No Shopping Challenge: The Verdict

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This little experiment of mine is DONE and now we can all throw confetti and eat tacos:

no shopping challenge

Because of our teensy closet situation, I did a self-imposed, 90-day spending freeze for clothing and accessories. Now that I’m free of the shackles and have had some time to ponder, I realize I have mixed feelings about the experience.

I’ll start with the pros. Since I wasn’t supposed to buy anything, I did get really good at standing there and mulling over why I wanted it in the first place. Was it crazy on sale? Did Kate Middleton wear it? Was I kind of bored that day and looking for something to do? (It was usually a sale/perceived bargain.) Once I started ignoring THAT particular impulse, I made a list of what I actually needed instead of getting sucked into a bunch of random purchases that were too trendy for me to wear a lot, anyway. I was getting organized and saving money at the same time. Boom.

On the other side of the coin, three months was WAY too long. Here’s what happened with that: I know that most challenges are 30 days, but for one of my sociology classes in college I read a book by a woman who cut out all nonessential spending for a YEAR. I was like, “Psh! I can pass on clothes for 90 days, whatev.”

False.

The backsliding started out very innocently. We had an abnormally cold fall, so I needed warmer workout gear for the gym. Bought some in November. Then while it was still freakishly cold, I got that sweater cape and a cardigan. And then the vintage pop-up shop opened and instead of falling off the wagon, I jumped. PEACE. By that time it was December and I felt like I’d gotten far enough. It might seem ridiculous that I was so willing to drop my project like a hot potato, but I had already discovered my wardrobe gaps and curbed the impulse-buying in the first month, so at that point I was really just killing time until the deadline. Plus, the chance to try on a pile of vintage clothing doesn’t come around everyday. I was ready to rifle through some party dresses and not feel bad if I found one (because I did).

I also found THIS SKIRT:

vintage skirt

skirt: vintage  //  top (actually a dress): DVF outlet  //  shoes: Target  //  clutch: Macy’s  //  necklace: gift

Fun fact: it came from the estate of an illustrator who worked for Chanel in the 50s. I’m wearing it tonight to the belated holiday party Hubsey’s office is throwing. Wooo! Totally worth breaking my own rules.

So! I guess the question is whether I’d do this again. Yes… but only for a month at a time. That seemed to be the magic number for me, so now I know what to do if I start buying things willy-nilly or get sucked into the black hole that is Forever21. How did the NSC go for you? Did you make it to January 1st? Were you also lured away from the rules by the promise of vintage goods? Are you more aware of what you actually need now? Would you do another spending freeze?

17 Comments
  • Kristen
    January 15, 2015

    I actually totally forgot you were doing this because I obviously wasn’t LOL! But I’m glad that you found what your shopping triggers are and what you can do to work around them, and hello vintage! Gorgeous skirt- have fun at the party tonight!

    I’m trying to curb the clothes spending all around, except for next-size-upping for the kids, which I feel is totally fair, especially with sales. I just have to make sure I don’t overdo anything- like shoes.

    • Paige @ Little Nostalgia
      January 15, 2015

      Hahaha! I would almost forget sometimes, too. And then I’d remember and get saaaaaad. 🙁

      Buying the next size up for the kids is way smart. I plan to do it that way, too.

  • Heidi
    January 15, 2015

    I did it! But to be fair, clothes shopping just isn’t in the budget these days, and I had just purchased some good wardrobe staples in September. I did pick up a couple of things the first week of January with some Christmas money, but again, they were items that I needed– socks and a new black cardigan (my current previous one had seen much better days.) I’ve been getting a lot better at resisting the temptation to buy just because it is on sale, and instead I’ve been keeping what I NEED in mind so that when a sale does happen I can snag that item for less. And I’m also finding that I’m not buying and hoarding shoes like I used to, probably because I don’t have as much of a reason to wear all of them since I don’t have to be professionally dressed. Tackling the closet is happening next since we have a few areas that are overflowing for both of us.

    • Paige @ Little Nostalgia
      January 15, 2015

      I don’t hoard shoes like I used to, either, for the same reason. In the house all day? Slippers! Or the boots I wore to the grocery store and then forgot to remove. Ha.

      Speaking of snagging deals on things you need, my brown boots are nearing the end of their useful life. I was at Rack last weekend and found some new ones that retailed for $190, but thanks to Rack already being cheaper AND this particular pair being on clearance, I only paid $57. BOOM! If you need boots, too, look for them now!

