‘Cause I’ve stopped wearing them.

Frugal Hound and I survey  our domain
Frugal Hound and I survey our domain

JOKE! Quite simply, I don’t need more clothes. But that’s never stopped me before. So why am I stopping now? I’m a thrift store maven and I have a bag of tricks on how to get a good deal at goodwill, but, still. Truth is, I love clothes. Can’t help it. Not going to lie. I love finding thrift store steals and pairing them up with garage sale belts, hand-me down cardigans, and shoes I’ve had since the late ’90s. I’m as frugal a dresser as they come, but still…

Every frugal tip in the world isn’t going to save as much money as simply not buying anything.

LOVE this coat. Banana Republic, brand-new, tags still on for $30 at a thrift store.
LOVE this coat. Banana Republic, brand-new, tags still on for $30 at a thrift store.

Bam. Said it. Yeah, I’ve frugalized my closet and optimized my threads-related expenses, but I was still dropping Benjamins (uh, Jacksons?) at the thrift store every month. I’d stroll in and invariably waltz out with $20-$40 worth of “adorable and necessary” clothes stuffs. Yes, yes, I’d get 5 outfits for that price, but still. When Mr. FW and I buckled up for our acceleration to financial independence earlier this year, I realized that I should put my clothes buying on hiatus. This is a self-imposed ban that I’m proud of sticking to.

To achieve this goal I follow the below process:

My thrift store star skirt! Featured with a Kohl's t-shirt and Target flats
My thrift store star skirt! Featured with a Kohl’s t-shirt and Target flats

1) Do not enter a thrift store.

2) Do not think about entering a thrift store.

I so rarely buy new clothes that there’s no temptation to go into a “new” store. Kohl’s is my only weakness in that arena and fortunately, I’d have to drive way out of my way to get there, so it’s not an issue.

But, What Do I Wear?

One of my best thrift finds: my $20 JCrew dress that I've worn to 3 weddings!
One of my best thrift finds: my $20 J Crew dress that I’ve worn to 3 weddings! Pictured with a $5 garage sale necklace.

Yes, we’ve had work events and special occasions and family gatherings and weddings this year, and we’ll have more before the year is out.

But, here’s the thing: I’ve been to weddings, special occasions, family gatherings, and work events before. Hence, I have clothes for them. I was perfectly fine wearing dresses I’d worn before (one was a re-used bridesmaid dress) to the glorious wedding we went to in May. And frankly, no one at work cares that I wear pretty much the same smart little black dress to every event we have. I mix things up with a different belt or necklace.

Cease the Closet Crowding

Thrift store dress & belt with vintage hand-me-down bracelet
Thrift store dress & belt with vintage hand-me-down bracelet

I’m all ooo “Do You Really Need That? Don’t be Owned By Your Stuff!” but truth is, I have too many clothes. It’s a fact. They all fit in the closet and drawers; however, I’m far from being pared down to a capsule wardrobe or the simple bear necessities. Yes I said bear necessities–I prefer bear to bare. It’s a personal thing.

In addition to my waryness of closet crowding, I’m also concerned about life crowding. I really do believe that people can be consumed by what they own and overwhelmed by their possessions. I have plenty of clothes and I should focus on donating things I don’t wear, not adding to my collection.

It’s All About the Fringe

Not purchasing new clothes has an unexpected fringe benefit: it’s a great motivator for me to maintain my current weight. My best collection of clothes are my smaller outfits and I really don’t want to have to stop wearing them. Because, it’s happened to me before.

Let me tell you: this thrift store skirt & garage sale top do not allow for extra pounds!
Let me tell you: this thrift store skirt & garage sale top do not allow for extra pounds!

When I was simultaneously a full-time graduate student and working full-time a few years ago, I gained 20 pounds. This might not sound like a lot, but let me tell you, none of my cute clothes fit during that time frame. I was so incredibly stressed that Mr. FW sweetly drove me to Kohl’s and helped me pick out a few larger sized outfits so I wasn’t uncomfortable and self-conscious in my overly-tight pants and dresses.

I knew I was unhealthy (I mean, I’d gained the weight by ceasing exercise and inhaling Oreos and Cheetos while I studied), but I just couldn’t handle it. I was working 9-5 and then going to class from 5:30-9pm or 11pm almost every night of the week and sometimes during the day on the weekends. In short, it was grueling.

