Author Topic: Reasonable Shopping in Sales Position  (Read 10579 times)

cbr shadow

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Reasonable Shopping in Sales Position
« on: December 27, 2012, 09:32:24 AM »
I posted recently about wanting to purchase a luxury item from my hobby budget.  There was a poll in the thread where most people here on the forum said it was not a purchase I should make until I pay off the PMI on my mortgage.  I listened and did not make the purchase.

So my wife and I are continuing to save money to refinance into a conventional loan where we wont have a PMI, saving us several hundred dollar each month.  Christmas is over, we probably spent too much on gifts, so now we're back to our mustachian ways of very low spending, bringing lunches to work, not eating out often, and SAVING money.

My wife is a "Sales Engineer' at a software company so she has a lot of interaction with executives from potential customers, and executives from her own company.  She makes roughly twice what I make (Her: $100k, Me: $50k) and we're both 29. 

On to the question.. We had a discussion last night about shopping.  We have Mint.com and set her "shopping budget" at $150 / month which includes any type of make up, normal clothes, shoes, work clothes, etc..  I think that amount is high, but she disagrees and thinks it's reasonable.  What are your thoughts?

Her arguements:
1) My job requires that I have nice looking work clothes.  I can't have pants that are freyed at the bottom or undershirts with holes in them or shoes that are visibly falling apart.

2) You have your hobbies, my hobby is shopping - it makes me happy to shop.  I stick to my budget every month so it shouldn't matter.

3) I make a good amount of money, I should be able to spend $150/month on clothing, especially since a good majority of that is work related.

My Arguements:
1) $150 is a lot of money
2) Look at the other budgets on Mr Money Mustache - people get face punched for $150 clothing budgets and i'm a little embarassed to even post it (Her response is: Find me a female mustachian that is in sales and let me know her monthly clothing budget)


To be clear, she's not a Paris Hilton spending money on goofy designer clothes, she looks for deals, shops at outlets, etc..  She says it's depressing to think she can't go out and buy something if she needs it for fear that I'll give her a hard time about wasting money.

Thoughts?  Any females in sales here?  Is $150 not that bad, or is it really high for a sales consultant ?


amyable

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Re: Reasonable Shopping in Sales Position
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2012, 09:51:51 AM »
It doesn't seem like $150 dollars is high for her salary, especially if shopping is also a big source of entertainment for her.

I spend much less, but I'm not in sales or any position where I have to sell anyone anything, and I make approximately $40K a year.  I spend about $300 a year on clothing, but in another job, I could see spending more. 

If she buys some high end items, you could also encourage her to start an eBay account to sell her used clothing.  I LOVE shopping, so I recently started a side business selling Goodwill finds on eBay, and so far, I make an extra $100-200 a month. 

mustachecat

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Re: Reasonable Shopping in Sales Position
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2012, 09:55:27 AM »
What does she buy with that $150?

I don't think it's shockingly high, but if her clothing is getting frayed and her shoes are visibly falling apart after a month's use... maybe she should pay more money upfront for better-made clothes?

kudy

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Re: Reasonable Shopping in Sales Position
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2012, 10:01:15 AM »
I am not a female in sales, and I dress casually 99% of the time, so feel free to not listen to a word I have to say, but I have a few comments:

  • I live in a small house - if someone were bringing in $150 worth of clothes every month, every room would soon be full
  • related to the above point... clothes do *not* wear out as quickly as she's buying them, at least in my experience, so I am going to assume she's buying lots of things just to have something new, and giving away (or hoarding) older things that are *nearly* new, just because she's worn them a few times - I might die of an aneurism if my girlfriend started doing this
  • Having a core set of clothes that are easily mixed and matched to make a variety of outfits seems to work really well for a lot of people
  • Maybe it's because I'm a guy, or because I've had bad experiences in relationships in the past, or because I value my money in a different way than other people, but if shopping for clothes is a hobby, then I feel like something is wrong.  I strive to have hobbies that improve my skill set, my enjoyment of time with other people, or my physical health.  I'd hate to have a hobby of watching TV, or shopping for things that I don't need

tooqk4u22

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Re: Reasonable Shopping in Sales Position
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2012, 10:19:23 AM »

Her arguements:
1) My job requires that I have nice looking work clothes.  I can't have pants that are freyed at the bottom or undershirts with holes in them or shoes that are visibly falling apart.

