I have received many questions about how much I think it's okay to spend on different care/ wardrobe items. As I prepare my budget for the upcoming year, I thought it might be good to share my oh-so-subjective and totally personal preference "goal range" for clothing and beauty products. Below I have listed what I'm willing to spend (or maybe I should say, "I try really hard not to go over this amount for these items") on things. I thought I'd break up the text a little bit with silly pictures from August 2011 when my friends and I went grocery shopping since they sort of kind of go with the "buying" theme. :P
- Lip products. I know some girls will spend a ton on these, but on the rare occasion I buy a lip balm or chapstick, I go for the cheapest all-natural product I can find.
- Belts. These are so plentiful at thrift stores that paying retail for them seems silly to me.
- Nail polish. Because I only paint my toenails every couple weeks, I don't see a reason to buy expensive polish. I did finally talk myself into buying a little better than Walmart's cheapest as I have gotten older and have started caring about quality, but never more than $3 a bottle.
- Earrings. I have something of an obsession with these, so in order to make sure I don't go broke on them, I've limited myself to rarely more than $5 a pair.
- Tanks. Because I'm happy with Forever21's tanks, I try not to buy more expensive ones. However. Tank tops are a huuuuge blessing to the modesty cause and I would be okay with buying more specialty ones if I hadn't found Forever21's to work for me. Halftees, for example, are very worth the money.
- Cheap flip-flops. For muddy walks and need-cushion-on-my-feet laundry days, I prefer Old Navy's inexpensive flip flops because they are pretty comfortable. :)
- Scarves for headcoverings. The thrift store is the best place to find these. Because it's so easy to make my own from nicely cut fabric, I can't see spending more than $3 on a fabric headcovering. :)
- Bracelets. Because I have small wrists, I can't wear most bracelets comfortably. So, when I find one I like and that fits, I'm willing to pay up to $8 for it.
- Underwear. I get teased in my family because I am very picky about my undergarments and I'm willing to pay more for what I want. I've been known to spend up to $5 a pair on underwear, but I usually buy packages of 3 pair for $8 or $12. And I replace it yearly.
- Scarves. When I went to Paris for my 16th birthday several years ago, I found and bought a dozen nice fabric-type scarves for myself that later that year became *very* popular here in the states. I got them for $7.50 a piece (at the time that was 5euros). I haven't really bought any scarves since then (though I have been given some as gifts) because they've served me so well. I've looked at buying a floral scarf or two though and decided that for the amount I would wear it and for the purpose it serves, if I were to find one on sale for less than $10 I would purchase it. So far I haven't so I am still floral-scarf-less despite loving the look. :)
- Shirts. Because I love to have a lot of styles and colors of these, I try to keep how much I spend per item down. So, thrift store shirts definitely never pay more than $5, and for new I try to hit sales and rarely buy any top for more than $8 or $10.
- Leggings. I really like Forever21's leggings (can't vouch for their tights) which I can usually get on sale for about $5 a pair. They have all different lengths and colors online. They're also thin enough to wear two pair if you need to under jeans but warm enough that you only need one pair under skirts for general wear. :)
- Make-up. Mascara, cover-up, powder, shadow, etc can all be found for under $10 each at Walmart, which I'm okay with for now. Maybe when I'm a millionaire one day I'll spend money on the good stuff. :)
- Pretty flip-flops. I buy a new "nice" pair every year to wear "out" that's prettier than Old Navy's $1 pairs that I beat up around the house. I'm willing to pay about $12 for a pair because of how often I wear them. I try to find a pair that is comfortable and doesn't look dirty quickly. :)
- Slippers. Letting y'all in on something that until now only my family and long-time friends knew: I have a "weird slippers" collection even though I hardly ever wear slippers. These are something that it's gross to buy used, hard to find retail on super sale, and hard to justify spending a lot on since they're usually worn with PJ's, although I am a huge supporter of beautiful pajamas. :)
- Necklaces. Because the quality of these is pretty obvious as you're wearing it, I'm okay spending a little bit more on these than on earrings, for example.
