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How to Stop Breaking the Bank and Wasting Money on Your Wardrobe

lifestyle nichola english the dressing room the retreat Mar 14, 2022

By Nichola English.

Have you ever bought something only to think afterwards 'what possessed me to buy that? We've all been there, that sinking realisation that you've wasted your precious time and money. Not only is your bank balance suffering, but you've also now got a piece of clothing in your custody that you'll most likely never wear and now takes up valuable space in your wardrobe. To make things worse, you might not be able to get your money back (unless you're really good at keeping those darn receipts and the store in question has a good returns policy!).

What to do? Well, take it from me, there is only one answer, and that is to stop! But how? 


Questions to ask yourself when making a purchase

  • How many ways can I wear that piece of clothing?
  • Does it fit my style?
  • Does it fit my natural lifestyle?
  • Does it fit my spending budget? 


Listen, no one's perfect; we're all guilty of having some unhealthy habits when it comes to those spontaneous shopping trips. To help, I've outlined some helpful ways to curb your spending on those must-have-it but ultimately unwanted purchases.


Take an inventory of your wardrobe before you shop

The key here is to understand what's already in your wardrobe. This will ensure you're not buying unnecessary items you don't need. An effortless way to start is to use a simple pen and notebook, and you can even add pictures for those who like the visual aspect. 

Another idea is to opt for an app, such as "smart closet," an easy-to-use tool to help you manage your wardrobe, capsule wardrobe, and daily outfits. These are equally great methods to hone into what you have and stop spending unnecessarily. 


Create a budget

I'm a massive fan of having a clothing budget; it helps with purchase decisions, and without a plan in place, it's going to be challenging to keep your spending habits at bay. 

When creating a spending plan, the first step is to address how much you are willing to spend or can comfortably afford. Sit down and establish what you already spend each month on clothing; this is critical as it clearly shows whether you're overspending or have enough money to have a set clothing budget.

Once a budget is agreed, you may decide to shop once a month or purchase key pieces during each style season, i.e. spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Creating a monthly spending limit is a significant first step; it keeps you accountable and helps to keep your bank balance healthy. 


Go for quality

Fast fashion is tempting, especially on a moderate shopping budget, but buying cheaper doesn't always mean the item will last and usually means poorer quality material and manufacturing. 

I would highly suggest looking at your annual spend on clothing. How much do you spend on trends or fast fashion? Look at that number, then reallocate that budget to buy more quality pieces that stand the test of time. Remember, quality doesn't always have to mean expensive. You can get some quality crafted clothes from second-hand boutiques or eBay, essentially saving you money and time. It's also a fantastic way to recycle clothing and not contribute to the wasteful fast fashion industry.


Recognise impulse shopping

We all know how addictive and fun impulse shopping can be. However, it can also easily cause you to spend outside your budget. 

Try leaving the credit cards at home and use cash instead. This method is a great way you keep impulse buys in check. The rule of three is a great tool to use for any unplanned purchases; ask yourself, can it be styled with three items in your wardrobe? If the answer is no, then back to the store it must go! You could also try walking away for 24 hrs. Even if you love it, this gives you time to reflect on your budget and establish if this piece would add value to your current clothing collection.


Unsubscribe from retailer emails/shopping apps.

This tends to be unpopular for those who like to know about the latest offers, sales, and events. Can you recall a time an email pings in your inbox announcing an 'unmissable' deal, and you ended up making a preventable purchase? To be clear, I'm all for discounts; however, in the name of sensible shopping, the idea here is that once you've redeemed the bargain, it's time to exercise your willpower and hit that magical unsubscribe button. I recommend unsubscribing from all retailer emails you've signed up to. This way, you avoid the temptation to overspend. Also, don't forget about the shopping apps. It's their job to notify you of offers and sales, don't get caught out, turn off the notifications!


Don't save your credit card detail online

We've all seen the apparently helpful message flash up when making a purchase "save your payment details". But why do they want your details? Simply put, your next check out is a few simple clicks away by storing your information. Quick check-outs allow retailers to keep you gripped in the habit of impulsive shopping, so next time consider saying no to storing your data and staying in firm control. 


Final thoughts

When we remain in control of our spending, our wardrobes, bank balance, and the planet reward us with less overwhelm, more expendable income and a greater sense of purpose, not to mention a perfectly curated sense of style. Who doesn't want more of that?


 Nichola English is addicted to fashion. From an early age picking out clothes for friends and family, she always had an eye for style which only expanded as she got older, eventually creating her business, The Wardrobe Provocateur. 

Nichola adores working with women (and men) across the world discovering personal style, reinventing that old tired wardrobe and realising new confidence and vitality through coaching, shopping and good old clearing out of the old. You can read her full story of becoming The Wardrobe Provocateur here. 



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