when is “enough” actually, er… enough?


I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Mostly in terms of the contents of my closet; which may seem trivial and silly, but it has a surprisingly profound effect on other parts of my life.

I’ve shared my struggles with shopping addiction before. {Just typing the words “shopping addiction” looks so serious and scary, but let’s not sugar coat things.} While I’ve come leaps and bounds with my spending in the last couple of years — attributable to a major shift in priorities, a cut in take-home pay after becoming self-employed, and being too busy with said self-employment to shop — every now and then I find myself sneaking in a few too many purchases and justifying them in that old familiar way.

For instance, in the last couple months I’ve done more shopping than usual, telling myself I’m “stocking up” for Fall. Um, let’s be serious: I live in Florida, and the seasonal climate change is hardly drastic enough to require a total wardrobe overhaul. So why am I drifting back into nasty old habits?

There are a number of reasons, I’m sure. For one, as a blogger who shares her style with the world on a regular basis, I want to keep things fresh and interesting. However in truth, I think this is probably pretty low on the list; falling under other things like the stress associated with moving the business and taking on more responsibility at the shop.  I also blame all the Gossip Girl marathons on my days off for filling my head with endless outfit inspiration, but that’s probably another post entirely.

What’s a girl to do to get things back on track?

I’ve toyed with the idea of a year-long shopping fast (my friend, Cathy, is doing one now!) but in the back of my mind I feel like taking on such a lofty goal cold turkey is somehow setting myself up for failure, perhaps to be followed by a shopping rebound of epic and devastating proportions?!

Here’s what I’ve come up with. I’m sharing it with all of you to give it legs and some accountability, since I always seem to let myself off the hook way too easily.

1. Stop purging for a while. I have a weird compulsive habit to go through my closet every few months and get rid of mounds of clothes at a time. If I haven’t worn something since the last purge, it’s outta there.  Sometimes this is good (i.e., I’ll probably never end up on an episode of Hoarders) but sometimes it’s bad. In all of my well-intentioned weeding, some good apples are tossed into the fray and I miss them later. Instead of getting rid of things entirely, maybe I’ll pack them up in storage bins so I can revisit them later with a fresh perspective, and still keep my closet neat and tidy.

2. Set a budget. And actually stick to it. This is where my palms get sweaty, and I start feeling suffocated by the confines of the “B Word.” {shivers}. But here goes… for the next four months beginning in November (a quarter of a year seems doable and semi-life-changing) I’ll give myself $100 a month for new clothes, shoes, accessories, and beauty buys. No roll-overs — it’s “use it or lose it.” I’ll share every purchase on the blog — pinky promise — to keep myself honest and track my progress through February. Side note: tempting as it may be to go on a crazy spree in the last weeks of October before this budget officially begins, I’m not going to do any shopping through the end of of this month.

3. Explore new hobbies to fill the void. Sometimes I shop purely out of boredom, or to escape my hectic reality for a few hours. This spare time would be much better spent reading a classic novel, working on a DIY project, exercising, or taking a class to learn something new!

4. Find new sources of style inspiration. Confession: Every time I stand in my closet and bemoan, “I have nothing to wear,” it’s a bold-faced lie. {That’s right, Husband, I just admitted it.}  I have plenty of things to wear, I’ve just run out of ideas for how to wear them. When the contents of my closet start to feel stale, I get the nagging itch to stock it with newness. With endless inspiration at my fingertips from my favorite bloggers, Pinterest, and magazines, I’m sure I can come up with lots of new ways to remix what I already have.

5. Take these four months to pay off all my credit card debt. I don’t have much left, but it would be even better if I didn’t have any left. I think it’s important to have some kind of light-at-the-end-of-the- tunnel when setting restrictive personal goals, and coming out of this sans credit card debt is a shining beacon of hope worthy of the small sacrifice.

Here we go!

