Friday’s Frugal Five

March 1 marked an official year of my clothes buying ban. No clothes, shoes, accessories, or jewelry. My last purchase was some time in February of 2017, though I couldn’t tell you exactly what it was. Like my foray into a No Spend Month, I dove headfirst into this shopping ban with no preparation; one day, I just decided it was time to make it happen, and I went from there.

March 2017 – July 2017: Beginning the clothes buying ban

My initial drive to implement a clothes buying ban was to minimize my overflowing closet. I had already gone through and gotten rid of the clothes that didn’t fit / I didn’t like / just simply didn’t wear, but I still had way too much. I have a full closet to myself, plus a dresser, and both were full. I realized that in order to actually shrink the amount of stuff I owned, I would need to wear things out completely, and not bring in anything new to fill that space.

Going on vacation with a small suitcase of clothing is so freeing – the options are limited, and laundry is light. While I don’t ever expect to have that limited of a wardrobe, I’ve come to realize that a considerably smaller one would be much less stressful.

The first few months of the challenge were easy enough, but there was definitely a draw to wistfully look at new clothes and wish that I hadn’t imposed this ban on myself. I do enjoy looking good, and definitely appreciate the feeling of finding a fun new piece of clothing to wear. However, I was feeling overwhelmed with my closet, so I stuck to it and didn’t buy anything the first few months.

Lots and lots of clothes in my closet

July – October: Settling into a routine that didn’t involve buying clothes

I started this blog in July, and first wrote about this ban back then. By that point, I had started to settle in to a routine that didn’t involve any clothes shopping – window shopping included. Where I used to occasionally step in to clothing stores for recreation (usually discount spots like TJ Maxx, Ross, or thrift stores), I stopped heading into them at all unless I had a specific goal in mind, and even that became exceedingly rare.

The more I didn’t shop, the less I wanted to shop. I hadn’t realized how much of a compulsory draw there was to these stores before I made a specific effort to counteract it. While I usually felt good about find a “good deal” and only buying something I “really loved,” I still spent countless hours and too many dollars on something that didn’t bring any real value to my life. I had a large wardrobe, filled with clothes that I liked and made me look good, so there was no real need to add anything beyond what I already owned.

Appreciating the clothes I already own

After that fleeting feeling of missing out finally dissipated after a number of months, I found myself happier with the clothing I already did own. Instead of lamenting about how I wished I had a cardigan in that color or that style, I found myself happily wearing the ones I already had with any different combination of tops and accessories and appreciating each piece as I did wear it.

By putting a lid on my closet, each piece became precious and worth wearing again and again because I had already culled the ones that didn’t make me feel good. Instead of feeling limited by the no longer endless options of new clothes, I felt freed from having to take the mental space to decide what to wear the next day. Because I liked everything in my closet, and I knew how it fit and what it looked best paired with, I no longer spent precious time staring at my clothes wondering what to wear. I simply picked an outfit that worked for the weather, and continued on my day.

November: Feeling the discomfort of not buying things

The first real point I felt the pressure of the clothes ban came more than halfway through the year, with our trip to Hawaii. I found out midway through the trip that what I thought was a light rain jacket was, in fact, a light water resistant windbreaker. I had left my regular rain jacket at home in favor of the lighter, more compact one because it fit better in my suitcase, and because Hawaii isn’t cold, just wet on one side.

That pink shirt is my newest item of clothing – Mother’s Day gift from the kiddo and my MIL

The very first hard rain we walked through, my jacket got soaked through and didn’t dry for the rest of the day. Pre clothes ban, I probably would have stopped and bought a real rain jacket locally, because being soggy really isn’t so much fun. But since I was determined to do nothing of the sort, I just hung the jacket up to dry in the car and in the evenings and dealt with it the best I could. It was never cold, just unpleasant, so I worked with what I had.

