Friday, January 21, 2011

Cutting Back

I've noticed I'm not alone in vowing to limit my spending. Several bloggers, including Amanda, have devoted posts to this same issue. I was talking to Caroline today and we both decided to save for something we really want--like a RM Roland Mouret dress, or possibly a great bag. While this seems counter intuitive I think big purchases often lead to limited spending as the emotions/guilt/pleasure lead to cutbacks both before and afterwards. While I may not go this route, one thing I am going to cut back is those small splurges that add up. I've already mentioned that I am not going to buy the following this year--unless I really love a special item or absolutely need it:

colored opaque tights (I have drawers full of them)
J. Crew costume jewelry

These little splurges often go overlooked (it's just $5, $10, $20, $50) but they add up. They've also filled my closet, drawers, and other available spaces. I do not need any more of any of the above and can no longer say it's an investment. Cutting back on spending on clothes also comes with the advantage of cutting back clutter. And our one bedroom is way too full of stuff.

I also vow to cut back buying books and dvds. This one is tricky--I do need them for my job and for research and libraries don't always cut it (books are recalled or out on loan, or simply not there--something that is notoriously the case at NYU's Bobst). I still haven't worked out how to manage this cutback but I have to do something as I have way too many unread books and unwatched dvds on my shelves.

Still, I don't think these spending cuts are enough. I no longer buy something because it is Mayle and I haven't got it and it is in my size. I've got to love it and it has to be something that will add value to my closet at a reasonable price--although I have yet to sort out the details.

Basically, I'm on a clothing freeze right now. That may be the easiest way to do it. If anybody has any advice, please share.


LivKate said...

Well Moya, as you know, last summer I started to reduce my spending. I did alot of introspection and determined that what I REALLY wanted was to own a house in our neighborhood. So I have been working hard to refrain from shopping and trying to avoid temptation (i.e., passing on the Mayle Coco clogs :( and not going into my favorite stores). The one thing I have noticed since I have changed my habits is that money seems to beget more money. I have since obtained a better paying job and my husband was just promoted this week - Yay! I feel so much more optimistic about my family's future and for the first time in a long while, I feel less stressed about our finances. Early last year I paid off the cc debt I accumulated during the Mayle frenzy and it felt awesome! I guess my point is that I can relate to that constant struggle to balance the desire for nice things and not ruining the family finances. I do believe that once you start "cutting back", you begin to realize how much you do not need and the rewards go beyond having more $$$. The peace of mind and not always feeling guilty is AMAZING. We'll see how long this lasts... Although I must confess that my resolve has definitely been buttressed by Mayle. I still wear her pieces from six years ago and love them. So perhaps those purchases were an "investment" after all?

jennifer said...

Your post and LivKate's comment are inspiring. I am also on a buying freeze. I try to limit myself to 3-4 items per season, but I usually end up finding ways to bend the rules. A couple things that have really helped me is to a) stop looking (in theory, no temptation=no money spent) and b) make a spreadsheet each season of items you need, how much they cost, and items you have purchased and how much you've spent on them.

LivKate said...

BTW, thank you for the link to Amanda's blog. I am in awe of her curated shoe collection. The No. 6 clogs taunt me. I want them so much and I know they would be my weekend staple. I will somehow have to figure out a way to get them and still stay true to my commitment to save. I guess it is time to see what I can list on ebay to finance such a splurge!

Amanda said...

Jennifer is right. It's especially easy to get carried away on the internet where you can just click and buy without even thinking. So if you avoid even looking at something, there is no temptation. I just shop twice a year and allow myself ONE impulse purchase. I know that it's hard and may not work for everyone, but my reward is that at the end of the day, I have enough money left over to do the things that really matter - like travelling or buying a house!

Thanks for the shout out by the way, I really appreciate it :-)

Marti said...

Moya I commend your effort to cut back. You are in a city with a ton of temptation. Here in PDX there is NOTHING I want to buy - so I covet from afar. I find I spend most of my money on going out now/drinking, which I have cut back on in January by not drinking and joining the gym (which was a great investment at $31.99 a mo). And I have learned if I REALLY want something from J.Crew it will most likely go on sale - so I am now waiting and watching. And I have a bit more money. My one down fall is Mayle, but I am constantly outbid so I assume that its something I am not meant to have.

For DVD's you should stalk amazon - jon often finds films he wants for $6 or even $12 (max)

I have noticed that this is the first month that I havent run out of money (jon and I dont share an account)

Connor said...

Was afraid you wouldn't see this on the JCA website so posting here. Thank you so much for your review of the Aveline dress; I plan on wearing it to a wedding this fall so hopefully I can still get it in my size!


louise or valentine said...

i've decided to only buy 4 pieces a season that i really, really like, be it from j. crew or mayle on ebay.

but my room mate has a great strategy, she refuses to spend more than $50 on any article of clothing but then she also asks herself how important is it, does she love it? will it outlast the season? will she wear it for at least two years?
if she's unsure, then don't get it.
i've been applying that to sample sales. if i'm in love, i should get it.
but i need to cut back as well.

ugh. and apply for a 9-5er.