Creating my Spending Plan for 2012: Clothing

I don’t budget by assigning random dollar amounts to categories. I create a spending plan based on quantities of physical objects and styles, not dollar amounts.

I’m going to take a look at what I spent money on for clothing in 2011 and then take a look at what I want to spend money on in 2012 for each category of clothing. This is probably the category for which I do the most detailed level of planning of all of them.



  • I replaced a pair of brown flats that I bought in the fall of 2008 with a pair of grey flats.
  • I finally found a pair of black flats and in a fit of bright colors, I also bought a pair of green flats.
  • I also replaced my pair of running shoes, but I don’t think I will need to do that in 2012 since I don’t wear running shoes nearly as often as I used to.
  • I replaced my flip flops from two summers ago (2009) . The new ones were much more expensive, but they are much better and I see them lasting for maybe five years, especially since I don’t wear them all that often. I accidentally bought two pairs because I couldn’t decide between two styles and I think I’m definitely going to wear one far more often than the other.
  • I bought a pair of knee-high brown leather boots, which I had been hunting for for the last couple of fall seasons.
  • I also acquired two pairs of dressier sandals for wearing when I get dressed up in the summer, which I am doing more often lately. These aren’t the greatest quality, but I don’t wear them often, so they will probably last for awhile.
  • 3 pairs replaced, 6 new pairs (eek!)
  • Total cost for the year: $630 or an average of $52.50 per month


  • I will need to replace my other pair of “bright” colored flats, which I bought in 2010. I’ve worn them quite a bit and I’m not quite ready to part with them, but I should plan for phasing them out. Perhaps I will replace them with a pair of blue flats. I’ve found a particular brand of flats that seems to fit me well, so I’m budgeting $100 for this, but I likely won’t need it all.
  • The leather boots that I bought in the fall of 2010 will probably make it through this fall, but I think I will need to replace them by the fall of 2012. I only spent about $60 on them and I think I should budget for closer to $200 on the replacement pair and perhaps they would last more than two fall seasons.
  • Total estimated cost for the year: $300 or an average of $25 per month


  • I added this as a category in my budget in January of 2011 with the intention of buying a new spring coat, but it’s just sat around at $0 all year.
  • My current fall/spring coat cost me about 50 bucks back in the spring of 2006. So it’s made it through six spring and fall seasons. I absolutely love the coat, but the sleeves are starting to look tattered, so I think I should replace it in 2012. At six seasons, that means that the coat really cost me about $8 per year. I think that’s pretty awesome. I will plan on spending about $150 on a good quality spring coat that will hopefully last me for the next six seasons.
  • I bought my current winter coat for about $150-200 in the fall of 2009, so it’s seen two winter seasons  so far and should be safe for at least another two or three.
  • Total estimated cost for the year: $150



  • I bought four new pairs of jeans in 2010, at a total cost of $691. I don’t know what happened to one of the pairs, but two of the pairs have been awesome and one has been so-so because it only seems to go with winter clothes.


  • I bought one new pair of jeans for $101, which has a bit of an awkward fit, so I think I should replace these in 2012.
  • I bought a new pair of jean shorts for $13. I think I’m pretty much good on the shorts front at this point since it’s too air conditioned at work to wear shorts in the summer.
  • Total cost: $114


  • I’m going to replace the awkward-fitting pair of jeans that I bought in 2011. Budget: $200
  • I kind of want another pair of skinny jeans so that I have two pairs to choose from with my awesome new knee-high boots. Budget: $200
  • I’ve been having a lot of troubles finding skirts lately. All of mine are almost six years old at this point. I’m going to put $100 in the budget for skirts, in case I find something I like.
  • Total estimated cost for the year: $500


  • This is the hardestitem to budget for since I simply need to buy new ones if not enough in my collection don’t fit right.
  • In 2010, I spent $262 on four bras.
  • In 2011, I spent $218 on four bras.
  • Since I don’t know many bras I will need to buy in 2012, I will go on the fact that I’ve bought four per year for the last two years and budget for the ceiling of those two amounts rounded up to the nearest five: $265.