December – March: finishing out the year not buying anything

After we returned from Hawaii, I put the windbreaker back in the closet and pulled out my lovely, WATERPROOF rain jacket. After a week of dealing with a not quite dry outer layer, I had new appreciation for my lovely blue coat. It may have not been the prettiest rain jacket you’ve ever seen, but it was fully functional, and that made it the wonderful.

Christmas rolled around, and my mother had been paying attention. My very favorite boots were starting to get pretty worn, and I was pretty bummed about it because I wore them more days than not. So, one of my Christmas presents was a pair of beautiful new black boots from my parents. I was thrilled. I tried them on right away… and they were uncomfortable. In the weeks that followed, they sat in my closet and I kept trying them back on again, hoping they weren’t as uncomfortable as I remembered. Unfortunately, they were, and eventually I had to let my mom know that we needed to return them because they just weren’t going to work.

It is now March and I still haven’t found a replacement pair to order as my present. All I want is to replace my old boots, and I even attempted to have the whole bottoms replaced, but so far I’ve had no luck.

The saga with my boots really showed me how much my relationship with clothes has changed in the last year. Prior to the clothes buying ban, I would have gone out and replaced them myself without a second thought. Now, even though the replacement is technically a Christmas gift, I find myself trying to find a way to replace them without buying a new pair.

My poor worn out boots

I’m considering looking at consignment and thrift stores to see if I can find a comparable pair there – they won’t be brand new, or nearly as expensive, but the longer I go without new clothes the longer I want to keep it up. Fast fashion is a serious problem, and even new sustainable clothing lines aren’t as good as simply not needing to create the clothing in the first place. Once again, the frugal option is usually the most environmentally friendly one as well.

Realizing the privilege involved

1. As I mentioned above, I figured out on our trip to Hawaii that a jacket I had was not actually waterproof. It keeps water off as long as it’s a light rain, but is only mildly helpful beyond that. If my only goal was to have the smallest wardrobe possible, I’d have gotten rid of it. But, as this challenge had morphed into something to reduce my long term environmental impact as well, I have kept it as a backup so I won’t have to re buy something similar in the future.

However, this is still entirely voluntary on my part. We are saving half our incomes and have plenty to buy new clothes if the need truly arises. I also have the time to scour second hand stores to get the best deals. A much lower income, as well as much longer hours, would change our options drastically.

2. In order for my clothes to last longer, I will need to start mending the small holes when I can. For now, I have a growing pile of clothing that needs to be sewn before it can be worn again. I still have plenty of other clothing though, so this hasn’t been a priority lately. When your time and money is limited, though, your options end up as buying Walmart replacements for $5 or spending (sometimes very limited) free time mending the clothes you do own.

Stack of clothes waiting to be mended

Making my clothes last longer

3. On a similar note, this clothing ban has incentivized me to hang dry my clothes even more often in order to have them last longer. But I do have a dryer at home and don’t have to find extra quarters for the laundromat.

When we lived in South Carolina, we didn’t have a washer and dryer in our unit so we had to drag our laundry all the way across the apartment complex. I also was making very little money, so more often than not I chose to dry our laundry in our apartment rather than pay the $2 to dry a load. When you’re making well under $10/hour, those dollars really matter.

4. While I didn’t initially include my son’s clothes in this challenge, I found myself not wanting to spend money on new ones for him as well. I have stockpiled quite a bit of the next size up from previous thrift store trips as well as hand me downs and clothing swaps, but I used to still spend $20-$50 / month on “cute things” for him that I happened to run across. Now that I don’t head into clothing stores, that doesn’t happen. Again, this is a choice. If you don’t have the money, and don’t have friends or family to send hand me downs, kids clothing becomes a serious monthly worry, for when the outgrow or wear out clothing, you have to spend some of that hard earned money to keep them clothed – but also fed.

5. I’m starting to feel a little bit of pressure to spruce up my work wardrobe. A few of my dress pants are getting a bit worn, and they’ll soon be too faded to wear to work (though perhaps dyeing them would work? Anyone have experience here?)

