What to wear? Everything
Save money and tame closet clutter with a 'wear everything challenge.'
Shopping trips and closet purges are not the way to get there. Not right away, anyhow. Try a "wear everything challenge" instead.
The process is pretty simple: Wear every seasonally appropriate item you own at least once. No falling back on the same few favorite chinos or skirts. Seriously: everything.
If you balk at leaving the house in those lime-green parachute pants, ask yourself: Why do I still have them? Start a "discard" box and add to it every time you unearth a garment that makes you shudder.
'Only when I have a need'
That's the whole point: to look seriously at what you own and decide whether it's doing you any good. For example:
- Are you hanging on to outfits from college or, worse, high school -- stuff that is out of date, age-inappropriate or no longer fits?
- Do you shop when bored or anxious?
- Are you a trend-follower, always looking for the next hot style?
- Did you buy those size-too-small trousers as an incentive to lose 10 pounds? (Yeah, that'll work.)
- Are you helpless in the face of a great deal? (Hint: If you don't need it, it's not a deal.)
At the end of the year, 37 articles of clothing had gone unworn. Roth admitted that he tended to overbuy at thrift stores or Costco. Now he has resolved to shop "only when I have a need for something."
Those 37 shirts and sweaters went to a charity shop. You might also decide to donate your discards. If the items are in great shape, however, you might be able to sell them on eBay or place them at a consignment store.
Don't rush to fill the extra space in closets and dressers. First try new combinations of the remaining garments. You may develop what blogger Susan Wagner calls "a distinct personal style."
"When you are relying on what you already own rather than constantly shopping, you have an opportunity to put the best pieces in your closet to work -- the ones that fit well and make you feel good," she writes in this post on BlogHer.
A streamlined wardrobe might work for you. Plenty of professionals get by with several nice suits, some oxford shirts, and a handful of ties or scarves.
And if you do need to fill in some blank spots? Buy quality items. A cheaply made blouse or shirt will wear out quickly, making it not such a good deal after all. You can find some very high-quality items at those thrift or consignment stores. Failing that, use a price comparison website to find the best deal.
Taking control of your shopping will help you take control of your life: less anxiety about keeping up with trends, fewer worries about credit card bills, more cash to put toward your personal financial goals. Roth estimates that those unworn clothes cost him about $750. You might or might not want to think about how much you spent on those lime-green parachute pants.
More on MSN Money:
Copyright © 2013 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
WHAT IS FRUGAL NATION?
Donna Freedman's Frugal Nation blog is for readers who want to live cheaply -- whether due to necessity or a lifestyle choice. It explores living sustainably and making life more meaningful at the same time.
ABOUT DONNA FREEDMAN
Donna Freedman, a writer based in Anchorage, Alaska, writes the Frugal Nation blog for MSN Money. She won regional and national prizes during an 18-year newspaper career and earned a college degree in midlife without taking out student loans. Donna also writes about the frugal life for her own site, Surviving and Thriving.
Starting Monday, this site is joining forces with MSN Money Smart Spending. Here's why.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
Those shackled with student loan debt are increasingly being targeted by scams and shady companies promising relief.