Not because I decided not to wear any more clothes, I can assure you!
In my frugal farmgirl world, clothing is one of the "four walls" of life (living, eating, clothing, transportation). It's probably part of your four walls as well.
But the kind of clothing or the brand and the designer of the clothes is a very different thing. Clothes, yes, that's important. A $ 500 suit for work … not so much.
When I looked at how I wanted to increase my savings and increase my investment, clothing was a category that topped the list. Not because I spend a lot of money on clothes or because I'm a clotheshorse. In a normal year, I do not spend much on clothes, I thought. Here reality hit the street, so to speak.
I thought, because I was shopping super-clearance, used coupons and made 50% frugal sales, I made a murder. What I quickly found out was that my clothes editions were destroying my budget. Sometimes I really hate Quickbooks!
Do not get me wrong, my clothing expenses were still modest for normal conditions. But who the hell wants to be normal? Normal people are usually broke.
My decision was taken right here and there for me. At this point in my life, I had enough clothes in my closet to get through the work week, enough grubby clothes to work on the farm, enough beautiful pieces for social events, and enough things to cobble together for the holidays.
Simply put … I did not need any clothes anymore.
There it is. The challenge was posed. I would refrain from buying clothes from January 2018.
I spent a weekend rearranging my closet and judging my wardrobe for clothes – work, leisure, jeans, season … you have the idea. That worked well. I started putting together outfits with what I had at my disposal and was confident that this would not be difficult at all. Only a small problem, I am a second-hand store. I love combing the shelves to find deals from world-class designers for pennies compared to the retail price. I thought, "How can I miss so much?" But it was this way of thinking that made me spend more than I had spent the past few years. The only remedy was to eat a cold turkey. You heard me right. Not all year 2018 over in a second-hand store to gain a foothold. And I am proud to say that my only trips to the thrift store led to the back door to make donations instead of shopping.
And you know something else? I did not miss it a bit. My self-imposed purchase break for clothing has paid off in several ways. I'm not going on a trip to the second-hand store as part of my running routine on Saturday. I'm not coming to the mall on Sunday just to see what's there. I have not noted more than 50% off the second-hand store sales on my calendar at the end of the month, and I no longer attach my skills, intelligence, abilities, work ethic or value to my clothes. I'm just as smart, work just as hard and do a lot in a year-long outfit. And I've really started rejecting the phrase "Look the Part," which means you're wearing expensive clothes for people to take you seriously or look more professional. Do not get me wrong. "I'm getting dressed appropriately for meetings, presentations and social events." I did not wear a feed bag again, but the label on my clothes no longer indicates who I am as a person, as a competent person.
I think I only stepped foot into a department store three or four times the whole year. And here comes the "art" into play. When I started my journey without clothes, I had $ 125 in gift cards from Macy and I knew I would get a couple of 10 USD discount cards from Kohl. I am not one who renounces free money, right? So I strategically set what I needed based on my restructuring of the cabinet, and this is what I've decided to buy with the $ 125 or try to buy:
- Under garments
- Evening dress for a work event
- Black pants
I could actually buy that.
- Underwear (regular price: $ 55 each, retail price: $ 40 for a purchase, you get half a discount)
- Dark blue evening dress (regular price: 139 USD, retail price: 39.99 USD, further 20% discount)
- Black Trousers with Narrow Leg (regular price: $ 75, retail price: $ 24.95)
- Mustard Leisure Top (regular price: $ 24.95 retail price: $ 12.95)
Overall, I spent $ 129.89. Although I did not get everything for the amount of the gift card, my expense for nearly $ 350 in useful clothing that I'll wear for years was only $ 4.95. Not bad, people!
SO – this is where the art in the title of this article comes into play. I occasionally get great deals, like $ 25 when you buy $ 25 or more, or $ 10 when you buy $ 10 or more. because at some point I have to replace the clothes. However, I use these offerings very strategically, in terms of things that I know I need, or parts that are versatile enough to create new outfits with the pieces I already own.
What did I buy with these offers?
- A $ 25 JDC birthday gift card from J Crew brought me a V-neck cotton sweater and a blue-green T-shirt from the check-in desk. Total price: 28.15 USD. My pocket money: 3.15 dollars.
- A $ 10 discount offer from Kohl's brings me 2 T-shirts with which I superimpose. Total price: $ 0
- Another cabbage offer of $ 10 brought me a short-sleeved and a long-sleeved T-shirt that I can wear under pullovers or blazers. Total Price: $ 12.06. My pocket money: 2.06 USD
- A Nordstrom rack coupon brought me two much needed pumps for $ 30.
- My only purchase without a coupon of the year was a short and long sleeve shirt by J Crew. Out of the bag: $ 7.15.
So, what does a frugal farmer girl wear for work, housework, leisure and fun?
For my day job, I usually wear casual pants with a nice top or sweater in the colder months. When I have meetings, presentations or lectures, I wear a more traditional working outfit that consists of pants or skirts. Blouse, cami or shell and a blazer.
For housework, I usually wear an old Levi jeans I bought for a dollar about five years ago, and any number of free T-shirts I got for volunteering at charity events.
Occasional trips, concerts in the park, street fairs and festivals can be found in a range of jeans, shorts, skirts and various tops, pullovers or coats, weather permitting.
I held gala events for work, special parties, funerals, family gatherings and gatherings with friends, and I'm sure that will remain so in the years to come. But here's the reality: I can wear an outfit I've been wearing for years. It's okay to carry second-hand finds or passions from friends because I honestly do not care that anyone else thinks I should change my wardrobe at the turn of the year. And I'm pretty sure nobody at the gala knew that the dress I wore was free with a gift certificate. Over the years, I've acquired a range of accessories that allow me to change outfits to look new and modern, or casual to elegant, and I agree with that.
These days, I am more interested in acquiring life experiences than acquiring possessions. I do not want to feel in possession of my clothes or other possessions and am obsessed with the latest trend style. I feel good in my skin and in my clothes. A person's style is one's own to express in different ways. I love to turn things upside down – from country girl to boho to tailor made, because I'm all that and love it.
I am grateful for the time I did NOT spend shopping because I was able to spend time with more productive pursuits, such as yoga, hiking, spending time in nature, exploring new areas in my county, to read and educate me. Just yesterday, a friend and I packed dinner, fruit, dessert, water, and chairs and headed for the shore to watch the ships come in as the sun went down over the jetty. It was beautiful and relaxing. If I had spent the day shopping or wandering senselessly through the shops, I would have been too tired to enjoy such a wonderful evening with a good friend.
My other motivation not to buy clothes is to increase the amount of money I can save. This is my priority for 2018. I want to increase the percentage I save in all areas, not just clothes. This increase will ultimately lead to greater financial independence. It seems to be a small step, but with small steps we travel great distances. I consider this part of my journey to a satisfying and fulfilling retirement. one in which I have a great attitude towards life and meaningful experiences. If I have to stop buying new clothes to achieve that goal, I think it's a worthy trade.
I am not sure how long I will continue my clothing moratorium, but if I continue to receive great coupons to buy a few new pieces and spend only a few dollars, I think I will be there in the long run.
As of August, I spent $ 47.31 and added 12 new garments. I can live with it.
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