Are you thinking of doing the no shopping for a year challenge?
When I quit my job to go back to school, I had NO idea how much my spending habits would change. I saved up enough money to cover my tuition and travels. I needed this money to last for the next year and a half, until I completed my degree.
To stay on track with my new budget, I challenged myself to buy no new clothing for a year.
In the past, I usually lived within my means and tried to make mindful purchases. However, it seemed like EVERY SINGLE WEEK there was another excuse to shop online and buy new stuff for my wardrobe.
It was those sale emails that made me weak.
Half-off those designer shoes? –Sold.
Zara is having a sale? –Don’t mind if I do.
Free shipping on every order, plus receive an additional discount off sale merchandise? –You don’t have to tell me twice!
It was an addiction and I couldn’t control myself. Every time I was about to click the buy now button, I got a rush of excitement.
I absolutely loved the feeling of buying something new. Having a new work outfit or a new dress to wear out with friends gave me such a high. It was a temporary source of happiness and I felt richer than I actually was.
But that’s exactly what it was – I was creating a false sense of wealth that came through cheap and easy consumption.
I didn’t even wear all the new clothing and accessories I was buying. I wore something once, get bored of it, then tossed it in my closet and never looked at it again. It was such a waste of my hard-earned money and time. Can you relate?
I didn’t have an income when I quit my job. This forced me to track every single expense. I could no longer deny or hide from my previous spending habits.
I immediately unsubscribed from every shopping website so I wouldn’t be tempted to buy anything. I still went to the mall, but not every weekend. Instead I would browse the stores and touch the clothing because I missed the feeling of shopping. But, I never bought anything.
I was finally sticking to good spending habits, for once.
Whenever I was tempted to buy something, I always asked myself, “Do I really need this? What else could I do with this money?”
Whenever it came to clothing and accessories, the answer was always the same: I don’t need to buy this.
I’ll be honest with you, it was hard to quit buying new clothes in the beginning. But saying “no” gave me a sense of empowerment. I stopped caring about trying to keep up with the latest trends. Eventually, it started to become easier and easier to resist the temptation to shop.
One thing I kept reminding myself was — this money has a job and it’s not to be spent frivolously. I realized that I had lots of perfectly good clothes at home and I didn’t need new stuff right now.
This was a HUGE change from my previous shopaholic mindset. For example, when planning a vacation in the past, I would always drop money on a new wardrobe for my trip. It was an easy excuse to go shopping!
This meant if I was going to a beach destination, I would buy new sandals, swim suits, dresses, tank tops, shorts, and so on. It was actually ridiculous.
I made the choice to make this year different though. I didn’t buy any new clothing. Instead, I shopped my closet. I even discovered items which I didn’t remember owning. This helped me find ways to get creative and put together fun outfits.
Have you been thinking of taking a shopping hiatus? Here’s what I learned from not buying any new clothing for a year.
- 8 rules for a successful shopping ban
- 3 mistakes people make when doing a shopping hiatus
- Freedom From Shopping – Stop impulse buying and save money
What I learned from not buying new clothes for a year
1. Buying experiences brought me more happiness than buying things
Buying a new outfit or pair of shoes always made me feel good initially. But that feeling of happiness wore off pretty quickly.
Spending money on experiences though, such as a weekend getaway, brought me happiness during the planning stages, happiness during the actual vacation, and happiness afterwards when reminisced about the trip — even a year or more after the experience had happened!
That’s pretty incredible! Plus studies have shown buying experiences brings us more happiness than buying things. I learned to let go and not base my self-worth on material things.
2. When items are out of sight, they’re out of mind
What you see is what you’ll wear. If something is tucked away in the back of your closet, it probably won’t see the light of day. Right?
When I used to gravitate towards the same old favorites, it felt like I had nothing to wear. However, once I spent time decluttering and organizing my closet, I discovered lots of items that I forgot I owned.
If you have a wardrobe full of clothes, but feel like you have nothing to wear, I encourage you to try my 30-Day Shop Your Closet Challenge. Each day for the next 30 days, follow the different themes to help you put together a fun outfit.
The best part is, this challenge is completely free to try! This is your chance to get creative by using items you already have. There’s no need to buy anything new. This can be a great way to get better mileage from your wardrobe.
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If you would like some extra guidance in getting started with the no new clothing challenge, consider checking out my e-book, Freedom From Shopping. Here, I’ll walk you through the entire journey of your shopping hiatus. From helping you set your goals to decluttering your wardrobe to building better shopping habits going forward.
3. Buying trendy pieces are fun, but not a wise investment
Those trendy pieces I bought last season are no longer in style now. While it was fun to buy and wear those items in the moment, they quickly became yesterday’s news.
Did I like the trend or was I just a victim of savvy marketing tactics? Those Instagram ads and influencers have their hand in my wallet again.
Since doing the no new clothing challenge, my shopping mindset changed. Instead of getting sucked into buying trends, I choose to invest in items that are timeless and won’t go out of fashion.