I graduated with a free Master’s degree in 2 years since I was employed full-time at the university and they offered free tuition as a benefit. But, honestly, I’m not sure it was worth it.

Mr. FW helped us both lose weight by doing the Couch-to-5K challenge together (highly recommend it for kick-starting a weight loss program) and hiking. Our love of hiking was truly born out of this hyper-stressed period of time. I’m grateful for that, but I wouldn’t recommend anyone else try it.

My owl tunic & leggings! Yes, it has little gold owls! Thrift store for the win.
My owl tunic & leggings! Yes, it has little gold owls! Thrift store for the win.

I’m deeply grateful that thanks to the conclusion of grad school, Mr. FW’s incredibly healthy cooking, yoga, and hiking, I lost 23 pounds and am back to my high school/college weight.

Now that I’ve crested 30, I’ve got to tell you that I feel marvelous being the same size I was at 18.

And, now that I can’t buy new clothes, I am bound and determined to stay this weight! I’ve seen firsthand how easily the pounds can pack on and I really want to avoid falling into that trap again–help me stay accountable, folks!

Another motivator here is the fact that Mr. Frugalwoods and I hope to have a Frugal Baby before too long. I want my pre-pregnancy body to be as healthy as I can possibly manage in order to support a healthy pregnancy. I know there’s a lot I can’t control about conception or pregnancy, but I can be in charge of my own health.

Emotional Spending

My $5 garage sale dress, which I've worn to 2 wedding dress rehearsals and for our 5th wedding anniversary!
My $5 garage sale dress, which I’ve worn to 2 wedding dress rehearsals and for our 5th wedding anniversary!

Ok that was a minor (major?) tangent, but it’s all related to my goal of not buying any new clothes. What this tells me is that buying things is emotional, even for frugal people like me who decry emotional spending.

I think we all have something that triggers emotional spending. What I’ve realized in the course of writing this post is that, for me, it’s clothes. Something about my self-worth and body image was wrapped up in new clothes. I truly think I’m journeying towards a healthier body image and a better outlook on life by not having the option of buying new clothes.

I’m not sure if I’ll continue this challenge into 2015 or not, but, it feels manageable for the remainder of 2014. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

And since I aim for honesty, my failure so far in 2014:

1) One hot pink belt purchased for .50 cents at a garage sale. Ya’ll, I could not resist.

Totally guilty of buying this belt for .50 cents at a garage sale...
Totally guilty of buying this belt for .50 cents at a garage sale…

Since nothing is written in a vacuum, I want to share a few excellent posts on clothes and health that I’ve read recently:

Update: read about the evolution of this journey in What A Year Without Clothes Did For Me and Pregnancy Hasn’t Foiled My Clothes-Buying Ban: Here’s How.

What triggers emotional spending for you? Are you trying to hold off on buying clothes for any reason right now?

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  1. I love your outfits and style. I looked at all the pictures and then had to go back and start reading from the top.

    I packed on a bunch of weight in my last year of grad school and I’m still trying to get rid of it again. I’m not proud of it, but that’s what stress does to me… and I was so wrapped up in writing my dissertation that that’s what happened. I’ve been paring (pear-ing :P) down my wardrobe but it still isn’t where it should be. I have way too many things and it’s a work in progress, but I can honestly say I don’t need any more items – I just need to get more mixy and versatile in my clothing combos.

    1. I feel your pain–that’s exactly what happened to me in grad school. Stress + lack of time to exercise = weight gain for me. Congrats to you for working on losing it! It took me awhile to lose and it’s a work in progress to keep it off. You can do it! Chase your 4 cats around the house (cat to 5K program!!!!!).

  2. I LOVE all of your finds!!! I have not found anything near as cute in my shopping adventures, I need to hire you to be my frugal shopper. I hear you on the clothes ban, I did something similar for myself this year and for the same reasons. Not just to save money, but to force myself to continue to fit in my cute clothes and not experience size creep as I have in the past. I gained 50 pounds after having my son, lost it 3 years ago, and do not want to ever go back to where I was. Thanks for the mention and inspiration!

    1. Hahah, I would LOVE to be a frugal shopper! Though I’d probably want to buy everything for myself 🙂 Way to go on losing 50 pounds, that’s awesome!

