I was lucky enough growing up that my parents taught me about money. And one of the biggest things my mom taught me about money was how to shop.
This may sound weird but knowing how to shop is important. And I learnt how to shop by buying my own clothes.
As a tween, I never cared for shopping. That change when mom put us in charge of buying our own clothes when I was fourteen. We went to the bank and set up with a debit card and a separate account.
Then at the beginning of a season, my parents would transfer money in that account so I could buy clothes.
Once that system was in place not only was I shopping but I was learning how to use a debit card. How to balance a chequebook. And how to spend wisely.
I learnt a lot in the first year. I didn’t like spending money. And the money we didn’t spend on clothes we could keep and spend it on other things which was incentive to save.
Something that shocked me at first was how much clothes cost. I would buy a couple of shirts and some jeans and you’re already spending over fifty dollars.
I started to value the free clothes I was getting more. At that time I was still getting some hand me downs from cousins and my sister. I would go through the hand me downs trying to make them work as much as I could.
Since I was determined to spend as little as possible I also would go thrift shopping. Lucky for me I didn’t care about whether something was second hand or not.
I know some people do have an issue with wearing second hand clothing. And if you’re one of them I think you should reconsider it for the environmental benefits as well as the cash savings.
Fast fashion is bad. The industry is a huge polluter and the products are often made in horrible conditions. Then there the fact that lots of clothing that getting made will soon be thrown out.
Thrift stores can be a good way to avoid supporting fast fashion and support recycling at the same time.
Of course, not every brand is bad there are some good brands and stores out there. It can be hard to figure out what category they fall into. That why I recommend Good on You its an app you can have on your phone. So the next time you are out shopping you can quickly search up brands or stores and find out how they doing.
It saves you from having to do all your own research and remembering everything.
For a while there I was all about thrifting because I wanted to save money. But eventually, I started shopping more and more at the mall. It was easier to find what I wanted and if you waited for sales it would be about the same price. Since then I have gotten tired of the mall and went back to thrifting.
I had a simple strategy when shopping at the mall wait for sales. The first year I needed a new winter coat I waited for it to be on sale and then I bought it. Even today I shop the clearance racks. And if I’m purchasing something that is expensive, to begin with, I wait for the end of seasons sales.
I got nice warm winter boots for less than $20 waiting for the sale. Also, my ski jacket was brought on the end of season clear out saving me 50% or more. Both of those things I want at the beginning of winter. But I didn’t want to pay full price so I made do.
I did have other boots I could wear and fancier, thinner winter coats. If you are going to shop sales you have to be prepared to wait.
There one last thing my mom taught me when it came to money and that was to spend it wisely. You can get something on a great sale but if you never use it you are wasting your money.
She taught me to think before I bought. And would say things like where are going to wear it? Does it work with the clothes you have now? Do you need another one of those?
When I first started shopping I would buy all the clothes I like. Now I buy clothes that fit into my lifestyle and my closet. This is a minor thing but so important. It doesn’t matter how much you like something if you never get the opportunity to wear it in your normal life.
Right now I have an office job so a large part of my wardrobe is clothes I can wear to the office. I do try to have the clothes to do double duty and be able to wear them for more than one thing.
But my wardrobe is based around work appropriate wear. My closet look different when I was waitressing everything was a lot more casual.
Perhaps the most important point here is to learn to shop. Everyone can spend money not everyone knows how to shop. So teach yourself. Get help from others.