Clear the Clutter

Throwback Thursday: Spring Cleaning the Closest!

When it doubt what to post, I always go back to the first year I started blogging – 2013.  I can’t believe how long it has been.  The timing for this post is perfect given the crazy weather we have been having in Jersey….. well everywhere.  

Over the last few days, I have begun to do some spring cleaning – my first stop is always my closet.  (Honestly, mine isn’t this bad but it is getting there.)  A chance to put away the heavy sweaters, pull out my capri pants, flip flops and short sleeve shirts.  Okay, so the weather may still be a little cool, down right cold,  but to me – spring is here!  

While doing this, I came upon some things I bought and still had the price tag on them.
(5 years later and this is still the case!)  You know – the perfect sale, something which seemed right at the time or the never ending impulse buying.  So, I have a Closet Filled with  (some) Regrets.  I saw an article the other day which made me stop and think about what is in my closet, the opener said – 

Only about 20% of clothes in the average person’s closet are worn on a regular basis, says Ginny Snook Scott, chief design officer of California Closets, the designer of customized closets and storage spaces. That’s especially the case for women since “men tend to wear more of their wardrobe, as they stereotypically have less,” she says. “They tend to have less than 10 pairs of shoes that they rotate fairly well, whereas women have four to five times that amount, on average.”

WOW!  This made me take a look at my closet again.  What were the things I wore on a regular basis?  I am a jeans girl all the way in the winter so why do I insist on buying skirts/dresses which never seem to make it out of the closet?  Since I am still on my weight loss journey, (at doctor’s goal but still looking to go lower) I have not been buying as many clothes – holding out for milestones in my journey to treat myself to something new. The St. Paul’s Church Rummage Sale is coming up in May so as I clean out my closet, I add to the pile of things to be donated.  My impulse shopping may be just the right thing for someone else.  What will you do with the “regrets” in your closet?  Do you have a favorite charity to donate to or is there something else you do with them?

I saw a tip somewhere on a blog or Facebook, I can’t remember which which someone shared which I think is going to be my new rule of thumb:


My grandmother always says you should wear something once for every dollar you spend on it. I thought it was silly the first time I heard it, but now I find myself holding up items and thinking “Will I really wear this 25 times?” It definitely helps my impulse buys! G-E-N-I-U-S! 

What tactics do you use to avoid purchase regrets?  

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Budgeting

How to Stop Impulse Shopping

As I was cleaning out closets for the church rummage sale, I wondered why I had some things.  Shirts never worn, “stuff” on shelves which became dust collectors, things in boxes never used… what made me buy them?

During my early years in recovery, shopping was a replacement to my addiction.  It was something I did to fill the void.  Yes, we all like nice things but when did our wants become our needs or at least in our own heads.  I am more apt to imps shop during the holiday season.  Buying things for others and those sales!  This holiday season, I am determined to stay in control of my impulse shopping…

Have you ever thought about why you shop impulsively?

For many, impulse shopping or buying items we don’t need is usually a way to meet certain emotional needs.  We spend money in the hopes what we purchase will make us more confident, presentable or happy. Basically, we try to put ourselves in a better mood by buying things we don’t need. “Retail Therapy” as it has become known may help for a little while then it may turn into buyer’s remorse.

We say “If I could just get X, then Y will be all right.”  And for the moment, maybe we feel better.  Today’s marketing campaigns help to reinforce those internal insecurities which draws us to buy impulsively.  Did you know almost 90 percent of the items we buy impulsively are usually on sale?  We are easily seduced by the notion of paying less for things, coupled with the fear of missing out on the window of opportunity during the sales period which results in unnecessary spending.

How can we tell if our impulsive shopping is out of control?

Do you have credit card debt?  Do you wonder what you actually charged on the many credit cards you have?  Impulse shopping wrecks havoc on our budgets and can put us in a serious financial situation.  I don’t mean those small impulsive purchases, it’s those bigger high ticket items we buy with our credit cards which cause our debt to quickly spiral out of control.

Here are some signs you may be a compulsive shopper:

  1. Are you unable to afford basic items because you spent all your money on high-ticket purchases like clothes?
  2. Are you arguing with the people in your life because they don’t approve of your spending habits?
  3. Do you feel a certain high, a sort of euphoria every time you buy something nice?
  4. Are you lying to your family members or friends about the cost of some of your possession because you think they would see it as a waste of money?
  5. Are you sneaking purchased items into the house to put them away when no one is looking?

