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Why You Should Try A “No New Clothes Challenge!”

No new clothes challenge

Are you spending too much money on new clothes that you don't need? If so, you should give the "no new clothes for a year challenge" a try like I did! Also, don't feel bad, because I can totally relate to going on shopping sprees.

When I was in college, and it was finals time, I always found myself biking to the nearest mall. I was on a student budget, with massive debt. Yet I found comfort in shopping and buying a few cute blouses or skirts from Forever21 or H&M. I justified the cost by only shopping in the sales section or shopping at cheaper stores.

I was a stress shopper. Most of those clothes no longer fit me or fell apart and have long since filled a landfill and created a hole in my wallet. After graduating and getting my first job and student loan bill, I realized going shopping on the weekend wasn’t a good stress management tool.

I needed to stop this cycle, so I decided to go on a no new clothes for a year challenge.

What is the no new clothes challenge?

A no new clothes challenge is when you buy no new clothes for a year. If you’re groaning a little bit inside, I get it. I was also a bit turned off by the idea of not being able to pursue clothing racks for a whole year.

But the no new clothes for a year challenge doesn’t have to be boring or viewed as a punishment. Instead, it’s about changing your mindset and focusing on buying less and moving away from a consumerism-driven life.

Similar to Mari Konmari’s philosophy behind decluttering by only keeping items that spark joy, the no new clothes challenge forces you to really think about what you really need. Fashion styles change all the time, and what you like this year might not be popular in a few months.

Not to mention the devastating impact that fast fashion has on the environment and your wallet.

Why should you do the no new clothes challenge?

There are a lot of reasons to do a no new clothes challenge. For me, it was about getting out of the habit of stressful buying and having less of an environmental impact. But there are other benefits as well, including:

The no new clothes challenge saves you money

When you’re shopping for all the latest styles that can change on a whim, you end up spending a lot of money. It wasn’t uncommon for me to spend upwards of $500 a month on shopping. I had friends who would spend even more!

By taking on a no new clothes for a year challenge you can save a lot of money. Money that can go into your savings account.

More money to invest or pay off debt

With all that money freed up, you can put it towards more long-term and financially stable goals. That can mean investing the money in your IRA account, buying ETFs, or setting up an account with a broker.

Or, if you have debt, you can use that money to help pay it off. This is even more important if you have high-interest debt like credit cards. Paying off debt is one way to invest in your future. Not sure how to begin? Check out our article on 15 tried and true methods to pay off credit card debt fast!

More sustainable and better for the environment

Did you know that 17 million tons of textiles ended up in landfills in 2018 alone according to the Environmental Protection Agency? The amount of waste we go through has increased substantially over the years, not to mention the vast amount of water and resources that go into making new clothes.

When you say no to new clothes, it also helps with the environment as there is less waste. While the impact is small, the more people who stop buying clothes and then throwing them away three months later, the more of an impact we can have.

Saves you time from shopping

Shopping takes time. Whether you shop in stores or prefer to shop for deals online, shopping is time-consuming. With a no new clothes for a year challenge, you can increase the time you have to spend on other things. For example, you can start a side hustle or spend more time with your loved ones.

Or you could take up a new hobby! The amount of time and money you save is worth it.

How to complete the no new clothes challenge

To be successful with the no new clothes challenge, you need to prepare and set up some guidelines to make sure you’re successful. Here are some tips to help you complete the challenge:

1. Set a timeline

This might seem self-explanatory but it’s really important to set a timeline. When are you starting your no new clothes challenge? Maybe you want to start it on January 1st, after the mad rush of the holidays. Or maybe it makes more sense to start in the summer.

Once you have a start date it’s also important to have a finish date. Set up monthly check-ins and a big check-in for the middle of the challenge to keep yourself motivated. 

2. Revamp your existing wardrobe

Shop your closet and see what outfits you currently have. Chances are you have a few items that you haven’t worn in a while. Try to spruce them up a bit and try out different outfit ideas. For example, you can embroider old t-shirts with new designs or iron fun patches on them.

Or if you’re handy with sewing, you can modify existing clothes. Turn your jeans into skirts or a dress into a fun two-piece. By revamping what you already have, you can feel like you have new clothes without actually having bought any.

3. Curb your spending urges

The biggest tip I can give is to curb your spending. It can be hard to not spend, especially if you’re like me and love to shop when you’re stressed.

If you find that you stress shop try to find something else to replace the urge. For me, that meant painting and making art. Maybe there is something else you really enjoy, like writing or reading, or rock climbing. Try to replace shopping with that activity.

And if you’re feeling really stressed, try out some mindfulness meditation to ease your concerns.

4. Only shop second hand

On the other hand, the no new clothes challenge doesn’t mean you can’t buy clothes. It just means they can’t be new. If you’re really in need of clothes, try buying them second-hand instead and giving old clothes a new life.

You can go to thrift stores or even find items for sale on apps like Vinted and Poshmark. There’s no need for you to go completely without clothes all year! Plus second-hand clothes are often much cheaper than buying new ones, which will also save you money.

Try the no new clothes challenge and save money!

The no new clothes challenge is a great way to reduce your shopping habits, save money, and have less of an impact on the environment.

So consider taking on the challenge this year and reconsidering your approach to buying. Also, spend the time to learn how to appreciate what you already have and only buy things you truly need and will use.

Are you ready to increase your savings even more and take on more challenges? Enroll in our completely free "savings challenge" bundle! It features various money-savings challenges to help make saving money easy and fun. Stay inspired to save money by tuning in to the Clever Girls Know podcast and YouTube channel!

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