Oh No, Girlfriend (Part 3), Lessons Learned:
Have enough confidence in yourself that you don’t need to wear expensive clothes to feel good. Also, don’t making shopping a leisure activity. You should buy things because you need —actually need—them. It’s not necessary to go shopping every week. You should feel great whether you’re wearing a sweatshirt or a cummerbund at the end of the day. (OK, no one feels great wearing a cummerbund, but you know what I’m saying.) A shirt is a shirt, and an expensive shirt is going to get red wine spilled on it. Eliminate one more worry from your thoughts, and buy clothes that you don’t have an attachment to.
Now, I understand that being so Spartan might not work for everyone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t come up with alternatives to curb your spending. For example, try setting a clothing budget for yourself, and never exceed it. This strategy would help ensure that you make purchases for the long term, and resist the latest trend. Or if you must have nice clothes, and you actually enjoy worrying about them getting dirty, do the following: Buy something that is known for its quality, and will last forever. If you see you clothes as a long-term investment, your attitude about their value will change.
Kelly didn’t have an attachment to her clothes for a different reason. She didn’t value her clothes. She didn’t have to sock a way a dollar a day for a month to buy a $30 skirt. When you work hard for something, you cherish it and take better care of it. You don’t lose things you waited a month to buy. Kelly had never experienced this. But I have the feeling she has experienced many of boyfriends camping out on her couch with their mouth shut watching TV.
Lastly, my room was a mess, but I knew where everything was. Kelly had a walk-in closet and it still took 45 minutes for her to find a pair of shoes she had never worn before. If I ever had a new pair of shoes, you can rest assured I would know where they were at all times: on my feet.
Fashion changes every season, and because of that, it’s an expensive addiction/beast to feed. With my clothes, I buy cheap and then try to make them into long-term investments. And like I said, I don’t think I dress that far off from the norm. Shopping at second-hand stores and budget malls have provided me with plenty of clothes and plenty of savings. And, actually, plenty of compliments, so I must be doing something right in the fashion department.
Now, before every woman reading this book hurls it across the room because there’s no way in hell they’re only buying one pair of shoes a year: hold on.
I get it. That’s probably not happening, and in my experience, women tend to really dig shopping — at least more than men do. Like I’ve said, if you really want to save for a down payment for an apartment, or seed money for your small business, it’s crucial to take a good hard look at every purchase you make, and determine what’s worth more to you: that cashmere sweater or putting a little more towards your nest egg (plus the compound interest you’d earn on it). With that in mind, here are some suggestions for the ladies (and shopping-friendly guys), on how to make the dollars you do spend go further.
If you’re shopping online, never, ever, buy anything without searching to see if there’s an online coupon that can save you some money. (Just Google “online coupon”.) There are literally sites on the Web that just keep track of who’s offering what discount for how long. Sometimes you can score free shipping, sometimes 20% off. If you don’t use them, you’re just throwing money away.
Never, ever pay full price. Need a dress for a wedding? A suit for a new job? Head to one of those mega outlet malls (don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about), shop at discount retailers like Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Daffy’s, Filene’s Basement, or Syms — and be sure to comb the clearance racks.
I’m a big fan of selling stuff on eBay, but it’s also a good place to get new high end merchandise at a fraction of the price. Betsey Johnson, Marc Jacobs, Banana Republic, J. Crew — they’re all there.
Hell, I even got a pointer from The Oprah Winfrey Show once. (Yeah, yeah, ok, I watch Oprah from time to time. But at least I don’t have a need to buy more than one pair of shoes!) She had a rule, if she really wants something, she waits 24 hours. If she really wants that product, shirt, or whatever it is still in 24 hours, she’ll then buy it. Usually, the effort of going back to the store is more trouble than it’s worth. Concluding that she really doesn’t want it that bad after all.
That’s it for part three, keep on the lookout for the final installment tomorrow! Our final installment covers even more lessons learned.