from "confessions of a shopaholic"I'm an impulse-buyer. Yes, I buy a lot of things I can absolutely justify that I need, but "need" is a funny term. Do I need a sweater dress? I have a few winter-ish dresses, as well as sweaters and cardigans. Do I need new tights? I own jeans-- I could always wear those when the weather gets cold. A new skirt? I could live without it. Narwhal action figure? I mean, narwhals are underwater unicorns, but $20 when we consider shipping is a little much (side note: yes, I bought this). I'm good for all these things-- the money is there, sitting all bored and lonely in my checking account. I don't use a credit card, so debt is definitely not a concern. Every penny I spend, I worked for and placed in my bank. I'm in college (which my folks and tons of scholarships/financial aid is paying for) and don't have any real expenses. Why not go crazy on narwhals and polka dot tights?
I'm an impulse-buyer, but I also love money. I love seeing my balance grow. I love knowing there's a decent little chunk of cash there for me if I need it. I hate seeing it go. But I love buying things. Buying new things always brings mixed emotions.
For this winter, I'm trying to seriously cut back on my just-'cause-I-want-to buying. I made a small list on a Post-It of a few things I can justify that I really want and feel are "needed" for my wardrobe. My sense of style has changed drastically since even a couple of years ago, and I don't feel that my wardrobe is really where I want it to be. I am in the slow process of over-hauling it. I am hoping to buy pieces that I will be wearing for a long time to come.
-A new winter skirt in a neutral color. This Old Navy one is pretty cute and versatile.
-A thick brown belt.
-A sweater dress. I saw this one on the Old Navy site, and I can't wait to try it on. It looks so cozy.
-New tights-- 3 or 4 pairs, one in a bright color. If you're also a tights-wearer, I'm sure you relate to the fact they you need replace at least a pair or two every fall/winter. I want some more standard black and brown, but also something fun like pink or purple.
-A black pencil skirt. It's about time I get one that fits properly. Either this, or take the one I have from something like 8th grade to be tailored.
-A dress for the annual formal/semi-formal, depending on the theme. Preferably, though, I will either use a dress I already have or buy one I will wear again/be able to dress down with tights and a cardigan.
That's it. I'm going to try to stick to buying these items and only these items all winter.
Exceptions? Christmas shopping and the $50 Target gift card I won at Bingo (no, I'm not an 80-year-old, why do you ask?). Of course, it would be nice if I could use that free money for my shopping list, but I'm going to let my free money be for whatever catches my fancy. The occasional Starbucks and snack shopping will be acceptable. I will be going into Boston with the boyfriend for our second anniversary. That's fine. Hopefully we will be able to split most of the costs. And of course, needs like shaving cream are also fine to buy.
Other guidelines? No buying online. If you really think about how much extra money you spend per year on shipping, it's absolutely terrifying. I've been known to buy a single pair of earrings at Forever 21 online and end up spending twice what I would have in the store. But I couldn't find them in the store! It doesn't really make it much better. I suppose I can make exceptions to this if I come across a free shipping offer. Also, side note, no coats. Oh boy do I love coats, but I have enough.
Also, use cash. I think this is a piece of advice everyone can use to save a little money. When you aren't just swiping a card full of imaginary dollars and cents, it's a little harder to part with your green. Oh, so I have to hand you two of my twenty dollar bills? Eesh, no thanks! I always spend much more conservatively when I use cash, and I need to get back into the habit of saying "no" to plastic.
I'm hoping that by creating a specific shopping list with a few general guidelines, I'll save some cash and think more carefully about the clothing I buy. If I'm only allowed to buy one new skirt, I'm really going to want to adore that skirt, because there may very well be a much prettier, better-fitting one out there. I'm hoping this will be something postive and enjoyable, and that maybe I'll do something like this for every season.
Are you an impulse-buyer (and what are your major weaknesses)? Or do you have a mental shopping list? What are you dying to add to your wardrobe this winter?