I have always loved shopping; I never really thought of it as a problem. But this year we have a wedding to pay for, and as such, I vowed to cut down on shopping. To save money, I would only buy things that were necessary.
Safe to say, it did not start well, as January welcomed the sales! So, I thought: “Okay, one more month of indulgence and then starting February, I will be good!
So… how did it go?
“I survived the month without spending a single penny!”
…Is what I would like to have said. Sadly, that is not the truth.
The truth is that on the very first day of February, I caved.
1st February I purchased a stunning black velvet top from Coast. How I justified it: I had been eyeing it up for a while and now it was in the sale at less than half price! Usual price was £95 and I paid £29! BARGAIN. I would be crazy not to buy it! I resisted the urge to buy a dress that I liked that was also in the sale, so it was a sort of compromise. Although it meant I had to pay delivery (£3.95) as I had spent under £125. So, okay I’ll just start on the 2nd – what difference is one day? Verdict: When it arrived, it was as stunning as advertised and as usual from Coast it was excellent quality! And it really was a bargain at only £29! Cost: £32.95
1st February whilst looking for bridesmaid dresses I came across a website known as Chi Chi London Clothing and they had a vast selection of lovely dresses. I ended up having a browse and before I knew it I had ordered a skirt. How I justified it: I had found a white skirt that looked like it would be the perfect match for my previous purchase – the Coast top. It was in the sale from £45 down to £17.99! Because I resisted the urge to buy anything else (the truth is two dresses I was eyeing up were sold out in my size) I had to pay £3.99 delivery. Verdict: When it arrived, I was sorely disappointed. It looked nothing like the photo on the website! Instead of being an elegant white/cream with a slight shimmer; it was a pale peach colour made from what can only be described as cheap and tacky material that spewed glitter all over the room when I lifted it out the bag! I was gutted. Not only did this mean that I would have to return this, it meant I now didn’t have a skirt to match my Coast top. I must say though; the returns process was easy and I did get my £17.99 back. Cost: £3.99
2nd February I purchased bridesmaid dresses but I think that qualifies as a necessary purchase, so I won’t detail it here.
3rd February I noticed the dresses I liked were back in stock on the Chi Chi London Clothing website. How I justified it: Well, they were half price! It worked out £54.98 for two dresses and one of which was a similar design to the bridesmaid dress I was considering buying from there. So, if it came and looked beautiful and the girls preferred it to the ones I had ordered the day before then I would return them and buy from Chi Chi. This time it was free delivery as I had spent over £35. Verdict: After receiving the skirt my expectations were lowered. True enough the dresses did not look as nice as online. They reminded me of Quiz dresses. Sadly, with one dress (the one similar to the bridesmaid one) the top half was rather see-through! There were white bra cups/pads attached to the dress in the lining but they showed through the dress rather embarrassingly! Furthermore, it was made for smaller busted ladies. I must say the bottom half of that dress was even prettier than it looked on the website though – it was a beautiful blue with a nice shimmer to it. I considered keeping it to wear as a skirt but I decided to just return it. It might just have been my luck but 3 out of 3 items I ordered were of disappointing quality, and therefore, I will not be ordering from that website again. Cost: £0
5th February I ended up buying a bikini set as it was in the Debenhams sale. How I justified it: It was on sale… at only £13.35 for the set! I didn’t have a bright pink set yet, so it would be a good addition and after all I would need a good variety of swimwear for our honeymoon! Verdict: It was a great buy price-wise but I really did not need it. I already had 7 swimwear sets, all of which are brand new and I can’t even swim properly! My partner kindly refers to them as my “flailwear”. In hindsight, I should have resisted the urge to buy it but it is still a nice addition to my collection and I will hopefully learn to swim properly before our honeymoon. Cost: £13.35
