Why I Track My Shopping Decisions – My 2017 Roundup

Why I Track My Shopping Decision - My 2017 Analysis

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We know we should track our money. But what about tracking the personal things we choose to bring home? As someone who doesn’t really buy trinkets, most of what I bring home ends up being clothes.

How we spend on personal goods has been on my mind lately. I’m reading this book called Dollars and Sense, which is about how we think about money all wrong. It’s an insightful book, and one major takeaway I’ve gotten from it is this:

It’s human nature to spend money irrationally.

And when it comes to personal items like clothes, we’re even more prone to making emotional decisions. We don’t judge the value of items by their individual merits, no matter how much we lie to ourselves that we do. Think about it: if you saw a Kate Spade bag without the branding, would you still spend $300 for it?

But acknowledging human nature doesn’t mean you get a free pass to go on a shopping rampage. And it doesn’t mean you can’t infuse logic into your purchasing decisions.

One way I keep my shopping in check is by tracking my shopping habits: using Mint and Pinterest to assess what I’ve bought, and whether or not I’m happy with how much I’ve spent. Going through why I bought the things I did, and looking for patterns for why something worked or why it didn’t. Specifically, there’s a set of questions I like to ask myself:

  1. OK, Big Shot, so you spent all this money. Now what have you got to show for it? Am I satisfied with what I bought for the money spent, or am I horrified, like when Carrie spent $40,000 on shoes?
  2. Do I value this stuff? Like, for real? Because I don’t really have the mental energy for junky stuff I don’t care about.

I know it sounds harsh. And I know some of you would rather get a root canal than even think about adding up how much you’ve spent shopping. But if you don’t stop to think about how and why you’re spending, it’s hard to stop making the same mistakes. Then you can end up in an endless cycle of buying the wrong things, spending too much money, and then going to purging hell.

So, onto the analysis. How did I do last year?

In 2017, I bought 14 items (excluding socks) for $1,308.52. I then sold $297.62 worth of stuff, so the final total is $1,011. That’s $11 more than my goal, but it’s good enough, especially as I felt like I HAD to buy one item for a trip.

In 2016, I bought no shoes. This year, I made up for it by buying four pairs. Overall, I feel satisfied with how I spent, although there were a few misses.

Here’s the breakdown:

SWEATERS & SWEATSHIRTS2017 Clothing Analysis - Sweaters & Sweatshirts

1. Uniqlo Heather Grey Crewneck Sweatshirt
Price Paid: $4.99
Retail: ~$19.90

I bought this from Goodwill when I was in Cincinnati, and I wear it a lot at home. Actually, I’m wearing it right now as I write this blog post.

2. A.P.C. Navy Blue Shetland Sweater
Price Paid: $52.50
Retail: $280

I got this from The Real Real. A.P.C. is one of my favorite brands, and the 80% off price was right for being brand new. But I hadn’t asked myself, “Do you need a navy blue crewneck sweater?” I ended up selling it.

3. Acne Bird Sweatshirt in Dusty Pink
Price Paid: $87
Retail: $220

I’ve always loved this sweatshirt when I saw it online, and finally saw one pop up on eBay in my size. Except it ran really big, which I could have figured out if I asked the seller for measurements. This too went to a new home.

4. Proenza Schouler Mixed Media Sweater
Price Paid: $87.50
Retail: $700

I saw this at Barneys once and was immediately attracted to it. Then I saw it on The Real Real and pounced. I like almost all of Proenza Schouler’s printed knits, so this is another addition to the collection.

T-SHIRTS2017 Clothing Analysis - T-Shirts

1. Rag & Bone The Tee in Heather Grey
Price Paid: $63.75
Retail: $85

The infamous $60 T-shirt. I’m really particular about my T-shirts, and this had the exact fit I was looking for. I always bring this with me on vacation, too, so I think that shows it’s been a staple.

2. Re/Done X Hanes 1970s Boyfriend T-Shirt
Price Paid: $4
Retail: $93

I got a gift card from a Matches Fashion event once, so that’s how I bought this for such a paltry amount. Olive green has always been my favorite T-shirt color, because it’s so boyish. I bring this on vacation a lot, too.