  3. Whenever I see post-thrift store shopping spree posts, I think “Wouldn’t you have spent less by not buying anything?” I mean, yes, everyone needs to buy clothes from time to time, but as you said it’s not frugal to buy things you don’t need. With those other posts I never know if the clothes were needed, and therefore a great deal, or if the spree was just for fun and justified because it was less that it would have been at retail. Good for you for determining when you need to stop! I’m sure it will be even more fun to shop the next time you really need something.

    I’ve gained quite a bit of weight during my six months of intense dissertating, so one of my projects for the fall is to get back to the shape I was in 1-2 years ago. Similar to you, I want to be in tip-top physical form before we get pregnant. I’ve been doing couch-to-5k but I think I need to add in some HIIT workouts.

    Oh, and thanks for linking to my post!

    1. Love it–I agree with everything you said in your comment :). Go you for wanting to be in top shape pre-pregnancy! My Dr. said it’s one of the best ways to prepare one’s body, so I’m really committed now.

      1. Hmm, my doctor was like “whatever, what can you do?” when I tried to ask how important being at a healthy weight pre-conception would be. I’d rather have a doctor who will try to motivate me!

        Though I’m much more into process-based goals than outcome-based goals, so if I don’t lose all the weight I want to but am in the habit of exercising 6 days per week I’ll call that a win.

        1. I like your approach to process-based goals–that’s a great model to use. Interesting comment from your Dr. It does seem like much of the conception advice is along the lines of “well, this might work for you…”

  4. Your clothes are awesome – you are so fashionable! Having said that, I totally understand if you do not need more, no matter what good deals you get. Can’t wait for frugal baby! 😉

    1. Thanks so much! I can’t wait for Frugal Baby either–though who knows when he/she will decide to come along 🙂

  5. I love all of your finds! I’m also trying to get healthier before we get pregnant, but I’m an emotional eater and am finding it hard at the moment…

    1. Yay, another pre-pregnancy friend! We should start a PF pre-pregnancy group–seems like there are a bunch of us! I’m an emotional eater too, so I understand where you’re coming from. My best solution is to not have my trigger foods (chips and cookies) in the house. Good luck to you!

  6. Wow. You are inspiring. I LOVE clothes; I truly enjoy everything about trends, styling, and dressing up (total feminine girl over here). I think a similar Banana coat pictured above that I got 40% off, which was still probably $100. Granted I where it to work during the spring and fall, but I certainly did not check thrift stores first. If I can go from shopping for clothes with coupons to shopping at thrift stores, I think that would be a huge step for me. Then we’ll see about no shopping period! Baby steps…

    1. Thanks so much! I do love finding those hidden thrift store gems! I bet you’d have a great time thrift shopping–it’s all about having a good eye and knowing when you’ve found a deal, which you’d be an expert at as a fashionista :)!

  7. You have some super, super cute clothes!!
    My weight keeps changing, which is crappy for feeling good in all of my clothes. What it does mean is that I drift around in closet, in terms of what I wear frequently.
    I don’t buy clothes too often… but when I do, it tends to be fairly expensive.

    1. Thanks! Yeah, my weight fluctuated a lot in the past. I’ve been able to keep it stable for the past few years, but it is really difficult, I agree.

  8. Thanks for the shoutout! Loved the post and I hope to follow in your footsteps and wean myself off of buying any clothes at all.

    I went through the same thing in college, when I gained weight and suddenly found I had no pants to wear. I went out and bought several pairs in a different size, and it was not a fun experience. That’s been a great motivator to stay in shape ever since. It’s not fun to HAVE to buy clothes because I couldn’t stop slugging out and eating cookies!

    1. Agreed–not fun to have to buy bigger clothes. Ugh, hope not to repeat that (except for maternity clothes). I think your thrift-store only challenge is awesome too!

  9. Ohmuhgosh! Thank you for linking to me, but more importantly I loooooove your taste in clothes. I have never done thrift store shopping but… You have me seeing the light. And you totally crack me up everytime I come here 🙂

    1. Thanks so much! Yes, try out some thrifting! I bet you’ll enjoy it. I do aim to crack people up; glad I’m succeeding :).

  10. So… I almost didn’t read this post when I saw the title. lol. I love clothes. I definitely own too much (but far less than people think considering I’ve got about two years of recent retail experience). I buy everything new but my size isn’t common in thrift stores and there are only three in my city.