2) You have your hobbies, my hobby is shopping - it makes me happy to shop.  I stick to my budget every month so it shouldn't matter.

3) I make a good amount of money, I should be able to spend $150/month on clothing, especially since a good majority of that is work related.



Thoughts?  Any females in sales here?  Is $150 not that bad, or is it really high for a sales consultant ?



#1 is a legitimate reason, she is highly paid which means she is responsible for selling big dollars to big clients....presentation matters a lot.  $150 a month is not bad especially if it includes other stuff.  Nice, but not luxurious, business wear for women is pricey....   $1000 per year may be a more reasonable number but either way it is a cost of the job.....

#2 and #3 are not valid reasons....that is just consumerism so call it what it is for those.



And your other post said your "hobby" budget was $110/month.....this question may be a little petty on your part if your upset about losing the argument on your purchase.

maryofdoom

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Re: Reasonable Shopping in Sales Position
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2012, 10:23:38 AM »
I am a female-bodied person, although I'm not in sales, and honestly, this doesn't sound too unreasonable to me, assuming that she has the type of position where looking "presentable" is important.

Maybe it is possible to encourage her to focus her efforts on things that give the most bang for the buck, so to speak. I remember reading a fashion blog post that said, "If your shoes and bag are Dior and your clothing is from Target, you are wearing Dior; if your shoes and bag are from Payless and your clothing is from Dior, then are you are wearing Payless." I'm not suggesting that she's hunting for super designer items, but the principle is the same.

By this point, she probably has a pretty good sense of what her "uniform" is. She probably has some staple items that she wears again and again. I would encourage her to buy high-quality staple items (about 75-85% of her wardrobe should be those staple things) and then to fill in the gaps with cheaper stuff. A quality black skirt suit can be jazzed up with a cheap scarf or brooch, for example.

It is also tragic and unavoidable that a woman in a job where appearance matters is going to have to spend more money than a man to maintain that appearance. I'm not trying to get a debate started about feminism and equality in the workplace and all of that, but it's true. And depressing.

You may need to focus on other areas to cut your spending and let her have this one.

Richard3

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Re: Reasonable Shopping in Sales Position
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2012, 11:09:30 AM »
You know what, I wouldn't fight against reason #2 (well, I would but more slowly and subtly). Some people do like acquiring clothes as a leisure activity and as long as you're not entering hoarders territory this is no worse than my hobby of spending money to slide down a hill on a plank of wood or my friend who likes hitting a ball with an expensive stick.

#3 is the worrying one - just because you make money isn't a reason to spend it.

So, I suggest separating the maintaining the work "uniform" budget from the recreational shopping. This will give you both a better idea of how much her hobby is costing and whether that amount is fair based on your priorities as a couple and compared to your hobby spending.


Another Reader

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Re: Reasonable Shopping in Sales Position
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2012, 11:14:06 AM »
Sadly, that's not unreasonable for professional attire for women.  If she is buying decent quality clothes and shoes, making pieces work together, minimizing jewelry purchases, and maintaining the items, she can expect a budget of $1,200 to $2,000 a year for everything, including jeans and T-shirts.  For example, comfortable, quality dress shoes are going to run over $100, and even with care will not last nearly as long as men's shoes.  Two or three pairs of classic pumps could be well over $300 these days.

Now if she is buying a lot of cheap stuff that's not necessary and shopping for recreation, that's something to discuss.  How fast would an extra $50 to $100 a month add up and allow you to do something important to both of you?  Would she consider cutting back on the clothes budget to make that happen?

kudy

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Re: Reasonable Shopping in Sales Position
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2012, 11:47:51 AM »
If she is buying decent quality clothes and shoes, making pieces work together, minimizing jewelry purchases, and maintaining the items, she can expect a budget of $1,200 to $2,000 a year for everything, including jeans and T-shirts.

Wow, that's insane - I guess I am not calibrated for professional attire.

Another Reader

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Re: Reasonable Shopping in Sales Position
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2012, 12:09:47 PM »
She's meeting with executives from other companies.  Target and WalMart won't cut it.  Neither will Kohl's and other stores like it.  Shopping sales and buying coordinated pieces, especially things that don't have to be drycleaned, helps.  Some folks can find good quality second hand clothes, I never could.  Shoes were always the budget killer for me.  Alterations for those of us that don't fit the clothing industry's standard sizes also add up. 