I also like to wear neutral colors (black, grey, white). This makes it SO much easier to mix and match items. It’s funny because I can wear the same black dress several times and nobody knows! I’ll just jazz it up with a different accessory.
4. I became more productive
Because I wasn’t spending my spare time shopping online or mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, I became more productive.
I focused on my schooling, traveled more, read more books, and started this blog – all of which brought me more happiness than shopping.
If you’re looking for a new hobby, here’s a list of some fun hobbies to try. They can even help boost your income, which is an added bonus.
5. I have enough. I’m not missing out on new stuff
When I started the no new clothing challenge, I struggled with FOMO (fear of missing out). However, once I got involved with more productive activities, such as starting this blog, my FOMO quickly disappeared.
Seeing friends, family or fashion bloggers buying new things didn’t make me jealous anymore. I recognized that buying new clothing wouldn’t make me a better person, or more likeable. It was just a means to create a false sense of wealth.
On days when I felt like shopping, I reminded myself of everything I already owned. I was grateful and felt happy to have the wardrobe that I did.
Stuff will always be there, it’s not going away. But I have the power to make a choice and be mindful with my purchases.
6. Keeping stuff “just in case” is silly
While doing the no new clothing challenge, I learned that all those “just in case” items laying around in my wardrobe wasn’t beneficial. It was just taking up precious space.
If you don’t love something, let it go.
If you’re holding onto something hoping that it will come back in style, let it go. When stuff comes back in style, it’s usually given a makeover and updated to the current trends.
If something fits too small or too big, let it go. Unless you plan on getting it tailored to fit properly, it’s not worth keeping.
If you’re saving something for a special occasion, wear it now. Don’t wait for a moment that may never come. Celebrate now.
7. I learned the truth about fast fashion
When I stopped buying new clothes, it helped me become more aware of what and how I consumed. I wanted to know where my clothes came from, what they were made of, and how my shopping choices impacted the environment.
I watched The True Cost documentary, which was eye-opening about the fashion industry. Here’s some interesting things I learned from this documentary:
- The fashion industry is the second largest polluter, right behind the oil industry.
- One in six people work in the global fashion industry – the majority being women earning less than $3 per day.
- The world consumes nearly 80 billion pieces of clothing per year (up 400% from two decades ago).
- Only 10% of the clothes people donate to charity and thrift stores gets sold. The rest usually ends up in landfill.
8. I learned how to take better care of my clothes
Before doing my shopping hiatus, I didn’t take the best care of my clothes. But since I’ve shrunk quite a few sweaters in the dryer and accidentally dyed a white shirt pink in the wash, I needed to take better care of my clothes.
Once I learned how to properly wash and take care of my clothes, it’s helped me save time, money, and the lifespan of my clothes lasts longer. Here are some tips for washing your clothes:
- Read the label
I know it sounds obvious, but many of us forget to read the label on how to care for our garments. Or worse, we remove the tag before reading it! Knowing if something is dry-clean only or needs to be washed on the delicate cycle is important for making your clothes last longer.
- Use a delicates bag
When I first started doing laundry, I learned the hard way that some items need to be washed in a delicates bag. These mesh bags help protect delicate fabrics in the wash, such as intimates.
- Wash your clothes less often
I know this sounds gross and I’m not suggesting you wear dirty clothes. The idea here is to only wash something that is visibly dirty or smells. For example, wearing a sweater layered over a shirt or tank top can probably be worn a few times (as long as it doesn’t smell). This will help your clothes last longer.
- Use the right amount of detergent
Using too much detergent can make your clothes more dull and stiff. It can also discolor your clothes or leave a residue on them, which isn’t good. I like using this natural laundry detergent.
- Use the right water temperature
Always use the coolest water temperature possible when washing dark clothing. This is because hot water can fade dark colors faster and cause more dye bleeding than cold water.
Ready to start the no new clothing challenge?
If you’re ready to start the no new clothing challenge, I have an in-depth article sharing my tips for doing the challenge, including how to stay motivated and successfully reach your goals.
Check it out here: How to stop buying clothes for a year
Introducing: Freedom From Shopping
This e-book will show you exactly how to get better mileage from your wardrobe so you can feel good about your shopping habits, your clothing, your finances, and most importantly — how to feel good about yourself!
I know what it’s like to…
- Feel like you’re always buying new clothes but have nothing to wear.
- Have 50+ tabs open on your browser in search of that next item to buy.
- Get excited about a new purchase, but it ends up sitting in your closet unworn with the price tags still attached.
And I also know what it’s like to…
- Stop the mindless cycle of buy-buy-buy.
- Build a wardrobe that reflects your lifestyle and makes you happy.
- Wake up in the morning feeling excited to get dressed.
- Resist the temptation to make another impulse purchase.
- Live a life free from credit card debt.
It’s all possible with Freedom From Shopping!