If you love fashion, you might have a hard time refraining from shopping. Read on to find out what OnSugar blogger Beauty and the Budget does to keep herself in check.
True story — I am pretty much obsessed with fast fashion. I may not know every designer label in the book, but I can spot a Zara dress from a mile away. You would think that as a frugal shopper that I save sooo much money on clothing, but actually that isn't necessarily true. I have about 20 bags in my closet that I never wear, and I'm pretty sure if you calculated their total price together it would probably equal out to one Louis Vuitton bag that I would wear indefinitely.
No matter if your money is going toward designer purchases or frugal ones, you can still spend too much on clothing if you are living beyond your means. Most people don't recognize that you can live beyond your means even if you are buying superaffordable goods. (Trust me, I didn't recognize it for years.) But you can and you will, if you aren't careful.
It's even harder to stay away from spending too much on clothing when you work at your favorite retail store. Working at Forever 21, I see the merchandise before it's displayed in the store. I don't have to dig through the racks for something or search all through the store — the merchandise is just right there in front of me. It's so accessible and so easy to buy. I can put it on hold for myself almost immediately. I'm pretty sure you've heard plenty of boutique associates say, "They should just keep my paycheck — I spend all of my money here!" I've said that plenty of times before. The sad part is, most of the time it's true. Aside from paying my bills, I would spend the rest of my money on clothes from there. It is a terrible spending habit.
So long story short, how did I stop myself from spending too much on clothing?
- Have a short-term financial goal. Although my fiancé is taking care of 90 percent of the wedding, there are still a few other expenses that I know I have to save my money for. I want to shower my two bridesmaids with gifts, enjoy a week in NYC with my maid of honor, and have enough money to get our hair and makeup done on the wedding day. All of these things can really add up, and having this short-term financial goal has really helped me second-guess my purchasing decisions. My wedding is important to me, and I want it to be the most special day of my life. Find a short-term financial goal for yourself, like a vacation, and it could really help you, too!
Read on for more.
- Learn to second-guess your purchasing decisions. Before you dash to the register for that new top — evaluate it! When we were kids, we didn't have a lot of money. But every so often, if my mom was buying something for me, she'd ask, "Do you really love it?" Of course, then, I'd always say yes, but now I realize that it's a starting point for teaching yourself to evaluate your purchases.
- Set a clothing budget. Have you done this yet? It seems so obvious, but it's something a lot of people don't do. I have had every intention of setting a clothing budget for myself, but the idea never sticks. However, I did download the Mint app for my iPhone, and this has really helped me determine where my money is going — on clothing or otherwise. I'd say a fair share of my money goes to clothing and going out to dinner. With the Mint app, you can allot yourself a certain amount each month for clothing, food, etc. I allowed myself $50 a month on clothing, and I haven't exceeded this budget in quite a while!
- Get an accountability partner. OK, so I don't technically have an accountability partner who is with me at the register every time I check out, but my fiancé kind of acts as an accountability partner. I never want him to think that I spend my money frivolously, even though I generally do. We've been together for over three years now, so he knows when I have a new outfit. When I purchase something, I'll think of what he might say or think about my spending habits. It's not like he wags his finger at me and says, "No, that's bad!" But since I know that he's mentally evaluating my purchasing decisions since I'm going to be his wife, this definitely prevents me from making any irrational purchases.
Although I'm not completely cured of wanting to spend every dime I get on clothing, these three things have helped me enormously! In fact, I could probably name about 10 things I would've bought within the last week had I not used these four tips. But that's the thing about not being naturally smart when it comes to finances — you really have to work at it. Like diet and exercise, it takes discipline. And take it from me — it isn't easy!