2017 Clothing Analysis - Pants and Jeans I Bought

1. J. Crew Billie Demi-Boot Crop Jeans
Price Paid: $53.99
Retail: $125

My one indulgent trend item. Cropped jeans are always tough for me because I’m 5’2,” but these came in a petite size. Are they an absolute perfect fit? No, but I still wear them all the time. Most denim will never be a perfect fit for me, and I’ve accepted that.

2. Gap Softspun Marled Jogger Sweatpants
Price Paid: $29.97
Retail: $49.95

I bought these to replace some old, worn-out sweats I only wore at home. It was time to get some I could wear out in public, like on long flights, etc. I felt kind of trapped into buying these, because very few sweatpant options come in petite lengths. Along with the Uniqlo sweatshirt, I’m wearing these right now, too.

2017 Clothing Analysis - Shoes I Bought

1. K. Jacques Ponyhair Cernay Sandals
Price Paid: $74.45
Retail: $231

I had a pair of K. Jacques sandals already, but the soles were really worn out. I found these from The Real Real, basically brand new.

2. Woman by Common Projects Achilles Low Leather Sneakers
Price Paid: $225
Retail: $410

I got these from SSENSE as a backup pair, for when my current ones die on me.

3. Newbark Melanie Loafers
Price Paid: $76
Retail: $545

I mostly wear sneakers, but I wanted to mix it up with a dressier shoe. I was so excited to find a brand-new pair for such a steal. Again, from The Real Real.

4. Isabel Marant Étoile Bart Sneakers
Price Paid: $152
Retail: $370

Bought these from The LOIT, a random store in New Jersey I found one day who happens to have really good sales sometimes. These look similar to Adidas Stan Smiths, but I like these more because there’s a little hidden wedge. I also think the leather quality is much, much better than Adidas.

ACCESSORIES & ONE-OFF ITEMS2017 Clothing Analysis - Accessories & Jackets

1. Acne Herringbone Canada Scarf
Price Paid: $119
Retail: $170

I’ve always liked Acne Canada scarves, but the price point was always a little too high for me to pull the trigger. But then I saw this one on sale. Plus, they sell really well and have good resale value.

2. Helly Hansen Aden Rain Jacket
Price Paid: $62.79
Retail: $130

I didn’t own a rain jacket, but felt like I needed one for my New Zealand trip. The weather there is really unpredictable, and I didn’t want to get caught hiking in the rain.

3. Three Pairs of Falke Invisible Socks
Price Paid: $40.50
Retail: $54

I used to buy cheap invisible socks from H&M, but they would always slip off my feet. These have rubber grips on the heels, so while they’re expensive, I totally swear by them.

What I Really Wanted, But Decided to Let Go
2017 Clothing Analysis - What I Let Go

What we choose to buy is interesting, but what’s also telling is what we choose to NOT buy. If you take a minute to assess why you didn’t buy something, you can uncover some clues to help you with future purchases.

Two items I wanted but didn’t buy last year:

1. Rhié Digital Print Silk Dress

Rhié is one of my favorite lesser-known discoveries. Since they’re a smaller brand, retailers are hard to find. But one day I saw this dress miraculously pop up on The Real Real, although it was one size too big.

2. Alexander Wang Floral Print Shirt Dress

Do you ever see a fashion show and make a mental note of THAT ONE ITEM that just kind of sticks with you? I’ve had this dress on my list for years, but it never came up in my size. Then I saw it on The Real Real in pristine condition.

And why I didn’t buy them:

Can you see a pattern here? I LOVE a great print that is modern and cool, but not overly feminine. Give me a designer who can create his/her own prints, and I’ll be interested. Even though I could have bought each of these for less than $70, I just couldn’t pull the trigger. Because there were a couple details I couldn’t really overlook:

One, I don’t really wear dresses.

And two, I need to pay attention to how things will fit on my specific body. The Alexander Wang dress would hit just below my knee caps, which makes me look short. The Rhié dress was just the wrong size altogether, and since it’s already a long dress, would have overwhelmed my frame. I’d fallen for settling for the wrong size before, assuming I could pull off an oversized look. Not anymore.

Passing over these items means that I can still appreciate certain things from afar, but I don’t really need to own them.

What I Sold

As mentioned above, I ended up selling two items that didn’t work, plus a few more so I could get my spending close to budget. If the numbers below aren’t an after school special for why one should buy secondhand designer clothes, then I don’t know what is.

