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Smart fashion: winter wardrobe budgeting tips

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The winter season brings with it countless reasons to spend money, from Christmas shopping for friends and family to buying and preparing all the big holiday meals. It’s no surprise that most households report having tighter budgets during the holiday season, or even going into debt as a result of their Christmas spending.

But just because the holidays are here doesn’t mean that you have to stop spending on clothes completely. Instead, check out these tips for spending smarter so that you can still look chic while sticking to your budget this winter.

Consider the cost per use

The best way to save money when you’re shopping for clothes – especially over the long run – is to consider the cost per use of each item that you plan to buy. To find the cost per use, simply divide the total price of the outfit by how times you’ll wear it.

To increase the cost per use of every item that you buy, consider its versatility. Can you mix and match it with the other pieces in your wardrobe? Does it suit your overall colour palette and personal style? Can you easily pair it with the accessories that are already in your closet? If you can answer “yes” to all three of these questions, then you’re likely to be able to get some good use out of the piece you’re considering.

Of course, it’s important to stay within your budget no matter what. You shouldn’t overspend or go into debt just because something looks appealing in the moment. Instead, take a step back and consider how you’ll use each piece for the long term.

The ugly sweater example

The classic example of a bad buy in terms of cost per use is the ugly Christmas sweater. “Ugly Christmas sweater parties” have been a rising trend in the past several years, but they’re terrible for your winter style budget. You’re expected to buy a hefty piece of clothing that you’ll only wear once or twice per year. This leaves you with a high cost per use, and also leaves a dent in your budget.

On the other hand, investing in a day-to-day sweater that will last you for a few years and that you’ll wear all throughout the season has a lower cost per use. This means that even if the ugly Christmas sweater and the normal daily-use sweater have the same price, the normal sweater will actually have a significantly lower cost per use, thus making it a much smarter buy.

Considering the cost per use of every item that you buy is also a great way to take a big step away from fast fashion and really start investing in your wardrobe for the long term.

Timing is everything

The other thing to consider is the timing of your purchase. There are tons of sales just before and just after the Christmas season, while prices in the height of the shopping season can be inflated. So, planning your clothing purchases around these sales – instead of getting caught up in the excitement of Christmas spending – is a surefire way to save some money.