    You have great style. I think it’s actually fairly similar to mine. I always like to see what others are wearing.

    I’ve approached buying clothes different this year. I try to only buy things that can mix in to my current wardrobe and I’m trying not to buy anything similar to something I already have. So in my first month back at my favourite clothing store (part time), I’ve bought a dress which is very edgy compared to my normal style and a skater skirt that I’m in love with (I’ve avoided the pencil skirts because I already own too many). I think I’ve done well so far.

    1. I love clothes too!! Sounds like you have a good system down. Thanks for the style compliment! I really try to just wear things that I like and that are comfortable.

  11. I love this idea. I am working on my “just don’t buy it” muscle. I could easily make it a year without buying any clothing. I do prefer the local thrift store if I do have to buy some amazing deal.

    How will you handle gifts? I can’t get people to stop buying me clothes for my birthday or Christmas. I told my mother in law, no clothing. She bought me a shirt with a gift receipt. I returned it. 🙂

    Garage sales are another weakness. Fall is coming, so that should help.

    1. Hmmm, interesting question on the gifts. People don’t often give me clothing, but, I suppose I’d accept it if they did. Maybe it wouldn’t count since I didn’t technically buy it :)? Your mother-in-law sounds exactly how my mother treats Mr. FW. She just loves him so much, she has to send him stuff :)!

  12. I’m a big thrift store guy myself, any thoughts on buying the clothes and reselling them? This gets the shopping splurge out of your system and still allows the money to purchase them or even wear them a time or two before they are sold.

    1. Interesting idea–I hadn’t thought of flipping clothes before. I certainly try to sell back anything I get rid of, but, I tend to keep clothes for a realllly long time. So, the stuff I get rid of is often in pretty sad shape and the consignment stores won’t pay me for it.

  13. Great idea! And wow, those are some epic finds! Ever considered turning this into a business?

    My emotional spending is triggered by the latest technology. I just have to have it. Over time I’ve learned to not give in to the feeling of needing the latest tech, but it’s so hard.

    At the moment I’m dying to buy two new graphics cards even though my old ones are still some of the best. Yes, that 15% increase in performance is totally worth it – but not really.

    1. I think technology is Mr. FW’s emotional spending weakness too–although he almost never gives in. Glad you like my finds! Mr. FW actually helped pick all of them out–the man has great taste 🙂

  14. 1) All of these outfits are seriously cute. I love your red coat!

    2) I have 2 1/2 year old. I refuse to torture him, myself, and the general public by taking him clothes shopping. He is a very effective recreational shopping preventer.

    3) YES. It makes me crazy when my mom tells me that she saved $100 by buying some dress on clearance for only $20. I am like, no, you spent $20.

    1. 1) Thank you! I love that coat so much. It might be my biggest motivator not to gain weight–it’s an XS, eeek!
      2) That’s hilarious and seems like a pretty solid plan :).
      3) Yep, yep, yep! You still spent money!

  15. I honestly cycle through the same handful of clothing every week and I don’t even care! Haha it’s quite a change from my younger teenage/early 20s years when I really cared about what I wore. In highschool, I was totally labelled ‘metrosexual’ for wearing hip clothes.

    Haha not that I wear rags, but I just stick with the same things over and over – I go for the timeless look: black v neck t shirt and jeans, chinos and polos, and dress pants and a few classic dress shirts. Throw in some shorts and what have you not, but that’s it nowadays and I couldn’t be happier!

    Now this might be sharing TOO much, but I’m pretty sure I haven’t bought new underwear and socks in YEARS (like +5 years!) haha…

    1. Truth be told, I haven’t bought new socks or underwear in 5 years either! I believe in quality undies, so, we haven’t had to replace them :).

  16. So I think you should have a side hustle where people pay you to find cute clothes at thrift stores. I’ve never been into fashion, but I love everything pictured here, especially the red coat!!

    I stopped buying clothes about a year or so ago. It wasn’t really a conscious decision, but because I decided to stop spending so much on cosmetics, I started scooting past anything that could be tempting on my trips to Target. I actually really don’t like shopping for clothes as I hate trying them on, but I could still get rid of some things.