Everything I Sold in 2017
Item Price Bought Price Sold
A.P.C. sweater $52.50 new $41.07
Acne Bird sweatshirt $87 $107.60
Isabel Marant T-shirt $45 $36.36
Charlotte Olympia Daisy wedding shoes $150 new $92.50*
Girlfriend leggings $20 new $20.09

*Shipping that box put a big dent in my net profit, dang!
TOTAL SOLD: $297.62

My 2018 List

My wishlist is a living list that’s constantly changing, but here’s what’s on it right now:

Staple Items
1 black belt
1 pair of black jeans
1 striped button down
1 cropped sweatshirt

Novelty Items
1 silk tropical shirt – BOUGHT
1 pair of fun sunglasses
1 set of matching PJs
1 quilted puffy parka

Final Thoughts

If you want to be a more mindful consumer, try tracking what you’ve already bought to see what’s worked, and what hasn’t. It can be as simple as using the Notes app on an iPhone, or as complicated as an Excel spreadsheet where you track how many times you’ve worn each item. Whatever the method, the principle is the same: it’s hard to improve what you don’t measure.

How did you do in 2017? Are you on the track-your-purchases train, or would you rather bury your head in the sand? What’s on your list for 2018?

Feature Image: Unsplash

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  • I spent ~$1825 on clothes in 2017. Which, ouch. This year the #1 priority is finding a tea length wedding dress for our outdoor ceremony. Otherwise, though, I want spend a lot less this year. Maybe ~$300ish? I’d like to find BIFL professional socks.

    • Thanks for sharing how much you spent! I wish more folks could be honest like this. And wow, going from $1825 to $300-ish is a huge spread! The wedding dress counts in the ‘wedding’ category, and not ‘shopping’ 🙂 Are you planning on re-selling it later?

      • Yeah, I’ve typically spent $200-300/year prior to 2017. Last year was a big overhaul for me. My hope is to buy a wedding dress I can reuse for other occasions. I’m quite petite and will need tailoring, so I’m not sure how feasible reselling will be.

        • $2-300 is amazing! For my wedding dress, I purposely bought something with a looser silhouette so I wouldn’t have to alter (for reselling purposes). But I haven’t tried selling it yet, so we’ll have to see how well that strategy worked, ha.

  • I definitely need to track my 2017 shopping decisions, that’s on my to-do and I am actually pretty excited to take a stab at it. I might even write about it in a future blog post bc it’s such an eye opener. I’m tired of feeling like I don’t know where my money went. For me, the hardest thing to balance is classic pieces and more trendy ones. The other day my mom told me that I really should buy a few nicer pieces which shocked me bc I didn’t think I was lacking in that dept, but she wasn’t wrong :/ Winter dressing is not my strong point.

    Appreciating things from afar is such a good way of putting it. The price you paid for everything you got is insane! How do you do it??? I feel like patience might have something to do with it.

    On my list: a chunky knit cardigan, light wash jeans, black jeans, pjs (still on the hunt), long sleeve tees, white sneakers, and a pendant style necklace.

    • Yes, you should definitely write a blog post about! I think more people need to talk about shopping with real numbers. There’s way too much fantasy-pushing out there, and it’s lame.

      Ha! I wouldn’t listen to my mom about clothes. How does yours know exactly what’s in your closet??? Funny how we have dominant seasons, too. Mine for sure is fall/winter, and in the summer I’m struggling. When you don’t wear tank tops or dresses, your options become limited!

      Re: prices, I’m really good at shopping 🙂 Also, yes, super patient. But for real, preloved is the best way to indulge in trends without sacrificing your budget.

      I saw a pair of Pepto Bismol-pink PJs from J. Crew the other day, and thought of you. Kind of eyeing them, too…

      • My blog post will be so long if I broke it down the way you did, let’s just say the amount I spent could have paid for someone’s study abroad trip 😬 In fairness there were a lot of things missing in my closet post-fast fashion cleanse. There were still some fails though. I will have to think of a different way to approach it that won’t bore people by every single item I bought. There were…are you ready for it? 82 items!!!!!!! Need to go to shopping rehab.

