Money is a feminist issue — and yet, women are still reluctant to talk about it. According to a recent Bustle survey of more than 1,000 Millennial women, more than 50 percent of people said they never discuss personal finances with friends, even though 28 percent reported feeling stressed out about money every single day. Bustle's Get Money series gets real about what Millennial women are doing with their money, and why — because managing your finances should feel empowering, not intimidating.
When thinking about your finances and budget, personal items need to be factored into the equation, too. Are you spending too much? You may wonder what millennial women spend on clothes every month. Great question, right? "While we all love shopping, it's pretty safe to say that we don't like splurging all our hard-earned money in one place," Ivy Chou, deals/shopping expert from DealsPlus.com, tells Bustle. "By following some simple shopping tips, you can spend less overall, leaving more funds for rent, savings, or... more shopping!"
Chou has worked at DealsPlus.com for almost five years and has seen countless ways to save on clothing, she says. Here are her favorites.
- Cash in on end-of-season sales: Retailers need to make room for next season arrivals, and they surely cannot hold onto seasonal pieces until next year.
- Never pay full price: Browse and save items to your shopping list, and when a coupon or sale rolls around, complete your purchase.
- Shopping on holidays offer some of the best prices: With countless retailers fighting for your business, it's now expected to find special discounts over holidays.
- Think twice before you buy: Impulse buys waste the most money, regardless of how much you saved. If you sit on it for a bit, you'll often find that you don't want it all that badly.
- Designer items are not always worth it: There are almost always similar options for a fraction of the cost.
- If something isn't perfect, return it: If there's anything wrong with it, return it and apply those funds to something you actually want.
All that said, I asked several millennial women about what they spend on clothes every month, and here's what I found out.
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In terms of buying clothes, it’s really not a lot. I would say it’s certainly under $175 per month, if that, for me and my husband. We enjoy spending money on experiences versus buying things, and clothes is part of that, too. We try to be frugal and shop on the sales rack or order on Amazon, etc., to make sure we’re able to spend — and save — how we want.
I spend around $75 on clothing per month. I try not to enter clothing stores, but I always find something to buy, whether it's shoes, new workout clothes, or a nice shirt for a night out. I always buy clothes on sale, and mainly from Marshalls. I try only to buy when I have a coupon (i.e., $10 off from DSW, etc.), and when I actually have a legitimate excuse to buy something. Other than that, I won't enter a clothing store, not even to look around.
I spend less than 15 percent of my budget on clothes per month, unless I have a conference or trade show or other professional thing(s) coming up. I like to wear new clothes to big work events because it makes me confident. I generally shop at vintage or discount stores, like Nordstrom Rack. These days, it’s rare that I will find something at full price and buy it — unless it’s an investment piece, like leather boots or a well-structured coat. I’m learning that you really do get what you pay for when it comes to clothes and shoes.
I do not have an exact monthly budget — I buy my clothes seasonally. If it's an item I really want, I may do an impulse buy. But the goal is to spend about $200-300 a season buying staple pieces that can be mixed and matched with things I already own or among the new items I have purchased. Depending on what it is, I will buy full price, but I am a shopper who looks for a good deal. I often mix highs and lows. So I may splurge on my shoes and a coat/jacket, even jeans, but choose a more affordable top.
I have a clothing budget set aside each month, which is anywhere from $50-$100. I don't always spend the money in this clothing fund, and then it rolls over to the next month — which helps build the amount I can spend on a more expensive purchase. Sometimes I buy clothes on sale and sometimes I don't. It all depends on what I need or like and if I can afford it. If I have enough in my clothing budget and see something I "need" to have, I buy it! It's a combination of discipline, but not being overly restrictive with my spending.
Ivy, 33, Deals/Shopping Expert, DealsPlus.com
How much do I spend on clothes per month? Only what I can afford! On average, I spend $1,000-$1,200 per year on clothes. I buy clothes as needed, so some months I might spend more than others. And I always buy things on sale! That's the way to go.
I usually spend about $100 on clothes per month. I don't have a clothing budget — I just spend based on whether I need clothes or want something in particular. I usually have a price in my mind that I'm willing to spend on a clothing item (less than $100, less than $50, etc.), and I won't spend over that — so I'll spend full price if it's under that, or wait until a sale if it's over.
I average about $50 per month on clothing. Some months, it’s nothing — others, it’s about $300. I buy dresses a couple of times a year for speaking engagements, and any other clothing purchases are rare, but usually related to entertainment shopping when I go out with friends. For regular clothing such as jeans, everyday shoes, and work blouses, I only purchase them on sale, but for speaking engagements, the clothes tend to be from high-end shops that rarely have sales (and are, therefore, full-priced dresses).
What I spend on clothes per month is tough to say, because it will definitely vary month-to-month since I buy clothes as needed. But, on average, probably around $200. When it's my money, I try to buy clothes on sale for sure (or, at the very least, find a free shipping code or something like that), but I also believe in quality over quantity. That said, whenever my mom comes to visit, we definitely like to shop and I don't really worry about the price. So actually, I try to get a lot of my clothes with her a few times a year and then take good care of them so I don't have to buy too many on my own.
I'd say I spend about $200 per month on clothes, although that ebbs and flows. I tend to buy more stuff as the seasons change. I don't really budget, but I try not to spend over $200 unless I’m investing in a staple piece, i.e., boots, a nice coat, an expensive swimsuit, etc.
Hate to say it, but I don't have a monthly clothing budget. To be honest, I try to avoid walking into stores or malls so I'm not tempted. But if I'm walking by a shoe store and I have been needing new everyday shoes, that's a different story. But I buy a pair of "work" or everyday shoes about once a year. Then I have a pair of dress shoes, though my job is pretty casual, so I rarely need to wear them. Otherwise, I love thrift stores. So if I had to break down my clothes budget into monthly amounts, I'd say $0 some months but $100 other months. This question is making me realize that I really should budget — for clothes and other things!
I allow myself to spend $100 a month on clothes, $200 max. Some months, I will need to make a more expensive purchase than other months (like new winter clothes). Other months, I won't need anything. So if I don't spend the $100, I will "let" myself spend more the next month, though I'll often forget and still try to not spend much.
I have a "fun fund" set up, i.e., a separate bank account for "fun" purchases, like clothes. Yes, sometimes clothes are essential — but, oftentimes, they're frivolous, I think. So, one month, I may spend more money from the fund going to see movies. Another month, I may want to go shopping with my best friend and then I'll use money from that fund to do so. I'd say I try not to spend more than $400 a month on clothes, but that seems super high. It's probably more like $100-200 a month. I mean, come on, wouldn't you rather see the latest Star Wars versus buy yet another pair of shoes — if you had to choose??
Personally, I thought they'd be higher monthly amounts. However, with all the thrift stores, online stores, and deals you can get on clothes these days, I guess it makes sense to spend as little as possible — while still getting high-quality items. But if you're an impulse buyer, here's something to consider. "If you find yourself wanting to make an impulse buy, sleep on it," Brianna McGurran, student loans and personal finance expert at NerdWallet, tells Bustle. "Give yourself at least 24 hours to make sure it's something you really want and is worth the cost." Personally, I find this really works. Try it!
So big ups to the women above, as well as all of you who budget well when shopping. It's not easy, but, as the women above have demonstrated, it's definitely doable.
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