    I’ve been noticing that my pants are a little tighter than they were a few years ago. My goal this fall is to get through the couch-to-5k program. I started it last year, but it got too cold to continue outside. Yep, I’m a wuss. No excuses now that I live in the south. I really need to get in shape! I’m grateful that my boyfriend is a runner, as it’s easier to get through it with a partner. =)

    1. I would love to take people thrift store shopping! But I think my potential client base would probably be too frugal to pay me. I’d take you for free though :).

      I actually hate new clothes shopping–the best part about thrifting (in addition to the deals) is not having to try a million things on. It either fits or it doesn’t. So simple!

      I really enjoyed the couch-to-5K thing (I did it up to the 10K level). I didn’t continue on with running, but it was perfect for me to jumpstart things. That’s nice you two can run together–always better with a partner!

  17. You have a great sense of style! Congratulations on deciding to buy no more clothes. I also haven’t bought new clothes in awhile but I work from home so most of the time there’s no need to dress up. My clothes are still in great condition and fit well = no reason to buy more! If they didn’t fit me, I would dial up the exercise and review my eating before spending money to buy a bigger size so good job on losing 23 pounds 🙂

  18. I’m totally the opposite – if you were closer I’d have you go shopping for me instead. Besides replacing worn out running shoes I’ve purchased precisely one dress this year ($6.50 from Ross bought last weekend trying to force myself to add a new one into the rota) and it’s going back. When I tried it on the arm holes are just ginormous – what’s up with that?!?
    Truthfully, I’ve never really enjoyed shopping unless I’m with a very good friend, and I’ve never found anyone down here that I enjoy shopping with. Definitely keeps the spending down, but I could use a new dress and a new pair of ballet flats as mine officially have holes in them now. =/

    1. Hate huge arm holes! Why do they do that?! I’d definitely take you thrift shopping!

      I love my Target ballet flats (pictured above). I have them in 4 different colors and they’re pretty much the only shoes I wear other than sneakers and hiking shoes. They’re incredibly comfortable and were about $12.

      If you don’t have a great thrift store option where you are, I highly recommend Kohl’s for dresses. Check out the Apt. 9 brand in the misses’ section. Good luck and let me know if you find anything!

  19. Mrs. FW I love all your outfits! Your thrift stores must be of high caliber. You have a great eye for putting things together. I don’t have time right now to shop the thrift stores but when I did, I would find myself buying something because it was a great brand name and in good shape, not necessarily because I needed it. This year I find myself wearing just a few old stand-by’s. Another good thing to do sometimes is tailor or reconstruct a piece. I bought one of those broom-stick maxi dresses (about 10 years ago) that was a great green linen piece from J. Crew. I have since shortened it and then put in darts to fit it so I could update it and continue to wear it. It’s my go-to casual summer dress now. Keep up the good frugal work!

    1. Thank you so much! I’m very impressed with your tailoring skills. My sewing abilities are limited to repairing things and minor hemming. I’d love to learn more, though.

      1. One of the great things about thrift store clothes is that you can practice your tailoring skills and if you mess up, it’s not a lot of money wasted!

        1. That’s a great point. We do have some old, old clothes that I keep meaning to take to goodwill–maybe I should try to teach myself tailoring instead!

  20. I have been practicing holding off on the clothes spending as well, at least until my weight balances out (I’ve been losing for some time now) or I actually need something (dress pants, a cami, etc). It’s crazy to be aimlessly and pointlessly spending on things that I don’t need!

  21. I love your ideas “do not enter a thrift store” and “do not think about entering a thrift store” that will really achieve your goal I am sure. Fail to that will really lead you to breaking the rules you set for yourself. Hope this will come a long way and be a success.

    1. Oh Al, why do you have to be the voice of reason ;)? You’re probably right, but I do have a stash of hand-me-down maternity clothes from my sister and some friends, so hopefully I won’t have to buy too much stuff.

  22. I go through very long periods of time where I don’t purchase any clothes. The ones I have last and I really don’t need anything else. I base my clothes spending on need first. Plus, I have four kids to clothe. They take up most of the budget and are in need more often than I am.