        My mom thinks because I wear the same things over and over, it means that I don’t have a lot of nice things but doesn’t it just mean that I like the things I wear and they can withstand the test of time…wish she got that though! It’s true, I think we all have dominant seasons…I’ve waved the white flag for winter. I’m hibernating like a bear on that one.

        Need to borrow some of that patience from you.

        Haha so glad Pepto-Bismol pink made you think of me 😉 For some reason our blanket is so warm that we can’t wear winter pjs because we sweat like crazy when sleeping (and I’m always cold and rarely sweat!) so I have to wear shorts to sleep. So I am eyeing the short pj set from J.Crew but I haven’t hit check out yet…I don’t trust my shopping judgment anymore after reflecting on last year…need to figure out a game plan for myself so I don’t end up this shocked again.

        • Yeah, I was having some blogger remorse after I detailed everything, and was like, OMG, this is horrible to read. Maybe you can just tally up the total numbers and detail the wins and losses?

          Your mom kind of sounds like my mom, because she too bases her convictions on a few observations. For instance, she is not convinced I actually eat unless she sees it with her own eyes. The next thing I know, she’s sending a huge box of food to our house. Like, I can’t buy my own food in NYC. Moms…

          Anyway, I really proud of you for doing the totally scary and hard thing of adding everything up! That’s so much more than what most people do!

  • I love your idea of breaking down purchases into “novelty” and “staples.” I’m a recently-converted tracker, and I use the Wardrobe Journal App (.99) to document frequency of wear. Buying good shoes is so worth it–last year I purchased a pair of very gently-used Paul Green boots for around $100 ($300 ret.) and a pair of brand new Clarks oxfords for the same price. No shade, Clarks, but they look shoddy next to the PG boots. The same goes for my tried-and-true dead stock Saks ballet flats (purchased NEW at an estate sale for $10) and my 10-year-old Ferragamo Varas.

    • I think it’s important to understand what’s meat and potatoes and what’s icing. The proportions need to be right, or else you’ll have either a really boring wardrobe, or one where nothing matches. Hmm, I’ve never heard of that app, but could be an easy way to track frequency of wear. I’m sure it’s fun for making outfit combos too, when you feel like you’re in a rut. What’s better than shopping your own closet, right? And higher quality goods for less is really the way to go!

  • Erin @ Reaching for FI

    Heh so I actually bought both a Kate Spade bag and wallet last year. In my defense, they were both 65-70% off (I don’t know who told me there was a secret sale happening, but thank you, person!) and after years of buying cheap purses and predictably seeing them fall apart, I decided to go more upscale. Haven’t used the bag yet (I’m waiting until my cheap work purse completes the falling-apart process) but I do love the wallet so I’m happy with that decision!

    I do not want to know how much I spent at Old Navy last year, which is my usual style of shopping. It’s going to take a massive rehaul of my mindset to move from the “spend money on many cheap items of clothing” strategy I’ve always used to “spend that same amount of money on fewer quality items.” In the meantime I’m just settling for curtailing my clothing spending because I don’t need any more clothes!

    • Not hating on KS–I just picked it because most people are familiar with that brand. The point is, no one assesses things by physical attributes alone, but for stories, fantasies, etc. I do it, too. I mean, I mostly buy from certain brands because I like their point of view, and won’t stray much outside of them.

      I’ve bought a few things from Old Navy last year, and the fact that I wore them once or twice was a sign to me that I probably shouldn’t shop there anymore. Nice job curtailing the spending. I think most of us would benefit from an abundance mentality, because really, do any of us really need more clothes?

      • Erin @ Reaching for FI

        Haha I know—I just thought it was funny that that’s the brand you chose since it’s just about the only designer anything I own.

        For YEARS the vast, vast majority of my wardrobe has been ON so that’s pretty much all I’ve ever known. Which is why it’ll probably take going cold turkey on clothing spending for an extended amount of time to fully break the first instinct to shop there haha. And yep, I need to go through another pass through my closet. Nothing like that to remind you of just how many excess items of clothing you have!

  • Kaitlyn

    Ever since you first wrote about your fashion habits on the blog I have been so inspired to really track my fashion spending over the last 6 months or so. I find that your tips really helped me quit my habit of just browsing online sales when I don’t really need anything, and helped me “rediscover” what I already have, so thank you! My goal this year is to buy any wardrobe items on my list this year second-hand (within reason, no matter how pricey I think Lululemon is, I’m not about to buy used sweaty leggings from someone, but you ignited my love of The Real Real!)

