Shopping Plan 2017 – Update 2 Months in

I started my shopping year just after Black Friday.  I did this last year as well, but tried to ‘fudge’ the numbers to make them fit into my plan and this year decided to just face my reality.  I shop at year’s end.  There are good sales, I have gift money to spend, it happens.  That puts me 2 months in to my 2017 shopping year.  Let’s see how I’m doing.  Here is what I’ve purchased so far:


This first list is my yearly plan, which is based on frequency of buys.  Last year I found I had a few buying spurts that I needed to rein in.  So this year the rule of thumb is one item every other week.  If I get ahead of schedule, I need to wait out the next purchase.  Also, I don’t have to buy anything just because it’s been 2 weeks, rather I want to slow down the overall rate of purchases.  In this regard, I’m doing fine.

One thing I want to note is the timetable for online purchases isn’t as smooth as A) I bought it B) I wear it C) I’m done.  The cardigan from Modcloth still isn’t here, for instance.  It is on a 3rd exchange.  I’m debating how I want to deal with such time lags due to returns and exchanges. (It shows one wear because I did try it out for an afternoon and then realized the sizing was off and exchanged for another size).  Anyway, it’s more a skewing of how it looks like I’m not wearing something for months, when in reality I just don’t have it to wear!


This second chart shows my basics and gear, not included in the every other week plan.  Last year I incorporated all buys into one long list, as I realized a lot of my shopping was for these ‘extras’.  Why would I go back to separating them?  Well, I flushed out that category pretty well last year and now am in a place of just replacing as needed.  Also, these items are for home or workout so they are not assimilated into my regular wardrobe.  They go into the gear/basics drawer and don’t get figured into ‘outfits’.  (I want to note that the moto leggings are intended for workouts, but I know I also want to incorporate them into some athleisure outfits, so they went into the main shopping plan.)

These purchases are largely driven by need, not want, and so they aren’t an impulse issue for me.  Bra worn out?  Get a new one.  Sweatpants were 15 years old with too low a rise, and hand me downs to begin with (yes, true story). Buy a new soft pair for yourself.  Cold toes, buy some socks.  You know.

I do think that I want to slow down even these ‘needs’ purchases.  It could be that I simply reviewed my lounge attire and found the need to upgrade at just the same time that I joined a gym’s boot camp class and found need for some gear upgrade.  But going forth I’d like to keep these buys from coming in chunks and space them out more as well. Maybe one to two a month, as needed, if needed.  Thinking on that still.

Lastly, here is my Shopping List for 2017 and how it’s coming along:


I have purchased 5 items from my list.  The hoodie dress has not arrived, and it may go back, making for 4 list purchases.  As mentioned, I have several gear and basics purchases racked up already and am easing off there.  Overall I feel good about my shopping so far.  I am making careful choices, and returning where something is not quite right.  It makes for a bit of a merry go round, but in the end, what stays ends up getting worn.

I am in the depths of winter right now, and we had tons of snow.  This has meant little more than work, working out, and staying home for me.  Not a lot of opportunity to dress up in outfits and go run about town.  Heck, couldn’t even leave the house for days on end, but that’s another story.  Consequently,  my regular wardrobe has not been utilized much and I can see a period of little buying while I get back in there and start putting some looks together again. I think buying pauses are natural, and I look forward to one (or more) during my year’s plan.

I believe this plan will work well for me.  I’ve got a good base wardrobe and just need some replacements and updates here and there.  But I don’t need a lot of stuff anymore.  I don’t feel restricted too severely and it’s hitting that sweet spot for me so far. Will it continue to satisfy once seasons change and the new pretties come out to be perused?  I hope so.  Stay tuned!

A New Plan – Every Other Week Purchase

I was having dinner with Debbie of Recovering Shopaholic last month when we got to talking about, well, shopping!  I commented on how it should be enough to buy something every other week or so.  And you know what?  It should.  I got to thinking that I might want to try it out as a means to rein in my shopping while still allowing me to update and replace my wardrobe gradually.


Debbie and I in matching cobalt, of course!

Every other week equates to 26 items in a year.  I’ve been in the ballpark of 40 or so the last few years and know I could make do with less, I just haven’t required it of myself.  What would happen if I finally curtailed my wants that bit more?  Would I still be satisfied?  Surely 2 weeks is not very long to wait to buy whatever shiny new thing that catches my eye!

