My Personal 2018 Spending Challenge

Today I’m getting personal in the hopes that by sharing one of my goals for this year, I will hold myself accountable and maybe even inspire some others to challenge themselves in the process. In 2018 I have given myself an interesting challenge and I’m so excited to tell you more about it.

THE CHALLENGE

So here’s the long and short of it. I have pledged to myself that I will not buy ANY new clothes in 2018. Literally no new clothes, with one exception. (Here’s where I share a little too much personal information.) I am allowing myself to buy new underwear since I stretched all of mine out while I was growing our daughter. This is especially challenging because over the past year I gained 35 pounds during my pregnancy and then dropped 45 pounds afterwards, so the fit of things in my wardrobe are constantly up in the air. 80% of my clothes are now too big or way too big. It’s a super simple in theory, but let’s see if I can accomplish it.

WHAT INSPIRED IT

Have you ever woken up one day and just thought, “Why do I have so much stuff?” I started experiencing this after realizing that since we are now doing daily laundry for our little one, I pretty much wear the same things over and over again. Often they don’t even make it out of the clean laundry basket before I’ve decided to wear them again. Maybe in my twenties I would have cared more if someone noticed that I was wearing the same outfit twice in one week. Now if it smells clean and doesn’t have baby vomit on it, it’s a winner!

I once had a boss who wore a black suit every day. Literally every day she would wear the same black suit and just change out the shirt or scarf she was wearing with it. At 21 years old I questioned that choice, but today she is my hero. I aspire to get my wardrobe to the place where I can have just a few essential pieces that I can recycle to make a week’s worth of outfits.

WHAT ARE THE RULES?

The rules for this challenge are pretty simple, and that’s what makes it so easy for me to stick with. There is no gray area or room to fudge the rules. I cannot buy new clothes for myself in 2018. Period. For me personally, having a goal that is so black and white like this is even easier to follow than a less extreme rule.

WHAT I HOPE TO GAIN

At the end of this I hope to lose more than I gain. I hope to really be able to let go of the clothing I never wear and focus on ensuring that the pieces I do keep are things I love and that actually fit me. With any luck this means I will finally be motivated to bring items that don’t fit me to a tailor. There is one particular dress that has been sitting unworn in my closet for almost four years, and I think this will be the year it finally sees its day in the sun!

Additionally, I’m obviously looking forward to saving money. I don’t consider myself a big shopper, but last year I spend about $1,800 on clothes that I clearly didn’t need. That could have paid for two plane tickets to Scotland and more! Lastly, I hope to ditch the time that I was spending needlessly sifting through websites for the perfect blazer or sweater. There’s no point of spending my time that way when I am 100% sure that I will not be purchasing anything. Instead, I’m hoping to get more out of that time by reading, exercising, or generally doing things that will benefit me in the long run instead of just killing time.

So far I've nearly made it through January without spending a dime on clothes for myself. Only eleven months to go... Wish me luck!

Have you ever thought about taking on a big money challenge like this? What would yours be?


Written By: Lindsay Dell Cook

Lindsay Dell Cook is a CPA, finance writer, and founder of Budget Babble. She lives in Philadelphia with her uber supportive husband and adorable daughter. When she's not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, taking their lovable mutt for walks, or reading a good book while buried under a pile of cats.