Ever wondered why one pair of pants can cost $5 and an expensive pair can cost $30?
Not sure how often we should throw out underwear and invest in some new undergarments?
The answer to these questions is more complex than you might think.
Our guide explains the cost of underwear, how much you should be spending on it and how to tell when it’s time to say goodbye to old pants. So, how much should you spend on underwear? Let’s find out…
How much does underwear cost?
We wear underwear every day so it’s important to make the right decision on where to shop and how much to spend.
The price you pay will depend on the type of underwear that you buy, the brand and what it’s made from.
Panties can be made from cotton, lace, latex, leather, lycra, mesh, nylon, PVC, polyester, rawhide, satin and silk. These range in price from cotton being the cheapest and silk and satin demanding higher prices.
Cotton is the most suitable material for every day because it’s easy to wash and durable. However, whilst you can pick up a pair of cotton boxer briefs for around $5, the cotton quality won’t be as good. Low-quality undies won’t maintain their strength and longevity. It’s not just the fabric quality that determines what makes a good pair of underwear. The stitching, seams and binding will also affect how long the pants will last.
Good quality underwear will cost you more but it will last longer, saving you having to replace it as often as cheaper pairs. For premium, high-quality factor underpants, expensive pairs will cost you around $22.50 for men’s briefs, while women’s pants tend to be slightly cheaper.
Bra prices vary more, costing anything from $20 to $300. Even though it might seem like a good idea to pick up a $20 cheap bra, it’s a waste of cash if all you end up doing is keeping it at the bottom of your underwear draw because it doesn’t fit properly. Higher quality bras will allow you to get much more wear from them, giving you better value in the long term. However, the $20 bra is likely to need replacing every month, meaning you will have to buy 12 new ones a year, equalling $240.
Here’s what to look for when shopping for a new bra.
High-quality fabric – the higher the quality of the fabric, the longer it will hold its shape and last.
Well-made wires that fit – different shapes and lengths of wires are used in bras to provide support to varying band and cup sizes. Always get measured before investing in some new bras to make sure they are the right size for your shape.
Comfort is an important factor when it comes to garments that are in direct contact with your skin, so it’s worth investing in items that you feel good in and won’t need replacing after a few months of wear.
Create a clothing and underwear budget
Clothing, especially underwear, is a necessity so it makes sense to budget for it. Budgeting also helps with your purchasing decisions, preventing you from blowing hundreds of dollars on new underwear in one go.
How do you create a clothing or underwear budget? By following these simple steps.
1. Work out how much of your income you need to allocate to clothing. You can do this by going back through at least the last 6 months of bank statements and adding up all your clothing or underwear purchases. Most people set aside 2-8% of their income for clothing, but remember only to allocate the right amount for your needs.
2. Choose a budgeting period. For example, 3% of your monthly income every three months. If you don’t put a time period on your goals, you’re more likely to spend the money elsewhere.
3. Monitor your progress. A key part of a successful clothing budgeting is to continually track your progress. Keep an eye on your carefully considered budget to help prevent you from falling back into bad financial habits. At the end of each week look back at your plan, spending and savings progress and make adjustments if required. By recording every financial transaction you are taking control over your finances.
Stick to your clothing budget with these top tips:
Keep track – writing down everything that you spend money on is the only way to ensure you stay on budget. Otherwise, you could be spending way more than you think you are.
Carry over unspent money – it’s important not to feel that you have to spend all of your allocated budget. For example, if you go shopping during the sales and pick up some bargains, carry over any of your unspent budget to next month. This will give you an extra buffer and allow you to save up for other clothing in your budget such as a coat.
Return purchases you regret – we’ve all got carried away on a shopping trip and bought too many items. It’s a good idea to go through what you bought the next day and ask yourself whether you really need each item. If the answer is no, simply return them to the store to get your money back. Always keep receipts for this reason.
Signs that your underwear needs replacing
Holes – seeing holes in your undies? Holes happen from either heavy wear, low-quality fabric or from incorrectly washing them.
Regardless of the reason there are holes in your underwear, it’s definitely time to upgrade.
Stretches – underwear that has lost its shape is another sign that your underwear has seen better days. They may be comfortable, but you’ll feel much better wearing underwear that actually fits.
Stains – a guaranteed way to tell if your underwear is destined for the bin is whether there are any stains on it. Fresh undies will make you feel much better.
Unfortunately, if your current underwear is showing any of the above signs, it’s time to say goodbye to your old underwear and invest in some new undergarments.
What makes good underwear?
There are three important factors to consider when it comes to purchasing your underwear.
