5 Steps To Mastering Your Spring Fashion Budget

March 20, 2013

Today marks the 1st official day of spring!

It’s the perfect time to start thinking about your warm weather wardrobe.

New clothes and accessories are one of the best parts about starting a new season…wouldn’t you agree? Just don’t let budgeting for them suck out the fun factor!

In fact, just as your outfits should empower you, so should your smart shopping strategies.

To avoid overspending and becoming a financial fashion victim, I’ve got a quick tool that’s certain to help. I call it a lifeSTYLE diagram. I first introduced this chart to new clients during their closet overhaul and wardrobe revamp, but soon got feedback that it’s super helpful when creating and adhering to a fashion spending plan each season too.

Rather than starting with a dollar figure, let’s first assess your lifestyle.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Create a basic circular pie chart. Do this in Mint or another preferred financial tool, in Excel or simply draw it on your phone, tablet or on a piece of paper…whichever application or device works best for you.

  2. Estimate proportional sectors. Identify the main activities in your life and create categories – eg. Professional Responsibilities, Social Engagements and Leisure Activities (see above). Each sector should be a different lifestyle category and be directly proportional to how much time you spend participating in each particular season.

  3. Guesstimate sub-segments. Break down your main categories into subcategories (ie. specific activities) – eg. Professional Responsibilities: in-office, client meetings, presentations, travel, interviews, networking events, etcetera; Social Engagements: date night, girl’s night out, weekend parties, weddings, etcetera; Leisure Activities: outdoor adventures, vacation(s), exercising, hobbies, sports, summer festivals and more.

  4. Determine Dollar Amount. Since great style can be displayed at all prices points, it’s truly up to you how much you want to spend on clothing and accessories for the season. After you decide on your style budget, apply it to your lifeSTYLE diagram. You can do this in your mind’s eye or go all out and mark your dollar percentages accordingly. Granted some clothing and accessories will overlap into other subcategories, but in practice very few usually do – so often we wish to clearly separate the different areas of our life.

  5. Seeing is believing. It goes without saying, you logically already know where you spend most of your time, but graphs are memorable and can help you be a savvy shopper too. The idea is for you to be very aware of where you are spending your style budget. Do your wardrobe, budget and shopping habits proportionally reflect your personalized lifeSTYLE graph? Or is there a particular segment or subcategory that tends to lead you over budget time and again? Are you spending more money on party shoes or bathing suits than you really want? A visual aid is easy to recall while you’re shopping and building your dream seasonal wardrobe.

After you’ve created your very own lifeSTYLE diagram, feel free to apply some additional smart shopping tools, such as the cost-per-wear equation.

You’re all set to fully enjoy the season. Bring on spring!

Do you have an annual or seasonal wardrobe budget in place? Is it easy to adhere to? Let me know if my lifeSTYLE tool helps!

Image credit: Pink Peonies. Graphics by Kristina Moore for Corporate Fashionista.

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