  • Recently, I’ve started looking for occasions to wear dresses. Dresses are awesome. This past summer, I wore dresses to work on Fridays when it was nice and I’ve also worn dresses out on various occasions.
  • Some history: I spent $40 (one) on dresses in 2007, $108 (two) in 2008, $0 in 2009, $192 (three) in 2010, and $151 (two) in 2011.
  • Since I’ve been wearing dresses more, I feel like it’s okay to keep this budget around. I’ll plan on $200 for 2012.


  • In 2010, I spent $23 on socks. I’ve spent $40 on socks so far in 2011.
  • Some of my pairs of socks have worn down quite a bit, so I think I need to replace these in 2012, plus the $11 to replace my nylon socks that I wear with flats. Let’s estimate about $25 for some more socks, so total $36 for the year.


  • I’ve found a really cheap way to replenish my collection of underwear from my favorite brand, which has more than halved my underwear budget.
  • I didn’t buy any in 2010 and I spent $37 in 2011. I should probably be good through 2012, so let’s budget for $20 in 2012 and $20 in 2013.


  • This category includes cardigans, sweaters, short-sleeved and long-sleeved shirts.
  • In 2011, I bought three new cardigans. Hopefully I don’t have to replace this year’s grey cardigan again in 2012. I would, however, like to replace my black cardigan since it’s itchy. I bought a short-sleeved one this year, but I really wanted a long-sleeved one. Estimate: $50
  • I spent $415 total on tops in 2010 and $325 in 2011.
  • My tops seem to have about a two-year cycle. At $30 per top, let’s plan on replacing eight in 2012, for a total cost of $240.
  • Estimated cost for 2012, rounded up: $300


  • My last bathing suit purchase was in the summer of 2007, so I was about due for a new one. Those two are definitely getting a bit worn down.
  • I bought a new one for $92 in 2011.
  • Unless the one I bought turns out to not be the right size, then I should be good for four years, so I’ll budget $25 per year for a new bathing suit.

Athletic wear

  • In 2010, I bought two mock-neck moisture-wicking shirts, a crew-neck long-sleeved one, and a new sports jacket, to the tune of $208.
  • In 2011, I bought a new pair of crop pants for my summer sport for $94 which have been totally worth it. I also bought two short-sleeved moisture-wicking shirts for $34. Total cost: $128
  • My experience with these types of clothes has been very long-lasting: my athletic shorts have been great for the last two years and I’ve had my athletic pants for three years, so I don’t see myself needing anything more than what I have at the moment. The problem is that with new sports seems to bring new use cases. Let’s budget $75 for 2012 and re-evaluate at the end of the year.


  • Shoes: $300
  • Coats: $150
  • Bottoms: $500
  • Bras: $265
  • Dresses: $200
  • Socks: $36
  • Underwear: $20
  • Tops: $300
  • Swimwear: $25
  • Athletic wear: $75

Total estimated cost for the year: $1671 or $139.25 per month


4 thoughts on “Creating my Spending Plan for 2012: Clothing

  1. I’ve been liking the dresses this season a lot too, and the skirts not so much. Not that I’ve bought any of either yet… but if I ever get out and get the opportunity I’d like to buy a couple work dresses. My 6 year old skirts are doing just fine! Apparently I bought a tonne of skirts around then for my new work wardrobe. That was a good year for skirts for my figure.

    • I think my biggest problem with skirts is that most skirts are patterned, as are most of my tops. I don’t have a lot of plain tops, which makes it difficult to pair my tops with my skirts…

      Also, my legs get really cold at work, so I prefer to wear knee-length skirts. I tried to explain this to a saleslady last year and she told me that I was now old enough to wear skirts that fall above the knee! Sigh. Sales people don’t seem quite as logical when it comes to fashion as us software developers, which is why I didn’t make it as a retail sales associate :P

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