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Think hand-me-downs and consignment the next time your kids need new clothes. See more parenting pictures.

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If you have a family of your own, then you know full well how much money it takes to keep everyone sheltered, fed and clothed. The basic necessities of life aren't cheap these days, and things get even pricier when your tastes get more refined. As your paycheck grows, you may find that your preference for nicer restaurants or designer clothing increases as well. This is one reason why it's so tough to calculate averages for family spending. Every family is different, with a range of priorities and tastes, and that can greatly affect the amount of money they might spend on something like clothing.

However, the retail industry is one that's heavily researched, so there are some numbers that shopping "think tanks" throw out there that they feel represents the average American family. A North Dakota State University study from 2010 found that the average American household spends about 3.8 percent of their income on clothing. The Census Bureau states that the average household income is about $50,000 per year, so that means roughly $2,000 per year, per household.

The trick to knowing how much is too much is to look at your overall budget and make sure you're covered for the real necessities of life, as well as a savings plan. If you're spending too much money on clothing at the expense of your long-term welfare or short-term priorities, then you might want to revamp your clothing budget.