  23. I hate going shopping, period. I try not to buy new clothes, in fact some clothes I have in my wardrobe are from 5+ years ago. Go figure. 🙂

  24. I love new ( secondhand ) clothes, but i don’t like shopping for them. I can’t even remember the last time I shopped for clothes (maybe 2012). I just want them to magically appear in my closet. Perfect fit. Perfect style. Since I don’t have that part all figured out yet, I really make my clothes last. They never go in the dryer. Every time I pull out that lint screen, I just see my clothes disappearing. So everything air dries so that I get as much wear as possible out of them. Thanks for another great read and a reminder for me to get to the Salvation Army, ASAP! 🙂

    1. We air dry most of our clothes too. Such a key part of making them last and saving energy! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  25. I kicked my clothes buying habit several years ago. It wasn’t easy, but I feel so much better now, owning less. You have some super-cute thrift finds! Once you have a mini-frugalwood, then you’ll get to shop for cute stuff for them. I actually enjoy thrifting for my daughter way more than I do for myself! Now she’s the one with the big wardrobe.

    1. Good for you on kicking the habit! I love “mini-frugalwood”–that’s perfect. I am definitely more excited than I should be about thrifting for the future bebe… 🙂

  26. I had to buy new clothes this summer for work. My old ones were looking ridiculous after this last baby. Kept thinking I’d lose the weight, but there comes a time when you just have to buckle down and shop! Lol. I did commit to doing it all through consignment, though. For money and green reasons. Have a post coming up about it soon.

    1. You’re wise to go consignment! I’m always shocked when I see the price of new clothes. I’m so used to buying used, I can’t believe people pay those prices! I look forward to reading your post 🙂

  27. I really like that last black dress!!!!

    I am nowhere near to as thrifty or as frugal as you are for clothing but I felt the same disinterest lately.
    Blogged about it too.

    I am in my 30s with a Baby Bun and I can tell you that for me, having a kid made me feel less interested/inclined to shop from sheer exhaustion.

    I don’t need any more clothes either but I want them… Except there is always something to want, it seems.

    Good luck on the 2014 challenge!

    I broke my own retail ban a number of times already but I am back on the wagon.

    1. Thanks! I’ve gotten so much use out of that dress. I still can’t believe it was only 5 bucks at a garage sale! I bought a bunch of stuff at that sale–the gal selling was my exact size and had great taste.

      I agree, there’s always something to want. That’s why I’m not allowed to enter a thrift store right now!!

  28. 1.) your clothes are adorable. i wish i were that fashionable.
    2.) this is such a GREAT post. i agree on all points, and really need to work on my own emotional spending. i think i’ll take up the challenge in 2015. =)

    1. Thank you so much! You’re too kind! Keep me posted if you decide to do the challenge in 2015–I might continue my challenge as well… we’ll see :). Thanks so much for stopping by!

  29. Ok sis, you got me. I am 100% on board with everything else in this awesome blog. But ask, go ahead, ask what other links are open on this very computer upon which I type? Yes, online pretend-shopping. I am currently pretend-spending hundreds of dollhairs on gorgeous non-mom threads. I totally LOVE clothes too, and just did drop a Jackson (today!) at the local thrift store. Mostly all children clothes (kinda need to do that cause they fit for like 3 weeks before ankles and wrists and knees poke through*) but I did of course find an adorable sweater. Green! Which I really need in SoCal…(but it’s green).
    OK ok (dangit!) I’ll not buy (I can’t believe I am going to say this) anymore clothes in 2014! OUCH!
    Except for kids clothes. And then (natch) only from the thrift store.

    *We are fortunate to have the boy child as the oldest, because anything that survives (wait a minute, I think I’ve got it wrong…) without un-patch-able holes (I swear some of his things become threads before my eyes!) AS I WAS SAYING, the stuff that he out-grows receives appliques and ball-fringe and flowers and becomes…girl clothes! I do need to send some pics of the turned-around items. And most of the sewing notions come from the…you guessed it- thrift store!

    (was this a pinky-swear? I’m starting to get nervous.)
    You are awesome. I love you frugal-sister.

    1. Yes to pretend online shopping–it’s like we’re related or something :)! Love the way you re-use and re-imagine your kiddos’ clothes. Inventive, frugal, and fun (again, you’d think we were related!). Thanks for commenting sis. Love you!

  30. Woot! I kinda hate shopping and I had a no shopping year in 2012. I am glad I don’t work in a fashion forward field and my team are all pretty casual so I don’t feel any peer pressure on that front.

