No Buying Clothes for a Year: Did I Make It?

My new running shoes!
My new running shoes!

At the beginning of the year, I made a pledge to myself, no buying any new clothes or shoes in 2013. After paying off our credit cards for good at the end of last year, I think it was my way of giving the middle finger to consumerism. I also thought it would provide a good idea of what I actually needed and didn’t need in a wardrobe. When you buy new stuff all the time, it’s easy to lose track of the clothes you do have. Well it’s December, so did I make it a full 12 months without buying clothes?

Not Exactly

I did not buy any clothes during the first part of the year with two exceptions.

1) I had $30 in Old Navy e-gift cards that would have expired this past summer. I bought some work out pants and two dresses that came out to $31.60, so I spent $1.60. I could have come under, but it would have meant not maxing out the gift cards, and I hate not taking  free money.

2)There was a Ralph Lauren Outlet about an hour away from us. Jim has bought most of his work shirts there for years. They went out of business at the end of the summer and had a huge sale. I normally don’t buy clothes there, but they had an awesome pair of jeans marked down from $79.99 to $24.99. I have a pair of RL jeans from 10+ years ago that have held up well, and I liked the style, so I bought them. However, I used an Amex gift card that I got from work. I’m not sure if that counts against me or not.

Half Marathon Training

When I decided to do a half marathon next February, I had to up the amount of running I was doing. My running shoes were purchased in December of 2011, and after one week of my new training program, I knew they were not going to make it. My feet and ankles felt like crap.

I asked Jim to get me new running shoes for Christmas but to give them to me in November. I also only had 2 pairs of running socks that didn’t have holes, so we got four pairs of those as well. The running store threw in a free jersey type T-shirt that normally cost $30, so there’s that. We spent $145 on my “gift” that I have been running with pain free feet for a month now. I think that was well worth it.

Black Friday Ruined it All

We had a very untraditional Thanksgiving this year. We were planning on speding the holiday in Denver at Jim’s grandparents. The family dinner is always there, but Gradma broke her hip the week before Thanksgiving, so dinner was canceled.

Since we already had plans to go and the Friday after Thanksgiving was Jim’s birthday, we went to Denver anyway. We visited with Grandma and had dinner at Steak and Shake (one of the few places open on Thanksgiving!) The next day Jim wanted to go to the outlet mall on Black Friday because they had a North Face store. If you knew my husband, you’d know he lives in North Face fleece pullovers. He wears one almost every day, and he is a brand snob.

North Face was so crowded it gave me a headache, so I went over to the Gap outlet. I was determined to just look around, but then I saw it, my favorite sweater in the world. It was like sun rays were shining down upon the sweater display. I bought a brown one at this same store maybe 3 or 4 years ago, and I’ve worn it out. They had every color you could imagine, in my size. Even more crazy was that they were on sale for $12.99!

I had about a 5 minute internal debate with myself. I knew I was going to buy work clothes in January. My old standbys are barely standing by at this point. I have some dressy or occasional use clothes (my hockey jersey), but like most people, I have a basic few items that I wear most of the time. I probably have maybe 7 mix and match outfits that I wear for work plus my collection of work out clothes, jeans, sweatshirts, and yoga pants. Many of them are looking pretty shabby. Anyway, I knew I needed some work clothes, and I would be buying them soon. The question was whether I wanted to take advantage of this price or wait a month to finish my challenge.

Loser or Winner?

I caved. Possibly, I could find similar deals after Christmas, but we only go to Denver about once a year, and who knows what the selection might be then? I bought two of my favorite sweaters plus a similar cardigan. I also got a pair of gray pants, a pair of khaki pants, and a skirt. My total to the Gap was just over $85. Since I already broke the dam, I picked up a Nike pullover hoodie for $20.

So no, I did not make it 12 months without buying new clothes or shoes, but I do think this challenge has taught me quite a bit about shopping. If I absolutely don’t want to spend money, I need to stay out of all stores. However, if I need something and find it on sale for a good price, it makes sense to take advantage.

Will I Buy More Clothes in 2014?

Probably. I won’t impose any more challenges, but I think I can certainly get by with shopping two or three times a year and only when I need something. That’s a long way from how I used to be, and although I didn’t complete this challenge, I am pretty proud of myself. I’ve also cleaned out a ton of stuff I wasn’t wearing to either sell or donate. I’ve made much more in clothing sales than I’ve spent this year. I’m glad I did the challenge.

Would you ever try to not buy clothes for a whole year? Does going in stores make you want to spend money?


Written By
Sydney White is a Texas-born stay at home mom who enjoys spending time with her family, bargain hunting and, hiking.


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