The Percent of Income to Budget for Clothes

The amount of money spent on clothes varies for each family.

The amount of money spent on clothes varies for each family.

U.S.Bureau of Labor Statistics research shows that as the first decade of the 21st century ended, annual spending on clothing in U.S. households had declined by $174 over a period of five years. As of 2010, American families were spending -- on average -- $680 per person on clothing. Clothes form an important part of your image, but you also don't want to go broke trying to look good. Setting a budget can help you have the money you need to maintain a wardrobe without making a huge dent to your wallet.

Average Budget

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American family spent $1,700 on clothing in 2010. With the average after-tax income of $60,712, clothing expenses equaled 2.8 percent of average annual household income.


Financial advisers may recommend that you do not exceed a certain percentage of your take-home pay for clothing. For example, Money Management International, a nonprofit consumer-counseling organization, recommends that you spend 4 percent of your monthly income on clothing, with a "comfortable or affordable" range -- to account for variables such as type of clothing required for work -- of 3 percent to 10 percent.


Where you live can impact the amount of money that you should budget for clothing. Designer clothes are more popular in city areas, causing the clothing in urban areas to be more expensive than clothing typically available in rural settings. If you live in a city, you may want to budget accordingly, with 6 percent to 7 percent of your monthly income set aside for clothing.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women spend almost twice as much money on clothes as men spend. If you have more females in your household than males, you may want to increase your budget to 5 percent or 6 percent of your income.


About the Author

Samantha Kemp is a lawyer for a general practice firm. She has been writing professionally since 2009. Her articles focus on legal issues, personal finance, business and education. Kemp acquired her JD from the University of Arkansas School of Law. She also has degrees in economics and business and teaching.

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