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Buy less than 12 items of clothing in 2011 challenge – end of year update

Posted by on Tuesday 3 January 2012 in anti-consumerism, frugal, less than 12 clothes challenge, low spend 11 | 10 comments

This morning I tweeted that I think it’s going to take me most of 2012 to catch up on all my leftover stuff from 2011 – and this is one of those things!

The Challenge

Last year, I set myself the challenge of buying no more than 12 items of clothing in 2011 – and I invited other people to join me. A good number of people signed up (or committed themselves to similar goals).

What I bought

I went until July (which was a full nine months since I’d bought any new clothes) before buying anything then raced up to 11 things by October!

I bought:

  • 1 x a woolly hoodie jumper from a charity shop
  • 4 x jeans from eBay (mostly replacements for old ones falling apart – I wear jeans all day, every day)
  • 1 x light cardigan from a high street store
  • 2 x t-shirts from Threadless
  • 2 x long-sleeved tops from a high street store
  • 1 x a cord jacket from a charity shop

I can’t tell you how many things I watched on eBay, or added to basket on other online shops, or considered at in-person shops – it was a LOT but I only bought those 11 things. By and large, I thought a lot more carefully about what I was buying because I didn’t want to go over my limit. That said: I still made impulse buys and mistakes. I love the cord jacket I got in October but that was a mistake: I’d spent most of the year trying to find the perfect spring/autumn jacket on eBay but then impulse bought the jacket at a charity shop even though it didn’t have a hood (which was a key thing for me) — I’ve been rained on so many times since then! The biggest mistake though was the Threadless t-shirts I bought in September – I’ve had t-shirts from there before and they’ve been decent quality; this batch though are awful — incorrectly sized, shoddy fabric, poor stitching = unwearable. It really annoys me that I wasted two of my quota on them! GRRR!

(The jacket, with the reason I keep getting rained on asleep in the background ;) )

Lessons learnt

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July 2011 – end of month review

Posted by on Tuesday 2 August 2011 in goals, less than 12 clothes challenge, low spend 11, meta | 2 comments

So here we are again, at the end of another month (or rather the beginning of the next one because I’m a bit behind). I can’t even remember the start of July – I was busy with drama stuff on the second weekend but even those shows feel a lifetime ago now. The month hasn’t dragged really, or been super busy (apart from that drama stuff) so I don’t know why it’s felt so long … at least I got my money’s worth out of it I guess!

Goals in 2011 progress

We’ve had quite a bit of food from the garden this month – LOTS of courgettes, some potatoes and other bits & pieces. I’ve not done the “whole meal” but we’ve had a number of courgette & eggy things so that’s part way there ;)

Aside from that and just about hitting my at-least-once-a-week baking target, I’ve not really done anything else goal-y. I didn’t have any mini-goals in July as I didn’t have anything pressing, so I can’t even say I was busy doing those. Since June was equally unmotivated/lazy, naughty Louisa, naughty!

Buy less than 12 items of clothing in 2011

I’ve actually bought something! I bought my first item of clothing in 2011 – a charcoal lambswool/angora woolly hoodie from a charity shop. It is exactly the sort of thing I like and was only £3, and I suspect I will very, very much welcome it next winter. I didn’t buy any new woollies at all last winter and was struggling a bit by the end of the season. If I don’t shrink it the first time I wash it, I think I’ll probably live in it from November-March ;)

That purchase seemingly opened a mental “I want to buy clothes!” flood gate. Mid-month, I spent *ages* looking for stuff online and started looking more closely at clothes rails in charity shops … but couldn’t find anything I liked enough to warrant buying. However last weekend, I bought a pair of jeans on eBay (the same size/brand/style I always wear, so they should fit fine) and nearly bought a top too but got outbid. The jeans aren’t desperately needed as I already have four pairs but they were a bargain and I wear them all the frickin’ time, so they’ll be very useful all the same.

I also bought a couple of things from my exceptions list: I bought a five-pack of cute but basic knickers, and two everyday bras. These were replacements as I cleaned out my underwear drawer the day before and had “retired” two bras and 29 pairs of knickers – it was looking a little empty after that!

So my “12 in 11” total is now at a grand 2!

Growing & Chickens

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First half of 2011 spending breakdown

Posted by on Thursday 30 June 2011 in frugal, low spend 11, personal finance | 6 comments

After the one I made for my June spending at lunchtime, I’m in a graph making mood so I’ve made one to show (myself) where my money has gone in the first half of 2011.

Here’s said graph:

And here’s the details in a table:

Category Spent Percentage
Transport £350.20 24%
Food** £339.14 23%
Household £326.73 21%
Crafts £110.63 7%
Work-related £109.15 7%
Garden £85.73 6%
Entertainment £76.59 5%
Books £60.15 4%
Gifts £25.84 2%
Clothes £15.97 1%

(** Takeout food and restaurant bills; my share of all bills or the total bill if I paid for everyone.)

Inspired by Shoestring Alley, I started tracking my spending at the start of the year and decided to record everything I spent “frivolously” – ie. not core bills or to-be-eaten/prepared-at-home food, but everything else. I wanted to start doing it to make me more conscious of my spending habits – to see where the money goes and to know that if I buy something silly/completely frivolous then I still have to hold myself accountable over it. A tool to help me reduce spending & consumption across the board.

