No Spending Challenge-No Buying Clothes in 2013

file000665986548The average American household spends about $2000 on clothes annually. I’ve certainly cut back in the last few years, but I’ve never gone 12 months without buying some article of clothing. Since I’m working less now and trying to save more, it’s the perfect time for me to take a no spending challenge. I am not going to buy any clothes or shoes for myself in 2013.

How Can You Not Buy Clothes?

Its very simple. If you don’t want to spend money on clothes, stay out of your favorite stores. It’s almost impossible to get through a whole twelve months without buying clothing for my daughter,who grows faster than Taylor Swift goes through boyfriends. I can choose to buy her clothes from stores that won’t tempt me. They don’t sell tons of things I’d be interested in at Children’s Place. I can also order things for her online. She doesn’t have to turn around in front of the mirror and make sure that pants don’t make her butt look big before buying.

I can go through my closet and drawers. If you are like me, you probably wear the same 5-10 items in rotation. Things get pushed to the back of the closet, and we forget about them. I bet I can find enough stuff hiding out in my closet to feel like I went shopping.

I also don’t need anything. I got socks and underwear for Christmas and a new pair of jeans right before, so I should be set unless I set something on fire. You can make your work clothes last longer by hanging them up instead of drying in the dryer. I’m pretty sure I can make it twelve months.

Psychological Shopping?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve relied on retail therapy if I’ve been in a bad mood or was stressed for some reason. Buying new clothes or shoes was a little pick me up. I deserved it for all of my hard work.

I’ll tell you what feels better than buying new clothes, being out of debt. Hands down, no contest. Buying clothes you don’t need and getting a credit card bill a month later is not good for mental health in any way.

What Might Trip Me Up

My running shoes are six months old. Can they hold out for another 12 months? My knees won’t allow me to run as much as I used to, but I will pick it up pretty regularly as it gets warmer. There are two triathlons I want to do this summer, and I won’t kill my feet with bad shoes. Maybe if I need some before the end of the year, I can sell enough stuff on Ebay to cover the cost of buying a pair there, but I won’t give up my exercise to avoid buying new shoes.

A no spending challenge is a great way to save money if it is something you can reasonably live without. For 2013, I can live without new clothes. Hopefully, you can find your own no spending challenge.

What are you going to challenge yourself to spend less on?



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Written By
Sydney White is a Texas-born stay at home mom who enjoys spending time with her family, bargain hunting and, of course, writing. She is currently the editor-in-chief of


  1. A couple of years ago, I lost a lot of weight. Thus necessitating buying new clothes. Which I will not complain about, because I don’t think I’ve ever been happier or more eager to part with that much money.

    But, since I was always scared that I might gain the weight back I only bought the basic set of clothes. One week’s worth of summer clothes for work. One week’s worth of winter clothes. And maybe another week’s worth of casual clothes. I’ve worn the same set for the last two years.

    Now, I am not a fashion plate. I picked conservative men’s clothes in colors and styles that look good on me. This seems to be working out fine. Admittedly, I’d like to buy some additional clothes. Maybe enough to start a two week rotation. I’m just being held back by my own laziness and cheapness.

    1. I think you need to reward yourself after achieving a big goal. I like how Derek at Free at 33 describes the attitude that worked when he quit smoking. He thought of himself as a non-smoker who smoked for a while, rather than a reformed smoker who might relapse. I think that applies to weight loss as well. Congratulations, and I would certainly buy some clothes that fit and give away the bigger ones.

  2. “It’s almost impossible to get through a whole twelve months without buying clothing for my daughter,who grows faster than Taylor Swift goes through boyfriends.” Ha, ha, ha, 🙂 Good one Kim!

    This is a great challenge. Good luck!!

  3. I could easily not shop for a year or two. I currently only replace worn out items. I will only buy on sale or heavily discounted. I just bought some socks (retail $13) for $4.

    1. I got socks for Christmas. My daughter picked them out and they are neon colors with polka dots, but they work. That’s my socks for 2013.

  4. I’ve spent a lot on clothes (for me) in recent years as I pared down my wardrobe. I have less clothes, but better quality and only things that I actually wear. But I have plenty enough for now, so I had already planned to spend less on clothing this year. I won’t say no spend, but at least low spend.

    1. If I get holes in all my socks, I’ll have to rethink, but it’s kind of fun to see if I can make it. Congrats on paring down your wardrobe.

  5. I have to stay out of Target, my favorite store for every day stuff and even clothes. I lose all self-control there. I’m pretty good about not buying new clothes unless I need them. I agree that running shoes is something you don’t want to mess with. That’s a worthwhile purchase if you use them.

    1. It helps that the only real store we have to buy clothes in our town is Walmart and I would wear leaves and twigs before I bought clothes there.

  6. I love this idea! I did a ten-item challenge this summer where I only wore ten pieces for thirty days and i LOVED it. It really worked out. I don’t know if I could go a whole twelve months, I go through shoes quickly (bc I walk so heavy on my feet) and all of my leggings are 5 years old and have so many tatters. Keep us posted on how it goes, Kim!

    1. When you live in the boonies, it’s much easier. We have to have the worst dressed population on earth. I can get away with almost anything when not at work, but I draw the line at wearing pajama pants in public. That drives me nuts.

  7. As teachers, my husband and I only get paychecks during the school year. We do save for summer, but we go on a no spend on processed foods challenge every July and August. It helps that the farmers’ markets are plentiful then. too.

    1. Wow, are you with a private school. My husband is a teacher also, but they get checks year round. I guess it would be the same amount, you’d just get bigger checks during the school year. It must take discipline in saving for the off months.

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