    1. Nice! Yeah, my current job is very laid-back on the dress code front. I usually wear jeans twice a week! Pleasant departure from my previous job, which required jackets or blazers (bleh!).

  31. One thing I used to do, back when I lived in Chicago, is my girlfriends and I would have clothing swaps. So we would all bring over a big bag of clothes we wanted to get rid of (and some wine, of course), and then go through each others clothes. Anything nobody wanted, we would donate. Great way to refresh and clean out your closet! Obviously it works best if you can get at least 4 or so women roughly the same size…

  32. Way to go on limiting your clothes purchases! I’ll be honest, I was easily distracted by the cute outfits. When I tried to read, my eyes caught another outfit and so it continued. This was a really difficult post for me to get through 😉 You’ve got great style!

    I kind of have the opposite issue– I strongly dislike shopping and all of my clothes are too big. I’ll replace them eventually!

    1. Hah, thanks! Glad you enjoyed my thrift clothes :). I actually don’t really love shopping in general, only at thrift stores am I happy. Too big is better than too small!!

  33. This is great. If I wore every single shirt in my closet one day at a time I would have enough for three months without washing. Now most of them are t-shirts, but they just collect and collect over the years. I never ask for any but they just compile between work, giveaways, birthday and christmas. I bought two new outfits for my wife for her birthday to try and change things up and when she opened them she said “why did you get these?” (Yes you are welcome) And she said she already had enough clothes and I took them back to the store after work the next day. My 5 year old daughter could care less about clothes, she doesn’t care about fashion or style, she just likes pretty colors or butterflies. Sometimes it would be nice to just be simple with our fashion sense like a little kid before we start to worry about what everyone else thinks about our clothes.

    1. Thank you! I’m definitely trying to incorporate caring less about what people think into my no-buying strategy. So far, I’ve realized that people don’t seem to notice or care what I wear! I’m trying to just dress for my own comfort and enjoyment.

  34. “Every frugal tip in the world isn’t going to save as much money as simply not buying anything.”

    Such a brilliant and true statement! I’ve been known to say to my brother when he tells me how much he saved on something, “But you spent $xx”. He doesn’t like it, but it’s true and I want him to have a successful financial future so I say it anyway.

    1. Yep, it’s really easy to fall into the trap of the “good deal”. Marketers love to manipulate using that tactic! Costco is the real standout here. EVERYTHING in that place is a great deal. But buying everything in the store isn’t good for anyone. 🙂

  35. Very cute outfits! I think you’re definitely fine through the end of the year.

    My weakness is kids’ clothes. My daughter is nearly 4, and we have hand-me-downs from 2 families, tallying up to about 4 kids worth of stuff in any given size/season. And I still buy stuff. And I kick myself for it. I can afford it, and I can come up with a justification for any of it, but really none of the things I’ve bought this year were needs except new tennis shoes.

    Especially good on you for recognizing that staying at your weight will keep wardrobe expenses down. I have been on that roller coaster and still have some of my larger clothes just in case (came in handy post-baby, actually). I’m back to my Weight Watchers Goal weight and I hope to never need them again. Weight Watchers requires a monthly weigh in to keep your Lifetime Membership in good standing, and I have to pay $14 if I’m > 2 pounds over goal, so there’s an extra financial incentive to keep myself small.

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing! And, congrats to you for hitting your goal weight–that’s awesome!! I think kids’ clothes would be a weakness for me as well, they’re just so cute :). But, sounds like you’ve got a great system with hand-me-downs going on–nice!

  36. Those outfits are darling! I am also a thrift store maven. I love a good deal (can one get a high off of good deals?) and I rarely buy anything new. After years of thrift shopping and getting hand me down from my little sister (I took them because free and cute, but they never fit right), I decided to overhaul my closet for more classic pieces (hello who doesn’t have a good fitting pair of black slacks? – me!), read blogs on wardrobe remixing (this was like wizardry to me), and just how to style things in general. No more frumpy days for me! I found an online consignment shop that is basically like the cream of the crop after a decade of thrift store hunting, but all in one place and for prices like you mention above. Dangerous. Problem is I’ve become a little addicted to the site. I think I’m at the point where I’m just hunting for the few items that are missing, but so many nice things pop up!