With my usual Shopping List template in hand, I got to adjusting the allotted slots for items:


I would not ‘count’ basics and gear in this scenario but would still list the amount spent in the overall budget.  I gave quite a bit of attention to gear/lounge/active this 2016 shopping year and feel I can throttle back in that department again to just updating as things wear out.

I realize the remaining slots equal 27, and not 26, items.  In the past I have not filled every line.  Usually shoes or accessories come up short.  Or maybe I don’t need a coat that year, or a skirt.  At any rate, this is about as close as I can accurately foresee my shopping needs.

Incidentally, this equates to one shirt or topper each month, for there are 12 of those slots.  I can still shop seasonally, just more regularly spaced apart.  A shirt for each month, weather appropriate (tank in summer, sweater in winter, etc.)  Rationally, this should be enough.  I hope emotionally I will feel satisfied at this slower rate of shopping.

The bottoms are just as seasonally intuitive.  Dresses in spring and fall, shorts and a skirt in summer, pants in winter.  I won’t get to buy one of these each month, like with the tops, but that’s okay.  Like I said, I have enough to get dressed.  These are wants and updates, not true needs.

Shoes will be a one per season purchase.  Boots for winter, sandals in summer, flats or sneakers for spring and/or fall.  In this category I’ve already been shopping this way for a few years now, and find it works great for my wear rates and need for variety.

Looks like accessories equal one per season as well.  I’m not a huge accessories gal, but I expect I’ll buy a bag for the year, maybe a belt or hat, a piece of jewelry and perhaps a scarf.

This should cover all my bases and not find me truly needing anything.  In recent shopping years, I’ve toyed with seasonal shopping.  It didn’t work out – mostly because I was attempting to do it in bigger ‘chunks’.  4 to 6 items at the start of January and then just maybe one a month to refresh for the rest of winter, for example.  That’s not how I naturally shop and I found it was harder to do.  I do better at steadily doling treats out.  Whether it’s cookies, or wine, or clothes shopping.  This is where I hope the every two week rate will quench my desire but still keep everything under control.

Essentially, I can get a top every month, a bottom every other, and a shoe and accessory each season.  I don’t have to buy things in such a regimented way if I don’t want, but it shows that I can still keep updates coming at a reasonable pace, season by season.

If I do buy a couple items at once, I will wait out the corresponding 2 week interlude per item, to resume the shopping plan’s bi-weekly rate.  As for budget amount, I don’t often have issue with spending too much, but rather having too many things, so I am leaving it open.  I assume I’ll end up somewhere between $1200 to $1500.

So, that’s the plan for 2017!  Do you have any ideas about fine tuning how you shop?  A new plan?

I Have $200 and 3 Months To Go

Or, how I got ahead of my budget by summer’s end.  I was on track all year at $125 per month spending.  Then getting some peeptoe booties in July and the swimsuit ordering caper that lasted into August set my budget back.  I was only into next month’s spending at that point, but late August and September continued to see me ordering many fall items on my list.  Here’s the gory details:


Now I am left with $200 (instead of the $375 I should have at this point) and 3 items I still really want off my list.  Namely, slip on sneakers, jeans, and a sweater.  Ideally, I can slow my roll and buy just one of each of these items a month, up to the end of my shopping year.  First that means waiting until October to purchase the sneakers.  I have 2 pair in mind and slowing down is actually helping me to make a careful decision between them.  At first I wanted the shiny silver Vans.  But then my BF pointed out that I have plenty of silver shoes (he’s right).  So I went back to the wine colored Dr. Scholl’s that caught my eye.  They just scream fall, lol.  BUT, they would not be so great for work because you can’t wipe spills off flannel fabric.  I may end up buying the wine ones this year ($50) and the silver at the start of next ($70).


As for the jeans, I don’t have a specific pair in mind, but know that I need more to rotate in for my job.  Now that I don’t have to wear black uniform pants I found that really only 2 pair of jeans are work worthy.  That is, comfortable enough to run around the restaurant in.  A third pair is definitely in order.  I imagine I will spend up to $100 for whatever pair I decide on.  I also think this will be an in-person purchase.  I have ordered jeans online before and it takes a lot of trying on and returning to get the right fit.  This time around I want to go to brick and mortar stores even if that means paying more.

