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How do you decide what you can afford?

(17 Posts)
kplondon Mon 19-Sep-11 16:13:30

I am always reading in women's magazines and indeed here on S&B about the recent wardrobe purchases or wardrobe wishlists of different women. It seems that many non-trust-funded, non-millionaire women do actually spend 200 quid on an Equipment silk blouse, anther couple on J Brand jeans and even more on Belstaff boots, topped off with a Max Mara coat. I work and make decent money but I go through mental anguish about whether it's appropriate to buy higher-end things (probably because I didn't grow up with any disposable income). I'm not talking about whether to buy Prada or Proenza Shoueler - I'm talking about Theory, DVF and Joseph. How do you know what your price point for jeans should be? How do you know what you can afford? How do you work this out for yourself?

Pagwatch Mon 19-Sep-11 17:20:17

I don't really understand.
You have income, you have necessary expenditure. Then you have money left over.
If that sum is £10,000 you may happily pay £500 for new shoes. If it is £100 you probably won't

I look around. I buy stuff I like if it's purchase does not make a negative impact on my finances

I grew up with fouth turn hand me downs so I understand how difficult it is to feel normal about spending lots. But if it feels too much I won't buy. It depends on the item.
But equally I won't buy something because it is a label. If I can get a maxmara quality coat from h&m I will.( Except I won't of course. That would be too great)

LoveInAColdClimate Mon 19-Sep-11 17:23:31

It's like how you know where you can afford to go for dinner or what wine to buy, isn't it? You just know what you can afford and what you can't? Or is this too simplistic and I am weird?

gigglepin Mon 19-Sep-11 17:25:55

Im a tight arse really.
I CANNOT understand why or how any one who would pay more than their grocery bill for the week on an item of clothing. It beyond my comprehension.

I am utterly gobsmacked by people who spend more money on their childrens clothes than they would spend on thier own.

Today i bought a pair of jeans from a charity shop, they were £5. I will likely get a couple of years out of them. I just cant spend allot of money on clothing and never have, habit of a lifetime i spose. I could afford to splash out, but havent got it in me.

See what i mean...tight arse me.

MissVerinder Mon 19-Sep-11 17:26:23

I spend more on things I know i'll use a lot (jeans, bras and walking shoes) and for more "trendy" things I won't be able to wear next year I buy cheaper stuff, because it's getting replaced anyway.

When I say I spend more, I mean about £50 as opposed to £20!

OtterBjitch Mon 19-Sep-11 17:27:46

Jeans are odd. You need to try on 500 pairs and then buy the best fit you can afford. Did this last year with my DSis.

Oasis jeans are good for me. grin DSis bought 7 for all Mankind. shock

You should think about cost per wear, but I seem to spend loads more on party clothes that I'll wear only once or twice than on work-wear.

TrillianAstra Mon 19-Sep-11 17:32:59

What you can afford depends not just on how much disposable income you have but also how you choose to spend it.

I might say that I can't afford to spend £500 on a coat, but what I mean is that I'm not willing to give up on having a holiday in return for having an expensive coat. I could afford a £500 coat if I went without other things.

(obviously this isn't true for everyone)

Francagoestohollywood Mon 19-Sep-11 17:36:38

I suppose it depends on:
- your disposable income
- the level of your personal appreciation of good fabrics
- the item you are buying and what you need it for
- the pleasure you feel in owning something you really like. IE: if you really, really like that Max Mara coat, you can afford it, you'll wear it for the next 5 yrs, you feel good in it, just go for it.

But again, it is quite possible to feel good in an H&M coat.

LoveInAColdClimate Mon 19-Sep-11 17:36:58

I was quite prepared to spend up to about £250 on a pair of jeans as I would get a lot of wear out of them, but in fact the ones that fit me best are £20 from New Look grin. I always get compliments on them - they just fit me perfectly in a way that the expensive ones didn't without the need for further tailoring.

Oh, and a good coat is an Investment. Mine was nearly as much as my wedding dress full price, but I waited and bought it in the sale. This will be its fourth winter and it still looks perfect. However, this winter I will be unable to wear it for long as I am a pregnant whale and can barely button it.

kplondon Mon 19-Sep-11 17:37:15

I think I am overcomplicating it, but I would feel that £500 is too much for shoes whether I had £10,000 or even £100,000 disposable income (partly because, to Pagwatch's point, you really can find great quality shoes for £100 or so. Also although £500 wouldn't put me in the red most months, I can't help but think should I be saving for retirement with this money? Using it to repay my mortgage? I know that there are rules of thumb for mortgage or rent payments (25% of gross income or whatever?) but I don't know if there's a good rule of thumb for fashion expenditures. Do any of you have an actual clothing budget which is a percentage of your disposable income?

kplondon Mon 19-Sep-11 17:39:28

LoveInAColdClimate, which New Look jeans do you like - what cut/style? Thanks.

LoveInAColdClimate Mon 19-Sep-11 17:42:35

From memory as they are currently packed away in the Sad Box Of Clothes My Giant Bump Precludes Me From Wearing so I can't check the labels, my favourites are called "Polka". I also have a pair from their skinny range which I wear loads - very dark blue. I also have a slouchier pair of boyfriend jeans from there which are from the organic denim range and are vvvvv comfy.

LoveInAColdClimate Mon 19-Sep-11 17:44:38

<<sobs at decision to buy very skinny Asos maternity jeans she can't get into or out of without assistance and resolves to go to New Look tomorrow>>

Ifancyashandy Mon 19-Sep-11 17:50:45

Totally depends on the item / occasion.

A claasic cut coat for everyday? I'll spend up to £600 as I'll wear it for a few years. I've got a Mulberry duffle that cost £600 about 13 years ago. I still wear it every winter and it still looks new.

A pair of hot pink jeans that I won't be wearing next year? I paid £12 in Primark!

Pagwatch Mon 19-Sep-11 18:02:44

But it depends doesn't it?

Of course you can buy good shoes for £100. Would anyone buy £500 as some kind of weird point of principle?
But if you can afford £500 shoes and you see a pair that are the most amazing bloody shoes you have ever seen, and you can buy them without choosing to do without what prevents you?

If they are not something you want enough then fine. But if you think that you shouldn't have them, that £500 shoes belong to other people and not you then maybe you should question that.

No one ever wails about how much money Cheryl Cole spends.

JustAnother Mon 19-Sep-11 19:38:47

I allow myself £350 per month to spend in clother, make up and treatment. So, I look at my statement and if I am close to "red numbers", then I can't afford the item and it will have to wait. I also spend more in pieces that get lots of wear: jeans, coats and smart work jackets. Those are the things which IMO show more if I've bought cheap ones.

JustAnother Mon 19-Sep-11 19:39:37

that was meant to say clothes

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