Firm elastic – nobody wants to keep pulling at their underwear all day to put it back into place. You need briefs or boxers with a waistband that will stay put. Firm elastic is also a good sign of decent quality undies.
Breathable material – generally, cotton is recommended for everyday underwear because it reduces moisture that can lead to discomfort.
Fit – underwear is only considered good if it fits you properly. Incorrect sizes pants can cause lumps and bumps and skin chafing. Correctly fitting bras is also important to prevent a woman’s neck and shoulders from being overworked to support the weight of breasts.
How to choose the right underwear for you
Buying the wrong type of underwear will cost you more in the long run, so it’s worth considering what you want from your undies before going shopping.
Here are a few things to consider before spending your hard earned dollars:
Size: measure your waist and hips at home or get fitted properly by a professional at a department store. Incorrectly fitted knickers will rub against your skin and as underwear is non-returnable once worn you will waste money by having to buy some more in the right size.
Purpose: the best underwear can be comfy, sexy or cute. Before hitting the stores and investing in new undies, decide what you want them for. Is it for everyday wear? Or are you searching for something a bit more romantic from victorias secret?
Shape: based on the purpose of your undies, you can then decide which shape would suit you best. This could be briefs, a thong, boxer briefs or other styles. If you’re looking for comfort, styles such as French cut briefs will provide more coverage.
Material: Satin, cotton, lace, spandex, viscose – there are plenty to choose from depending on the occasion. For everyday use, cotton is the best, while spandex variations made of nylon, polyamide, polyester are ideal for shapewear. Looking for something a bit sexier? Satin and lace are popular choices.
How often should you buy new underwear?
Experts recommend that you should replace the contents of your underwear drawer every six to 12 months, depending on how often you wear and wash them.
If you’ve got an entire drawer full of panties and briefs, you can rotate them and extend the life of these items for a full year. However, if you’ve only got a pair for each day of the week, it’s likely that they will become worn and need replacing every six months.
What about bras? Quality bras can last up to 18 months, depending on how often they’re worn and how you care for them. If the bra is uncomfortable, the lace is torn and the cup padding has shifted or is rumpled, it may be time to upgrade your bras.
How many pairs of underwear should you own?
The answer to this question ultimately depends on your lifestyle. For example, if you work out regularly and build up a sweat you will change your underwear more frequently than somebody who doesn’t get sweaty. The number of times you change your outfit a day can also have an impact. If you go out in the evening, chances are you will reach for a fresh pair of pants before heading out of the door.
As a minimum, you should own at least seven pairs of underwear for each day of the week. However, most people have at least double that amount to ensure that you don’t run out if you forget to put a wash on.
How can I prolong the life of my underwear?
Here are some easy ways to prolong the life of your undergarments.
Alternate your undies – frequent washing of underwear can wear them out quicker, so if you own about 20-25 pairs you can alternate them.
Hand wash – First things first, you shouldn’t just throw undergarments in to your normal laundry load. Washing your pants in a sink with some laundry detergent in warm water can help prevent wear and tear of your underwear. Once clean, hang to air dry.
Use a delicate wash and netted garment bag – if you don’t have the time to hand was your undies, buy a netted garment bag that will protect your underwear in the washing machine. Use a delicate cycle on your machine to protect your pants and bras.
What can I do with old underwear?
Instead of just throwing your discarded pants in the trash, consider giving them a new purpose.
Recycle – visit your local recycling centre where your old underwear can be sorted, recycled and made into something else.
Make a duster – simply cut your old underwear into strips and secure them to a plastic stick with a rubber band. Alternatively, use your pants as a rag to wipe or dust surfaces.
Get crafty – if you make pillows or teddies, old underwear makes a good stuffing that won’t cost you a dollar.
Fix holes in your clothes – old underwear makes a great patch for holes in your jeans or shirt and can create unique patterns on your clothes.
How often should you wash underwear?
You should wash your undies after every wear because they are in close contact with your skin and can contain bacteria.
Washing them after every use will also keep them smelling fresh. Studies have shown that some bacteria in underwear can survive a laundry load, so it’s worth looking into alternative washing methods to keep your pants fresh.
Spending money on underwear
Who knew there was so much to consider when shopping for pants?
When it comes to underwear, it’s important to get it right for the sake of your wallet and your comfort.
Now you know the cost of upgrading your underwear draw, don’t forget to add any future replacements to your clothing budget so you don’t get hit with any unexpected costs.
Want to know more about budgeting and how it can help you better manage your personal finances? Visit our personal finance blog.