    In an attempt to make myself feel better, I’ve sold or donated all my other clothes, sometimes I do a little eBay flipping on items too. I don’t dare say the name of the site for the sirens will get you! But that is how I came to find this blog entry (and others like it) – how to not buy clothes. I have to read it when I get to search to browse this magical shop online.

    So which brings me to my question, did you really not buy any clothes in 2014? I’m sure after a while you just don’t think about it? Do tell!

    1. Greetings fellow thrift store maven! I definitely think it’s possible to get a high from a good deal (I know I do)! I indeed haven’t purchased any clothes in 2014. It was tough at first, but honestly after a few months, I didn’t even think about it anymore. Not clothes shopping has simply become another frugal autopilot aspect of my life. I never thought I’d say that, so this is pretty huge for me :)! Good luck to you in your own anti-clothes crusade. And, kudos to you for selling unneeded stuffs!

  37. I hopped over to your blog from becoming minimalist, and finally, a blogger that resonates with my struggle with clothes. I love clothes. I’m a clothes horse. I love vintage clothes, and they aren’t exactly cheap. I’ve cut down from $300-$500 worth of vintage dresses to just one $100 item. But, I noticed that I just HAD to buy one vintage item (dress, skirt) at least once a month. It’s getting on my nerves, as I am trying to pay down currently a debt of $8000 (it was originally $13,000) and my impulse, emotional spending is disgusting myself. I’m going to go through all your articles and hope I am inspired and have the discipline to NOT buy anything for 2015 (i already bought one vintage dress on 1st Jan 2015, sheesh).

    1. I’m so glad you’re here! I love clothes too. It was honestly a struggle not to buy anything at first, but as time went on, it truly became easier.

      Since I tell myself that it’s just not an option for me to buy clothes right now, I do find that it takes the struggle out of it. I just know that I’m not going to buy anything, which somehow makes it easier. I wish you the best of luck and thank you so much for reading and commenting! You can do this!

  38. This is such a great idea and after reading the “after” post it sounds like you made it through and actually enjoyed it! Will you be doing it again in 2015? I was also wondering if you purged your closet at all going into the year without buying or did you start with everything you have? My closet is stuffed with thrift finds and I feel that I need to purge just to get started, but at the same time to be able to go a year without any new clothes maybe I should keep what I have!
    Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Hi Kari! I did indeed make it all through 2014 and am doing the challenge again in 2015–so far so good :). I haven’t really purged my closet, but I probably should at some point. With not buying new clothes though, I’ve found myself wearing a bunch of old stuff that I hadn’t worn in years. So, I’m finding that I’m actually wearing most of the clothes I have now, which is a good thing! Good luck to you!

  39. New to the frugal woods, but love the philosophy. I am going to buy no new clothes for a year, also no new books for a year (this actually might be harder for me) have enoug of both to sustain me. Let’s frugal away!

    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting–glad to have you here :)! Huge congrats on going on a clothes and books-buying ban–that’s awesome! I wish you all the best and yes, let’s frugal on!!

  40. Hi Ms F.W,

    I thought, wow, why not!

    I’d love to do it for an entire year, and I’m pleased that I’m heading into my 4th consecutive clothing free spending month (and I no longer allocate spending money to this category, which now goes towards other savings / holiday). Now that I am at the 4 month mark, I’m even more motivated to get to the 6 month mark to say I went half a year without spending money on clothing. And, it has been great. It made me realise how much clothes I have, and I try to circulate and wear everything in my closet now. Going through the rotation, I’ve had people even in the office (they see me 5 to 6 days a week) comment on a new outfits …..which has made me even more aware of how much I have that I do not wear, and how well-maintained my clothes are (as after 5 years some pieces are being mistaken for being brand new).

    More importantly, this lead to me asking, why do I need dining out money? And, I realised that I’m not a big fan of dining out??? Who’d have guessed it? (Not even me) That was suprising to discover! So, I have eliminated my monthy dining out option to zero since February 2017.

  41. That is such an important idea: that you don’t have to spend much to get nice going out/evening wear. I think women are slightly made to think they have to run to the mall or a fancy store to get such clothing. But I found that in some thrift stores or that type of store if you put a little time and effort into the search then you can get some really great items. Or, alternatively, just go to those stores during their yearly sale (ie Dressbarn or Kohls). And whatever you buy, try to hang up nicely or steam so it stays in good condition!

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