Posts Tagged ‘shopping’

Losing weight rocks, paying for a new wardrobe doesn’t!

 

Challenge of replacing my wardrobe

From last Feb. to August, I dropped 3 dress sizes.  At first it was easy to transition my wardrobe by pulling out clothes that used to be tight.  After awhile, even those were too big.  I thought, I could spend money and time scouring stores, or I could delay buying new clothes as long as possible.   Then I ran the numbers for buying 2+ months of work clothes while mixing in a few pieces I already owned.

Work Clothes Price
2 Suits  $           300
7 Dresses  $           350
2 Pairs of pants  $           120
6 Tops  $           150
3 Sweaters  $           120
2 Belts  $             60
Total for work clothes     $       1,100

 

 

 

 

 

$1,100 for 40+ days of fab outfits from BCBG, French Connection, Banana Republic, Marc Jacobs, Ann Taylor, and others designers is a bargain, but that’s still $1,100 gone forever!  And that’s just work clothes. My play wardrobe would be a few hundred more.  Rather than hand over a chunk of cash when I may still drop sizes, I decided to delay shopping.  I’d have more time for fun stuff—like this blog—and money for traveling, where I could show off my new body on vacation.

 

Be creative with styling  

I challenged myself to delay shopping by creating new looks until I ran out of clothes.  I thought it would last a month, a month-and-a-half tops.  Instead it worked for 9 months, from March until November.   

 

Use scarcity to increase creativity  

Instead of buying new clothes, I became more creative with styling, using belts and jackets, and mixed pieces I wouldn’t have dared to before.  I bought a few belts a month ($200 total) in several colors—yellow, black, red, brown, blue—and textures—polished leather, cloth, and satin—to create empire-style dresses or a regular waist line on pants & skirts.   Sometimes, a long, loose skirt became a dress, if I used a wide belt to create an empire waist. Pants with a loose waist looked polished and elegant with a wide belt cinching me in.  I wore suit jackets out dancing on Sat. nights with tube top dresses underneath.   Boyfriend sweaters made conservative work clothes trendier. I saved over $1,000 and got more compliments than before!  Many times I’d go to work thinking, “This outfit will be the last straw.  My manager is going to flip.”  Then I’d get tons of compliments.  Eventually, my team and most of the floor decided I was their resident fashionista. The irony is, avoiding shopping made me more fashionable because it pushed my boundaries and forced creativity.

Then I played around with food scarcity.  For a week, I’d cut all carbs except beans.  I now know hundreds of ways to eat beans (black, garbanzo, light red kidney, cannellini, great northern, etc) with salsa, chicken, fish, Asian sauces, basil, eggs, etc.  I also experimented with shrimp, potatoes, spinach, and much more.  

The scarcity experiments saved me tons of cash and taught me to trust my gut.  Overtime, I got better at pairing diverse items (clothing & food) to create something fabulous!

 —————————————— Your Turn! ——————————————

Have you ever done a scarcity challenge?  Interested in trying a fashion scarcity challenge?  How about going 60 days without shopping and seeing what creativity ignites?  What would you do with all the money and time you save by not shopping?   

 

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How to live like a millionaire!

Imagine what your lifestyle would be like if you were a millionaire!

Do you imagine living in a mansion on the water or carrying a Louis Vuitton purse?

I recently read The Millionaire Mind and Stop Acting Rich, both written by

Dr. Thomas Stanley, a professor specializing in research on American millionaires.  His research spans 30+ years and profiles how millionaires actually live, compiling data  from thousands of surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one interviews.  You’ll be surprised that millionaires don’t have the flashy lives we see in shows like MTV’s Cribs.

Millionaires’ Cars

Of the cars recently bought by millionaires, which do you think was the most popular brand?

Range Rover?            

Top-of-the line Mercedes?

Porsche?

The correct answer is . . . Toyota!  Surprised?  “Most [millionaires] do not drive luxury makes of cars.”[i] “The median price paid by millionaires for their most recent [car purchase] was only $31,167.  The typical price paid by decamillionaires (someone with $10+ million in net worth) was $41,997”[ii].

Millionaire Dining

What do you think is the typical price millionaires paid to eat at their favorite restaurants, including tax, tip, and drinks?

$100?

$250?

$300?

The answer is . . . $19.59! “Only three-tenths of 1 percent [.003%] typically [spent] more than $100.”[iii] How much does dinner cost at your favorite restaurant?


Check out more millionaire stats:

Price paid for most recent haircut:

  • Female millionaires: $44.58
  • Male millionaires: $16.00[iv]

Cost of most recently purchased suit:

  • Typical Millionaire: $299.50
  • Decamillionaires: only $482! [v]

Millionaires typically don’t spend a large percentage of their wealth on clothes. When shopping, millionaires look for sales![vi] Millionaires—are frugal, allowing them to reinvest and grow their wealth.

