A few weeks ago, I posted an article from Forbes.com titled, “The Real Cost of Your Shopping Habits” to the Dressed on a Dime Facebook page. In case you missed it, you can access it here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/emmajohnson/2015/01/15/the-real-cost-of-your-shopping-habits/#523264331452
The article is a probing read and aptly describes what has become “normal” in American society: Addiction to excess, thoughtless overconsumption, and habitual overspending. After thinking about the points of the article a bit, I decided to “get real” with myself about how much I owned. So one weekend when I had a bit of time to spare, I traipsed around my house to examine the contents of every closet, drawer, laundry basket, shelf, etc. I wanted an official “count” of every article of clothing I owned (jewelry and undergarments excluded).
When all was said and done, my official count reached 262 articles of clothing. Granted, I live in a temperate climate with four very distinct seasons, but I have to admit this number jolted me into a re-evaluation of what is needed versus what is excessive. It also prompted me to clean out my closets and make a donation trip to Goodwill.
On the bright side, if there’s a silver lining, it’s this: I can truthfully say that 90 percent of my clothes are “recycled’ purchases from Goodwill or Salvation Army and were purchased for an average of $5 per item. Five years ago, I couldn’t have said the same thing. Though I thrifted a bit then, I was indiscriminate about shopping and frequently bought whatever was “cute” at whatever store I was in.
So as I thought about my progress and performed some calculations, I celebrated the fact that I have literally saved thousands of dollars through my radical commitment to thrifting nearly all of my clothing. (And I’ve had more fun in the process!) This “revelation” was a great motivator to keep my thrifting habits alive and keep working toward my financial goals.
Perhaps the next time you have a few extra minutes, you can embark upon your own closet inventory. How many articles of clothing do you own? What was the average amount of money you spent on each piece? If you have a spouse and/or children, what do their closets reflect? How much money is “hanging” in your closets, so to speak? How comfortable are you with these numbers?
If you’re feeling good about your results, keep up the thrifty work! On the contrary, if you complete your inventory, perform the calculations, and feel like you’re about to have a stroke, no judgment here. It’s never too late to change your habits! With self-discipline, determination, and creativity, you can have a wardrobe that represents frugality and fashion. It might take extra time and resolve, but it’s very doable and well worth the effort.