Monday, July 11, 2011

How To Not Shop

About 500 days ago, I was asked if I have any tips to curb spending on clothing and other nonsense.

Indeed, I do: Don't go shopping. Don't browse around the mall for fun. Don't run into TJ Maxx when you have 20 minutes to kill. Because if you do, you will buy something. As sure as I'm sitting here in with a half-eaten slice of carrot cake, you will.

The truth is, I love to shop. I love the thrill of a $12.99 shirt off the clearance rack at Gap. I love splurging a little at the J Crew outlet. But most of the time, I don't have money to spend on either, so I just stay away. I'm not a window shopper. Torture, is what that is.

I've become more aware over the past year that shopping for more stuff is not fulfilling like I once believed. My purchases have become more thoughtful and thrifty than ever. I have a better understanding of what my personal style is rather than just trying to copy whatever happens to be "cool".

Of course there are times when I actually do need something. And there are times when I have the extra money and just I want to guy buy myself a gingham shirt, so I do. My favorite stops are TJ Maxx, Target, Old Navy, Gap and J Crew. Sometimes, when I'm feeling teenagery, American Eagle. I can't remember this last time I paid full price for something.

Every now and then, I also go pretend shopping. It's different than actual window shopping because 1) I have time to really think about what I'm doing and 2) I would have to go dig my debit card out of my wallet, and it's all the way in the kitchen.

I buy this shirt.
(Mostly because the "Dang Cowgirl" shirt is sold out.)
Would I ever spend $54 + tax and shipping on a t-shirt in real life?
Uh, no.

But it sure is cute. So I put it in my little basket.

And then I walk away.

Nicola Lattice Stripe Percale Bedding
But only far enough to get to Garnet Hill.
I'm not totally in love with these sheets, but I could be for $14.

Organic Cotton Ruched Tank Pajamas
And I really could use a pair of Proper Pajamas.
Especially for $29.

OK, that's actually still more than I'm willing to pay for PJs, but rules are meant to bend a little when it comes to pretend shopping.

My last stop? J Crew, of course.

Denim jumpsuit
This acid-washed jumpsuit calls my name.

So I slap it, because it's ugly and ridiculous.

I'm not sure that this method would work for everyone.

* If you have your debit card number memorized, it could get dicey.

* If you only have a credit card, just Walk. Away. Because nothing is worth having if you have to rob your future self to get it.

99.9% of the time, I find that after filling up those little online shopping carts, the itch has been scratched. I come to my senses - I don't need a new sheet that I'm not wild about, even if it is really cheap.

I have everything I need, and then some. I have my beat up jeans, ratty sweatpants, gray t-shirts and even a gingham button down. What more could a girl ask for?

So, in the spirit of appreciating what we already have, what is the one item in your closet that you love the most? Where did you find it? How long have you had it? How often do you wear it?

We all want to know.