We’ve all gotta bit of a passion for fashion in some way, right? It’s a form of art, and it’s a way to express yourself, pretty much like a musician, painter, or writer would. You shouldn’t be suppressing that appreciation for something beautiful, but, um, hey, you also shouldn’t let it run away with you. A musician doesn’t break their bank account by buying every nice guitar they see (or they shouldn’t), and you shouldn’t break your bank account by buying every nice piece of clothing or quirky fashion accessory you come across! Restraint is a powerful but difficult thing to master, trust me, I know that! Our minds tell us that we’re denying ourselves something or missing out when we restrain our urges, but the truth is the complete opposite. You’ll appreciate things like fashion far more when you don’t splurge to the point of forgetting why you loved all these gorgeous pieces of clothing in the first place. When you treat yourself to the occasional stunning fashion piece, you appreciate it far more. Here are some ideas as to better ways in which you could cope with your passion for fashion!
Shop cheaply – Unless you’re in complete debt, eeek, which I’ll mention later, you don’t have to give up on fashion. You shouldn’t give up on the things you love, but you should know how to approach your passion for something when it’s costing you a fortune. Every time you need to update your wardrobe (and that means your clothes are too small, old, or torn rather than you simply wanting more), you should consider the cheaper options. You should try thrift shopping because the clothes are not only far less expensive than the big brands change in their stores but they’re also just as nice as clothes in the big shops. As a vintage loving gal myself, I’d say that vintage clothing is far cooler and unique than the mass produced, mainstream things you’ll find on the high street. Better yet, you’ll be shopping ethically when you head into thrift shops, charity shops, or even just swapping with friends; going for the second-hand option may not be as glamorous as buying a brand new skirt, but the sweatshop industry which creates those clothes sure isn’t glamorous either. At least you won’t be funding more hardship for those workers. You could do a little research into other ways to save money when shopping if you’re worried that you might be wasting cash on your clothes (whether you’re prone to splurging or not). So many big stores trick you into thinking you’re getting a great deal when you’re really spending far more than you should be. Do a little research, and hunt stores which offer ethical clothes which are beautiful and come at a fraction of the price you’d see in other stores.
Try the ‘1 month’ technique – This is a clever lil’ technique if you can be strict with yourself. Next time you walk past a shop on the high street and see a stunning dress or top in the window, make a note of it on your phone or a piece of paper. Wait a month, and see how you feel. This is the ultimate way to determine whether you really want a piece of clothing or you just felt the pull of your insatiable urge to shop. If you still want the dress or whatever fashion item you saw in the window one month after first seeing it then you can go ahead and treat yourself to it. If you find that the urge has passed then don’t buy the piece of clothing or the fashion accessory because you probably never really wanted it anyway. You were simply enticed in the moment, and that’s the entire purpose of display windows in shops.
Make a budget – If you really want to curb your excessive spending then you need to start keeping track of it. Take control of the situation, and make a budget. To do this, you need to first look at the money you make each month (if you’re self-employed then note down the average amount of money you make). Once you have a rough figure, note down all the necessities you need to purchase each month; your rent, the average amount you spend on utility bills, and the average amount you spend on food. The figure you end up with should give you an idea of how much money you need to add to your budget for necessities. Make it a little larger than the amount you spent in order to allow for variation. Stick to this figure. It’s pretty darn vital that you always have money set aside for necessities. You should be left with a rough figure concerning the amount of disposable income you usually have for each month. Set aside some, but not all, of this money for shopping; that’s your new monthly budget for “luxuries”, and you can’t exceed. A way to stop yourself exceeding it is to keep only one credit card for emergencies but to never take that card out with you. This is the key to avoiding debt; never spend more money than you make, and you’ll never need to borrow money for anything unnecessary. If you are in debt, whether it’s for something important like a house or excessive borrowing and spending in the past, then suspend all luxury purchases and pool all your disposable income for that month into paying off your debt. Don’t borrow any more money until your debt is gone; ideally, you shouldn’t borrow money for anything other than big purchases such as houses or cars. When you do, of course, paying off the debt quickly is essential to maintain a good credit score which to me, has always been important.
Don’t go to a mall or the high street to kill time – Only hit the shops when you need to buy something vital for your home or your children, perhaps. Don’t stroll into a mall just because you had some free time because that’s when you’re shopping for the sake of improving your mood and not because you actually need (or even really want) any of the things you’re buying. Treating yourself to luxuries is fine every now and then because we all do it, but when you’re more bothered about the momentary rush it gives you to buy something rather than the thing you’re buying then that’s when you need to stop. Your passion for fashion should solely be focused on the fashion itself, and you shouldn’t be hitting the shops if you’re not even sure why you’re doing so. When you do need to shop for necessities such as food then you should try to head for your local grocery store or smaller, local shops in order to avoid the tempting sight of big clothes brands in the center of your town or city. You want to resist temptation as much as possible so that shopping can get back to being a fun past-time for you; you want to buy clothes because you love the actual clothes and not the feeling of swiping your credit card on the register.
Always bring a shopping list – You likely bring a shopping list with you when you go to buy groceries so that you don’t miss anything important or buy something you don’t need, and that’s why you need to apply that logic to shopping for clothing too. As mentioned in the budgeting point earlier, it’s very important that you bring a set amount of cash with you so that you’re not tempted to splurge on your credit card. That way, you can enjoy the luxuries you buy in the knowledge that you won’t have spent more than you can afford. Perhaps more importantly, you’ll only have a limited amount of cash, and that means you’ll buy clothes that you feel truly passionate about in terms of fashion because you won’t be able to afford everything you see.
Accept when your problem has become too serious – Whilst a lot of the advice in this article was aimed towards people with a penchant for fashion, there are different levels when it comes to overspending on the high street. Some people buy the odd expensive thing that they probably should have avoided, but some people are in serious debt because of an uncontrollable shopping addiction. You need to figure out if you’re on that spectrum and how much help you may need if so.
If you treat yourself to the odd luxury then you don’t have a problem; if you treat yourself to silly things then you may need to try budgeting and other tips in this article; if you’ve borrowed money just to buy even more things then you have a serious problem and you need to seek help. It might be time to look into counseling if you can’t control your own urges. If budgeting, cutting up your credit cards, or any other method isn’t enough to stop you then you could also attend meetings with other people who have shopping addictions. Solidarity always helps. Shopping will always be there to temps us, the stores want us to buy things we don’t need, that’s your hard earned money they want so take time before handing it over…do you REALLY need that extra dress? Shop well, my friends. x