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  1. 11.13.12

    Been thinking a lot about the same thing lately — if you have an iphone you should DEFINITELY check out poshmark. It’s a free app and you can sell your clothing right from your phone. Might be just what you need :) So awesome!

  2. 10.30.12
    April said:

    Thank you so much for sharing your struggles with this! I have had issues with compulsive shopping in the past, and just recently started a seasonal retail job. I have already found myself falling back into some old patterns of thinking and it’s scary. The only thing I really can do right now is just not let myself browse. EVER. Because there is always something on that darned clearance rack, and my additional discount just sweetens the deal.

  3. 10.26.12
    Emily said:

    Your post really resonated with me. I’ve been thinking alot about my shopping habits lately. And I’ve come to the realization that it substitutes for some kind of void. A void that is best well spent in participating in other activities (like baking, painting, jewelry making, exercising, etc). I’ve made a mental note this weekend to go through and purge, clean, and organize my closet. That way I can efficiently “shop in my closet” from time to time with ease and not feel this tugging urge to buy this season’s “newest items”. Love your blog! I used to live in FL so I feel your pain when it comes to limited seasonal wardrobe choices.

    • 10.26.12

      I’m glad you got something from my post, Emily! I’ve noticed that keeping my closet clean and organized is a great way to keep me interested in what’s inside. I even splurged on wood hangers recently, and I feel like I’m somehow tricking my brain into thinking that my closet is a boutique ;-)

      Good luck with your organizing! You’ll be so glad when it’s done.

  4. 10.25.12


  5. 10.24.12
    peggy said:

    funny- I just wrote a similar post a few days ago but I think I’m going cold turkey for a while – blogging break. Love your ideas! Good luck!

  6. 10.23.12

    With regards to your #3, you should take up knitting! It’s fashionable and would fit nicely with your blog. But then again, it may turn into a serious yarn addiction to which I’m currently suffering from! LOL

    • 10.24.12

      I’ve been thinking about knitting for AGES!! I have a friend that’s been offering to teach me for years, and a new yarn shop opened downtown near my shop that offers classes. I would love to learn! Imagine all the scarves I could create! ;-)

  7. 10.23.12
    Ashley said:

    #2 reminds me of Jeanette from J’s Everyday Fashion. She has a $300 per month budget (her blog/brand is her job though) and at the end of each month she puts every single purchase she made in a blog post like this: http://www.jseverydayfashion.com/2012/06/my-junejuly-budget.html. I like to read them and they seem like a great way to stay accountable! Good luck. :D

    • 10.24.12

      Oooooh, I’m going to check this out! Thanks for the link, Ashley!

  8. 10.23.12
    steffy said:

    I have this issue myself, to maybe a lesser degree. I spend a lot of money on clothes, and I buy a lot of unnecessary things, things that I justify by saying, but I need basics! But I need rainboots! But I need a pencil skirt!

    I think you have some winning tips here on how to cut back. I, too, am cutting back. As the Christmas season approaches, my husband and I have a rule that we cannot buy things for ourselves (except for like, underwear, haha). Best of luck!

    • 10.24.12

      I know the feeling all too well, Steffy. I’m famous for pulling the old: “I just need a great pair of jeans. Once I buy them, my closet will officially be complete and I’ll never have to shop again.” Then three weeks later, I’m all “I just need a great basic silk blouse…” and the cycle goes on and on and on…

      Good luck with your cutting back, too! If you’re ever having a moment of weakness, give me a shout and we’ll help each other work through it :)

  9. 10.23.12
    Lidi said:

    I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your honesty in this post. Sadly, it’s so refreshing to see “realness” in the fashion blogging world. I’ve also been struggling with my shopping habits. My problem has been that I feel like I should be able to indulge since I usually pay off my credit cards pretty quickly…the problem has been my ability to save for a future and a “rainy day”. I’m at a stage in my life where a lot of expenses will be coming up soon and I really need to focus on saving for that future. With my current income and expenses, saving should not be as much as a problem as it is for me. Thank you for the inspiration!