I agree with Mary of Doom.  At one time I worked with a fellow manager that spent a lot of money on the clothing, including a lot of high fashion stand-alone suits.  She would then buy shoes and handbags at Payless to save money.  She was therefore "wearing Payless" in the eyes of others.

caligulala

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Re: Reasonable Shopping in Sales Position
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2012, 12:21:01 PM »
I was in sales and the way I dressed absolutely had an impact on my bottom line. Women's clothing is more distinctive than men's and people will remember if they see you wearing the same thing too many times close together. So women need more items than men, which costs more. Being perceived as out of touch because of the clothing you wear decreases your credibility. $150 a month is one or two midrange to quality pieces. I wouldn't qualify that as excessive.

It's easy dismiss fashion as stupid if you aren't interested in it, but for many people (myself included) expressing oneself through clothing is an important creative outlet. I couldn't care less about gadgets or cameras or sports equipment or myriad other hobbies that people spend loads of money on. Clothing is my hobby.

My advice is to keep your nose out of your girlfriend's discretionary spending. My husband spends his fun money on electronic doohickeys and music, two things I would never bother spending money on, but you won't catch me giving him grief about it.

secondcor521

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Re: Reasonable Shopping in Sales Position
« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2012, 12:26:14 PM »
I think $150 per month is a little on the cheap side and I would personally be OK with a higher number, especially if it includes her makeup and regular clothes in addition to her work wardrobe.  I'd also say good on your wife for staying within the budget (if in fact she does so).

It sounds like you're trying to get a handle on your expenses.  Good plan.  If you're grossing $150K per year, though, $1800 a year is a tad over 1% of your gross.  I would strongly recommend focusing on the big budget items first and see if you can reduce those before going after the smaller stuff.  Where is the other 98.5% of your income going?

You'll probably think I'm reading too much into this, but I'll try saying it again because I was in your shoes once, tried what you appear to be trying, and failed miserably at it.  I'd rather not see you fail in the same way I did.  (Hey, maybe you won't...you and your wife are different people in a different situation.)  A better way to elicit change -- rather than telling your wife that a bunch of random people on the Internet think she's spending too much money on clothes -- would be to form some mutually-agreed upon goals and then figure out financially what it will take to get to those goals.  That's harder, but better.

By the way, my divorce cost nearly 150 years' worth of your wife's clothing budget.  Think about it.

2Cor521

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Re: Reasonable Shopping in Sales Position
« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2012, 12:39:30 PM »
It sounds wrong to me,and points 2 and 3 definitely show the mustache could do with growing out a bit, but maybe for the sake of peace its easier to let this one be for now.

As someone pointed out its a little over 1% of your combined pay. If it seems you are on the same page with the other 95% of stuff, just see this as an unfortunate area where you don't see eye to eye.

We all need to make some compromises, and it seems all round you have a really good situation.

cbr shadow

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Re: Reasonable Shopping in Sales Position
« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2012, 12:55:27 PM »
Lots of great points here.  Thanks everyone for the input.

I guess there are other areas we can save a lot more in.  She is especially passionate about this one so maybe I'll work on another area to "make up for" this one.

Secondcore51, thanks for putting this into perspective.  It hasn't really gotten to the arguement stage.. we've only had some discussion about this so I wanted to get some feedback from everyone here.  We share all of our money and there are very few issues with how we spend it (thanks to mint.com and budget tracking!).


cdttmm

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Re: Reasonable Shopping in Sales Position
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2012, 01:52:56 PM »
If she's spending $1800 per year for all of her clothing, including shoes, plus her make up, and she's earning an annual salary of $100K, then she's doing a bang up job IMO, especially in a sales job where presentation is key. As long as she sticks to this budget and it's not negatively impacting your other financial goals (debt repayment, retirement savings, etc.) then I wouldn't hassle her on this line item. I know plenty of women who spend $150 or more every month getting their hair and nails done. Yikes!

happy

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Re: Reasonable Shopping in Sales Position
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2012, 03:51:38 PM »
I am a professional woman and spend $700/year on clothes. However I am really at the very bottom end of what is acceptable and I'm 54 and not trying to "go places" at this point in my career.  If I were in Sales where presentation is of key importance, I'm sure I'd need to lift my game. So I'm with everyone else on this - $1800 given her job is probably not excessive, especially if she sticks to that.

