Tax season is a wonderful time to take inventory of how much stuff you have purchased over the past year. Since we are all reviewing our expenditures anyway at this time, it could be second nature to look year over year at:
- how much did you spend on tangible items overall (can you estimate what % were made in USA?)
- how many actual items did this buy you? (can you estimate the number made in USA?)
- Set a goal for reducing next years overall (or apparel) purchases (in quantity not dollars)
The average American spends 3.3% of their expenditures on apparel. Are you close to this number? Today, Americans are buying about 70 items of clothing each year. 25 years ago they bought only 34 items over the course of the year.
At spending an average of $1786 per year, this would be an average of approximately $25 per item. If you think of the amount of time, labor and materials that goes into sourcing, making and selling an item of clothing, it's hard to imagine anyone can make money at these low prices.
Take count of the number of items that you are buying. Look through your closet and determine about how many pieces of clothes you wear throughout the month. What is realistic for you? Can you cut your purchases down by 10%, 25%, 50%, 75%?
As a reward, buy higher quality clothing with the money you save. Or, create a prize that you can win if you meet your shopping goal. For example, treat yourself to a massage if you meet your shopping goal of only buying 2 items over the next 4 months. This way, you'll be treating yourself....and it won't be to more STUFF. I have been doing this for a long time so going without shopping has become easy for me, but initially was difficult.
These days I reward myself with shopping...I try to see how long I can go without buying something and then when I finally go shopping, I am able to do so at any cost. I do of course try to make sure I make conscious buying decisions. Last year I bought a whopping three clothing items for myself (1 vintage and 2 made in America) ;) But if you are new to this, maybe it is more realistic to NOT buy something three times, and that is something to CELEBRATE!!
numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014
We'd love to know how many items you bought last year, and if you set a goal for next year. Let's support each other!
- This year, my goal is to try to keep track my household clothing and general purchases (quantity and country of origin)