It’s really worked – I’ve spent far less money on random things than I ever have done before. I’m actually really surprised how low “books” is as back when I was working full time, I could easily spend that on books each month and I got my money’s worth out of my book buying even then. (Disclaimer: most of the work-related stuff is books too, but books I wouldn’t ever buy or read if I didn’t need them – I would NOT be reading Shakespeare if I had a choice in it! ;) )

Apparently it takes just over two months to form a new habit and I think in the last six months, I have formed a habit of being conscious of my spending and not giving into temptation/the desire to buy things. Over the last month in particular, I’ve not spent a lot (by my previous standards) of frivolous money but I’ve not in any well felt hard done by, which is good, because that could lead to binge spending. There is still room to easily cut down – on lazy/convenience food, on pretty household stuff (related to us still settling in/decorating our house), and on craft supplies – but aside from food & travel costs, I’m pretty ok with it.

Do you track your spending? Do you find it motivating or restrictive?

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June – end of month review

Posted by on Thursday 30 June 2011 in goals, less than 12 clothes challenge, low spend 11 | 5 comments

I seem to have been writing a lot of review-type-posts lately – all very introspective (sorry!) but I do very much learn from my past mistakes so it’s good to think about them. So then, June….

Goals in 2011 progress

We’re finally starting to get good food from the garden so I could see myself easily doing “full meal from the garden” thing in July. I haven’t made any provisions for the off-grid stuff though.

I’ve been starting to take cuttings of various herbs and will continue to do that – and I’ve come up with a way of measuring success of that goal — a list of things I’d like to successfully propagate this year (and a few things I’d like to try to overwinter – since that’s a similar idea).

My making stuff with wood has slowed down – boo – and aside from a little embroidery, haven’t done much craft stuff either – no outfit sewing either. Inspired by this tutorial though, I’m going to set aside a day in July to do a bit of sewing and I’m also tempted to join the Crazy Aunt Purl holey jumper KAL — that would be my first knitted jumper (and, um, actually my first knitting since I fell in love with crochet nearly two years ago!).

No more fishing progress – boo again – but I might try to get us a day booked in before the main school holidays start – I think I have a week window between being busy with drama and the holidays so better get a move on!

Not really baked that much, not made cheese, not done any cold-smoking and not met any internet people. Been a bit lazy recently really! Recapping that here make me feel I should be a bit more motivated in July!

Buy less than 12 items of clothing in 2011

Not bought anything this month – so my clothes buying tally is still zero (with just a few second-hand/BNWT bras from my exception list last month). I can’t believe I’ve not bought any clothes for over seven months now!

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Saving as much as I spend

Posted by on Thursday 3 March 2011 in frugal, low spend 11, personal finance | 0 comments

Following the 20 Financial Milestones for your 20s(ish) list I worked through at the start of February, I’ve started a new separate savings account for “saving-as-much-as-you-spend” thing.

I ummed and aahed about adding it to my normal savings account but I like the idea of starting its own dedicated account so I can really see it add up.

I’ve decided not to include all of my spending in the “to-save” pile – just the stuff that feels optional or a treat/luxury: books but not bus fare, meals eaten out but not food for meals cooked at home, pretty craft stuff but not pet supplies. My very own VAT ;)

From the whopping £242.52 which I spent in February, £137.16 was myVAT-able so that’s the opening amount for the new savings account.

I’m doing this for two reasons: firstly, I need to get back in the habit of saving money regularly again as during my lean-wage/self-employment over the last five years, my saving has been adhoc at best but more frequently, for long stretches, not at all – the savings I do have now date almost entirely from when I was employed. To start saving though, I’m going to have to free up some money from somewhere and that’s where the second reason comes in: I’m hoping it’ll help me reduce my consumption and make me more mindful about what I do spend. Those myVAT-able things now cost twice as much as far as my current account is concerned – I won’t (I WON’T) go into debt or start putting things on credit cards so they only way to live within my means will be to cut back. Of course, the theory only works because I know there is plenty of slack that I could cut back on without it particularly affecting my life for the worst – it will be interesting to see how it is in practise though.

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’12 in 11′ Clothes challenge update

Posted by on Monday 10 January 2011 in anti-consumerism, frugal, less than 12 clothes challenge, low spend 11 | 9 comments

So last week I announced my personal clothing challenge for 2011: buy no more than 12 items of clothing across the year.

Since then, a number of most excellent people have said they’ll join in the fun:

A few other people have said they’re doing/will do something similar:

  • Su is trying WW2-style rationing – she has an allowance of ration coupons which can be spent on different things throughout the year. The “social history of the Second World War” nut in me loves this idea!
  • bookstorebabe can’t commit to the full challenge but will consciously recording all her purchases throughout the year, which I think is very useful in making consumption changes
  • damigeron has said he’ll be more conscious about it, if he remembers to be ;)

It’s great to see so many people up for a bit of a challenge in 2011! I can’t wait to see how it goes!

(Apologies if I’ve missed anyone out! Do let me know and I’ll add you to the list!)

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