Lastly, I have a few sweaters on my shopping list but know that I can only afford to buy one with my remaining budget.  Either ombre/dip dye or an asymmetric if I’m forced to make a choice.  I have enough ‘regular’ sweaters to get by.  I have my eye on a Vince dip dye on eBay but it’s a bit more $$$ than I have budget for.  Might have to wait until the jeans and shoes are bought to see what I really have left to spend.  It’s hard to see what I like and know I want, but wait on it to see if I can budget for it.  But it’s good for me.  Right??

Basically, I got carried away the last 2 months and am going to have to pay the proverbial price for it to get back on track to finish out the year. I think I can do it, though.  I’m excited to try anyway.  I know realistically I don’t need anything for the remainder of the year.  But we know it’s not just about what we need when it comes to clothes shopping!

The Bare Minimum

There is a lot of talk about how little we can/should get away with buying and still have what we need.  A year shopping ban is popular on one site.  Some extremes like the lady who wore the same dress for a whole year.  I got to thinking how it would be a great experiment to only buy one item a month next year.

And then I started to wonder about the basics.  How does one not shop for a whole year but have a bra that’s still in good shape?  Socks that aren’t holey in the heels?  For me, uniform pants that have not faded from black to a dull grey?   What do we really, truly NEED every year, no matter what?   Even if I turned off all enticements through pictures and blogs and magazines, I still need those basics to get out the door every day.  Mine are likely different than yours.  Here is what I’ve come up with:

  • 7 pack of ankle socks for work
  • bra
  • undies
  • black uniform pants
  • work shoes
  • running shoes (every other year)
  • sports bra (every other year)
  • layer top(s) for both lounge/sleep and under uniform

Those are just the base needs.  Now if I add in likely replacement needs for the normal wear of my closet I also have:

  • replacement tee(s)
  • jeans
  • leggings
  • sweater(s)

I am already at a dozen with no ‘fun’ shopping for a new trend or silhouette I’d like to try.  Hmmm.  Some of you may be into shoes – that adds even more to the list.  (I have enough shoes to get me by for a couple years, truth be told, since I wear Danskos to my job and only pull out the rest for ‘fun’ outside of work.)  Now if you like handbags, you’ve got another category.  And on and on.

So, I approach these big plans of limited yearly purchases with a bit of skepticism.  They sound awesome and life simplifying, but just don’t pan out that way when I start to look at my needs.  Realistically I will likely always be buying a couple things a month on average.  And that’s okay!

Have you tried one a month?  Or the 5 piece French wardrobe?  Something similar?  Did you find your needs didn’t fit into the box?

Checking In – What I’ve Bought So Far

Almost halfway through the year, it’s about time I get to listing what I’ve purchased!  I used to keep a running total of the ‘out and about’ clothes I wear to get dressed up to go move about in the world.  I had a separate list, below that main one, of basics and gear and layer or lounge pieces.  This year I decided to put them all together.  Truth be told, I was buying just as much of the little extras I wasn’t counting in my item total.  And quite honestly, with my lifestyle, I spend far more time wearing the ‘extras’ than I do the going out clothes.  So, no more demotion to second stage for them!  They’re part of the group now. 😉

Here is what I have purchased as of the end of May:

2016 budget June2016 so far

Two items have been purged.  One (the blue jogger pants) shrunk, and the other (jelly sandals) were just terrible quality and I never even wore them.  They were an impulse $8 buy online that just didn’t work out.  Win some, lose some.  Also in my totals are three gifts.  The cashmere sweaters were bought with Christmas money and my red Toms were ordered with a birthday gift card.  For now, I am including these dollar amounts in my yearly total even though it was not technically my money spent on them.  I still see it as money I allocated toward a clothing purchase.

Including $30 in return postage and $25 in alterations, I have spent $622 for the year so far.  This equates to $125/month, which is alarmingly right on track for the $1500 I envisioned spending for the year.

I thought I was pretty much set for clothes this year and just looking to update and refresh in general.  I’m seeing that, although that might be the case, wardrobe upkeep still means buying regularly.  For me, at least.  With what I know now about my wear rates, and desire for variety – I realize my buying rates will continue at about a 3 item per month average.  This allows for a basic of some sort most every month, with the other items being a new trend and a replacement or upgrade for a garment that is wearing out.  This seems like a reasonable and sustainable plan for me.

