Today’s guest post comes from Michelle of the Shop My Closet Project. She is fab and she hails from Denver. You know my #8for30 challenge? Well, Michelle is super fearless and super fab because she did the no shopping for a year challenge! Here is her story:

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 8.55.41 AMMost people decide to do a No Spend Challenge because they want to see if they are able to have the discipline to not spend. It seems so un-American, un-patriotic, anti-capitalist, and so awkward.

But, what you should realize is a  No Spend Challenge is all about you. All about you. One more time, all about you! Don’t feel bad about doing what’s best for your personal financial situation. When you do a challenge like this don’t be surprised when you find yourself questioning all of your previous decisions and the reasons why you spend money the way that you do. When doing a no spend challenge sometimes unexpected emotional reactions will rear their ugly heads when you least expect it.

I wanted to share 10 things that I learned from my year of not shopping. I hope these insights will help you approach your fashion shopping differently.

  1. Quality before quantity-HANDS DOWN!-I had a variety of items going into this challenge. Some items were very good quality, others were cheap. After having a number of items-disentegrate, explode off of me, or develop holes I am now sold on buying the best quality items for the lowest price possible.
  2. Set a yearly budget for fashion shopping-I’d never done this before. Before starting the challenge I’d figured out how much I was spending on average each month. I multiplied that by 12 and it was around $3300 for the year. This year I have a budget that will range between $1500-$1800.  This is substantially less than what I was spending before. I have a list of items that I really missed-REALLY missed during the year that I will be purchasing. These items will compliment the other items that already exist in my current wardrobe.
  3. Get rid of 1/2 of your stuff. You have too much. I gave away a substantial amount of items this year. We have way too much stuff. We aren’t using all of the stuff that is in our closets. Have you heard of the 80/20 rule? Basically 80% of the time you use only 20% of the stuff that you own.
  4. Do a wardrobe assessment. See what you already have and work that wardrobe! People shop a lot of times out of habit and boredom.  They end up with multiples of the same item. Don’t do this-save your time and money. Know what you have.
  5. Let your clothes air dry whenever possible. I never did this during my year but I’ve heard that it will extend the life of your clothing. I will be doing this with my special items purchased this year.
  6. You just need one trendy item in an outfit to make it “pop”-People go overboard with items that are trendy while trying to stay “on trend.” Just keep it simple.
  7. Coloradans love saddle bags
  8. Skinny jeans work with everything-They are the perfect pant to pair with tunic shirts, sweaters, riding boots, and so much more! Btw-I have a booty and am still able to rock these.
  9. You can never have too much underwear.
  10. The most important thing is this-People notice what you wear-but promptly forget. Everyone has felt the rush after getting a compliment on a great outfit. I think that rush is also what fuels some people’s shopping. Let me tell you that  I had a number of people comment on the SAME outfits throughout the year as if they had never seen them before. The only difference would be a different accessory or a change of shoes. NO ONE CARES ABOUT WHAT YOU WEAR. SERIOUSLY. Don’t waste your money to be the most fashionable person around. If you’re under the impression that people are noticing your fashion. Basically speaking-they aren’t. Sorry-it’s true.

I named my blog The Shop My Closet Project as a nod to using what I already have and becoming a person who spends intentionally and with a nod to my values, saving money, and to how I want to present myself. For the past 365 days I focused on using what I had, being grateful for what I had, and taking proper care of my clothing. It was a wonderful experience.

Interested in doing your own challenge?


Let’s walk through how to do a No Spend Challenge.

1. Decide that you’re going to do one!

2. Set some parameters-what aren’t you purchasing? Maybe it’s no Starbucks for the month, no shopping, no clothing, or no spending on anything. It’s your challenge figure out what you want to do.

3. Think about ways that you can be successful with what you already have!  Currently I’m not purchasing clothes or product and I will talk about that in a post at the end of the month. I’m using what is already in my home and I’m feeling good so far about the challenge.

4. Tell your friends what’s going on. My friends are continuously amused by my challenges so they tend to be pretty supportive. I am also doing a Vegan Challenge and now I know why a lot of vegans are so self-righteous. It’s a whole other level of discipline. Honey is in EVERYTHING!!! Anyway, I digress. Because my friends know what I’m doing they make plans that don’t disrupt the challenges that I’m working on. Next weekend I’m going out to eat with a friend at a restaurant that she chose that also offers vegetarian and vegan options.

5. Decide what your intention is behind the challenge. Why on earth are you doing this to yourself? Are you trying to drive yourself crazy? Prove that you can do something tough? Start a bigger change in your life? What is your intention. Maybe you should write it these things down so that they are clear to you.

6. Decide how you measure success? Is success measured by making it to the end of your challenge month having only messed up once? Or, is it the amount of money that you saved? or the fact that you just finished the month?

7. Don’t choose February. It’s the shortest month of the year. If you’re going to do this go big or go home.

Good luck to any of you who decides to do this!





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Created by nationally recognized millennial money expert Tonya Rapley, My Fab Finance is a leading financial education and lifestyle blog for millennials who want to become financially free and do more of what they love.