If I have to pare down the older pants, I will only have three pairs of work pants left. While that’s just enough to get by, I will eventually have to replace them. Occasionally I will get lucky with thrift store finds, but as I’m pretty short, I have to have them hemmed most of the time. More money or more time.

Why I had it easy

1. I still have A LOT of stuff. My closet and dresser are still mostly full. I have more t shirts than I may need for a lifetime.

2. I have a lot of nice work clothes that I bought or had gifted to me previously. I started from a wonderful, quality wardrobe that has a lot of life left in it.

3. My mother and I wear the same size, and she occasionally sends me some great hand me downs. Most notably, I just received a pair of running shoes from her because she found them in their move and realized she never wears them.

However, this challenge did stem from a desire to minimize my wardrobe, not just to stop spending money on clothing, so I’m very picky about what clothing I do accept from other people. If this was solely about not spending money, it would be really easy to end up hoarding anything offered to me. It really is no surprise that the minimalism movement did not emerge from the working poor.

I do wear a lot of scarves

What I Still Own After A Year Without Buying Clothes

  • 7 pairs of jeans, 3 pairs of shorts
  • 8 sweatshirts, 4 pairs sweatpants
  • Numerous dresses (casual and fancy) and 2 skirts
  • 5 pairs of work pants
  • A dozen scarves
  • 3 pairs yoga pants, 4 pairs running capris
  • T shirts for working out
  • Tons of shirts (short, long, sweaters)
  • Plenty of socks (hiking and running)
  • 4 Regular bras, 6 sports bras, underwear
  • An outfit for painting / dirty work
  • Work boots, hiking shoes and boots, running shoes, heels, tall boots, walking shoes, flip flops
  • More jewelry than I ever wear

What I will need to purchase this year:

  • Underwear

That’s really it. Even after a full year with a clothes buying ban, I still have such a full closet that I have no need to buy anything else. I never thought of myself with an overly large closet, because I still bought fewer things than most of my friends, but this ban has shown me how untrue this is.

It will take years before I will really need to replace much of anything else, and when I do, the choices I make will be made carefully and purposefully. That same intentionality with our spending now includes clothing purchases as well.

118 thoughts on “What A Year Long Clothes Buying Ban Taught Me About The Privilege Of Minimalism 

  1. Good update. I wish I could get my grown kids to understand that spending is a habit and what we want is way different than what we need. We are retired and spending yesterdays savings today. Having a ball! Good luck and semper fi…

    1. Frugality as a muscle is really a good analogy. The longer I go down this path the easier it gets. And oohrah! 😉

  2. One year, wow, way to go!! It’s interesting to see how your mindset changed throughout your yearlong ban. I’d be curious to see how much money you think you saved by forgoing those compulsive shopping moments!

    I’ve never really been a big clothes buyer myself. Many of my friends are into looking really nice and buy expensive clothes for it. I like looking nice as well, though I typically tend to stay away from the more expensive brands.

    Off memory I think the last time I bought clothes was sometime last summer so it looks like I’ve got my own streak going on!

    1. That’s an impressive long streak for not doing it on purpose! And I’d guess I’ve saved probably close to a thousand dollars so far since it’s rubbed off on what I buy for our son as well. Now to divert those funds directly to savings. Or travel 😉

  3. Okay, whew, I got to the part with numbers and was going to be doubly impressed with the effort you put into this post if you counted out every single item of clothing you had! I’m also selfishly glad you didn’t because I don’t need yet another reminder that I have TOO MANY clothes!

    More and more I’m thinking I’m just going to unofficially start a clothes ban. I’ve already done well this year, aside from a pair of shoes in February and another one last night (after 13 hours of standing this weekend and needing to soak in a hot bath last night since all that standing meant my body was aching, I decided my second job means I NEED a good, supportive pair of shoes for it. Here’s hoping the ones I just bought fit well). So why not just continue on that momentum?