I'd look for other savings and keep on modelling that stuff doesn't make you happy.

sol

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Re: Reasonable Shopping in Sales Position
« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2012, 04:03:48 PM »
I'll volunteer to be the dissenter here.  I think spending $150/month on your appearance is about the stupidest thing ever.  Shame on all of you for endorsing such waste, especially for something so trivial.

If she was just starting out with nothing and needed to build a wardrobe?  Okay, maybe.  As an ongoing expense?  Completely ridiculous.

My wife and I spend less than $150 per year on our clothes, and we make more than you do.  If you want to look nice, get your flabby ass in shape before you go spending thousands of dollars per year on ways to conceal your unflattering bulges.

Frankly I'm shocked that a board full of supposedly frugal peeps would so forcefully support something like this.  Consider the zeal with which you've attacked people for $75/month cable bills, or $100/month phone bills, as stupidly wasteful.  Yet you're all totally fine with $150/month for disposable consumerist made-up fashion craptasticness?  Get your heads screwed on straight.

jrhampt

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Re: Reasonable Shopping in Sales Position
« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2012, 04:09:38 PM »
I also have a budget of $150/mo for clothes, appearance-related items, etc.  I do think it's rather a lot, and I have months where I spend less.  Some of this also goes to re-soling shoes, tailoring clothes, and the occasional dry-cleaning bill, so it's not all new items and waste.

nofool

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Re: Reasonable Shopping in Sales Position
« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2012, 04:14:19 PM »
If you want to look nice, get your flabby ass in shape before you go spending thousands of dollars per year on ways to conceal your unflattering bulges.

Whoa. No need for that type of comment here.

I think our point was simply that OP should pick and choose his battles. If she feels strongly about it and it doesn't have a huge impact on their budget, move on to the next item in the budget to discuss.

anonlawyer

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Re: Reasonable Shopping in Sales Position
« Reply #19 on: December 27, 2012, 04:16:52 PM »
I'll volunteer to be the dissenter here.  I think spending $150/month on your appearance is about the stupidest thing ever.  Shame on all of you for endorsing such waste, especially for something so trivial.

If she was just starting out with nothing and needed to build a wardrobe?  Okay, maybe.  As an ongoing expense?  Completely ridiculous.

My wife and I spend less than $150 per year on our clothes, and we make more than you do.  If you want to look nice, get your flabby ass in shape before you go spending thousands of dollars per year on ways to conceal your unflattering bulges.

Frankly I'm shocked that a board full of supposedly frugal peeps would so forcefully support something like this.  Consider the zeal with which you've attacked people for $75/month cable bills, or $100/month phone bills, as stupidly wasteful.  Yet you're all totally fine with $150/month for disposable consumerist made-up fashion craptasticness?  Get your heads screwed on straight.

Sol -- the difference is you're both Mustachian.  He is trying to be one, and she is not.  Part of being a married couple is compromise.  Shoving his values down her throat is not going to lead anywhere good.  For me, being in a happy marriage is more valuable than anything else.  For a combined salary of $150K, spending $1,800 on craptasticness is not that bad and not worth a huge fight.

I would suggest that OP try another approach with the wife.  Try creating incentives for her to save money.  Give her the $150, but every month she spends say $50 or $100 of that $150, then give her an incentive to hit that number again in the future.  Use your imagination.  Maybe there is something non-monetary that she wants, like having an extra hour a week without kids, if you have any.  Hopefully, she will come to realize that she doesn't need the budget and that there are other things that will make her happy.

Rangifer

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Re: Reasonable Shopping in Sales Position
« Reply #20 on: December 27, 2012, 04:20:32 PM »
Yep, $150/mo for someone in a sales position is more than reasonable. And yes, a lot of clients can absolutely tell if you are buying your clothes at target vs. an upscale place. Yes, it is stupid, but that is how it is in sales. I'm a dude, and I'm telling you that she is right about this.

Be thankful she isn't "required" to have the $1200/mo Mercedes S-Class lease as part of the job.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2012, 04:25:45 PM by Rangifer »

maryofdoom

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Re: Reasonable Shopping in Sales Position
« Reply #21 on: December 27, 2012, 04:22:31 PM »
Frankly I'm shocked that a board full of supposedly frugal peeps would so forcefully support something like this.  Consider the zeal with which you've attacked people for $75/month cable bills, or $100/month phone bills, as stupidly wasteful.  Yet you're all totally fine with $150/month for disposable consumerist made-up fashion craptasticness?  Get your heads screwed on straight.

