On Tuesday I will begin a three month ban on purchases of clothing and accessories for the third time in my life. The first time I did it for an AOL article (that no longer exists). The second time I did it because my husband dared me. This time it’s one part will-power exercise, two-parts I-don’t-need-any-clothes and the rest because I’m working less freelance jobs right now to focus on my writing so I need to save money. Long story short I am highly qualified to provide advice on how to avoid buying things you absolutely do not need. There is little I love more than a shiny new item in my closet so if I can do it; you can do it. Here’s how:
First – Spend an hour or so going through all the crap currently in your closet. Note the things you bought because you had to have them. Note how many of those things you have actually worn in the past month. You will feel like a real idiot. Remember that feeling. You’re going to need it.
After That – Total up the cost of all the things you bought within the past month or two that fall into the category you’re trying to avoid. For me it is clothing. I bought four things last month. Every single item was on sale and two were purchased at a Forever21. I still spent $200. Damn me.
Next – I want you to wear the exact same thing twice in one weekend. Obviously if it gets dirty or smelly you can do it some other time. Same goes if you’re going to be at two different parties with the exact same people who care about that sort of thing. But you can probably find two moments to wear the same thing in two days (three if you do it this long weekend!). So wear the exact same thing and then notice how it doesn’t matter in any way what so ever. No one cares. You won’t care. Life will go on. You really, truly don’t need 365 outfits per year, I just said out loud to myself.
here she is in all her glory…that is not mine
Now – It’s time to go online to your favorite e-boutique. Right now mine is Lovely or www.shoplovely.com. Go wherever you go and spend some time perusing the merch until you find something you cannot live without. If you are anything like me this will not be hard. Now I want you to select your size, put it in your “cart” and get up from your desk to go get your credit card from your wallet in the other room (unless you have your credit card number memorized in which case wow and this process might not work for you). Just before you get to your wallet I want you to stop, turn around, and walk back. You’re not getting the dress/yoga pants/earrings/surf board. You don’t need it. Your life will not be significantly better if you have it. Go close out of that website and eat some chocolate.
And finally – You’re going to physically go to a store, find something that you desperately want to buy and not buy it. I recommend trying it on in the dressing room if it’s an article of clothing. I did this the other day at Lotta Stesson on 3rd Street because they are going out of business (don’t worry, they’re still online) and all the absolutely gorgeous sarongs and kaftans were 80% off. I found the kaftan dress design of my dreams, tried it on, loved how it looked and got the shop keeper to take an extra $20 off the already incredibly reasonable price. Yes, I envisioned the five places I would wear that pitch perfect piece of silk. Yes, I felt it was imperative to express my bohemian personality with such a style. Yes, I knew just how I would wear my hair with my new prize (side braid, duh). But then I remembered that I did not need this dress. I would likely wear it twice in my life. Yes the Instagrams would last a lifetime, but I have other dresses that look good under a Hudson filter. I am stronger than this piece of breathtakingly beautiful silk cut on the bias. Then I walked away, claiming that I was going to think about it and come back after lunch. I didn’t go back because I am a warrior, and so are you, probably. If not there’s a super cute kaftan with your name on it…
Good luck! Report back on your progress! And for best results, start after all the insane Labor Day Weekend sales…
For More Like This Check Out:
My So-Called Advice: On Saving Money
My Cheap Jeans Obsession Confession