    1. DO IT. It’s a little insane how many clothes I still have after this year, especially shirts. Shoes are not something worth scrimping on, especially when you have a job where you’re on your feet a lot.

    2. Also – make sure you keep track of “tools and supplies” you buy specifically for your job, because you can itemize those on your taxes (if you itemize).

  4. “It really is no surprise that the minimalism movement did not emerge from the working poor.”

    I think it depends on your definition of minimalism. If minimalism is voluntarily living with less, the working poor might not have a choice in the matter, so of course they couldn’t start that movement. But if you’re talking about minimalism as in people who live with very few possessions, technically that did start with the poor. The rich didn’t invent it.

    1. Yeah, I mean more the “‘minimalist” trend that’s really popular right now that oftentimes means really expensive, but few, items. Capsule wardrobes come to mind – they are super pretty, curated wardrobes that are chosen out of desire to keep things simple, not a limitation based on income.

  5. Congrats on your year long ban! I’m super impressed you didn’t buy a jacket when you were in Hawaii. I would have caved – that damp, wet feeling of a non-waterproof jacket is so awful. I’m only two months into my ban so I’m hoping to have some similar realizations to you by the next next January rolls around. I also appreciate your clothing inventory. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, but I’m afraid of what I will find. I own at least 75% less clothes than I did three years ago, but it’s still a full wardrobe. And probably more than I need. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I guess that’s a perk from growing up in the PNW and playing an outside sport in the spring – I have lots of practice feeling a bit soggy. I hear you on owning so much less but still having a full wardrobe. I had considerably more clothing a few years ago as well.

  6. I was coming to chime in about asking Miss Mazuma about dying pants 😀

    “If you don’t have the money, and don’t have friends or family to send hand me downs, kids clothing becomes a serious monthly worry, for when the outgrow or wear out clothing, you have to spend some of that hard earned money to keep them clothed – but also fed.”

    So so so true.

    Growing up poor, we were outfitted in clothes from yard sales though, rather than new, so there is that option. Of course, it’s a good thing that for younger kids, clothes that don’t fit well aren’t so obvious, because good fit isn’t something you really get from yard sale clothes! No wonder I didn’t think clothes were *supposed* to fit until I was in my early 20s!

    1. My mom grew up poor as well, and she has plenty of stories about clothes that never fit quite right, but it wasn’t until high school until anyone noticed I think. It’s interesting how much more “acceptable” it is in all circles to buy kids clothing from thrift stores but less so once you become an adult.

  7. This part is so true for me, too: “I started from a wonderful, quality wardrobe that has a lot of life left in it.” I’m not doing a full shopping ban this year but am consciously limiting myself to 12 or less items. And the reason I have the luxury of doing that is because I’ve spent years buying (relatively) nice wardrobe items that, while not particularly trendy, are still in good shape and fit well.

    Thanks for being an inspiration in this area 🙂

    1. Oh I like the idea of 12 of less. I may implement something similar in the future when I do start needing to replace some items. I don’t ever want to get back to mindless consuming when it comes to clothing (or anything, really).

  8. Congrats on one year! Oddly enough my post for Wednesday is about my pseudo-clothes shopping ban. I thought that we were never all that into clothing, but I looked at the numbers and we spent $1,000 less on clothing in 2017 than we did in 2015. (That’s definitely partly due to asking for shoes as birthday gifts!)

    1. Thank you! MadMoneyMonster had a post on hers today as well. Apparently this is the week for it 🙂

  9. Wow, great post. I’m impressed. I may be inspired to take this on in the future. I have lots of clothes, but so many I don’t wear. However, if I ever find the perfect pair of jeans I’m absolutely caving. 😉

    1. Nothing wrong with caving for the perfect pair! It’s all the not-perfect ones I’m working to quit 😉

  10. “The more I didn’t shop, the less I wanted to shop.” I found this to be so true! I have always been a very picky shopper, but since I started a quasi ban the item has to be perfect. It’s funny how shopping being “fun” isn’t just an on off switch.

