My Shopping Rules for 2013

Shopping RulesWhen I decided that 2013 would be the year when I would really address my compulsive shopping problem, I knew there would have to be rules.  After all, I’ve tried the “loosey goosey” approach in the past where I just tried to shop less, spend less, stick to a budget, etc.  I’ve tried those things and more, and have failed miserably, so I knew I would need a radically different approach if I had any hope of succeeding.

Limits Instead of “Cold Turkey”

I considered taking a “cold turkey” approach and just not shopping for a few months or even as long as a year.  Easier said than done, I know, but I’ve done it before.  Yes, I’ve stopped shopping for extended periods of time – by sheer will or out of pure necessity, but those “shopping fasts” did not cure me of my shopping addiction.  I developed a false sense of security, but when I went back into a mall, the shopping beast inside of me emerged once again.  While it may work for some, and more power to them, complete abstinence is not the answer for me…

My Rules for 2013

I could go on and on, but enough introduction for now.  Here are my shopping rules for 2013 (and possibly longer), here for all to see on the World Wide Web.  I may expand upon some of these rules in future posts, but here they are in brief…

1. Purchase Limit:  I can buy only one item of clothing and one accessory (shoes, jewelry, purses, etc.) per month.

2. Budget:  I must stick to a budget of $250 per month.  This includes my purchases and all necessary alterations to new or existing garments (may seem trivial to some, but I get a lot of alterations!).

3. Exceptions:  The following exceptions are allowed to my purchase limit (one item of clothing and one accessory per month) but are still included in my monthly shopping budget:

  • Workout clothes and home lounge wear (tops, pants, shoes, jackets, etc.) – I wear these items frequently and don’t over-purchase in these categories, so I don’t need to limit how much I buy.
  • Basic t-shirts – Layering tees that I wear frequently may be replaced if they wear out, shrink, or become stained (this doesn’t happen often, but I don’t want to be without a basic black or white t-shirt!).
  • Undergarments, sleepwear and other foundation pieces (socks, tights, etc.) – I can buy these items as needed as long as I stick to my budget.
  • Pants/Jeans – These items are so difficult for me to find (mostly due to my height and long legs) that if I find something good, I may want to buy more than one!
  • Exchanges – Must be done on a one for one basis (e.g. if I return one item, I can only buy one new item in its place, even if the price of the new item is much lower).
  • Gifts – I only receive a few gifts per year on average, so this won’t significantly impact my totals.

4. One In, One Out:  For each new item I purchase (or receive as a gift), I must release at least one item from my wardrobe (and preferably more, as I aim to have a more manageable and minimalist wardrobe at the end of 2013).   Ideally, I will let go of a similar item (e.g. shoes for shoes), but since I have an overabundance of tops, I will likely release more items from that category throughout the year.

5. Track Everything:  I will track everything I wear (clothing, shoes, and accessories) for the entire year and will report what I learn along the way.   I will also track what I purchase and what I donate/consign.

  • NOTE:  I have tracked my clothing and shoe wear for the past two years.  What I’ve learned from this endeavor has been extremely enlightening and has convinced me of the necessity of this current venture.

6. Full Honesty:  While I am serious and committed about this project, it is possible that I might slip and break my rules.  If I do, I will detail my transgression openly on this blog.  I cannot promise perfection, but I do promise authenticity and transparency.

Addendum & A Caveat…

In addition to the rules above, I also promise to make this blog educational and entertaining.   I will share tips for wardrobe management, closet re-mixing, outfit styling, alterations, shopping, and whatever else I feel will be useful for my readers.  I will also illustrate my topics through photo examples whenever appropriate and practical.

I am a “regular” woman, one who struggles with compulsive shopping but desperately wants to overcome it.   I intend to use myself as a “guinea pig” to illustrate the power of shopping one’s closet and appreciating what one has instead of relentlessly buying more and more.   I will also share my emotions, my struggles, my wins, and my failures.  I will be real, I will be myself, and I will do my best to add value for my readers whenever I post while also addressing my real-life shopping problem.  This is a tall order, but I will do my best to fulfill upon it!

4 thoughts on “My Shopping Rules for 2013

  1. A great idea to set some goals upfront. I have also tried loose goals in the past, and it has never worked for very long. For example, when I’ve said no more shopping, the longest I’ve gone without shopping is 30 days in recent years. I really like the idea to add a purchase limit in addition to a monthly budget. Thanks for sharing this tip.

    • The “no more shopping” edicts never lasted long for me, either, Lisa. I’ve done better with setting rules and limits around my shopping. Sure, I still mess up sometimes, but I’m doing far better these days. I hope the purchase limit works for you. Please come back and let me know how it’s working out.

  2. Hi Debbie, Well I’m one day off from when I last commented on this post. But I wanted to check in and let you know that the purchase limit is working quite well. I just happened to have purchased 4 new items the day before I read your post and I decided my purchase limit for March should be 2 items. So that meant, no new items for March, since I already purchased them. I have had to remind myself daily with notes of what I purchased with my purchase limit and why I could not purchase anything else.

    And I have spent much of my time, focusing on what my next two items for April will be. I’ve seen items I ‘wanted’ over the course of the month, go out of stock, or go on sale, or both, and yet I’ve survived just fine without them. And over the course of the month, only one item on my April wish list has remained constant. The second item seems to be a wild card and change almost daily. So now it looks like I may only purchase one item in April, instead of the monthly limit of 2, AND, it is poised to be a potential workhorse item since I still see the need for the new item.

    • This comment illustrates why having a purchase limit is a good idea. It really gets us to think much more deeply about what we really need. Good for you for having so much discipline to wait on buying new things. I need to learn from your example, I think, as I’ve gotten a little off track. I think I will move from my yearly item limit to a monthly limit of 2 like what you’re doing. I will do my accountability update next week and report on this…

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