March end. The time of the year that brings with it true realisation that your financial planning hasn’t really borne fruits, that you have less money than you thought, and that paying taxes and making investments has left you broke.
If you are like me, then this is when you start scurrying around, looking for financial planning tools, hoping to be in a better spot next year. And as you feed in your expenses and earnings, you realise how much money you spend on eating out and shopping.
If you are clotheshorse and staying on top of trends is second nature to you, then shopping is probably a big expense, unless of course, you’ve found out about the fab Replica bags that are far cheaper than the designer originals. But when someone calls you shopaholic, you possibly respond with a “Roti, KAPDA, Makaan,” refrain. After all, clothes are a necessity. So why shouldn’t you spend your hard-earned money on some much-needed shopping therapy?
It seems like a great idea most of the time except at the end of the month (or financial year) when buyer’s guilt overwhelms you. This is when a clothing budget can be heaven sent. Because if your personal budget allows it, then it’s fair game.
I had the same question when I was first introduced to the subject. Do I really need a shopping budget? Will it really help? Trust me. It does. There’s no slow panic eating away at your conscience, constantly reminding you that you are spending money you don’t have. And those fights at home, with your partner, or your sibling, or even your parent about cupboards bursting at their seams, and shopping bags peeking out of every nook? Those arguments become a thing of the past or at least they aren’t as ferocious.
But the best thing about shopping budgets? The indecision that comes with purchasing is eliminated. If you have only INR 2000 to spend on clothes and accessories in a month, you put in more thought into your shopping. You will become a smarter shopper, opting to buy more classic styles and more durable outfits, and that, my friends, is a complete win-win.
Expert international financial planners suggest that you spend 5% of your monthly budget on clothing and accessories. So, if you earn about INR 50000 a month, then ideally you shouldn’t spend more than INR 2500 a month on clothes. But 5% is not necessarily the number to go by. If you are on a limited income, are paying EMIs, have other important expenses like education, then this 5% may be better used to pay for other things. The idea is to be mindful off your expenses.
Another good idea is to shop your own closet. All of us have clothes that we haven’t worn in years or even bought on a whim but never touched. According to some studies, we wear only about 20% of the outfits in our closets. Discover those untouched outfits. By shopping your own closet, you can figure out what you have to work with, and what you need to up the ante with those outfits.
If you are of the more entrepreneurial bent of mind, then you could also set up shop on one of the many pre-loved clothing apps in the market that allow you to sell your clothes and accessories and make some money which can be then added to your shopping budget.
Some saving, some investment, some selling, and a whole lot of thought-out shopping.
It’s definitely the right recipe for a more amazing financial year for fashion. Isn’t it ?