    So impressed by your year! I know I would have broken down while in Hawaii because I have bought an “emergency’ raincoat on vacation before.

    Have you looked into getting your boots resoled?

    1. I’ve gotten considerable more picky with clothes over the years, but this ban has definitely upped it a notch. At the point I do buy anything from here on out, it is seriously going to have to be perfect.

    2. And I did look – $90! Though maybe I need to check out some other shoe repair shops.

  11. Congrats on making the one-year mark! It is freeing! In college, I think I went about 2 years without spending anything….except gym shoes – always had to have shoes! I figured meh – no one knew me in college so I could get by wearing the same things I did in HS and it worked out pretty well.

    Uggh, buying clothes for jobs is a bugger. My office is pretty high fashion/high heels and business suits and dresses and I just can’t do that level every day. I try and dress down (still sweaters/blouses and dress pants) as much as I can if I don’t have too many meetings. But I hate buying clothes!

    Bless those neighbors (and family members!) that do hand-me-down clothes! A neighbor once came over and dropped off a box of +40 sweaters! My sis and I divided ’em up and are still wearing them to this day!

    BTW – I love your scarf collection! I too, have this problem 😉 But – one gal pal friend of mine suggested last year to do a scarf trade with friends…I traded 3 in (not even close to what I have), and got 3 in return. It was soooo hard parting with mine, but I got some pretty good ones in return too! Totally eyeing your yellow plaid one…that’s my style!

    1. Thankfully since I work in construction / property development, high fashion isn’t a thing in my office (if we have an active construction site I CAN’T wear heels). As I’m one of the youngest still I do tend to dress up a bit more than most, but that just means business casual instead of jeans.

      And that’s one of the scarves I wear most frequently 😀

  12. Great post and great advice too ! It really is possible to over-buy on the clothes front. Amazingly we’re still wearing t-shirts we bought in Hong Kong some 23 years ago !!! They still look good by the way despite all the wear and washes. Shoes are the only thing I buy nowadays and even then it’s only when they fall apart – usually well before me ha ha !!

    1. Shoes are definitely not something to scrimp on. I was so thankful for the hand me down running shoes last month so I could put that off for a while still.

  13. I have too many clothes too, and WAY too much outdoor gear. I went through 2017 without buying any outdoor gear on purpose, and it was great! I wore out some of my existing stuff that I will have to replace soon, but it gave me satisfaction and showed me that sometimes I bought gear because it was cool, not because I really needed it.

    Great post!

    1. I hear you on the outdoor / fitness gear. I probably have almost as much of that as I do the rest of my clothing. And for some reason it’s so much easier to give in and buy that stuff.

  14. Nice to know that you don’t repent the van a year later. I am right now in my third month of a shipping ban. While I don’t really mind the ban itself, I hate that I can’t go into stores anymore. I thought I didn’t like it, but turns out I really like it 🙂

    I know I can still go, but the pointlessness bothers me. And takes the joy out of it. I have decided to stick to this for the whole year. Hope I can!

    1. Three months in was probably the hardest time frame for me. Long enough to start missing shopping but not long enough to get used to the new normal.

  15. Have you read “Spark Joy”? It sounds like you are infusing the clothes you have with appreciation and valuing them for their functionality, nice. This is one of the big principles in minimizing the physical stuff in our lives.

    My husband and I fully subscribe to FI. We had an opportunity to step away from the working world and left Seattle for a grand road trip to South America 18 months ago. In the process, we were forced to sell, donate, or giveaway most of our possessions. In our van we each have three small shelves where we store clothes. Letting go of clothes and jewelry were the hardest for me. I see them as an emotional expression of who I am.

