Monday, July 29, 2013

Clothing fast

I don't know why I feel so zen about this burglary. Our messy, imperfect apartment has always been such a safe port for me but I don't feel like my bubble is burst. The last time I was a victim of a crime, I was on edge for weeks. I felt angry and suspicious of strangers. Now it's like, welp, hope ya splurged on the good crack*, ya rascals!

We should perhaps not feel zen about all this considering we need to put new tires on the car, like, yesterday, and have a lot of expensive travel ahead of us in the next few months. Nick has a week of conferences in pricey NYC and I'm flying to DC for a baby shower and then we'll go out to DC again after our little nephew (!) is born in September. We've had to turn down two out-of-state weddings this fall because of cost and now there is the matter of at some point buying new computers. And eventually, a new gaming console so we can stream our beloved internet TV again. (Thieves didn't steal our ancient CRT TV because it weighs 10,000 lbs) I can't summon the appropriate anxiety, though. What am I going to do, spin my worry into linen and print more money for us?

My gracious sister-in-law offered to pay for my plane ticket to attend her baby shower (um no, lolz). I mentioned her generosity to Nick and said "It cracks me up how they think we're so poor." Nick turned to me and said "You get that we're basically single income and our breadwinner is a low-level government employee, right? offense." Oh. Right.

Enter: household austerity overhaul. For the last few months, I have been doubling up on our savings but I still make dumb spending decisions all of the time. Losing weight meant I did need to replace some things in my wardrobe, but I have gotten a leeetle too comfortable with sending discounted dresses to our door with a few quick swipes on my phone. And the day after the break-in I comforted myself by buying GOLD HEELS on sale... This is where I remind you that I am not a Vegas cocktail waitress and wearing heels for one day wrecks my back for a week. Clothing is one arena where frugality evades me. I realized that I haven't yet worn my favorite dress this summer and it's nearly August! I am, if anything, a person with plen-ty of things to wear.

So I am on a clothing fast (shoes included) for, I think, six months. I tried to anticipate occasions I might need to dress for to make sure I'll be covered:

Baby shower
Cold weather running

Cabin/rafting weekend with family
Annual work conference

Yeah, I got this.

I might make an exception for Halloween, since it's my favorite and I never spend much on getting a costume together anyway. I hope I don't have to go to any funerals, but I do have a basic black shift and a (knit) navy shift on hand. (I think about these things...) And I decided if someone gives me a gift card, I am allowed to buy clothing with it if I want.

This isn't going to save me more than a few hundred dollars, but every bit counts. A few hundred dollars is rent, is a plane ticket, is the cost of Christmas gifts... I am comfortable with my "enthusiasm" for clothing but I need to focus on something else for a while. Step 1: unsubscribe from all the flash sale e-mails that keep finding my inbox...

*Probably not a thing.


  1. I went on a clothing fast when I was unemployed. I only spent money from gift cards, etc. on new clothes for at least six months. It wound up fundamentally shifting the way I buy clothing. I buy substantially less now. I choose to alter pants that have gotten too big. I choose to do more laundry. I borrow clothing. As I've been wearing a lot of the same clothes for nearly three years, I have come to realize that quality is the most important and that you can't always tell which clothes aren't going to fall apart right away, because some of the cheap stuff is built to last. I try not to get sucked into the idea of discount shopping (maybe this is a good time for you to read the book Cheap), because I know that stores are trying to make me focus on the discount I'm getting rather than the price I'm actually paying. I moved all of the flash sale notices into a separate inbox and it's done so much for my peace of mind.

    You'll be fine. You won't even miss it. I do recommend using EEBA to track your spending - we started recently and it's helping a lot.

  2. I set up a gmail filter for all flash sale/store promotional emails. They bypass my inbox and mark themselves as read. Then if I happen to find something I like or need an item, I can check the folder for coupon codes. This has helped curb my impulse internet shopping.

  3. Okay, I super shouldn't have sent you a link to that shirt last weekend.