You can learn a lot about your spending habits by looking at the purchases you made over the course of a year. In 2017, I started to become more conscious about how much money I was spending on clothes, and also started to apply the “Hell Yeah” or “No” Rule to my life. Basically, I have to absolutely love or need something if I’m going to buy it.
This was different than a no spend challenge. I do not have an issue with buying something I really want/love, and still continued to buy clothes in 2017.
Clothes Buying Philosophy
These past couple years I have been getting rid of bags and bags of clothes. Some things I would send off to ThredUp, while others would get put in a local clothing donation bin. Some clothes have been worn to death and would not meet the criteria of a donation, and thus get thrown out.
As I cleaned out my closet, I started to zero in on my personal style. I find that on the weekends I live in a uniform of jeans and sweaters, cozy clothes (sweatshirt and sweatpants), and workout clothes. To work I wear some form of chino/casual pants, boots in the winter and boat shoes in the warmer months, and a button down or sweater. I would describe this style as classic casual (a little preppie, but a whole lot comfortable).
When I’m shopping for new clothes, they need to fit my personal style, be comfortable, and be items that I will get a lot of use out of. There is nothing worse than spending a lot of money on something that you don’t feel comfortable wearing (too tight, too short, too trendy, etc.) or that gets ruined after only a couple wears.
I buy most of my clothes at only a few different stores (well really online). J.Crew, Eddie Bauer, LLBean, and Madewell are a few of my favorites for work and casual clothes. For outdoor gear I always check Steep and Cheap first, and I buy running clothes and shoes from Running Warehouse and Holabird Sports, among other places. I rarely buy clothes in a store, so sometimes I have to order a couple sizes and return one to get the right fit.
I avoid buying trendy clothes (you won’t see peplum anywhere near my closet), and try to buy colors that will go with a lot of different things (mostly blues, grays, and neutrals). I don’t wear a lot of black.
If I stick to my personal style, I don’t buy a lot of stuff that I don’t need.
Spending Breakdown By Year
I was really surprised by how much I spent on clothes in 2016. I bought at least one item in every month except for November (probably because I was busy/broke buying Christmas presents for other people).
2016 – $1,932.07
January – Snowboarding Socks – $23.95
February – Ballet Flats – $175.00
March – Running Shirts (2) – $33.45
April – Running Shoes – $101.08
April – Trail Running Shoes – $89.95
April – Casual Shirt – $2.95 (balance after using gift card)
May – Hiking Pants – $52.75
April – Dress Shirts (2) – $87.44
May – Dresses (2) – $262.48
June – Sandals – $43.15
June – Running Tights (2 pairs) – $128.87
July – Rent the Runway (2 dresses) – $110.23
July – Jacket – $7.26 (balance after using gift card)
July – Handbag – $10.80
August – Down Jacket and Shorts – $191.82
August – Jeans – $57.02
August – Casual Pants (2 pairs) – $100.44
September – Boat Shoes – $38.71
September – Dress Shirt – $6.85 (balance after using gift card)
October – Boots – $194.57
October – Sunglasses (3 pairs) – $40.00
December – Sweatpants and Track Pants – $80.68
December – Jeans – $63.49
December – Shirt – $29.13
Even though I spent three times as much on clothes in 2016 than I did in 2017, I can honestly say that I have gotten a lot of use out of these items.
In the summer of 2016, we had five weddings to go to over the course of six weeks, so that’s where all those dresses came into play. Those two dresses that I bought may seem pricey, but they have been absolute workhorses on the wedding circuit.
As I was creating these lists, it became very apparent how much money I spent on running clothes and shoes. but no regrets there either. I need to replace my running shoes at least once a year (usually every 9 months or so when I start to wear them down), and since I buy the same model year after year, there is only so much wiggle room on price. I always buy them on sale.
It may seem funny to buy a down jacket in summer, but I found a nice jacket for a great price. I’ve been getting a lot of use out of it.
2017 – $657.30
April – Running Shoes – $112.95
June – Sandals – $67.63
June – Running Shorts and Hat – $72.90
June – Flip flops – $37.38
July – Casual Shirts (2) – $45.68
August – Dress – $57.22
August – Assorted Undergarments and Pajamas – $101.06
September – Sweatshirt – $40.00
September – Casual Shirt – $48.57
November – Running Shirt – $8.40
December – Pajamas – $14.43
December – Running Socks (3-pack) – $36.00
December – Sequins Shirt (for New Years, of course!) – $15.08
I knew that I spent less in 2017, but I was really surprised to learn that it was about a third of what I spent in 2016.
Besides the sequins shirt, I really didn’t make any frivolous clothing purchases in 2017. Most of the clothes I bought were things I needed, and since I already had a lot of work clothes, I really didn’t need to replace or add anything there. This probably means that I’ll have to buy more next year.
Looking over these purchases from these past two years, I have learned a lot about my spending habits.
I definitely shop more in the summer. This could probably be attributed to the fact that I’m off from work, and flush with cash (in the beginning of the summer).
I buy a lot of running/workout clothes and shoes, and not a whole lot of work clothes. This may change over the next couple years, as I need to replace more items in my work wardrobe.
Some clothes are expensive (I’m looking at you, Blundstones), but worth every penny if you get a lot of use out of them. I try to buy clothes on sale or with gift cards or coupon codes, but sometimes you can’t avoid spending $100+ on an item.
What have you learned about your shopping habits?
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