    • Hey Kaitlyn,

      Wow, I am shocked that my rambly posts have inspired you to shop less. It makes all the icky blog stuff worth it 🙂

      And I’m with you on secondhand workout gear–I always buy that stuff new because I don’t want to think about someone marinating (literally) in it, ha. Happy to have introduced you to The Real Real! I’ve found that the prices often rival new stuff from Zara, etc., and the merch tends to hold their resale value more.

      Thanks for the note!

  • Miya Qiu

    I actually really enjoy tracking my clothing purchases for the same reasons you mentioned. I add to my Excel every time I buy something and review it every once in a while to reflect on whether I’ve worn it recently and if not – why. I do this in conjunction with having a style app (ClosetSpace) where I uploaded ALL of my clothing and put outfits on the calendar regularly. The app can then tell you how many times you’ve worn it, average cost per wear and all those fun stats. It helps simplify what-to-wear-today decision making as well. I seem to be on 2-year cloth buying/no-buy cycles. Tons of purchases 2014-15, 0-3 purchases in 2016-2017, and now I’m buying and testing again.

    • You’ve made me consider using an app! I’ve seen people writing about them, but I didn’t feel like taking and uploading my own pics. But then again, I track most of that stuff on Pinterest anyway. It would be really interesting to track exactly which items end up being your “workhorses”, etc. This is especially important for me, since I don’t have a huge closet and don’t believe in buying more storage for clothes. Thank you for chiming in!

  • Anni

    Reading this blog actually made me decide to set up a real clothing budget this year, split into four non equal categories of $75 dry-cleaning/maintenance, $100 alterations + home sewing, $200 necessities and a $600 on fun. We’re officially two months into 2018 and as a type A super structured kind of gal it has really made me evaluate what I’ve decided to put my money into and made me really, really think about those cheap small purchases (love the print, but the leggings are too tight…do the shoulders fit me in this tee?) because I’m realizing that four not-great purchases could easily equal one amazing designer piece.

    Basically: I love this blog so much and I’m really excited to see where I end up at the end of this year now that I’m shopping with a real defined budget in place.

    • Hey! I’m so glad some of my posts have inspired you to start a budget. Hearing that stuff makes my day! Anyway, it looks like you’ve really thought through every type of cost associated with clothes. I myself will need to do a batch dry-clean run for all my sweaters, once spring decides to show up for real.

      Yes–you’ve hit the nail on the head! We are so trained as a culture to feel like more is better. Sometimes more is just more! And everything is about trade-offs. If you step over the four OK items, you can use that money for one great item instead.

      Anyway, love the idea of going from no-budget to budget, and seeing how things changed. Let me know if you’re interested in possibly writing a guest post about it!

  • Lenka Pešková

    I am in the process of embracing myself to buy only things that fits 100% without considering the price tag as the first thing. My indecisive personality is killing me but I can do it! And I LOVE what you said about jeans. I have the same problem, perfect fit will never happen. I had my favourite pair but they slighly changed the material and it’s all ruined 😭 How could they!!!

    • For me, the perfect fit won’t happen as long as brands keep pushing skinny-skinny jeans. That style doesn’t look good on everyone! And ugh, I hate it when brands take a product that sells well, and then alters the quality. From a business perspective I can understand, but as a consumer, I’m selfish, too 🙂

      Also, good luck with your new shopping strategy. It’s really hard not to look at price first, because that’s how society trains us to shop. But I think by prioritizing fit first, you’ll find you probably shop much less that way.

  • marlee63

    In 2017, I spent over $1300 on clothes and accessories. I made it my goal this year to have a budget of $1000 to spend. Most of what I bought last year was from H&M and Old Navy (darn their sales!), which I am cutting out. I want to invest in quality clothes, not t-shirts that have holes in them after 2 wears.
    So far, I’ve purchased 3 dresses and a pair of earrings, all on sale. I’m going to Hawaii in 2 months for my wedding and honeymoon and am trying not to shop for “vacation items” other than what I need. Although I did just buy a summer dress that I’ve been eyeing from Aritzia 2 hours ago. This is gonna be tough.
    As for tracking my spending, I write everything down in a journal.