Potential clients and CEOs aren't privy to your cable or phone bills. But they do judge your personal appearance. As I've said up-thread, it's more expensive to be a woman in certain types of jobs. This is massively unfair.

I'm glad that you and your wife have jobs where you can dress inexpensively. The OP's wife does not. She works for a software company, which is probably staffed by a bunch of old white dudes. She is probably meeting with CEOs who are old white dudes. I know this - I work with a lot of old white dudes who don't take women seriously because we work in a scientific field.

This is a problem that cannot be solved by a particular application of frugality.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Reasonable Shopping in Sales Position
« Reply #22 on: December 27, 2012, 04:33:16 PM »
I have expensive tastes in clothing and see nothing wrong with spending $200 on a pair of quality shoes. But as a monthly thing, that just seems silly.

That's a general drawback of budgets in general though, it /can/ sometimes encourage spending because "it's okay, it's within the budget".

Whatever you do, tread with caution.

Be thankful she isn't "required" to have the $1200/mo Mercedes S-Class lease as part of the job.
Holy shit batman, do people really do this for their jobs?

c

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Re: Reasonable Shopping in Sales Position
« Reply #23 on: December 27, 2012, 07:47:37 PM »
My company has a very strict dress code and I dress on the more casual side. Right or wrong, it does make a difference in how you are perceived, and one of my goals for 2013 is to dress more in keeping with my peers. While I don't agree with it, the simple fact is that certain jobs require you to dress a particular way and your earnings are impacted either way depending on what you choose to do.

Outside of work I'm a strict jeans/t-shirt/sweater/trainers kinda gal and I wear my stuff until it falls off.

There's no way to say this without it coming across as snarky, which is not how it's meant, but your wife is bringing in the bulk of the income and I don't understand the nit-picking on a really small percentage of your household income that actually enables her to bring in the great salary that will help propel you *both* towards FI, especially given your earlier post on buying the hobby item. Technically every dollar you spend on your "wants" costs twice what hers do as you're brining in half the money. It would be more beneficial to your bottom line for you to increase your income than for her to decrease her spending. That's the "random internet" person's view. I'm sure your situation is more nuanced than that in RL. I bring in more than twice what my husband does, so I see things from a different perspective.



« Last Edit: December 27, 2012, 07:53:34 PM by c »

daymare

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Re: Reasonable Shopping in Sales Position
« Reply #24 on: December 27, 2012, 11:44:41 PM »
I too, enjoy shopping.  However, I've grown unhappy with the amount of stuff (clothes) I own that I don't need.  My moment of clarity came when I was cleaning my apartment from top to bottom (in anticipation of a potential big move/displacement) and realized that I actually ... had so many clothes that I FORGOT about some of them.  Literally, I had clothes stored in my closet that I had forgotten I own, which is completely disgusting and unacceptable.  Never again -- I've been furiously paring down my closet since then.  I recently read Elizabeth Cline's 'Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion', and found it very interesting -- would recommend it, especially if your wife is in the cycle of spending money on clothes of poor quality with the expectation that they'll need to be replaced shortly & discarded.

I'm all about understanding the emotions/heuristics behind our financial decisions (behavioral econ nerd here) in order to change behavior -- what is it that your wife enjoys about shopping?  You can have a lovely afternoon with a girlfriend shopping if you task yourself as her personal shopper/assistant, and focus on her clothing needs rather than your own, if it's the socializing that is important.  Does she enjoy keeping up with fashion?  Why not window shop or read magazines.  Is she really interested in trying to buy unique garments?  Maybe this is opportunity to re-purpose existing clothes or learn to sew (so you can create the ultimate your-style garment).  Or you can play mental tricks on yourself -- ie, try on anything you want, fantasize about any outfit, but decide beforehand that nothing will be bought that day, and you can come in a few days later if you still want whatever clothes you saw.  I do this with Amazon sometimes (not with clothes) -- I'll read through reviews & put items I like in my cart ... I enjoy this, then I step away and go do something more productive instead of buying crap.

