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.
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 . . . 😉