The Naked Truth

When planning a budget, most people generally remember their typical monthly expenses – bills, groceries, savings, etc. But there are two commonly forgotten about items that should definitely be on your list: clothing and personal care. This can include seasonal clothing items, haircuts and color, manicures, massages, you name it! These are things we all spend money on, but not necessarily frequently, so we tend to let their cost slip our minds.

When deciding how to set a clothing and personal care budget, consider the following:

  • Your income. We can only work with what we have. While some personal care items can be pretty necessary (we wear clothes every day!), things like expensive hair treatments or trips to the spa are pretty luxurious, and should be sporadic and limited. Sometimes it can be nice to treat yourself to something special, but be careful about staying within your financial means – if you have a huge credit card bill, it’ll be more beneficial for you to pay that down instead of splurging on a new summer wardrobe.
  • Your priorities. Some people love being on top of the latest styles and fashion trends, while others would prefer to live in their oldest pair of jeans and their comfiest t-shirt. Some people enjoy being pampered at the salon for a day, while others might prefer to save up for a special vacation instead. If there are other things that you value more, consider reducing the amount that you budget for personal items instead of eliminating the category altogether. Chances are, you’ll need a haircut or a new winter jacket at some point in time, so why not be ready for it?
  • Your spending habits. How frequently do you get your hair cut or colored? Do you shop for pleasure or out of necessity? A monthly allowance might make more sense for you if you find yourself spending frequently, or it might be easier for you to save smaller amounts over periods of time for when the occasion arises.
  • Who you’re spending for. Are you responsible for taking care of yourself only, or do you have a significant other or children to provide for, as well? Don’t forget to take everyone’s needs into account.
  • Your lifestyle. If you have a corporate job that requires you to look posh and polished at all times, you’ll have different needs than someone who works from a home office for a living. Take into account items that are absolutely necessary for your day to day life, and make it work for you. Maybe you’re required to dress in suits and ties for monthly meetings – this doesn’t mean you have to buy the most expensive ones! Look for the best deals on what you need and be aware of how much you’re spending.