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 American households spent on average $1,803 on apparel and apparel services like laundry and dry cleaning in 2016. How much you spend on clothing will depend on your age and whether you need to be clothes for work. New clothing can make you feel good and improve your image, but you don't want to go broke on due to your clothing expenses. Setting a budget can help you have the money you need to maintain a wardrobe without making a huge dent to your wallet.

What Does the Average Household Spend on Clothing?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average American household earned $74,664 before taxes in 2016 and had $57,311 in expenditures. The largest spending category was housing, which accounted for about one third of expenses. In comparison, only about 3 percent of expenses went towards clothing. Per household, the average expenditure for housing was about 10 times greater than the amount spent on clothing.

What do the Experts Recommend?

Financial advisers may recommend that you don't exceed a certain percentage of your take-home pay for clothing. The current consensus from Quicken and other financial sources is allocating 5 percent of expenses towards new clothing and clothing maintenance. This means that for a household with $3000 in monthly expenses, the amount spent on clothing would be $3000 multiplied by .05, which equals $150. The number can be as low as 3 percent for people who don't require a work wardrobe.

Where You Live Affects Your Clothing Budget

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 expenses set aside for clothing. Weather is another factor that may influence your clothing budget. People who experience four seasons of weather will typically need more clothing than those who live in more moderate climates.

The Gender Factor

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics research for 2016, the average adult woman spent $665 on clothing compared to $427 spent by the average adult man. If you have more females in your household than males, you may want to set your clothing budget at 5 percent or 6 percent of your expenses.

 

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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