The third quarter of my year long shopping ban is in the books and this has been the hardest stretch so far. I live in New England and summer is my favorite season. Most of the year it is freezing outside so wearing boots and coats can hide even the weakest wardrobe. Summer on the other hand means you can step outside in cute dresses and shoes – if you’ve got them.
I managed to avoid spending my own money on clothes, shoes and bags but I found myself slipping into my old ways. Here are some of the good and not so good parts of the past three months without shopping.
First Challenge: July
I had a lot of vacation time in July which means I spent most of that month on the beach. Sadly my swimsuits are random sizes from pre-wedding to post partum with none fitting quite right this year. This wasn’t bad since my children and husband aren’t harsh critics but I was really hard on myself for not being exactly in the shape I’d hoped by summer.
I don’t care what size I’m wearing but there is nothing worse than wearing something that doesn’t fit. I have always loved a good tailor for this reason.
The warm weather allowed me to throw on some of my dresses in July and mix up my wardrobe a bit. It also forced me to go through my closet again and purge some of the items I haven’t worn. This year I tried ThredUP since my favorite consignment store went under. While I think I will shop there in the future I don’t think I’ll be using them again for consignment. A full bag of maternity clothes and designer jeans only brought in $24.40.
Second Challenge: August
I’m an August baby so all I wanted this year was gift cards. They always fit! So with an amazon gift card I got myself a new bathing suit that made me very happy. I also got a birthday “gift” from Sephora which means I went there and dropped more money than I should have. The shopping ban didn’t include makeup but I know I already have more than I need. Felt good to shop though which made me wonder how much I’ve actually changed.
Not being able to shop helps you realize what you can’t stand being without. Stock up on these items and save on the rest!
I also received gift cards to Target, Banana Republic and Blue Mercury. The Target one allowed me to replace a pair of dog chewed yoga pants that I live for. The other gift cards are still in my wallet but they won’t last long with fall here. I will also put my clothes away as soon as they are folded to keep them out of my dog’s mouth.
Third Challenge: September
September has been the hardest month yet. It is usually the month when I have the most business travel and shopping was usually my past time while alone in a new city. I’ve been to Austin, New York City and St. Louis in the past few weeks. Naturally, I have felt a little down being away from my family. Shopping used to distract me from that temporarily.
Also I was honored to moderate a panel discussion with Jessie James Decker and Deena Kastor about healthy living and family. I rented a dress for the event and borrowed a nice bag from one of my best friends.
While I’m happy with what I wore I know I could have saved money and worn something I owned but I really wanted something new – old habits are hard to break.
I’m a Financial Planner but I’ve also spent a good portion of my life without much money at all. One thing it taught me was how to be downright scrappy when it comes to getting shit I want. In what may have been my closest brush with violating my ban I cashed in Vitality points from my health insurance for a $50 Amazon gift card so I could buy a dress I saw on Instagram. Followed that up with cashing in another $100 in points to get a Nike gift card which I then traded to my husband if he bought me a $20 dress I saw on Facebook that I couldn’t get with any of my remaining gift cards. He offered to buy it for me but I wanted to barter so it felt less guilty.
Entering the Final Stretch
This hasn’t been an easy experiment but I’m ready to see it through to the end. I’ve taken some steps to keep me from falling completely off a cliff. I took some shoes to get repaired and brought some items to the dry cleaner. This isn’t exactly as good as new but I will feel more confident in them now. Also, I’ve started to hide some of the ads that pop up for the stores that I have been browsing online to keep me from being too tempted. My kids clothes for the fall have been purchased and I’ll try to do the Christmas shopping online to avoid the stores.
What season is it the hardest for you to control your wallet? Leave your answer in the comments and your best tip to stay fashionable without breaking the bank!