    • 10.24.12

      I completely relate to this, Lidi! A few years ago, my spending was so bad I couldn’t pay my bills on time and my finances were a mess. Now I have all of that under control and am much better and spending within my “means,” I’m not stashing away any rainy day funds, either. I’m really hoping to get better at this myself! Good luck to you!

  10. 10.23.12
    Crystal said:

    I’m seeing this post during a time when I’ve been thinking a lot about this as well. My husband and I are in the process of paying off our last bit of debt, but I can’t.stop.shopping. Thank you so much for sharing and inspiring me to take action as well!

    • 10.24.12

      Good luck, Crystal! I know the idea of setting up a budget is scary but give it a try! They say it takes 21 days to break a habit, so if you can make it a month without giving in to the urges of retail, I think you’ll be amazed at how much you don’t really “need” it anymore :) You can do it!!

  11. 10.23.12
    Corinne said:

    Thank you for sharing this! It’s very timely for me, as I’m having similar thoughts. In the last few months I’ve put myself on a budget – which I think has definitely made me cut down on shopping a bit, although I haven’t been entirely successful sticking to it! And I couldn’t even imagine sticking to only $100 for all those things per month – just goes to show how much further I’ve got to go. Good luck and look forward to hearing about this over the next couple of months! :)

    Life etc

    • 10.24.12

      I think starting with any kind of a budget is a great start, Corinne! You have to do what’s comfortable for you, and what you think you can actually stick to (which is why I’m not delving into a major shopping fast just yet, because I honestly don’t think I could do it!). Don’t beat yourself up when you spend beyond your budget, just try to do better next time. It’s kind of like being on a diet. If you slip up, it’s easy to say, “I stink at this; I give up!” but it takes patience and practice. You’ll get there, and good luck to you, too! :)

  12. 10.22.12
    Kayla said:

    I love this. I think a lot of us are feeling similar feelings right now. Thanks for making us all think!!!

    • 10.24.12

      I’m glad you can relate, Kayla! Hope we’ll all learn something from this little experiment :-)

  13. 10.22.12
    Sharon said:

    I love your honesty!!!! I have the same feelings. I feel like I need other outlets besides shopping. I was blessed enough to get to be part of an anonymous donation made to a couple of charities in our community of my choice. I have a plan to keep a drive going that donates socks, jackets and snacks to local schools. I was surprised to learn that some kids don’t have socks in the winter. In a world where we live to extremes it is the simple things that make a difference! Xxxxx

    • 10.24.12

      This is so great, Sharon! Spending time working with a charity really puts it all in perspective, doesn’t it?

  14. 10.22.12
    franishh said:

    I think this is a great plan. Everything you wrote was as if I had typed it. I used to shop, shop, shop. I was bored, my boyfriend was always studying, I had a job so I had a steady income, and I felt stuck in life – shopping and buying half filled those voids. My spending was out of control. I finally set a budget of $150 a month, and I’ve been doing pretty well. Some months I’m over, some I’m under, but having a number that you try to stick to means you really think about your purchases more. I’m in credit card debt due to medical school applications, but I hope to pay it off by the time I hopefully start school. Luckily I just switched over to a citi card, which allows you to transfer your credit card debt to them, and then gives you a year of no interest.

    If you are at all interested, I do a monthly link up for “Budgeting Bloggers”. It’s a way for us to hold each other accountable. I’d love for you to consider joining in. http://franishh.blogspot.com/p/budgetting-bloggers.html

  15. 10.22.12
    Cathy said:

    Go for it girl! This sounds like a great plan! I have another idea to add….let’s get together and shop each other’s closets! I am all for a swap on loan. How fun would that be???

  16. 10.22.12
    Anonymous said:

    #6 Avoid TARGET at all costs.

  17. 10.22.12

    I’m trying to make it through the month, relapsed last week but back on track – no spending in October just shopping my closet!