While I’m enjoying sunny Florida I’ve set up a few guest posts for you this week! Today we have Elizabeth from Find Your Zeroes sharing a budget post about capsule wardrobes. Enjoy!!
Keeping Your Wardrobe in Line with Your Wallet
Hello JustJacq readers! I am Elizabeth Wilson of Find Y0ur Zer0es and it is an honor to be here with you today. I get to spend my time changing lives and I do that by helping individuals and couples tackle their personal finances (credit card debt, student loans, saving for a down payment or retirement, and so on) making their financial goals and other dreams in life possible. I also have a blog where I post weekly on various money-related topics such as budgets and goals but also capsule wardrobes and minimalism.
Being a financial coach, my interest in capsule wardrobing didn’t come from my desire to be fashionable but instead from a desire to be able to purchase clothes I loved in a budget I can afford. Being a young professional with some remaining student loan debt and other savings goals, I choose to be very careful about how much I spend on those optional things in my life.
I have been on this journey of developing my capsule wardrobes (I use three due to my location and the lack of a true fall season) for almost a year now. I was pleasantly surprised to find that while I have been SAVING money compared to the amount I used to spend on clothes, I have also started to invest in higher quality items that will last me for years to come. How have I been able to do this? I used what I call my Penny-wise Process.
1) Prioritize those items you want to buy
2) Set a max price for each item on your list
3) Be ruthless, putting it back if it doesn’t meet ALL of your requirements (color, fit, fabric, price)
4) For long term benefits, favor quality over quantity
First start by mentally and visually putting together your capsule wardrobe through the use of a mood board. Don’t forget to also pull out the clothes you will be incorporating that you already own and try to look for gaps and figure out what 3-4 additional items will provide you with a lot more options or variations. Sometimes that process is as simple as adding in some pizazz of color (or a neutral like I had to do with my recent summer capsule), a new length of pant/skirt, or a different style of footwear. If the solution is not clear to you, use Pinterest, blogs like Jacqueline’s, and your fashion savvy friends for guidance. Rank your wanted items, prioritizing those things that are most essential to the look and functionality of your capsule.
Typically my budget for each of my capsules has been around $250 total but budgets are obviously a very personal choice. Break the total amount down per item, setting a value that you feel will allow you to purchase quality pieces but also require you to find things that have been marked down. I rarely if ever pay full price for anything. The prices you set for each item will depend greatly based on the brands you are purchasing and the quality you are looking for, but you can ensure success in getting everything you need and staying at or under budget if you set a value for each item. If you manage to find things for a lower cost than you expect, that gives you room to purchase some of those wish-list non-essential pieces! To see an example of how this is done (and how I got to purchase an extra item on my wish-list), check out my post of my spring capsule shopping experience.
I’ve been most successful by going to my local outlet mall which includes all the stores I most commonly shop from. As you venture out on your shopping trip, go in with a laser-like focus, refusing anything that is not the right color, fabric, fit, and price you’ve set for your capsule. I’m ruthless. I won’t even bring clothes into the dressing room that I don’t think will make the cut. While in the dressing room, make sure to pay careful attention to how the item fits and if it clings. If you’re the least bit unsure about it, it goes back on the rack. You can mentally check the prices as you go. Shopping at the outlet malls especially means that the final price can be different than what I’ve mentally calculated. I take all of the potentials to the register and have it all price checked before I make my final decision. If in doubt, leave it. You can always come back if you find you have extra money at the end of your shopping trip (like I did with my spring capsule). Focus on those few essential pieces first.
Quality Over Quantity
The whole point of building a capsule wardrobe is to create something you will wear and love for years to come so it’s important to pay attention to the quality of the clothing you are purchasing and not the quantity. If you carefully create your capsule and select items that will last then you’ll only need to make little tweaks and additions as the season rolls back around again. While some may choose to mix it up every time, my intention is to stick with my established seasonal colors and simply add a new piece or replace things gradually as they wear out. Since I won’t have to recreate the whole capsule, my future costs of my capsules could be less or I could spend around the same but continue to buy higher quality items. Luckily, capsules are naturally opposite to quantity since you are creating a wardrobe with a limited number of items. If you haven’t given it a try yet, you’ll have to trust me when I say the most fun comes in challenging yourself and reveling in the creativity that develops as you create endless new looks from the same articles of clothing.
Now you are all set and ready for your fall capsule shopping trip! If you are ready for some other tips on saving money or getting on track with your spending, come follow me at Find Y0ur Zer0es.