Impulse shopping is a form of addiction, so if you answer “yes” to one or more of these questions, you might be an impulsive shopper.

What can you do to curb your tendency to shop impulsively?

Like other addictions, food and drugs, for some it will be easy to kick.  While for others there may be struggles along the way.  The key to success for those who want to curb their impulsive shopping tendencies is willpower and dedication.

First, avoid using credit cards, instead use cash for all purchases. I know it will be tough.  I struggle with this.  I am a debit card girl and seldom have cash in my wallet.  I broke the habit of carrying credit cards in my wallet which has helped tremendously.  Face it, is is easier charging a $100 purchase on a credit card than handing over a  $100 cash for something.

Next, if it is a BIG purchase – sleep on it or leave the item in the cart when shopping online.  When you feel the impulse to buy, train yourself to WAIT.  If you are in a store, go home and sleep on it.  If you are online, leave it in the cart and close the tab.  Then see if you still have the desire to purchase it in a day or two.  Chances are the answer it NO!

This is a big one…create a budget to help you monitor spending.  This will help you  appreciate the effect of every potentially impulsive purchase you want to make.

Lastly, being accountable to someone will definitely help. “The Someone” could be your better half, a friend, or a family member,   When we are accountable by sharing our receipts with others, they might be the nudge you need to be more responsible in your shopping.

What are your best tips for managing the urge to impulse shop?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Budgeting

Saving Money 

I don’t know about you but I always find summer a harder time to save money.  From farmer’s markets to flea markets, a little here and a little there is spent.  Before long, you are over your spending budget.  Yes, there are lots of things to do which are free BUT I always found the more we are out and about, the more tempting those quick stops are for snacks or dinner.

Here are some tips on how you can save some money and trick yourself into a fatter bank account.

Play A Mind Game
Target shopping for me is deadly.  I usually go in for just a few things and before long my bill is up to $75 of things I must have (or at least I think I need).  Try this mind trick (courtesy of the Peaceful Mom):

When deciding whether or not to purchase the cute new outfit or decorative item for your house, imagine someone holding the item you want to purchase in one hand and offering you the cash equivalent with the other hand. If you would take the cash then skip the purchase.

Carry a Savings Reminder
If you are a visually-oriented person, which I am, try this. Researchers at Duke University found study participants who kept a gold coin in their wallet as a reminder to save, saved more than twice as much as study participants who didn’t. I’m adding an arrow charm (to symbolize reducing debt) to the zipper on my wallet (see photo above).

So far, it’s working “like a charm” to help me remember to spend less.

Leave It In the Cart
How many of you are an impulse spender?  Admit it, many of us want instant gratification when we are happy, sad, angry or you can substitute in your reason.  I’m trying to curb the impulses.  When online, I put it in the cart and walk away from the computer.  It is easier for me to walk away in a store but online, I seem to quickly hit “order”.  This has really helped me to reduce my spending.  I have also found when I leave things in the cart, the store I am shopping with will usually send me an additional discount to encourage me to submit the order.  Another win, if I decide I really do need to place the order.

Use Automatic Withdrawal
I have an automatic withdrawal at the bank so when checks are direct-deposited, $25 or more goes directly into a savings account. If you don’t see it, you can’t spend it, so it’s probably one of the easiest ways to save more money every month.

Save All $1 Bills
If you are a cash person for spending, use this savings trick. Every time you break a larger bill and receive dollar bills for change, place those bills into a separate part of your wallet so you don’t spend them. Then every evening when you arrive home place those one dollar bills in a jar or an envelope. I have a friend who told me about this a long time ago but she uses $5 bills.  You will be surprised at how it adds up.

Calculate Your Cost of Time Spent
I haven’t tried this but maybe I should…..Whenever you want to spend money on a non-essential item, try converting the cost of the purchase into the amount of time you had to work to pay for it. YIKES!  Being self-employed, this could be ALOT! For example if you are paid $10 an hour then your $50 dinner out would cost you five hours of your life.

Thinking about your money in this way can help you to evaluate if the cute dress or dinner out is worth so much of your time — and many times it’s not.

Focus on the Positive
You know I am all about focusing on the positive to bring more positive into your life, right?  A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found people who focus on their reasons for saving (a fun vacation, a better car, buying a home, etc.) saved more than study participants who concentrated on specific strategies for cutting back like eating out less often or using coupons.  When you shift your mindset to focus on what you will be gaining, rather than what you are giving up, you will save more.