    I promised myself I could buy something nice along our trip when I needed it. Turns out after traveling through Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia all I needed was 2 pairs of socks and a new swimsuit! It’s incredible when you step away from clothing consumerism, clothes (especially high quality stuff) lasts an incredibly long time. Rock on!

    1. I haven’t, but it’s on my list of books to read for sure! I absolutely love your story of realizing once you stepped away that all you needed was socks and a swimsuit! It’s amazing how much my mindset has shifted over the last few years.

  16. I thought I read something once about washing your black clothes with used coffee grounds to keep them dark – might be something worth looking into?

    I don’t buy a lot of clothes, but I’ll confess that when I do, I tend to go new because I haven’t had a lot of luck with thrift stores (being tall with both long legs AND a long torso is the issue for me). I take the lazy route of ordering several things from Amazon or some other place with free shipping/returns and just returning whatever doesn’t fit. But, I definitely benefit from hardly ever stepping into a store! The other day I went into Old Navy for the first time in years (I was looking for a really cheap $1-2 clearance long sleeve shirt for drying my hair) and walked out with $20 worth of stuff. Granted, I managed to get like 10 items for that price because I stayed in the clearance section, and a lot of it was in the next size up for my toddler, but yeah… that’s why I don’t go in stores.

    1. Hmmmm. Will definitely have to do my research on that. And I hear you on the temptation of cheap clothing.

  17. Well done lady, you stuck to it and have grown a lot, those are some great take-away lessons. I broke the “shopping as a hobby/habit” around grad school days and never looked back. Now I never step foot in a store (or open Amazon tab) without a list of things I actually ‘need’. It cuts down a lot… and yet… somehow there’s still always WAY too much… all those years of accumulation I guess. I could probably last until I’m 40 without buying another stitch of clothing if I really put my mind to it. See how long you can keep it up!

    1. Other than underwear and possibly running shoes and a few key work items, I could probably do the same! Amazing how ingrained shopping as a hobby can be and you don’t even realize it.

  18. Great update! I’m so impressed with your conviction! I would have totally broke down and bought a raincoat on vacation.

    1. Thank you! I can get a little stubborn on occasion… though I think it served me well in this situation 🙂

  19. I agree that it’s quite freeing to just not venture into stores to make purchases unless you need something. I’ve never really been a serial shopper. I always wear dresses to work because I’m too lazy to match a shirt with pants or a skirt, so my closet could also use a pare down. I’ve been considering selling items on poshmark. 🙂

    1. That is seriously the best kept secret about dresses! You always seem put together when in reality it’s the easiest way to get dressed 😉

  20. Well done! I’m awed and impressed with your journey and accomplishments.
    I thought of doing the same thing 5 years ago when I turned 50. I’m feeling a little inspired. We’ll see if the feeling will last till July.
    (but then again, I could always jump in head first like you did 😀 )

    1. Thank you! And I’ll mull something over for quite a while, but once I decide to go for it, I’m all in!

  21. Nice post! Interesting that after a few months you stopped wanting to go shopping. The power of habit is pretty strong! I do think there are also environmental reasons to shop used to get better quality stuff when you do need to replace things. I try to go into thrift stores with a list in hand, but it’s admittedly tough to stick to that list all the time!

    1. Environmental reasons are usually where I start, so it’s a little odd that it wasn’t the initial driver for this challenge. Going forward though, it will be a much more serious consideration.

  22. Fantastic post! I like to mend things instead of buying something new too! The zipper on my favourite boots (I think going on 15 years) broke and I got them repaired instead of getting a new one. I think it cost $30 for each side (so total $60) which is still cheaper than getting new boots.

    I also (I’ll embarassingly admit this online haha) have some Saucony jogging pants that got a hole in them on the knee part when I fell and then I used a pair of underwear that I wasn’t going to wear and took fabric from that and mended it. That was about 4 years ago and it still works fine!

