Wednesday, May 16, 2007

'Tis the Season

In my post about financial routines yesterday, I didn't think to include "seasonal." With the sudden appearance of spring, and even summer weather, a certain seasonal spending binge has been on my mind: clothes.
Yes, in spring a young woman's fancy turns to clothing, but does her wallet turn there too? Every year, I feel like I want to buy a whole new wardrobe when the weather gets warm. And sometimes I feel like I actually do spend a ton of money in one big rush of shopping. It's not just the fact that it is spring, it's also that this time of year is when occasion arise that demand new outfits, such as weddings and parties and for those of us in publishing, the BookExpo trade show. But do I really end up spending as much as I think I do? Maybe not!
I graphed my monthly clothing spending in 2006 and here's what I found:

I did have a big spending binge in June but it wasn't as big a spike as I thought in relation to the rest of the year. And it was almost the only money I'd spent on clothes year-to-date, as I seem to have bought a bunch of stuff in January that I mostly returned in April!
Also, last year was a weird year. I was so preoccupied with moving out of my old apartment and finding temporary housing that I'm surprised I remembered to wear clothes at all. I was also consciously trying not to buy new stuff that would just have to be packed. And then in October, there was that big spike of spending when I had to buy fall clothes because all the ones I already owned were still in storage-- let's hope THAT doesn't ever need to happen again!

So every day now, it's just a question of how busy I am at work-- do I take some time at lunch to do a little shopping? I haven't done it yet, but it has to happen soon. I just got a Banana Republic coupon in the mail that might come in handy... and I have a coupon for Macy's... though now that I say that I am wondering if it's expired. This is the dark side of the spring clothing fling-- I will inevitably end up falling in love with things that are not on sale, that will probably go on sale the day after I become ineligible for any kind of price adjustment. But I like to think that I end up ahead in the long run: if I was the kind of agressive shopper who constantly scours the stores looking for bargains, I'd probably buy more overall. Instead, I try to shop only when I need to buy things, and I buy things I really like and will use, even if they are not on sale. I think I end up spending less money this way. (Yeah, you tell yourself that, Madame X... whatever makes you feel better...)


Rich Minx said...

I blogged about clothes shopping today too, including tricks I'm using to cut down which seem to be working.

Anonymous said...

Bronx Chica....if I shop online, I go to a site called mypoints where I get points for each dollar i spend!I'm not a big clothes shopper. I rather buy music and

Caroline said...

I started a system this year where I go on one big shopping trip at the start of the season and buy a whole lot of clothes that I like regardless of cost (within reason). I bought about 14 things for $2000. This seems to have worked because I no longer decide I hate all my clothes and buy things sporadically throughout the year. When I buy things sporadically throughout the year, I worry about the cost, so I buy something cheap, and as a result I decide I don't like it because it "looks cheap", and then I go out and buy more things. It's a vicious cycle.

Anonymous said...

Not that it is fiscally responsible to tell you so, but...the Gap has the cutest plaid shorts right now! And, I am now the owner of several. I, too, feel the spring urge to spend and have a bit, but have tried to cut down elsewhere to make up for it. My Gapcard (includes Old Navy and Banana Republic and I have 2 kids that I clothe as well) bill has been much higher the past two months. The last time I had a spike like this was August with back to school shopping.

In terms of buying things and accumulating them, though, I should note that I always try to find something to donate or sell in a consignment sale or yard sale each time I bring something new into the house.

Anonymous said...

I find that I do not only have the spring to buy clothes for, I've also just started to date somebody I really like and I find that I want new clothes for that as well. Saturday I am off to buy some skirts and dresses which I have not worn for years.