I don't think it's unreasonable to spend $150/month on clothes to support your image (which is important) in a high-paying, high-visibility sales position.  But perhaps there are goals that will bring your wife deeper satisfaction and happiness than shopping ... and that's what you two should figure out, rather than fighting over the budget.  I agree that it might not be the hill to die on -- start discussing/reworking the financial decisions that could have higher impact (housing, food, etc) and go from top down. 

Rangifer

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Re: Reasonable Shopping in Sales Position
« Reply #25 on: December 28, 2012, 12:47:38 AM »

Be thankful she isn't "required" to have the $1200/mo Mercedes S-Class lease as part of the job.
Holy shit batman, do people really do this for their jobs?

You wouldn't take the executives out to lunch in a Corolla, would you?

Serious answer: Yes, people do lease $1000+/mo vehicles as part of their 'image'. Wonder why you don't ever see any older luxury cars downtown? It is because no one finances them, they only lease. That way, by the time your S-Class lease is over, the new bodystyle is coming out and you can then lease that one.

Here's another one for you. Trophy wives don't buy AMG/Braubus Benzes and M Series BMWs because they want to go fast. They get them because they are the most expensive model available.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2012, 12:51:36 AM by Rangifer »

James

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Re: Reasonable Shopping in Sales Position
« Reply #26 on: December 28, 2012, 06:16:43 AM »
With quality clothing there should be a point reached in which a wardrobe is being maintained rather than being built.  $150 per month sounds to me like a building budget.  That is fine if the wardrobe needs building, but if there is a good amount of quality clothing and only maintenance is needed, then it sounds extreme.


I suggest asking her what point she feels she is in, building vs maintenance.  Is there a compromise available?  Maybe spending $150 per month for 6 months, $125 for 6 months, then $100 per month going forward.  It would be a way for her to ween herself off the spending and possibly build up a wardrobe knowing her budget will be going down over time.


It's hard for us internet people to judge in general, because we don't know the rest of your situation.  We don't know what exactly she is buying with this money, we don't know all your other spending habits as a family, we don't know if this is her one luxury or if this is just the most obvious tip of the iceberg.  I would search for compromise, and any time you can build in a gradual reduction over time the saving can then build over time.  And even at $150 per month locked down, it will shrink with inflation over time.


It's much easier to cut out your hobby money than her clothing money, she sees her clothing money as an investment in her job. (for right or wrong)  I think you have some valid point, but you may be on shaky ground pushing your point to forcefully.  Maybe live the walk for a year before pushing her to jump in as deep as you are.  :)

TomTX

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Re: Reasonable Shopping in Sales Position
« Reply #27 on: December 28, 2012, 06:25:02 AM »
I am a professional woman and spend $700/year on clothes. However I am really at the very bottom end of what is acceptable and I'm 54 and not trying to "go places" at this point in my career.  If I were in Sales where presentation is of key importance, I'm sure I'd need to lift my game. So I'm with everyone else on this - $1800 given her job is probably not excessive, especially if she sticks to that.

Age is a point which should be considered, and I'm glad you brought it up: At 29, she hasn't had all THAT long to build a "professional" wardrobe. College, then a starter job, etc.  At 54, you've had longer to collect jewelry, shoes, handbags, scarves, "classic" items,  et cetera.

Point 1 is quite valid. Many sales jobs effectively require a certain level of dress.

Point 2: How much are you spending on hobby money?

Point 3: Not valid, ESPECIALLY if she's using this to say she can spend more than you. Either you are a team, or not. IMNSHO.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Reasonable Shopping in Sales Position
« Reply #28 on: December 28, 2012, 06:41:13 AM »
I'll volunteer to be the dissenter here.  I think spending $150/month on your appearance is about the stupidest thing ever.  Shame on all of you for endorsing such waste, especially for something so trivial.

If she was just starting out with nothing and needed to build a wardrobe?  Okay, maybe.  As an ongoing expense?  Completely ridiculous.

My wife and I spend less than $150 per year on our clothes, and we make more than you do.  If you want to look nice, get your flabby ass in shape before you go spending thousands of dollars per year on ways to conceal your unflattering bulges.

Frankly I'm shocked that a board full of supposedly frugal peeps would so forcefully support something like this.  Consider the zeal with which you've attacked people for $75/month cable bills, or $100/month phone bills, as stupidly wasteful.  Yet you're all totally fine with $150/month for disposable consumerist made-up fashion craptasticness?  Get your heads screwed on straight.

