The Challenge-5 Months In

So I’m five months into my “no shopping for a year” challenge, and I can honestly say it hasn’t been all that bad. I unsubscribed from 90% of the shopping emails I received, so I don’t seem them anymore. I really dislike the mall, so I haven’t had a desire to go. I also don’t bother “window shopping” online anymore because I know I’m not going to buy anything.

However, on the flip side to that statement, I reeeeeeaally want to go shopping. Mainly for skirts. And a new pair of light brown strappy sandals—the ones I own will probably only make it through this summer, but I’ve had them for at least five years. But that’s really it.

So, how is it really going?

Technically, I have purchased a few items.
There were some exceptions made in the beginning—an item can be replaced if really needed, but the old has to go and the challenge doesn’t apply to athletic gear. So I have replaced a few items and kept with the “one in, one out” rule. Also, I never said swimsuits were off-limit, so I have purchased a couple new ones.

I hate admitting this, I really don’t think I’ve saved any money.
Or at least not what I thought I would. I have found myself looking more at home goods now that clothes are off-limits. Maybe next year I won’t buy anything for the house. Tim would probably love that. However, there has been other expenses that haven’t exactly allowed me to put as much into savings as I’d like—race entry fees (two sprint triathlons and a half marathon), a new bike helmet, a plane ticket home for a week. Stuff like that.

By the way, totally off subject, but Southwest’s prices are starting to get really high. The fact that I had to pay $225 roundtrip for a 1 hour flight (each way) is ridiculous. I only paid like $260 roundtrip with Alaska Air when we went to Seattle back in March, and that was 4 hours each way. Not cool, Southwest.

Quality vs Quantity.
This is a big one for me. I will be the first to admit that I am a cheap-o. I have no problem shopping at places like Target, Old Navy or Forever 21, and I won’t spend more than $40 on a pair of jeans. But now, I’m finally seeing the light with buying quality pieces. I’ve noticed that I’m going to have to get rid of a few favorite pieces of clothing at the end of the year because they weren’t made to last long (hems coming undone and color fading are two big things). I think it’s totally okay to spend very little on trendy items that will only be in style for just a few months, but staple items would be of a better quality. I remember buying a $100 black blazer during college and hating spending that much on it, but you know what? That blazer is still in great shape and has lasted me. Same goes for the more expensive pair of jeans I own—they are outlasting the others.

I have a 30 Before 30 item to clean out a chunk of my wardrobe and start over. I have a feeling that will be happening next year, and I’ll be investing in a few quality staple pieces that I know will last me. I was reading an article on Design*Sponge about a closet makeover and how, in the end, everything in the closet was a favorite. I want that to be my closet, because right now it certainly isn’t. I will say that I have learned over the last few months what pieces I really don’t care for. I’m constantly adding to the donate pile more than ever now.

I need a mix & match lesson.
I should really spend an evening/day/weekend really looking at the pieces in my closet and figure out how to mix and match better than I currently am. I get bored with wearing the same thing every so often, so obviously this would help me better utilize what I do have.

So overall, I think it’s going fairly well. I actually found a $30 gift card to Express not long ago. I’ll most likely combine that with one of their coupons and see what I can get without spending any of my own money. Considering the prices in that store, that’s a whole other challenge!

—m.

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