Are You In or Are You Out? It Was Like Tearing Off a Band-aid! Can I Have a Do Over?

closetCapsule wardrobes, minimalist wardrobes, consigning clothes, investment pieces, staple items, and Top 10 wardrobe must haves for work; my brain has been saturated for the past two weeks with every fashionable piece of fashion terminology known to every creature on this beautiful planet. It’s every woman’s wardrobe dilemma – how do I keep it small and simple without spending a small fortune? Translated: Corporate Utilitarian on a budget. That was my very dilemma. The sad thing is, it’s not easy to do if you want garments that will last, aren’t made by six year olds in a hot warehouse with no windows and are easy to care for. Read: I hate Dry Cleaning (so does my budget).

How do I get the wrong out and the right in, then never spend again?

You know how they say if you associate something negative or even extreme pain with something, you’ll never do it again? Well, I did exactly that, I tore that stinking bandage right off the fashion wound, there was no more Mickey Mouse band aid to be found (yep, I like Mickey Mouse band aids, they’re my fave)…and it hurt…a lot.

It hurt to the tune of $2200.

I will not repeat that until my wardrobe is scraggly and falling to bits. For the past week, I was completing my “I’m gonna get my dream job” wardrobe – suit, work blouses, work dresses, etc.

I can hear you all groaning…geez, not again! Does this girl never stop shopping for clothes?  I have been known to touch and feel a garment without buying, it does happen – pigs fly, but it does happen. Last year I spent $8900 on clothes….somehow I managed to, that’s what my fancy financial software is telling me. This year, I have spent $4394 YTD on clothing (not including pending transactions, closer to $5000).

See what I mean? That’s pain!

I finished tearing off the band aid, have felt the extreme pain, looked at all those crazy red numbers in Quicken and said to myself – Screw this whole frickin’ shopping thing! If people do not like the way I look, tough shit (well, I do care but not $5000 much). That is $5000 that I will never get back (I have returned some items after questioning fit and whether they belong in my wardrobe). A positive item to note is that the $5000 does not include the $400 I am expecting back from all the clothes I have consigned. Keeping my fingers crossed!

Getting the wrong out: 1. Return what doesn’t work to the store and 2. Consign, consign, consign. Obviously, Option 1 is preferred to get all money back but we are human here and we do make mistakes.

Getting the right in: 1. Buy Quality 2. Check materials, how well it’s assembled and watch for where it’s made!

So, Ms. Ranty Ranterton, now that you’ve spewed about what you spend on clothes and peeling off band-aids, how are you going to solve this problem of going cold fashion turkey? It did not work last time with your fashion cleanse, what makes you think you’ll stick to it now?

Two words: Tenacity and Dreams

I’ve been told this week that I have tenacity, and in my blog comments, that I should associate something good to saving, focus on my “why” – FREEDOM AND HAWAII!

Never spending again? The Do Over

Let’s try this again! It wasn’t a complete fail before but it wasn’t exactly a triumph either. DO OVER!

As of April 1st, I commit to:

  • Wealth, first and foremost.
  • Not spending a dime on anything! No shopping, not even a pair of socks, no sheets for my bed, no splurgy type stuff. NOTHING!!
  • For each week that I get by without spending on clothes or other non-essential shopping, I will contribute $20 to a pot that will go to building wealth. This is separate from emergency savings, vacation, and home savings.
  • Since I have gone minimalist with my groceries, I have not had many treats. If I go an entire month without spending on clothes and I have $100 saved to my wealth fund, I am allowed a treat with my groceries (donut, cookies etc.)

The optimal result: I have now associated pain with shopping for clothes (hours trying on clothes, money spent, rude salespeople, and time wasted etc.)

The new plan will associate something positive and happy with not spending on clothes, I get to build wealth!

I’m in! Are you? Want to help? Tell me your “why”. What’s your tangible reason for saving instead of spending?


  1. Michelle, if you only spend $5000 on clothes this year then you saved $3900 compared to last year! That’s a positive. I’m cracking up reading this post because ironically my year long No Shopping Challenge ends on April 1st, 2014 and yes I will be shopping. But, I have a very strict list and a pretty strict budget for the year. I don’t have to worry about corporate clothing as I work at a place where that is irrelevant and honestly-Coloradans tend to wear a lot of casual clothes and athletic gear. So, i’m always considered dressy! I think that associating your no shopping with something positive-HAWAII is a much better way to buy into the idea. You need to read my post on Wednesday regarding the No Shopping Challenge-check out item #10. Good luck!!

    • Michelle says:

      LOL! Savings is savings 😉

      I did the same, I kept my list strict for work clothes. I already have a few items in the closet that I’m keeping but most are casual. Maybe I should move to Colorado…I find Toronto, especially downtown is more suit oriented. It depends on the industry.
      Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll head on over to read your Wednesday post.

  2. I love your blog and writing style, but I have to admit you totally crack me up with your all or nothing cold turkey attitude. I feel the same way I did about your spending freeze, or fashion cleanse or whatever….hmmm….I wonder how long this will last. I too am guilty of saying I’m not going to spend, then I do, but it’s been much less of a financial blow, just a couple things or under $100- not to the thousands! Sheesh! You are self sabotaging. Try to get a balance that you can maintain. I do wish you well. I realize this paragraph is judgmental and rude. I’m trying to give you a wake up call.

    One thing I do, that helps me stay on track and not make splurge purchases, I track my net worth weekly, sometimes daily. I have monthly goals, they are small, I just want my net worth to grow by 1% a month. However as my net worth has grown, that get’s bigger. You need to re-read your goals, you had big dreams, how do those break down to daily choices? I know what I need to do each month to reach my long term goals. If I have a spendy month, I know I need to buckle down the next month to get back on track. You can and will get back on track!

    • So I totally wish I could edit my comment, because the fashion girl in me just wants to see what you bought.

      • Michelle says:

        LOL! Not to worry, I’ll post what I bought. Hopefully I can get some of it up tomorrow for Saturday Style.

    • Michelle says:

      Thanks! :)
      I do need to get better at re-reading my goals and going over them at least on a weekly basis. The irony is, I have them pinned up on my whiteboard so I can look at them but find I end up not doing it. I need to make it a weekly habit then try daily.
      You’re not being rude! I love reading everyone’s opinions and suggestions, it helps me a lot in sorting out my thoughts on the subject. Clothing is so tricky for me…I get into these “I need to revamp everything mindsets”. I’m also a very visual creative type that loves design and clothing is like an outlet.
      I’ll get there! Thanks for the motivation :)

  3. Er.. good luck? Cold turkey has never worked for me and my clothing budget for the past 2 years has been $10,000…. 😐

    • Michelle says:

      LOL! I know…cold turkey didn’t work the last time but I’m angry enough with myself at present that it just might work. Here’s hoping….

      Wow! $10,000! Just to clarify is it $10K for each year or $10K over two years ($5K each)?

  4. Erin @ My Alternate Life says:

    Haha, I wish you the best of luck. I try going cold turkey all the time on spending stuff (mostly eating out for me, I can go cold turkey on clothing easily) and it never works. Eating out and drinking in are my jam :)

    At this point, I’m just working on ramping up my income so I don’t have to cut out what I love completely. You’re going to post what you bought right??

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