- Summer church sandals. If I need to buy a new pair (although I've been doing well thrifting these lately!), I try to buy them on clearance for the next year. Payless Shoe Source is my go-to store for shoes and I can usually get a clearance pair for about $8, sometimes $12.
- Skirts. Except for denim skirts, I try to spend less than $15 for a skirt and unless I REALLY love the skirt, I usually will only spend about $5 on one.
- Flats. I don't actually wear flats, but if I did, I wouldn't pay more than $15. Usually see them on clearance for about $13.
- "Fashion" pieces. I allow myself one or two "this season" items (that usually end up looking stylish still next season, too) that are a little bit more than my normal thrift store prices and are more trendy than my classics. These help me give life to my wardrobe and I have such a fun time wearing them. For instance, this season I bought a blaze orange high-low sheer tunic and camo leggings: not to be worn together (unless I go hunting?). ;) Thankfully I got them both for super cheap, ($4 and $7) but I would have paid up to $12 for each.
- Cardigans. These get worn all the time and the quality really is noticeable, so I try to get nice brands for as cheap as possible, which is still usually about $23. These last a couple seasons for me so I don't mind.
- Denim Skirt fabric, to make my own. These last and last and last and last, so $25 for fabric is a no-brainer for me.
- Leather gloves. I usually buy Target's $20 pair and keep them for as long as possible until the dog gets to one. :P
- Hats. If I know I'm going to get a lot of use out of a hat, then I'm willing to spend $20 on one (or ask for it for it as a gift). If it's not a structured hat or is more casual, I usually don't get it unless it's under $10.
- Purses/Backpacks. I started carrying a purse at age 10, when it became "cool" for my friends and I. We traded them like playing cards. Somewhere along the way I decided that fad was over so I stopped carrying one, but this year I finally got back into it out of necessity and boy, it is handy. :P So, I splurged and got myself one that I really like. I also bought a backpack that I'd been wanting/needing for a while. These aren't frequent purchases for me, but like a good pair of shoes, it's worth paying more for quality. :)
- Heels. If I'm looking for a specific kind of heel for a particular dress, I expect to pay about $20-$25 because I don't usually have time to shop around or be flexible.
- Pajamas. I'm not sure I've ever actually bought myself pj's because we get a new pair every Christmas Eve and my pairs have lasted yeeeears, but I often pick out the pj's for the occasion and Target has a great, affordable selection.
Up up and away-- over $25:
- Jeans. I usually get them on sale from American Eagle for about $35 and they last several years. It's important to me to have a really well-fitting pair of jeans that don't need any fussing because I usually pull them on in a rush.
- Fashion boots. I'm talking heeled suede or fake leather boots that you wear to church. I am willing to pay $35 for these because I get so much use out of them.
- Swimsuit material. I have gotten my costs down to about $25 per suit some years, but other years I want a specific look/material so I pay up to $35 in fabric for it. Still reasonable for a custom modest swimsuit.
- Stylish, practical walking shoes, for wearing with skirts and not looking like a homeschooler. I spent $120 on two pair of Sperry's because I was hurting my feet wearing flip-flips all the time and was tired of cheap shoes looking nasty within a few days of wearing them. It hurt at the time to spend that much money, but now I don't regret it a bit. They're great.
- That Perfect Dress. Either in fabric or from an online store like eShakti or Shabby Apple, every girl should have a dress that is a go-to for special occasions. I think I spent ~$40 on fabric for my Blue Lace Dress last year and again, it was so worth it.
- Winter coat. Everyone needs one they love wearing. I pay between $40-$80 every 4 years or so for a new one.
- Leather Boots. Whether work boots for around the farm or beautiful dark leather boots for going to town, if you want durability+comfort, you'll have to pay. My work boots and new flat boots were both about $180 a pair.
I'm sure of left some things out by accident-- let me know if there are any other items you would like me to mention. Hopefully this was helpful for a couple readers! What do you think about these prices? How do your budgets for these things differ from mine? Blessings!