A Shopping Plan

What is yours?  Do you even have one?  I never did.  I didn’t even have a budget until after I turned 40.  I simply tried to find as much as I could as cheaply as I could, thinking that stretching my dollars as far as possible was the ultimate way to spend wisely.

Now I know better.  That got me an overstuffed closet with tons of choices, true, but no cohesiveness.  Not a wardrobe, just a collection of clothing.

So, first came the budget, thinking I might buy better quality and less quantity if I put a set dollar amount to each month. Essentially, finally ‘allowing’ myself to buy one $200 item instead of telling myself I was only spending $20 at a time (yet those $20 tops were multiplying like rabbits). That helped, but didn’t quite solve my problem, as I still was finding ways to squeeze those dollars and the mindset of getting as much as I could for xx dollars was still driving my shopping habits.

Next, I tried a set number of items per month (2).  This sort of worked.  I did fine the first couple of months, but then started ‘borrowing’ into other months.  A third purchase in May  was being counted toward June, and by the time I was in September my whole year’s worth of allotted items were bought up.  Needless to say, I didn’t stop shopping because my allotment was used up, and so I of course went over my yearly limit, buying right until the year’s end.

This year I tried a combo of item limit and, loosely, a dollar amount.  Neither was set in stone.  I had a vague idea of 3 items a month or so and about $1800.  So far I am on course for 40 items and $2000!  I don’t consider it a failure, but I’d like to improve next year.

This is my plan going forth.  I put no limits on how many items per month I can buy.  I have come to realize seasonal shopping patterns are more natural. This should take the constant focus of an item every week or two and put shopping back into its rightful place of an occasional thing that needs tending to.  I might buy 4 things in January and then nothing in February.  Maybe then in March I’ll find a new sweater will be just the thing to keep me going through the winter doldrums.

shopping plan

The point is, I have decided how much of each category I want/need and allowed a slot for each of those items.  When I’ve filled in the slots, I’m done. This plan equates to roughly 20% turnover rate for my size closet and the amounts I own in each category.  Shoes and coats turnover more slowly, tops more quickly, but in the end, around 30 purchases for the whole year for a closet of 150 items equates to 1/5 of it turning over.  Roughly a 5 year replacement rate.  Again, boots might be closer to 7 or 8 and tees more like 2 or 3.  I am comfortable with this, you might want more turnover, or less purchases.

Eventually, I hope to be buying even less yearly, and slowly constricting my closet size.  Someday I might have only 100 items.  Someday . . .  😉

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9 thoughts on “A Shopping Plan

  1. Good thoughts, Mo. I like your plan…it sounds very reasonable and I like that you’re being flexible. One question…do you see these pieces as replacements or additions or do you not care?! 🙂

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    • Good question! I see them as replacements. I don’t like the idea of endless purging and buying. This is assuming a portion of my closet will be wearing out and be in need of replacing, and so at the same time I’m gradually refreshing my style. Part of my overall plan is to hopefully not have too many clothes so that I indeed physically wear them out before I find I’m just tired of them or they are out of fashion/dated.

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  2. So, how do you make the decision what goes on the list? Do you first figure out what’s nearing the end of its useful life, then add a replacement to the list? Also, how specific do you like to be on your list? If you’d like to replace a sweater, do you just write “sweater” and wait for something to strike your fancy? Or, do you write “cotton berry colored v neck sweater to wear with jeans”?

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    • Carter, I’m pretty specific in my list. For instance, next year I know I want: a digital print top, a leather multi media top, and a graphic tee under the category of ‘Short sleeved tops’. I do get that specific in the planning, but nothing is set in stone. If a different top strikes my fancy I might scratch, say, the digital print tee. But I like a) knowing what direction I’m heading and b) having the freedom to change my mind (!).
      Oh, and it mainly comes from the wanting first, and the replacing at the back end. For now anyway. I still want, want, want like many fashion minded ladies. Of course, there is the coming the other way, from needing replacement to finding the item to do so. That can be tricky, in that sometimes we want lightning to strike twice and beat our heads against the wall trying to get just the perfect replacement. But if I’m honest, 3/4 of my purchases are wanting to try new _____.

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      • I tend to start from “I want” as well. I guess the words that get me are “replace” and “turnover”. I tend to buy first then find something less fab to ditch, but it’s not always a top for a top. I could end up turning over my well balanced top/bottom ratio to just a closet full of tops;-). I guess I need to figure out how to true-up along the way.

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  3. Hi Mo, I too have had very similar ‘plans’ but none have worked as well as ‘1 in 1 out’ for me.
    I am in sinc with you about the longevity aims in each category.
    Thinking back over this year’s purchases, the few that have not worked out were additions rather than replacements!

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  4. I have similar buying habits. I tried to manage wardrobe bloat using a monthly budget. This actually worked to some degree. Here is the problem. The monthly budget resulted in lots of sales shopping. This in and of itself should not have been a problem. But I found that I stalked/hunted sales with an obsession of getting the absolute best deal. I came home with so many things that were such great buys, there is no way I could “not buy them.” I eventually came to the conclusion that they were indeed great buys, but they were also “trophies” that I would never have paid full price. They just got added into my closet. No real rhyme or reason.

    Going forward, I am giving myself permission to buy full priced things. A lot more thought will go into the purchase. I can stop obsessing about getting the absolute best price. This decision has actually been a relief.

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  5. I’ve never had a “plan” – I’ve done the shopping bangs and I do monthly closet edits and monthly purchases posts so I can keep track, however no plan.
    I think you’ve thought this well through and I like your idea, because like you, I admit to always wanting to get the most for the least. Just a few years ago I started allowing myself to buy more expensive items….

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  6. Pingback: Shopping Plan for 2016 | MOderate wardrobe

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