Get involved!

How did the millionaire stats compare to your spending habits?  And your expectations? What surprised you the most?  What didn’t?

I’ll respond to all comments and emails!


[i]Stop Acting Rich, p. 203; [ii]Stop Acting Rich, p. 204; [iii]Stop Acting Rich, p. 156-157; [iv]Stop Acting Rich, p. 60 ; [v]Stop Acting Rich, 72; [vi]Stop Acting Rich, 73 – 74;

Do you really save when you buy discounts?

I was thinking about Black Friday and how hundreds of people camp out overnight to get massive discounts, such as 60-inch flat screen LCD TVs for $150, 70% of laptops, and buy 1 get 1 free digital cameras. Most people go through the hassle of waiting in line and waking up before dawn, so they can save money.  But, do they really save?

My questions to you are: When you buy things on sale, does that mean you’re actually saving money?   Do sales really help you keep more cash in your bank account?

What do you think?

Think about it . . .

A little bit more . . .

Got a final answer?

Alright, time’s up .


My answer: Often discounts and sales actually hurt your bank account! Let me explain with a personal example.

A few years ago, I went into Banana Republic to buy a winter jacket during the after Christmas sale.  I planned to buy one item—a jacket for about $125.  The sales were better than expected! The jacket was marked down from $300 to $32! (You already know what happened next, don’t ya?) I bought more stuff, for a total of 1 jacket, 3 pairs of pants, and 3 tops. The total cost was over $200. I walked out smiling about much money I saved.

But did I actually save money? Here’s the math:

Planned Actual Difference
# of Items 1 7 Bought 6 impulse buys
Average Price per Item $125 $32 Average price per item was about $95 less than expected, due to great discounts
Total Price $125 $225 Spent $100 more than planned, a full Benjamin gone from my bank account

I walked out happy and smiling because I bought 7 items on sale–1 that I needed and 6 that I bought on impulse.  I wasn’t thinking about the bottom line: My bank account was $225 poorer. Did I actually save money?  Was this actually a net plus to my life or finances? No to both!

I can’t tell you how many times I went shopping with the mentality that if I got discounts per item, I saved overall.  It took a while, but it finally sunk in–I save money only when my total shopping bill is less than planned or the extra items are things I needed. (Ladies, I mean need like food, water, shelter, etc. Not the way you “need” another pair of black pumps or a new LBD.)

By buying extra items I didn’t need, I wasted money.  I could have bought just the jacket, and had about $195 to spend on something I really valued.  (Like 3 -4 nights at a hotel in Greece!) Store owners are smart.  They get us in the door with sales, hoping that we’ll buy more overall. 😉

Proving the point that impulse buys often waste money, I rarely wore the 6 impulse buys and no longer even have them.  The jacket, which I needed, has lasted 4+ years, is still worn regularly, and is hanging in my coat closet right now.

Now it’s your turn: When you get discounts, does it feel like you saved money? Even if you spent more overall?

Why brand names aren’t worth it?

Not worth the brand price

Brand names aren’t worth it if I’m paying for extra bells and whistles that I didn’t want in the first place.

I pay for extra brand names only when the brand adds something that’s necessary to meet my requirements.

For example, I buy store brand canned foods, frozen veggies, laundry detergent, and just about anything else that isn’t important to me.  I could buy Tide detergent. Tide makes a great product. But the cheapest detergent on the shelf also washes my clothes just fine. Why spend more money on Tide if a cheaper product meets my requirements? Why pay more for bells and whistles that don’t matter?

Traveling abroad has made me appreciate fresh produce.  Now, I avoid buying fruits and vegetables from your standard American grocery store because the produce is neither delicious nor fresh.  I usually buy produce from Trader Joe’s, (which has higher quality produce than most grocery stores but lower quality than Whole Foods).  Occasionally, if I want something that isn’t available at Trader Joe’s or the quality there is subpar, I go to Whole Foods. For example, I’ll go to Whole Foods for a good mango. Other groceries stores don’t meet my requirements for a juicy, fresh, delicious mango. Hmmmm.

Delicious mangos worth the extra dollar!

Notice that I don’t go to Whole Foods for all my produce. I know that Whole Foods and farmer’s markets have the best fruits and vegetables available to me.  I don’t need best.  I just want food that meets my taste requirements.

To use a shopping analogy, when I want Macy’s quality produce (Trader Joes), I’m not going to Neiman Marcus (Whole Foods and farmer’s markets) for groceries.

How do you decide when to spend extra on brand names? For which items do you buy the store brand? Or always buy the brand name?