Money was tight when Marie was growing up and most of her clothes were passed on from her sisters and cousins. As a result she always felt second-best and so she tries to make up for it now by shopping endlessly for clothes, shoes and accessories. She dreads seeing her credit card statement at the end of the month and avoids opening it for fear of facing the truth of how much she is spending.
Most of us have some issues around money and this can often be seen in our undisciplined spending habits on clothes. No matter how much you may like shoes and clothes, remember that they are not assets! They depreciate the minute you take them out of the store so you can’t justify your spending this way.
Part of being a mature, responsible woman is learning to manage your financial resources and your budget. We all need money to live and thrive in this physical world, but we also need to be able to manage it wisely. Money is meant to be a neutral instrument that allows us to live our lives fully and not something that we waste in the pursuit of more and more things. It’s important to learn to distinguish between what we want and what we actually need.
What you spend on clothes is part of your budget because the right clothes facilitate how you live your life, they enhance your self-esteem and allow you to manifest your full potential. Try to see them as a means to an end and not as an end in themselves.
You can’t afford to be hiding how much you spend on clothes (from your partner or yourself) or driving around with bags of clothes hidden in your car waiting until the coast is clear so that you can sneak them into the house! You can’t afford to be buying clothes which don’t suit you or your lifestyle and which you hope will make you feel better about yourself and what’s going on in your life. You can’t afford to be disrespectful of your money and your future financial security.
But you do need to know what you can afford to spend on clothes and you can’t do this until you know the true state of your finances. We all budget for our homes, food, transport, medical expenses, school fees and insurance but very few of us budget for our clothes, the very things which are expressing our true selves and which allow us to attract the right people and the right circumstances.
Ideally, we should be shopping for clothes once or twice a year as a planned project, rather than impulsively grabbing random items here and there throughout the year. This concept may seem hard if you’re used to shopping all the time but you’ll be amazed at how much money you save doing it this way. (Shopping will be covered in a forthcoming article).
It isn’t necessary to have lots of money for the clothes you need. Having too many clothes or too few clothes are both signs that there’s some imbalance in your attitude to money and to yourself. It can be very helpful to unravel these misperceptions so that you can be free to manage your resources wisely. Take some time to reflect on the following questions to get more insight into your beliefs about money and then do whatever you can to get the advice and support you need.
- What was the money situation like in my family while I was growing up? Was there a lot or a little?
- Do I shop a lot to make myself feel better, to ease anxieties or a vague emptiness inside?
- Do I like to buy designer clothes? Do ‘labels’ make me feel more confident? Why?
- Do I know where my money goes every month? Do I have a general budget? Do I stick to it?