Why I'm Not Buying Any New Clothes in 2019
I am already regretting this just typing the words. That’s right people, I am taking a pledge to myself and my closet not to buy any new clothes in all of 2019. I even made up a hashtag #nobuy19. When I will use that hashtag, who can know really. Now, I am not in debt, and I wouldn’t say I spend an outrageous amount of money on new clothes so some people might think I’m crazy for imposing this limitation on myself, but the reasons for this shopping ban go deeper than just the impact shopping has on my budget.
Let’s talk about the what before we get into the why. I am not buying any NEW clothes. I am going to continue to let myself shop second hand for used clothes for a couple reasons. Second hand shopping is a great creative outlet and I love supporting the second hand economy. Buying used clothes also largely avoids the reasons I don’t want to buy new clothes: the cost of new clothes, the impact on the environment of buying new, and the consumerist mindset I often find myself in of “what’s next.”
Here’s the thing, I really like clothes and buying new clothes makes me happy. But why is that? Are my new clothes substantially better that the clothes I had before? Maybe, but only marginally, but what I already had was sufficient, super cute even. So why does the act of getting new clothes make me so happy and why is not shopping so hard for me? The fact that buying clothes is so important to me is one of the reasons I want to cut it out. I want to figure out why I like it so much. I also want to actually use and enjoy the many pieces of clothing I already own and not be constantly thinking about what I want to buy next or when the next big sale will be.
This is why I will let myself continue to buy used clothing, there is no advertising barraging you with images of a 40 year old coat at the Goodwill. If you find a piece of clothing second hand and you love it, it was meant to be! But no blogger or store convinced you that you should like it. That’s something I love about second hand clothing, you know it is a true expression of your own style.
I also love that you can’t shop for second hand clothes online (I guess technically you can with Poshmark and the like, but I have never really enjoyed or been tempted by used online retailers) so you don’t waste time scrolling through endless product. I hope that not shopping for new clothes will free up time I didn’t know I was wasting. Every time I get the urge shop online, I want to pick up a book, write a blog post, play with my dog, call a friend, look for freelance writing work, etc. I bet I spend more time looking at clothes online than I realize.
I know I will also save money! Usually my thrift store finds are under $5, so even if my thrifting increases to make up for my lack of online satisfaction, I will still save hundreds of dollars. Obvi oh so excited for that.
I have also become increasingly aware of the amount of trash my clothing purchases produce. The tags, the bags, the boxes, the receipts. Just because you recycle doesn’t mean that your waste isn’t having an impact on the environment. When you buy used, the only packaging is the tag. Even more awesome- that used piece of clothing (not purchased online) is like buying local produce. A person introduced that item into the second hand economy at the thrift store where you purchase it. It doesn’t get shipped from a Nordstrom on the other side of the country or from a factory on the other side of the world like a new purchase would. You are also keeping that item out of a landfill. In other words, buying used saves baby sea animals. As if I need another reason.
Buying clothes new also has environmental, waste, and humanitarian impacts far beyond what’s reflected on that item’s price tag. I have been trying to become more aware about my footprint and that means thinking about how much water it takes to produce clothing or the amount of energy used to power factories and transport clothing and keep the lights on at malls. It is substantial. Buying fewer clothes is an easy way to lessen your environmental impact. If you buy fewer clothes, you can buy higher quality which means you will also have to buy fewer clothes in the future. Win win!
But guys, I have plenty of clothes. This last year I focused on buying higher quality and fewer pieces… I was only mildly successful. Several months this last year I would do a no-buy month. I would either make an exception mid-month or just wait and buy whatever I thought I “needed” at the end of the month. So, I need some hard and fast rules that are a bit drastic to change my habits.
So, my shopping ban includes all new things that go on the body: clothes, shoes, socks, jackets, hats, etc.
If I absolutely need something, like if my only pair of gloves has been eaten by my adorable dog (this is likely to happen), I have to find them used.
If this challenge interests you, I highly recommend reading the clothing series by one of my fave financial bloggers, Frugal Woods. Having just gone to her website to link her, I now realize I am ripping off the title of her first clothing post… sorry about that Liz.
Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without. #nobuy19