  • Mary
    January 15, 2015

    Way to go!!! Kinda? Haha. It sounds like you took a healthy look at why you’re buying what you buy and cut back, which is always a good idea. Actually, doing anything mindlessly usually leads to excess…eating, shopping, interneting, video games, etc…and being conscious of either time or money is a struggle for most folks in one area or another. Shopping is one thing that has never been an issue for me, and I guess I’m thankful for that because I’ve seen it get out of control for a lot of people.

    Anyway, if shopping is something you can’t live without, you can always set yourself a clothing allowance each month and make sure you stay under it. Or if space is the issue, you can set yourself a rule that for each new thing you buy, something has to be donated. If you know you have to let something go each time, it makes you really think about whether you need to buy this new thing, you know?

    • Paige @ Little Nostalgia
      January 15, 2015

      Haha, I’d say I earned a partial “way to go.” I like your idea of donating one older item for each new one I buy! I need to start doing that with t-shirts, at least. I’m a sucker for the vintage fit at Target and they go with so many things, but do I need 8 of them? Probably not.

  • Susan Beeson
    January 15, 2015

    thanks to you, Paige, I am currently into my fourth week of non buying/spending…except for essentials. So far my observation has been that, like you, I now give much more thought to my purchases or nonpurchases. This is A good thing. Basically for me it is just creating a consciousness of my spending. So far so good. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

    • Paige @ Little Nostalgia
      January 15, 2015

      High-five, Susie! All nonessential spending is tough, but if you’re already on week 4 and still doing well, that’s a great sign!

  • Kelsea Echo
    January 15, 2015

    I’m with you. It’s really tough and I feel like if I try to stop shopping for too long, I end up buying a bunch at the end. But it can be effective in smaller doses!

    <3 Kelsea | Kels Shark

  • Judy Nolan
    January 15, 2015

    Your post really made me laugh! I don’t have an issue with buying clothing, but instead buying crafting tools. If I were about 50 pounds lighter, I think clothing could become an issue, but at that point I would welcome it. 🙂 Your skirt is a great find–you can justify spending the dollars because it’s a classic color and goes with virtually EVERYTHING. And it looks wonderful on you!

  • Melissa @ Bubby & Bean
    January 15, 2015

    I’d say you still did pretty damn well. I might try this for a month this year too. I don’t know if I can make it when adorable kids’ clothes are constantly in my face at every store, but it would probably be a good idea.

  • Laura
    January 15, 2015

    I’m with Judy Nolan. I don’t have as much trouble with clothes as I do with crafting supplies. I go into a thrift store in hopes of finding that one piece that I need for a glass flower that I’m working on, then leave with a whole bag full. I’m not only running out of room on shelves, but also the FLOOR!!
    I’ve never been into the ‘buy one donate one’ theory. Sometimes I find a piece of clothing that I really want to buy. Then can’t fine anything in my closet that I want to give away, so I just tell myself that I don’t have to follow that rule.
    By the way, I absolutely love the skirt and the top and accessories are perfect with it.

  • Edi
    January 16, 2015

    I don’t shop for clothes often, but 90 days would be hard for me as well. It sounds like the things you “cheated” for were well worth it 🙂

  • Meg
    January 16, 2015

    I don’t know if I’d ever be able to go that long… clothes are my weak spot. Though now it’s changing from my clothes to little baby boy clothes… but it’s really the same awful habit. I have made a list like you said of items I need to fill in gaps, I keep it on my phone and when shopping sales I try to stick with it. I do have to say I’m pretty good at saying no when the deal isn’t good enough, or the quality isn’t there.

    Sorry – long comments but I also have to add that you should add more full length photos like this one – because you look stunning! (hope that’s not weird)

  • Natashalh
    January 16, 2015

    What a cool skirt!

    If you want to make not buying new clothes easier, move to Hawaii. The weather is always the same, so you won’t need to get new winter clothes. =) It’s kind of nice for the first few months, but then it gets a little boring. But, still, it’s easier to not buy new things!

  • LeAnn
    January 18, 2015

    You gave up impulse buys–that was a WIN! Love that skirt!! Hope you enjoyed the party!

  • Claudia
    January 28, 2015

    I did pretty well in this challenge. I was able to only shop twice during this time (I needed outfits for work) but I just extended the end date to January 3rd. I’ll be writing a blog post about my experience soon! 🙂

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