS Dog Collar Bangle Bracelet ($23).

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    If your annual salary is around $60,000…

    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 on which to spend slightly more.

    For example: MICHAEL Michael Kors Graham Cutout Leather Oxford-Style Flats ($150); Warehouse Cutabout Floral Print Swing Dress ($71); Janessa Leone Sara Hat ($170).

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    If your annual salary is around $90,000…

    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 mid-priced boutiques like Shopbop.com are a good fit.

    ​For example: Rag & Bone Roseburg Velvet Blazer ($550); Loeffler Randall Milla Flats ($325); Tibi Striped Crepe De Chine Camisole ($200).

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    If your annual salary is around $120,000…

    At this point, you can afford to splurge on a luxury item that you’ll have forever. Consider adding a classic Burberry London trench or similarly timeless items to your closet. Just make sure to limit these clothing purchases, so you don’t exceed 5% of your take-home pay.

    For example: Proenza Schouler Extra Small Lunch Bag ($685) in Snakeskin/Leather; Chloe Beckie Pumps ($462); Burberry London Cotton-Twill Trench Coat ($1495).

    Another great way to save money? Shop a little smarter. Here's how to never regret a clothing purchase again.

Shop this Story
Dog Collar Bangle Bracelet

Dog Collar Bangle Bracelet

ASOS, $23
SHOP
Lazer Cut Satin Skirt

Lazer Cut Satin Skirt

Topshop, $84
SHOP
Leather High Heel Geometric Pattern Sandal

Leather High Heel Geometric Pattern Sandal

Zara, $100
SHOP
Sara Hat

Sara Hat

Janessa Leone, $170
SHOP
Cutabout Floral Print Swing Dress

Cutabout Floral Print Swing Dress

Warehouse, $71
SHOP
Graham Cutout Leather Oxford-Style Flats

Graham Cutout Leather Oxford-Style Flats

MICHAEL Michael Kors, $150
SHOP
Milla Flats

Milla Flats

Loeffler Randall, $325
SHOP
Striped Crepe De Chine Camisole

Striped Crepe De Chine Camisole

Tibi, $200
SHOP
Cotton-Twill Trench Coat

Cotton-Twill Trench Coat

Burberry London, $1495
SHOP
Beckie Pumps

Beckie Pumps

Chloe, $462
SHOP
Extra Small Lunch Bag

Extra Small Lunch Bag

Proenza Schouler, $685
SHOP
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