    • Hi! Thanks for sharing your budget, and how you did last year. Even if you didn’t spend under budget, at least you have awareness, a goal, and a plan!

      Congratulations on your wedding (and to Hawaii, to boot)! I think with wedding stuff it’s tough to not feel like you should have multiple outfits. One thing my friend did was rent dresses for every pre-wedding event. That way she could still have a different look, but didn’t have the resulting clutter after the fact. Something to think about!

      I really need to check out Aritzia–I always forget about it, even though we have a shop here in the city!

  • I’m a big believer in tracking every expense, including my shopping! My yearly shopping numbers would probably be shocking to everyone here ($2883.12 last year, though about $600 of that was for components of my “full business formal” getup for court and the like.) This will probably be another pretty big shopping year for me. I had the sort of insanely indulgent goal of buying things that bring me “joy” with only, er, a rather loose budget limit, and that is certainly being accomplished. (I currently pour more than half of my take-home pay into “net worth positive” activities, saving and student loans, so there’s room for my indulgences… Though I could also save even more.)

    As for how I track, I use a copy of You Need a Budget from before they switched to a subscription model. I think manually recording transactions (rather than automated import like with Mint) is important for me to actually reflect on my spending.

    • Thanks for sharing your numbers! I actually think ~3k is pretty average, especially if you enjoy fashion and style. Many people go by the 5% of your take-home rule, which I clearly violated when I had lower salaries. One thing that helps me out is I can wear whatever I want to work, so I don’t have the added pressure of having to project a certain image at work, so that helps keep my budget low.

      It’s awesome that half of your salary is going to debt and savings. I always think about it like a balance. If you have a solid handle on your finances, then you can do whatever you want with the rest. Although, I am a firm advocate for shopping mindfully. It’s so hard to do that nowadays, with magazine, influencers, and brands all telling us we need to follow the latest trends, etc.

      Some of my friends who have a lot of debt (law school loans, etc.) swear by YNAB! I’m lucky enough where I’ve never had a major spending issue or massive debt, but it sounds like it does a stellar job of keeping people accountable.

  • Mj D’Arco

    i did something similar last november.. and it hurt when i saw the 6k i spent on clothes…i am afraid of getting bored of what i have and i keep on buying more 🙁
    ps i love your blog… thank

    • Hey, it’s awesome that you took the initiative to do the hard thing and look at what you spent. Most people don’t get that far. While it was painful at the time, hopefully it helped so you can make changes and feel happier about future spending. I know what you mean about getting bored. I’ve fallen into the trap of “buying something for life,” and then my taste ends up changing. One thing I try to do is keep in mind resale values, so when I inevitably change my mind, I can recoup at least some of my money back. And another thing I do is try to have an abundance mindset. Like, there are so many others who have less. If my mom knew what I spent on certain things, she’d surely smack the back of my head with her flip flop!

      And yay, thank you for being a reader and for taking the time to comment 🙂

  • GYM

    Wow, you didn’t spend very much at all in clothing! I like how you keep track of the retail price and how you seem to find some great finds at thrift shops. I really enjoy tracking my spending as well, especially with clothes, it helps to be mindful of your purchases. I usually have trouble not buying anything at warehouse sales and outlet malls but I made it out this trip going to two outlet malls without buying anything!

    • I think as I’ve become more in tune with who I am and my style, I naturally buy less and less. Like, when I was younger and bought a lot of fast fashion, I actually spent three times as much! Isn’t it funny how that happens?

      For me, leaving the outlet mall empty-handed is a huge achievement. Here we have to pay to take the bus, which costs like $20. So, it’s definitely a sunk cost, and I can see the pressure to feel like you need to buy something when you’ve already paid money to get there. Last time, I did a bad job, because I bought a bunch of makeup that was totally unnecessary. But at the same time, I’ve sometimes found amazing deals at outlets that I still love today! I found a pair of $300 silk shorts for $23.

  • Reforming spendthrift

    Love love the thought you put into buying clothes and the quality that you buy. I’m back on the fitness grind having been injured since September and unable to do all the sports. Since January I’ve lost 20lbs and my trousers were already falling down a bit yesterday. I reckon I’ll need quite the wardrobe overhaul by the end of March (at this rate). I’ll certainly evaluate my wardrobe and recent purchases to figure out how to build out my new wardrobe. I know I want to buy a few higher quality items than I normally would so thanks for all your posts on how to shop.