That’s where I’m at for 2016 so far.  How’s your shopping plan panning out?  On track?  If not, do you have a method in place to get back on track?  Or maybe your plan just needs adjusting to your reality.  😉

2016 – Intuitive Shopping

Sorry it’s been few and far between posts lately.  Life has really gotten stressful.  I do have a shopping plan for 2016 and a rough budget of $1500.  But this year I want to focus less on stringent rules and exact numbers (3 items per month or no more than 15 dresses for example).  Sure, I want to keep within the guidelines that I’ve found work for me but I want to be much more organic with my approach to shopping itself.  Less hunting down of an item and more happening upon it at some point throughout the year.

I also want to get more realistic with buying what I really wear day in and day out.  Yes, that means loungewear and layer pieces and underwear and all that not so fun to buy stuff.  But man, does it feel good to live in pieces that are just right and not leftovers that are demoted on their way to being tossed out.  If I wear a shirt under my uniform polo every work day, I am happy that it is a super soft modal blend that I went and bought solely for that purpose.  Yes, it cost $40, and no, no one really ‘sees’ it, but I feel it.  Almost every day.  Those are the kinds of purchases I’m talking about.

To add to the mix, I may be moving back to FL again at the end of the year.  Maybe not, but the possibility is definitely there.  I’ve said before the size of my wardrobe is impacted by the fact that I live between two opposing climates.  This continues to be a factor even when I think we’ve finally moved back ‘for good’.  Nothing is guaranteed.  I did make my template before the thought of going back to FL reentered the picture.  It is Tahoe centric lol.  I still have lots of FL clothing from prior years.

With all of that out of the way, here is how this year is panning out so far:

2016 shop

And here is how the budget is shaping up so far.  I start my shopping year the first day of winter (Dec. 22) but I ‘fudged’ with Black Friday sales on the sweaters.  I did this last year, too.  I think I can safely say that I will PRE-spend my xmas gift money on Black Friday.  That’s okay.  Like I said, less stringent rules, more going with the flow.  😉

2016 spent so far


I’m about $225 into my budget.  I don’t foresee any big ticket items this year like boots or leather coats.  Maybe a handbag if I see just the right one.  Instead, I envision more purchases at retail of exactly what I want vs sale shopping for a good enough version.  This will be a big change.  Of course, I won’t stop sale shopping, but it won’t be the driving factor.  I imagine happening upon an item on my list that’s just the one, and buying it right then and there, will be a nice feeling.

So that’s the deal with my shopping plan for 2016.  Much of the same ideas as before but with different intent.



Shopping Plan for 2016

This year I used a template for my shopping, alongside my usual running excel spreadsheet of itemized purchases.  It seems to be working well for me.

I am going to go ahead with 2016 using the same idea but with some minor changes.


First big change is including more of my ‘other’ items.  These are the things like layer tanks and running capris.  Not things I consider in my out in the world outfits, but items I need to buy for my life, regardless.  As I’m coming around more and more to buying for my real life, I need to find a way to include these items, as they are used as much as, or even more than, the ‘fun’ stuff we all shop for.

Second change is eliminating tank/short slv/long slv for my tops categories.  I found I didn’t buy any tanks at all, just 2 vests, and that my categories weren’t reflecting my shopping reality now that I’m out of the FL climate.  Warm weather/cold weather is much more intuitive.

I also changed from separate sweaters and jackets categories to simply ‘toppers’.  Again, this is more in line with how I really shop.  I found a pleather/knit drape front jacket this year instead of the same in an all knit sweater, as I had on my list.  Same difference.  Don’t care if it’s a jacket instead of a sweater – it’s a drape front topper.  

The last struggle for me now is to hone in on the seasonal shopping.  I’m doing better.  A lot better.  But I still buy pretty steadily throughout the year.  Ideally, I’ll get to where I buy most things in the first month, then taper off for a month or two, finishing with a seasonal refresher at the season’s end.

That’s the plan.  I imagine I’ll be spending less than 2015 since I have few if any real wardrobe holes.  I don’t have a set limit but would like to spend around $1500 vs the close to $2000 I’ll hit this year.

Do you have a plan for next year?  Did you have one for this year, and if so, are you on course, or do you need to rethink how you shop?