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My Vow Not to Buy New Clothes for a Year

{ Posted on Jul 01 2010 by Marcus Alston }

I have made a few vows since I transformed into the ConsumerMiser and I have shared a few with you.  Here’s another one.  Back in August 2009, I made a vow not to buy any new clothes for myself.  I did this after reading a book about a woman who made a vow not to buy any new consumer goods for entire year.  I considered my official start date for this vow September 1, 2009, so the end of August 2010 marks the anniversary of my commitment and the end of my 1 year commitment not to buy any new clothes for myself.

The time (10 months) has gone by surprisingly quickly thus far.  I had intended on writing a blog post on this topic months ago, but time got the best of me.  I must confess, in June and August 2009, I bought a few things in preparation for my 1 year commitment, however, I did not stockpile any items, I just bought a few dress shirts and slacks from different places, mostly from Marshalls.

My vow not to buy any new clothes for 1 year comes with a few caveats.  I can buy used clothes which I have done.  I can also buy new clothes if I am given a gift card to a clothing store, which also occurred.  I received a $150 gift certificate in June 2009 to Marshalls which I still have not completely used, but I did buy a few things.  I can also receive new clothes as a gift, which I generally discourage because I am particular about clothing.  I did receive a ConsumerMiser shirt that I was proud to wear.  I allowed these exceptions because the real goal was not to deprive myself of clothes, but to determine if I really needed to buy these things myself with my hard earned money or were there alternatives available which would stretch my budget.

I found frequenting the second hand stores and thrift stores quite liberating.  For instance, I found a used Pierre Cardin shirt for $3 at the Salvation Army.  This same shirt I bought new at Marshalls for $30 (suggested price in other stores was about $60).  That’s a 90% savings from what I paid at Marshalls (or 95% less than what I could have paid at Macy’s).  Several times I was tempted to buy new clothes or create an exception, but I stuck to my guns.  When the temptation really hit, I would browse the Thrift Stores and consignment shops for deals.  I found myself returning to the Salvation Army a lot.  They came through on several occasions with quality used shirts.  In buying used, I still focused on the quality of the item and often bought name brands–but for less.  In a lot of cases the items I bought were lightly worn and looked like they fit right into my existing wardrobe like a glove.  However, in a year’s time, I did not find any pants or shorts that met my standards.  I also visited Marshalls with my gift card, but did not find clothes I wanted to buy in the past year that were worth purchasing.  I estimate that I have saved about $1,000 on clothes so far.

I will write again on this topic when I reach my 1 year goal.  Do you have any financial vows that you have made this year that you would like to share?  If so, please do so by dropping me a comment.

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