How to Curb Unhealthy Spending & Love the Wardrobe You Already Have.

Fashion + Self-Love Party, Day 7.
Guest post by Lindsey from Have Clothes, Will Travel.

Living in a day and age where everywhere we turn there is pressure to buy the latest and greatest fashion makes it very easy to fall into the “retail therapy” trap. And to make it even more difficult, our brain actually releases the pleasure-inducing chemical dopamine when you buy something new, and it really spikes when you are buying it on sale, according to Columbia University Professor of Neurobiology, David Sulzer.

I am not a stranger to this “shopping high.” Every square inch of storage space in my old apartment used to be dedicated to clothing, and I would plot ways to buy new coats and boots (my greatest weaknesses) with every spare penny I earned. “Ooooh, DSW & Maurices are having a sale? I must go buy everything now!”
But, getting addicted to this high is not only bad for your overall self-esteem, it can, obviously, be very damaging to your wallet.

However, I’ve taken a few measures to correct this. And I now am traveling the world with my husband and we’re just living out of a few suitcases a piece! As a style blogger, this probably seems impossible. But I’m here to tell you, the trick to it all is creating the illusion you have a ton of clothes by swapping out key pieces when styling your outfits with clothes you already own. It’s also important that I’m consistently culling my clothing. I’ll share a few ways I do this (and show just how frequently I’m reusing clothing), but first, let’s take a look at how to determine if a purchase is actually unhealthy, because there are times when you’re going to need to treat yourself!


Questions to ask yourself before you make an impulse buy:

*Let’s start with the obvious one… do you actually NEED it? Are you buying this new dress for a wedding you’re going to this weekend because you don’t own an appropriate dress? Or could you restyle something you already have in your closet?

*Are you buying this simply because it’s on sale? This is a really easy one to get caught in. If it isn’t something you would buy if it wasn’t on sale…then walk away.

*How often will I wear this? Granted, there will be times you need to buy a specific pair of shoes, pants, dress, etc. for a specific event. However, in general, I try to not buy something unless I can picture yourself wearing it three different ways.

*If I buy this, what can I get rid of in my closet to make room? The 1 in 2 out rule is really good one to practice to get your closet under control, but more on that next!

**Also important, when taking steps to make better purchases, don’t beat yourself up when you make an impulse buy! It’s going to happen! The key is to continue to make these purchases, less and less.


Ways to correct these purchases:

1.) One of my favorite ways to correct impulse buying is to figure out what in my closet I will sell or donate to make room for this purchase. Stopping to think about this helps me visualize how many clothes I actually own…which helps put things into perspective.

The “1 in 2 out rule” is one I’ve been doing my best to stick to. It means if I buy something new, then I get rid of two things in my closet. Sometimes I donate these things if they’re a bit dated. But what I normally do is sell my clothing on sites such as Poshmark, ThredUP or Vinted. Then I’m also making money toward to that new purchase!

2.) Next up is simply walking away from the purchase and giving yourself a few days to think about it. If you still can’t stop thinking about whatever it is, then consider buying it. I’ve found more often than not, I buy something in the heat of the moment. But if I walk away from it for a few days, I come to the realization I didn’t actually need it that badly.

I’ve also found this is much easier for me to do with online shopping. I’m far less likely to make an impulse buy online because it’s easier for me to walk away from it versus being in a store and having it physically in my hands. I also like reading reviews on items before I buy them, and sometimes those reviews will talk me out of making a purchase as well. However, this can be wildly different depending on your shopping style! (Many people tell me it’s much easier to make impulse buys online. So, you’ll have to figure out what works best for you.)

3.) Get organized! How many times have you bought something only to realize you have something very similar to it already in your closet? I’ve done that more times than I care to share. Organizing your closet physically, or with an app like Dressed, is also a great way to cut down on making unnecessary purchases.

Reusing The Clothes You Already Own:

I’ve come to find that skirts, cardigans/tops, and summer dresses are my best friends for keeping my wardrobe looking versatile but still reusable. These are all pieces that can transition from one season to the next as well.

But everyone’s closet will be a little different. Perhaps you own a lot of jeans and sweaters or dress pants and button downs? Changing the accessories you pair with these outfits can make all the difference. Try adding statement jewelry, simple jewelry, scarves and switching your shoes, to give your outfit a totally different feel.

My Examples:

Skirts –

Admittedly, solid prints are easier to style. But a subtle print, like this fan print, is a great way to give character to my daily wear while still being easy to mix and match. (I have a whole blog post dedicating to restyling this skirt, here.)

Tops –

I tend to gravitate toward skirts with prints, so I keep my tops on the quieter end of the spectrum with solid colors and fun necklines.

Cardigans –

Cardigans (especially cropped cardigans, in my opinion) can instantly transform a summer dress into a winter outfit with a completely different feel.

Here is an example one of my dresses with a cardigan & without…

Now that you’re on your way to making smarter clothing purchases…what will you do with the extra money you’re saving?

Will you treat yourself to a nice night at a new restaurant? Or put it towards a plane ticket? Or just save it for a rainy day?

Let me know in the comments!

–Guest post by Lindsey Puls.
Lindsey writes the blog Have Clothes, Will Travel.
You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramPinterest, and Youtube.









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