    I have a few sweaters that I just wear on rotation now (like maybe 5) and pull on some jeans and that’s it. I think I have less clothes than my husband right now and it feels great not to have to worry about what to wear because there are actually fewer options.

    1. That is an awesome fix! I’ll have to remember that in the future. And will you have to buy anything more dressy for when you go back to work?

  23. I remember a similar problem on a sailing trip some years back. My flimsy windbreaker got soaked in a royal bad storm, but we had to keep the boat pointed to harbor. One of the first things I did after kissing dry land, getting home, and writing my will, was to buy a true rainproof rain jacket at the outlet mall.
    We try to minimize our clothing expense with consignment shopping — or if we have to buy something, make sure it’s a more or less timeless piece you can hang onto for a while. Oh, and definitely use shoe trees!

    1. Sounds like one heck of a storm! And, being from Seattle, I DID already have a real rain jacket, but I had tried to pack lighter to save space in my luggage. Obviously a bad choice in hindsight 😉

  24. Wow! Impressive! We’re heading off full time traveling in our RV in a few weeks time and are about to have to think through our clothing choices. Space and a limited income mean we’ll have to make some sensible decisions!

    1. Oh have an amazing adventure!! RVing is definitely something my husband and I talk about pretty regularly 🙂

  25. Way to go! I did a three month long spending fast in 2016 and even after it ended I found it hard to go back to buying clothes like I had before. I own way fewer clothes now than I did before. It becomes apparent really fast what clothes you are never going to wear.

    1. Once I was past the three month period I definitely noticed a switch about how I looked at my clothes and new purchases. You’re right, t doesn’t take that long to step back and look at shopping in a whole new light.

  26. I read this again for some more inspiration today. I am only on month two of the year long shopping ban. 🙂 Still in those early phases of breaking the addiction. Although when I was up in Seattle this weekend I did not shop ONCE. 🙂 Considering I was literally swimming in places to shop from vendors to the stores int he area it was a big step for me.

    1. Good job on month two!! The first few are definitely the hardest. Now that I’ve been at it so long it’s gotten to feel normal.

  27. This is a great post! I think a total ban is a good idea because you can’t make exceptions for things that you think you “need” (like a raincoat) but really don’t. I haven’t started a total ban but I’ve been trying to buy fewer clothes and this post was good inspiration.

    1. For me at least, a total ban was the way to go for exactly that reason. I was never a crazy shopper, but it was ingrained enough that I needed the clean break.

  28. What a great article! Thank you.
    I have a card inside my wallet that says, “RESOLVED to Buy NO Clothes in 2018.”
    I see it every single time I open the wallet.
    So far, so good. And as you know, it can make a significant difference to the budget.
    A little bit of a cheat, though. On 12/31/17, I swooped into a store for new underwear and bras to get me thru 2018 with the proper “support!”

    1. Not quite a cheat – just more prepared than I was! I’m a little annoyed I’ll have to buy underwear at some point at this year, so I could make it two! Good luck – almost a full 3 months in already!

  29. I agree with Accidental FIRE. Not buying clothes I do without consideration, but I purchase outdoor gear more than I need to. Generally it gets well used and lasts for a long time. My justification is often that the material things I like to buy are to facilitate shared experiences with family and friends, but I really like the idea in the comments of limiting the purchases in a year. Maybe I can set a 3-4 item limit each year and force myself to make more careful choices.

    1. I honestly have so much outdoor gear at this point I really shouldn’t need any for quite some time. From here on out, my ban isn’t absolute, but I will be mindful of any purchases I ultimately do make.

  30. Back then, I had a messy wardrobe filled with sales stash, and even after decluttering it’s not helping. So I took a year to curate a closet with a total cost of ~$1500. The next year, I decided that I bought too much and I stop buying (not a ban). Three years has past now, I been enjoying a closet of happiness and some things are starting to fray. It’s a sad thing whenever I need to toss a top or a shoe because I really likes them and could wear it forever. Like your boots, it’s not the price tag but I couldn’t replace with something better if not similar.