Saving money can be much easier when you “trick” yourself with these simple ideas.  What are your best tips for saving money?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Budgeting

Celebrating Money!

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No, I have NOT won the lottery!  No, I have NOT lost my mind (I’m sure there are some that would debate that).   🙂

I have often talked about the Law of Attraction…. BUT I had some doubts.  I mean could that one little inner gremlin who shouts for an hour really play havoc on all of the blessings that the Universe is waiting to share with me.  So, over the last week or so, I have been repeating some money mantras:

  • I feel Rich
  • I love money. Money loves me.
  • I attract money now
  • I am very happy & grateful that money comes to me from many sources on a continuous basis
  • I am receiving money now
  • I have more than enough money
  • I am willing, ready and able to receive money
  • I see abundance everywhere
  • I am a money magnet
  • I am grateful for what I already have and for all that I receive now.

I have not let any inner gremlins even squeak!  The result is some really exciting things are happening- personally and in my business.

Still feeling a little skeptical, why not try some of these tips to get your finances in order:

Refrain From Impulse Purchases 

I know that it is Spring and you want to shop for some new clothes BUT trust me, make room in your budget for treats before you splurge!  I have even avoided the mall so that I am not tempted.

Make A List – Stick To It 

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Lists are AWESOME, especially when it comes to shopping.  No matter what the occasion or if it is simply grocery shopping – always stick to a list! Check out this article on motivational lists to see just how important they are!

Don’t Be Drawn In By Offers 

Admit it!  We all LOVE a sale…ANYTHING that is buy one get one free, or half price on Ben & Jerry’s non-dairy treats? STOP. Don’t be drawn in by offers on things you don’t actually need.

Set Up Savings 

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I can hear the groans…. but there is a definite need for a separate savings account.  It doesn’t matter how small the direct debit is from your everyday account to your savings, it all helps!  I started with $5 a pay period and now it is up to $25 PLUS I put aside a portion of my bonus every month.  Remember baby steps.

The Law of Attraction WORKS!  There is a multitude of  people who will tell you how it worked for them.  Still a non-believer?  I challenge you for 30 days to say (with conviction) one, two or all of the money mantras.  Then come back and share the results.

I am not saying you will win the lottery.  I am not guaranteeing that you will be debt-free.  I WILL guarantee that you will have a healthier approach to money and that with a more positive attitude, more positive things will happen!

Are you up for the challenge?  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Unclutter Your Life

SMART Shopping

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The warmer weather is finally here and it is time to pull out the spring/summer clothes.  I know you are wondering what does that have to do with SMART shopping right?  SMART shopping is actually not about finding the cheapest clothes or the best deal.  The truth is it a way to STOP the impulsive shopping so that we don’t have a closet full of “nothing to wear”.  Now, we all want to spruce up our wardrobes from last year, right?

Here are 5 simple steps that I found in a blog that makes sense and will let you do it without the “nothing to wear” syndrome.

S: Start with your Shape.

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I am so tired of having my shape compared to food, aren’t you?  So let’s try this one.  Once you understand your body type, you will be able to shop for essential items that fit and flatter you. Knowing what works for your body helps you channel your efforts and save time.

M: Make a list.

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Start with the items you know are missing from your wardrobe. This is an especially useful step after a closet overhaul, when you are better able to identify the gaps in your closet, and the new trends you want to add to your wardrobe.  I carry the list in my wallet so that I am always ready, just in case I run into a GREAT deal!

A: Avoid an unplanned splurge.

splurge

If it’s not on your list but you see it, love it, and absolutely positively have to have it, then put it on hold until the next day. If you still want it, go for it.  This step is SO HARD for me.  I am the proverbial impulse shopper.

R: Repeat the piece 3 ways.

Before purchasing an item, make sure that you can wear it 3 different ways.  If it doesn’t work with your wardrobe, it needs to go back.  Since I am a jeans girl, there may not be 3 ways but I am starting to think – casual, business casual and dressy.  Can’t wait to try this one out!

T: Tags stay on until worn.

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We are all in a hurry to wear the newest, cutest items in our closets, so if it’s still hanging there weeks later, unworn (and it’s in season), return it!  I started doing this and I keep the receipt.  Of course if I shop at Kohl’s and use my charge, I don’t need the receipt.  This way I get credit for what I paid instead of the current selling price.

So, who is ready to do some clothes shopping?  Be sure you are SMART!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!