Cutting spending on clothes will help line your pockets

Do the clothes make the man?
Do the clothes make the man?
Image: 123RF/fotomircea

A friend recently told of how his quest to look at life differently was paying dividends.

When we were young, just to give a bit of background, this was a man known in our hood for his sleek style and attention to detail when it came to fashion.

Whenever he stepped out of his home, it appeared as if he was wearing a new pair of trousers, shoes and shirt.

I cannot recall a time when he himself did not look like he was fresh out of the box.

Among us, his peers, his taste for exclusive clothing brands saw him shooting right ahead of the curve, leaving some of us in a state of admiration and awe.

Since we were from humble backgrounds we wished to be like him once we started working and straightened our finances.

Earlier this year we were shocked to see him ditching the expensive clothing labels for what could be considered no name brands.

With the fuel price sky-rocketing and most employers dishing out salary increases that are meant to further widen the gap between the rich and poor, anyone could have easily felt sorry for him that he had fallen on hard times.

"Not so," he responded after I had inquired.

He then reminded me that he was a general manager of a parastatal while his wife also held a similar position that saw them taking home a combined salary of more than R100,000.

He reasoned that he has dropped exclusive labels for cheaper products so that he could have more money to save every month.

As he tries to rid himself of a culture of being a big spender, he now forks out R300 on a T-shirt instead of R2,500.

He is also learning to pay R700 for either a pair of jeans or shoes instead of the R5,000 he used to fork out.

He also recently bought a Japanese sedan worth less than R200,000. He is known for driving expensive German sedans and SUVs.

He said his plan was to find stores that sold quality products cheaply so that he could save enough money in the next five years and be in a position to exercise his financial options.

He could use the cash to settle his bond, invest on the stock exchange, start a business or do anything that could at that time strengthen his financial position.

The conversation I had with him made me think that the best New Year's resolution for my family and I would be to find and stick to stores that sold good quality products at reasonable prices.

The trick, generally, about these lower price stores is that you would find that they sell few products of good quality and most of their merchandise would not last past three washes.

For instance, this same friend took me to a store popular for its low prices but advised me to only buy sandals for R150. At other stores a quality pair can easily cost at least triple that amount, which means I get more value for my money.

Most of the stuff in the store, however, is not worth my rands and cents, he advised.

This means, one has to find and make a mental note of stores selling high-quality products at cheaper rates.

The money you save from such an exercise, if saved wisely, could come in handy in the next five years.

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