One of my New Year Resolutions is the No New Clothes Challenge for 2013. I figured it shouldn’t be that hard because I have plenty of clothes and shoes. Since I don’t work outside the home anymore, I don’t really need to be that presentable and it will be fine if I just wear some clothes down.
Apparel spending is one of the smaller expenses in consumer expenditures so even if you cut your budget here, it won’t affect your expenses that much. According to the US Census Bureau’s data, apparel is only about 3.5% of an average family’s annual expenditure.
Free from having to worry about clothes
3.5% is not much, but it’s very liberating to not have to think about the whole apparel sector. Not that I spent much time thinking about clothing previously. I went clothes shopping only once or twice a year, though I always kept an eye open whenever I found myself near Banana Republic or The Gap. I would browse their sale rack and hope to score a nice shirt for $10-$20. I did the same thing with shoes whenever Mrs. RB40 went to Designer Shoe Warehouse, even though I never found anything to buy. This kind of shopping was just another thing that just took up time and cluttered my head.
This year is very different. Now I just ignore all of these stores and it’s a load off my mind. All I have to do about apparel is work with what I have in the closet. Now I’m thinking maybe I can continue my no new clothing challenge in 2014 as long as my shoes hold up. This must be what people felt like in the old days when they only have a few outfits. (Or Batman, he just wears one outfit.)
Could this be done for items other than clothing?
Now I’m wondering if I can cut out some other category of expenditures too. Clothing is very easy for me because I’m a guy and I no longer need “work clothes.” Let’s see some potential categories. I’m going to skip the big ones like housing, transportation, and food. Let’s stay mainstream and avoid being an extreme cheapskate today.
- Apparel ($1,725) – The average family spent $1,725 on apparel in 2009 according to the US census.
- Alcoholic beverages ($435) – I only have one or two drinks a week, but I don’t know if I can give up alcohol completely.
- Personal care products and services ($596) – This one won’t be any problem for me. I don’t think I spend any money in this category now that Mrs. RB40 helps cut my hair.
- Reading ($110) – I get all my reading material from the library so this is a piece of cake.
- Education ($1,068) – I haven’t spent money on education for a while. I don’t think anybody should cut this one though.
- Tobacco products and smoking supplies ($380) – This category is nonexistent for me.
It’s too bad, but I think apparel is the only category that I can do this in. I guess I can stop buying alcohol, but it seems a little too cheap to me. I like to enjoy a beer once in a while and it doesn’t seem worth it to deprive myself in Beervana. As for the other categories, I already don’t spend money on the rest of these things so it won’t make any difference. Oh well… Mrs. RB40 on the other hand is still worrying about boots, jacket, tops, etc… I feel sorry for her.
Have you tried cutting any of these expenditure categories? What other discretionary spending categories would you try to cut or limit?