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Friday, 22 September 2017

Budget Reboot Challenge: Fast fashion

Hello Budget Reboot, have you tried turning it off and on again?

Money saving posts are always the same - stop doing this, stop buying that, stop having any fun and live a sad deprived life while watching the numbers in your bank account tick up and up. Of course, they don't frame it that way, but when someone asks you to give up something you love in the name of money, we get pretty defensive.

Instead of 'giving up' let's try something new. Hit the refresh button on your spending habits with this Budget Reboot Challenge.

This month's challenge: Clothes Shopping

Did you try last months Budget Reboot Challenge: Eating Less Meat?
Spring is finally here! Not just according to the calendar, but according to the weather as well. The Spring Equinox is tomorrow which means warmth, long days, sunshine, and a whole new wardrobe! Time to start shopping for new shoes, shirts, shorts, light-weight summer jackets, and all those things that you bought this time last year.

Wait, bought this time last year? If we bought all these things last year, why do we need to buy them again?


According to the ABC's War on Waste, Australians go through a ridiculous amount of clothes. In this documentary they work with a group of girls to teach that that clothes can be worn more than once. These girls actually had to be encouraged that it was okay to wear the same outfit twice, whereas I have a jacket in regular rotation that I have owned for more than eight years.

Apparently I'm doing it wrong though - apparently at the end of every season I'm supposed to throw out those clothes and buy a new set. All my winter clothes, out the door to make room for all my Spring-wear. That I'm going to toss in 3 months to buy Summer wear.

If you couldn't tell by my dripping sarcasm, I think this is bloody ridiculous. To be fair I am removing all my winter wear from my cupboard - and stashing it elsewhere in my house. When it gets cold again next year I'll shift it all back into my cupboard.

The cost of a whole new wardrobe

Clothes these days are cheap. T-shirts for $5, pants for $10, jumpers and dresses for $20. With a few hours shopping effort (why would you want to!) you could purchase a whole new wardrobe for under $300, giving you a whole new look and variety of choices for summer. 

With so many cheap (poorly made, sweatshop) clothes available it's easy to get suckered into the fast fashion movement. It doesn't seem like much at the time to spend $30-$40 on a whole new outfit. But over time, it adds up to a ridiculous amount - which chains you to your 9-5 desk for years longer.

Let's assume you replace your wardrobe each season for $300. On top of that, you buy some outfits for special occasions (weddings and such) that you absolutely cannot wear again (oh the shame of outfit recycling!). These special occasion outfits cost another $400 a year.

Each year you're spending $1,600 a year on clothes. While it might not seem like much at the time, after 10 years you've lost out on $22,000, all for clothes that only stay in your wardrobe for a few weeks. 

If you were to put that extra money towards shortening your mortgage you could knock 9 years off your mortgage. If you've got a credit card debt, letting your clothes last through the seasons could be the quickest way out of the hole - by not spending any more, and freeing up money to make extra repayments.

Why buy new when there is so much excellent
under-priced stock in the thrift shop

Turn it off and on again: Buying any new clothes

The point of the Budget Reboot Challenge isn't to force you to change your ways, but to commit to something for a set period and see what it's really like. Turn off clothes shopping, and at the end of your commitment, ask yourself if you really need to add it back in again?

How long could you go without buying a new item of clothing? Big Kid Little Adult has started a challenge, to buy nothing new for a year (underwear excluded, you can buy that). Going in to summer if you need a few more singlets, just cut the sleeves off a ratty old shirt. I have so many of these, I actually have to hide shirts from myself in summer, otherwise I'll cut them all up!

How long can you commit to not buying new clothes? One Week? One Month? One Year? How much can you save doing it?

I can commit to Buying Nothing for a month! (Except for one costume... I've got dress-up needs! But I promise to buy second hand)

At the end of that, Turn It On again: This is the fun part. After the end of your commitment, you're free! You can buy as many new clothes as you want, but first I need you to do a status check for me.

Did you miss shopping? Did you find new ways to wear existing clothes?
Did you save money? How much?
Did you really feel like you were missing out? Maybe you could keep going with it?

Budget Reboot August, how did you go?

Back in August I asked you to try eating less meat. I committed to finding a meatless meal that Mr. FIRE would enjoy, and I failed. Drat. I fed him Miso Soup and Eggs on Hash Browns. While he enjoyed both of them, he argued that the Miso left him hungry, and that Eggs on Hash Browns made a great breakfast but weren't enough for a dinner. The search continues!

I did eat a lot of meat free meals myself while Mr. FIRE was away for work. Mostly because it was easier (being lazy helps some times). While I normally spend $200 a month on groceries, September is on track to be closer to $150. This is a pretty big saving, but to be fair it might be more that Mr. FIRE was away, than that I spent less. Then again, while he's away I have to buy everything myself, rather than sharing the cost - so maybe I did save?


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