    1. It’s a very different kind of thing to completely wear out pieces of your wardrobe when you honestly like every piece of it. While in theory I should be relieved when I wear something out because it means my wardrobe gets smaller, I’d rather just have the pieces I really love last forever.

  31. “Pre clothes ban, I probably would have stopped and bought a real rain jacket locally, because being soggy really didn’t so much fun.”

    I think you’re missing some words here.

  32. Wow, well done! While I haven’t been on a complete clothes buying ban, for the past 18 months or so I’ve been trying to fund as many purchases through money earned selling my used clothes and shoes on. Weirdly some people think it’s uncharitable to do this (and not just give everything away). I thought I was being clever! 😊

    1. I don’t think it’s uncharitable at all – honestly I think it’s a very good option because then you KNOW the clothes are going somewhere to be worn (and won’t just end up in the landfill).

  33. I’ve always been a clothing minimalist, even before I started getting serious about personal finance. It’s probably because I hate shopping. I shop for work clothes about once a year, but I’m finding that can be limiting, especially as a marketing consultant who spends a lot of time with clients. This may be an area where I should actually open up my budget more as an “investment” in my career. For our kids, we rely mostly on resale shops and gifts from grandparents. I’m finding we really don’t need to spend a lot of money on children’s clothing, at least not when they are 6 and 4 years old.

    1. Kids clothing is totally crazy! They grow SO fast and beat up their clothes the first time they wear them. For the time being, I see no need for our 3YO to have brand new fancy clothes 🙂

      1. I totally agree! But I do wonder at what age they will realize they are getting second-hand clothes and start asking for brand names. My 6YO is already drawn to the Nike swoosh.

      2. Our son has had opinions on his shoes ever since he started walking. Thankfully they don’t have to be new ones, but I have a hard time just bringing home shoes without his input 😉

  34. You might want to try otter wax on the windbreaker. I use it on my running rainhat. The downside is it is not breathable like goretex but the upside is it works. And in this case you get the satisfaction of modding a currently owned piece. Be aware it will change the appearance of the fabric

    1. I’ve never heard of that! Thanks for the tip – I’ll look into it.

      1. You can see a video on my blog of the hat. Its on the post 5k of Perpetual Suffering.

  35. I am trying to follow this path since a month now, this is a good read and motivation. Looking forward to achieve more happiness without the need to spend.

    1. Keep at it! Give it a few more months before it really settles in as a new habit.

  36. Great job with the clothes buying ban for 12 months! Hand me downs, thrift store clothes & clothes I sewed myself got my 3 boys through the first few years easily. Having minimal money brings about creativity!
    I read somewhere that we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. Definitely true for me! Over the past 6 years I’ve only bought a few casual maxi dresses that I wear constantly over summer, some track pants that I live in over winter & a couple of sweaters from the thrift store. Other than that it’s been bras & underwear & no shoes at all. Having MCS (multiple chemical sensitivities) sure has changed my views about new clothes!! No joy at all in the toxic chemicals in them & needing to wash them multiple times & air them until they’re safe to wear!
    At the start of the year we turned all of our clothes hangers the wrong way around. Each time we wear an item of clothing we turn the hanger the right way around. At the end of the year we’ll see what we haven’t worn at all, then decide what we can bear to part with! Not parting with my wedding dress though! LOL! Blessings. Kerryn

    1. The funny thing is, I started my clothing ban in order to shrink my closet, but now I’ve been less inclined to let some things go that are more or less duplicates for the inevitable day when the original piece is finally worn out.

  37. I am not on a clothing shopping ban, but I am trying the hanger experiment where I turn all the hangers around and at the end of the season I’ll get rid off stuff I don’t wear. It is freeing!

    1. I never did that specific experiment, but as I’ve gotten rid of more clothing, I find it gets easier to let stuff go (especially if it hasn’t been worn in a while).

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