    • Hi Reforming Spendthrift,

      I tried to comment on your blog a while ago, and it got eaten by the Internet! Yeah, weight loss is tricky on a budget. If you can get away with tailoring, that might be one way to not avoid buying more stuff. Hopefully, you can maybe re-sell some of your current stuff to at least fund some of the new stuff?

      Glad you liked the shopping posts!

  • Done by Forty

    I kind of love this project. How can we really evaluate our purchases if we don’t do some sort of accounting of what we bought, what we paid, and what value it provides in retrospect.

    I do an annual look at our spending but, amazingly, don’t really specifically look at the things I purchased.

    Anyway, love the idea for this post, Luxe.

    • Yeah, totally. Most of us PF bloggers track our spending and can give you the numbers, but what about the actual things themselves? Are they earning their keep? I kind of think of them as my “friends,” as weird as that sounds.

  • You probably already know the answer to this, but I wasn’t happy with the my purchases in 2017. But, I’m working on it! I love your breakdown – especially of what you bought things for versus their actual retail price. It’s clear that your purchases very much aligns with your values and that’s awesome!

    • I went ahead and re-read your post again, and I honestly don’t think it was so bad! I’m not perfect, but I am trying to get better, because I’ve realized that having stuff in my house that I don’t value isn’t just a money thing–it’s a psychological thing, too. It’s such a calming feeling to open up your drawer and closet and think, “Yes, I love all this stuff.”

  • Ohhh I love these kind “financial voyeurism” posts 🙂 I’m a total numbers geek and have been manually tracking clothing purchases in a spreadsheet for the past few years. It makes for some interesting analysis: I’ve spent ~$2000 per year consistently, but I’ve bought fewer items every year, so the average cost per item has been increasing. I think this a good sign and a reflection of maturing tastes.

    One thing that helps me is I cross out items on the spreadsheet that I’ve bought but ended up donating/selling. Seeing all those strikethroughs from the past helps me avoid new impulse purchases.

    Thanks for starting this conversation, it’s been interesting reading others’ comments and their numbers!

    • Hey Jess!

      Your comments about maturing tastes is interesting. When I was making less money, and knew myself less, I actually bought and spent MORE. But as I’ve gotten older and refined my tastes, I now spend less, even if the initial price points are higher.

      I love your idea about crossing things off a spreadsheet. Sometimes just a simple action like that can make a difference psychologically. I guess it’s kind of like the visual tricks people use when they’re trying to get out of debt, like being able to fill in a circle on a piece of paper when you don’t spend money that day.

      Thanks for chiming in!

  • Yeah, I think awareness is the key. I’m doing a cash budget for food right now, and I’ve noticed that if I know I have a max amount of money I can spend, I’m a lot more considerate of my choices. And if I know I’m going to go over, I’ll have to sacrifice an existing garment (resell) for the new item. Another thing I do is put stuff on a visual wish list. I revisit it every now and then, and sometimes, I’m like, what was I thinking? So sometimes the act of just putting an item on a wishlist can replace the thrill of the checkout process.

    You have to understand that I’m a total sneaker person, like, since middle school. It’s part of my identity! But to expand on your question, I bought another pair because I can’t find any black leather sneaker options that really compare. Like, I considered Vejas for white sneakers, but I actually think THEY are too expensive, considering the quality. I’ve also worn plenty of black canvas versions, but those are only for spring/summer, and of course I kill them too soon because I do an insane amount of walking.

    Thank you for stopping by, and good luck with your experiment!

  • May

    I’ve kept a running list of clothes I’ve bought the past 5 yrs, and star the things I’ve actually worn. 2016 I spent $1112, but 2017 $442, and only 1 item the second half of the year. This year so far $110 but used resale credits so almost like free? I was thinking about trying a no buy year….haha, maybe starting now although I still have more credit!

    I also use a simple spending app to track discretionary purchases like eating out, groceries, Uber rides, apt stuff, shopping. My biggest expense there is food (~300/month not including the free food I get at work!)

    My wishlist for 2018 is a pair of polarized sunglasses. Really enjoyed your breakdown of what you bought this year, and your analysis of which items you kept or not! 😊 Also I’m glad you had a great time in LA! I’m deciding between a trip to NYC or road trip to some National Parks this spring.