Your off base, this isn't a person spending $150/month simply to have clothes...it is for work.  Sure there are programmers, longshoreman, oil rig workers, and other jobs where jeans and tshirts are all that you need but any sales or client interfacing job that is high paying requires a quality and presentable wardrobe.  People keep referencing that this is ok because womens clothes are (fill in the blank) but as a man in this type of position I have to wear suits almost everyday and when I don't it has to be dress slacks (no khakis/dockers, etc).   At the lowest an acceptable suit is $200+ on sale.  And sure there is a degree of maintenance and for men it is simply changing the tie...but when you where this stuff every day suits (primarily pants) wear out and shirts wear out and I walk a lot from meeting to meeting and from the train so shoes wear out. 

Over the last year I spent about $800 but I can tell you a few of my pants need replacing as to a pair of my shoes.  So even for a man in this type of position is at least $1000 per year.  I hate it as much as anyone but it is part of the job.

I guess the OP's wife can quit and get a lower paying job  so she would need to spend on these clothes....makes complete sense, yeah right...just think of it as another tax or investment cost (investment in her career). And it can stop if she does stop working.

cbr shadow

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Re: Reasonable Shopping in Sales Position
« Reply #29 on: December 28, 2012, 08:46:16 AM »
Yikes, some of these comments came off a bit abrasive.  To clear a few things up:

- How much do you spend on your hobby budget?.. Zero dollars.  As noted in the previous hobby budget thread, we decided to set my hobby budget aside until we met our goal to pay off the PMI (following the majority of what MMM members voted on).

- "Why are you asking people on the internet?"  Isn't that what this forum is for?  This section of the MMM forum is literally called "Ask a Mustachian".  Also my wife is not "irked" that I posted this.. I linked her to both posts and she's interested in what people think.  She also reads MMM blog posts and some forum posts regularly.

- "She makes twice your pay so she should be able to spend this money."  I think this is a bit of a double standard..  Would you feel the same way if I made twice what she did?  We share money and make things as equal as possible as far as spending goes, which seems to work well.

Thanks everyone for the responses though.  It seems like the general consensus is that $150/month isn't that bad, especially if a lot of it goes towards work items.  Obviously some disagree but I guess that's expected. 

Paul der Krake

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Re: Reasonable Shopping in Sales Position
« Reply #30 on: December 28, 2012, 04:45:48 PM »

Be thankful she isn't "required" to have the $1200/mo Mercedes S-Class lease as part of the job.
Holy shit batman, do people really do this for their jobs?

You wouldn't take the executives out to lunch in a Corolla, would you?

Serious answer: Yes, people do lease $1000+/mo vehicles as part of their 'image'. Wonder why you don't ever see any older luxury cars downtown? It is because no one finances them, they only lease. That way, by the time your S-Class lease is over, the new bodystyle is coming out and you can then lease that one.

Here's another one for you. Trophy wives don't buy AMG/Braubus Benzes and M Series BMWs because they want to go fast. They get them because they are the most expensive model available.
That's interesting, I had always assumed those were company cars, not something employees were to lease themselves.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Reasonable Shopping in Sales Position
« Reply #31 on: December 28, 2012, 06:07:14 PM »
Yikes, some of these comments came off a bit abrasive.  To clear a few things up:

- How much do you spend on your hobby budget?.. Zero dollars.  As noted in the previous hobby budget thread, we decided to set my hobby budget aside until we met our goal to pay off the PMI (following the majority of what MMM members voted on).

Well, I was harsh on this point particularly because you gave up your hobby budget as a result of the poll, which based on the OP of that thread seemed that you had hoped you would get to keep your hobby budget so this post came off as a little tantrum like "if I have to give up mine then she has to give up hers" but hers is not a hobby.

- "Why are you asking people on the internet?"  Isn't that what this forum is for?  This section of the MMM forum is literally called "Ask a Mustachian".  Also my wife is not "irked" that I posted this.. I linked her to both posts and she's interested in what people think.  She also reads MMM blog posts and some forum posts regularly.

You're right, they are wrong.  The internet may not be the best source but generally if there are enough posts it will show a directional/decisional bias.

- "She makes twice your pay so she should be able to spend this money."  I think this is a bit of a double standard..  Would you feel the same way if I made twice what she did?  We share money and make things as equal as possible as far as spending goes, which seems to work well.

