Why Tracking Purchases is Important & How to Do It

Last weekend, I spent several hours updating my purchase list for the year. This task took such a long time because I hadn’t done it in over four months and had to hunt around a lot for the pertinent information.  Since I had put off the update for so long, it ended up being a much more surprising – and depressing – experience than it should have been.  This has highlighted the importance of updating the list regularly, at least once a month, in order to increase awareness and hopefully prevent myself from getting out of control with my purchases.

purchase tracking

Tracking your purchases can help you control your shopping. 

Even though I update QuickBooks (what my husband and I use for our accounting) every one to two weeks, I still have a tendency to keep myself “in the dark” in terms of what’s going on with my shopping. I may know the financial numbers and even be able to stick to a budget, as I’ve done for three plus years now, but I often lose sight of how many items I’m buying and how they are or aren’t working for my wardrobe and life.

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How I Shopped the 2016 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

For many years, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (NAS) has been my absolute favorite sale.  I’d look forward to the sale all year and go online to check out the offerings shortly after midnight on the first day of “pre-selections” for Nordstrom cardholders.  I would usually make multiple purchases before the sale was over, both online and in the store. Over the years, I’ve spent far too much money at this sale and have often bought things that I later regretted purchasing.

2016 nordstrom anniversary sale

Do you shop the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale every year?

NAS Blog Posts Over the Years…

Every year since starting this blog, I’ve done a post about NAS.  The first year (2013), I opted to skip the sale entirely, which was empowering for me at the time and proved to myself that I could successfully resist shopping temptation.  The following year, I went back to the sale with good intentions, but encountered some of the same difficulties I had in the past, spending too much time, energy, and money on the process.

My NAS post last year was about FOMO and the marketing messages that Nordstrom used to trigger our fear of missing out and get us to shop more.  I shopped the sale last year, too, but ended up returning the lion’s share of what I bought.  Fortunately, however, I spent a lot less time on the experience and didn’t feel that I overdid it, even in the face of the intense marketing messages directed toward Nordstrom shoppers.

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A Year Later: May through July 2015 Purchase Review

Earlier this year, I started a new feature in which I review my purchases a year later to see how well (or not) they have worked out for me.  Although I periodically reviewed past purchases previously, I got the idea to review things from a year ago from Mette of “The Yogastic Shopping Planner(see her most recent edition HERE).   Sometimes my purchase updates will cover just one month (as my last one did – I bought a lot in April 2015), but most of the time they will encompass two or three months – or even longer, as was the case with the 2014 review I published last week.

2015 Year in Review

Today I’m going to look back at the items I bought from May through July of last year. Those were fairly moderate shopping months for me, so it made sense to cover them all together.  I will share some basic numbers, let you know what I still own, and reflect on which purchases were good and bad and why. I’ll close this update by encapsulating the lessons I learned from reviewing the items I purchased a year ago.  I hope that reading this update will inspire you to take a look at your purchases from a year ago to see how well they’re serving you.   Taking the time to do such a review can be quite eye-opening and is well worth doing.

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Two Years Later: 2014 Purchase Update

I have done quite a few purchase updates on this blog over the years. I feel it’s helpful to look back at what we bought to see which items were successes and which were failures.  When I first started doing such reviews, I did them a few months down the line.  However, I’ve come to understand that such a time interval is not long enough for a true analysis in most cases. Thus, I started to review my purchases a year later beginning this year (see HERE and HERE).  A full year gives us enough time to see what we are and aren’t wearing and how it’s working out for us.

Since I didn’t do too many purchase updates in the early days of the blog, I thought it would be fun and interesting to look back at some of my earlier purchases. I probably should have started with 2013 (the year I started “Recovering Shopaholic”), but I opted to look back at what I bought in 2014 for this post. I will share my shopping wins, failures, and a few pieces for which it’s not an easy call.  I’ll also point out some patterns and lessons among the hits and misses that will help to guide my future purchases.

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Still a Shopaholic?

I have been writing this blog for almost 3.5 years now (here’s my very first post, from January 2, 2013).  When I started, I thought it was perhaps a one-year endeavor or maybe two years at the most.  I believed that through setting goals and rules and writing about my motivations and behavior, I would overcome my compulsive shopping problem in relatively short order.  I never expected to attract as many readers as I have or continue the blog for as long as I have.  But the readers came (for which I’m very thankful) and it hasn’t been as easy for me to recover as I thought it would be.

shopaholic behavior

This was a typical scene for me before I started this blog…

Earlier this year, I published two posts on the topic of recovery, both my own and in general:

I also shared insights from my private Facebook group on the causes of members’ shopaholic behavior.  These are all great posts that I’m quite proud of, but I’d like to further the discussion today and get more personal about the state of my recovery.

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A Year Later: April 2015 Purchase Update

Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while knows that I publish monthly accountability updates. These posts (see the most recent one here) include what came into and left my closet in a given month -and why, as well as how I’m doing with my clothing budget and item limit for the year.  It’s been very helpful for me to do these updates, as they help me to stay honest and on track with my wardrobe and shopping goals.

Last month, I started a new feature in which I review my purchases a year later to see how well (or not) they have worked out for me.  Although I periodically reviewed past purchases previously, I got the idea to review things from a year ago from Mette of “The Yogastic Shopping Planner(see her most recent edition HERE).   Since I started this new series a few months into the year, I began with an update on my first quarter 2015 purchases.  Most of my purchase reviews will look back on just one month’s purchases to see whether these items have become wardrobe workhorses or closet benchwarmers.  Occasionally, if I bought very few items in a given month, I will combine two months into one update.

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March 2016 Accountability Update

I was a bit delayed in posting my January and February accountability updates, so I thought I’d be timelier with the one for March.   Also, I don’t have as much to share this time around, so this won’t be as epic a post to write (or read).

For those who are new to the blog, these monthly reports are where I share what came into and left my closet, what I wore, and how I did with my shopping budget and item limit.  Sharing what I bought, what I culled, and how much I spent helps me to stay honest and on track with my wardrobe and shopping goals.  I’m also going to update you on how I’m doing with my theme for the year, “balance.”  I want to make sure to at least check in on my 2016 theme each month, but I also plan to share more in-depth thoughts from time to time.  I think it’s important to keep our goals “top of mind” as much as possible.

Full Honesty and Accountability

Being accountable to others can help you stick to your goals.

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