    • It sounds like you have a solid system down–for the shopping AND for the other expenses, too. Not sure where you live but $300 sounds very frugal to me. And with your current shopping habits, a no-buy would be a total snap for you! You should totally try it.

      NYC or national parks–def go with the national parks! Natural beauty all the way.

  • randomizationme

    Seeing that you bought a second pair of Common Projects, I assume you find them extremely comfortable? I wore my converse for more than 7+ years and liked the rusty look, so it took me awhile to replace them. When I did, however, the pair of converse fit differently. Like you mentioned in a previous post, the converse now are not as comfortable as they were before.

    I am looking to invest on a new pair of sneakers—I really like the style of converse and common projects. Would you say the comfort level is high for the pair you bought? I read a few reviews claiming they are a bit uncomfortable but would like to hear from a financial savvy individual too. thanks!

    • I find the CPs only slightly more comfortable than Converse, because the sole is thicker. But then again, I don’t rely on tennis shoes for comfort. I mean, with a thin, flat sole, how realistically comfortable can they be?! If I need real comfort, I pull out the Nike Frees, etc. I buy the CPs because of how sleek they are, and the craftsmanship. Plus, they look a lot more “adult” than a canvas shoe. I think one reason why people say they are uncomfortable is because they are mostly leather, and sturdier, therefore, not as pliable. I’ll say I’ve never had any problems with blisters, like I would get with Vans, etc.

      I do a TON of walking, and if you’re looking for a tennis shoe that is MORE comfortable, I really like Spring Court, because of their pillow sole. However, note that they are a different silhouette from Converse. They’re a little wider, so if you’re looking for a streamlined look, then these might not be for you.

      I hope that helps!

  • I don’t remember buying much in 2017 so that’s good! We had expected some work on our house and in my head, I kept planning for that but it never happened. The job isn’t big enough of priority with most contractors that are busier with other houses. I can’t even get call backs, it’s hilarious -_-

    But I think that was the best trick for me! “There’s a bill coming, better be good about $$ until that passes.”

    And no I agree with GYM below, you don’t spend much on clothes! You’re so selective about quality and astute at the price point. I remember half of those purchases mentioned in older posts.

    • It’s funny that you can’t even get callbacks! I guess if it’s a smaller job, then they’ll prioritize a bigger one.

      Saving up beforehand for something that may or may not happen is the BEST. There’s really no downside to it. And if the original thing doesn’t happen, then you can use the money for something else.

      What I find interesting is when people don’t care about clothes, but still seem to spend a lot (or more than me). Trying to unpack that in my head.

  • Frugal Asian Finance

    It’s so cool you were able to sell so many items at such great prices! I spent maybe $250 on work clothes in 2017 and haven’t worn half of what I bought. One of my 2018 NY resolutions is a clothing ban, so we’ll see how I deal with clothing temptations this year hehe.

    • Yeah, it’s a benefit of buying things that are a little bit higher-quality–they tend to hold their value more. Thankfully, I don’t have to buy work clothes at all anymore, so that definitely helps my budget out. I think you’d do amazing at a clothing ban!

  • dori

    I keep my spending on paper, but thanks to your posts about how much you’ve spent, I thought to add the numbers…In 2017, on accessories, clothes and underwear I’ve spent around 1000Euros(if I wouldn’t have the numbers written down, I would have estimated no more than 500).
    Hope to limit my “wants” this year, cause buying things that are not useful on the long run, are just a waste of time and money;I’d rather have a trip with that money.

    If I would have fewer clothes, I would keep track of how much I wear each piece, but my closet is not 30-40 pieces, so…I just try to sell/donate what I don’t wear in a season or I know is not my style anymore

    • Hey Dori,

      Thank you for sharing how you did last year! The discrepancy between how much you estimated and the real amount is interesting. We often underestimate how much we really spend. It’s kind of like how I thought we only spent a certain amount on travel last year, but then I realized it was way more once I added everything up. I also love that you’re weighing different choices, and seeing how buying one thing means less money for another. For example, if I think about it, if I didn’t have a wedding, I could have bought myself a Cartier watch…

      Selling and donating is a good way to make sure you’re not over-accumulating. I need to get into Poshmark one of these days!