Again you are right, the fact that she makes more is irrelevant if you are in a fully committed relationship where you both share everything and treat it as one.

Just like the other post responses, the responses to this one showed the bias, and while I though the amount was reasonable to be honest it was surprising to me that people here saw through the spending consumerist aspect and saw it as a cost of doing business.

Keep asking the questions.

Phoebe

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Re: Reasonable Shopping in Sales Position
« Reply #32 on: December 28, 2012, 09:42:11 PM »
I believe I have the same job, and I make $170,000 a year and spend $300 annually on new clothes/accessories for work.  I think the work arguments are just excuses (which I too used before I started my own money transformation) but they simply don't hold water.  The biggest reason is that in sales you rarely see the same clients day in day out.  Sure, you need to have nice clothes, but I find that I need two weeks worth max.

So, I opt for 3 pairs of nice pants, two pairs of nice shoes, a versatile black (Coach) purse, one suit coat, two nice cardigans, and a half dozen tops that can be worn alone or under the suit coat or cardigan.  If you are purchasing items that are not meant to mix and match this won't work, so I choose items that all have roughly the same palet and can create many different outfits out of them.

There was a time when I thought my job demanded that I color my hair every 6 weeks, have the newest clothes, and finest makeup.  Then I paired down, stopped coloring my hair altogether, decided to wear the same dependable make-up day in day out and utilize my versatile, not all that flashy wardrobe.  I realized that what made me stand apart was my intelligence and ability to communicate to clients and as long as my appearance meets the necessary standard (for example I have a nice haircut, am always nicely groomed, watch my weight, and iron my clothes) that was all that was required.  Since I've paired down my salary almost doubled and I've gotten 3 promotions.  I've also paid off all of my $65,000 debt and amassed a networth of over $285,000.

The bottom line is that you have to make priorities and then get creative.  Good luck!!

smalllife

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Re: Reasonable Shopping in Sales Position
« Reply #33 on: December 29, 2012, 10:29:44 AM »
+1 to Pheobe's comment.

It really depends on what she's buying with $150 - you said it basically covers all of her "personal" expenses.  This includes clothes, make up, etc.  Do I think it can be done with less? Yes.  Am I going to judge her spending without getting a breakdown?  No.   My thoughts are completely different if it is spent entirely on clothing or if it includes unnecessary make-up, hair dye, and chemicals.

What is her clothing size?  I dare you to find a decent bra for under $50 if she is anything other than a 32-36 A-D (and having worn the $50 ones - they don't last that long on a 28F).  If she has anything about her that makes her unique it likely means that she has to shop specifically for that body part. 

Does she have a good tailor or make up for poorly fitting clothing with quantity?  Clothing off the rack tries to fit the "average" woman and therefore fits no woman. Any upscale male suit store has an in house tailor free of charge, women don't get that same courtesy and yet the clothes cost the same as or more than the men's suits.  It is possible to have a very small wardrobe and not have anyone notice - if they all mix and match, are tailored to your body, and there are accessories to steal the attention - but that is a skill that is learned (and I'm still figuring it out).

Do you tell her she looks beautiful when she's wearing sweats and no make up?  Criticizing her clothing choices won't help her garner the confidence to eschew cultural norms in pursuit of financial independence.  Like it or not, this is likely an emotional sticking point.  Crunching the numbers won't help you in this case.

A440

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Re: Reasonable Shopping in Sales Position
« Reply #34 on: December 29, 2012, 11:47:06 AM »
I am not in sales, but make more than twice what your wife does.  I haven't spent $150 on clothes in one month since I bought my wedding dress 3 years ago.

Would she be willing to get clothes at Goodwill or consignment stores or ebay and have them tailored?  Maybe they could also do something about these hems that are fraying.   I obviously don't know her exact situation, but it does seem kind of odd that software sales would require a high fashion sort of wardrobe.  If she was in fashion or entertainment law or something like that, I would understand it more.  I thought software was more egalitarian. 

Also I think shopping as a hobby can be different than buying as a hobby.  I love to look at what's available, but I just don't feel the need to buy it.  Does she actually get a lot of use out of what she is buying?  Some people use a amazon list or something to keep track of things they are interested in, and then buy them if it has been a certain number of days, and they are still interested.