9th February I made the mistake of looking at the Coast sale again. I ended up ordering a dress and 2 skirts to choose from (since I needed a skirt to go with the top I’d already bought). How I justified it: Well, I had returned all the things from Chi Chi and Coast is always excellent quality which is why I’ll happily pay full price for their items. If I’d pay full price; then how can I justify not buying something when it is in the sale! Furthermore, since I spent over £125 delivery was free. Verdict: Sadly, the skirts were far too long for me so they had to be returned. The dress was a keeper – it fitted perfectly and looked great on! I could not believe that the dress only cost £39! Normal price was £129. Cost: £39
14th February I visited the Hobbycraft website to check out their latest promotions and this time they had craft punches half price as well as other offers! Well, I couldn’t resist half price and ordered up a selection of punches and other goodies. How I justified it: I scored a 15% discount by signing up to join the Hobbycraft Club! And free delivery since I spent over £30. Verdict: Totally worth it. I purchased: 20x selection of craft punches (half-price), 9x washi tape, 5x sticker packs (only £1 each), 2x packs of scrapbook paper & 1x cute date stamp. This totalled £61.75 which I got for £52.49 after additional 15% off. Cost: £52.49
17th February I went to The Range store and I always end up buying things there as they have a good selection of craft things for good prices. How I justified it: I did need more scrapbook paper for a project I am working on and at £1 per pack it really was good value for money. The stamps were a combination of Santoro and Alice in Wonderland (super cute!) plus it was only £6 for the large stamp set and £2 for the smaller version. Verdict: I was happy with my purchase. Cost: £18
24th February having returned the Coast skirts I visited the website again in a hunt for a shorter skirt. Instead I ordered 3 dresses totaling £147. How I justified it: Same reasoning as before. Verdict: One dress was perfect. It looked gorgeous on despite being a very simple black velvet dress; the cut and design was very flattering. And my favourite feature – it had good-sized pockets! Furthermore, it only cost £49! I was so happy with it I ended up wearing it to a recent event. The second dress was too small for me despite being the same size as the other two. Which is a shame because it looked very pretty and was only £39! The third dress was again too long for me (the only down-side to Coast clothing is that they seem to be made for tall people!) I do usually go for shorter dresses but at £59 it was worth a try. Cost: £49
25th February I popped into Claire’s accessories as they were advertising a “buy 3 get 3 free” promotion and ended up leaving with 6 hairbands. Are they called hairbands or headbands? How I justified it: It was a good promotion and I could do with some new hairbands.. Verdict: They really weren’t a necessary purchase as I already have a ton of hairbands. Cost: £28
26th February went into The Works store and ended up buying scrapbook paper. How I justified it: It was £3 for a 12”x12” card pack and it was good quality and nice designs. Normally you can’t even get that quality in 6”x6” for £3! It was a bargain! The smaller/thinner paper pads were £1 same as The Range. Verdict: Very happy and must have a look next time to see if they have any new designs. Cost: £7
On the 28th February I would like to say that I at least managed the last day without buying anything – but I can’t. I ordered a plate, serving plate and mug from the Disney Be My Guest range and since you need to spend £50 for free delivery I got the Mad Hatter Mug too. How I justified it: It’s Disney? I really like it and if I don’t order it now; it might be sold out soon. Verdict: It hasn’t arrived yet but I’m sure I’ll be happy with it. Cost: £52.96
Total Cost: £296.74
What have I learned:
- I have a shopping problem. I could resist buying an item at full price because I would think that I could just buy it in March. When I found a sale item I liked, I felt the desire to buy it was too strong to resist. My reasoning was that it would sell out fast, it was in the sale so it was a bargain and I would regret it, if I did not buy it.
- I was under the impression that I was doing well as I had resisted the urge to buy lots of full-price stuff – I even denied myself some sale items. I was feeling quite proud that I had done so well. And with returning a lot of the stuff, I figured I had spent hardly anything! Turns out I was wrong.
- In a month that I vowed to spend £0; I spent £296.74. This seriously makes me wonder how much I spend on unnecessary things in a normal month.
- On seeing how much I struggled at resisting the urge to shop I have come to the realisation that I am not able to go “cold turkey”. Maybe, like other addictions, I should simply try to cut back, until I can stop completely or at least spend only a limited amount of money on unnecessary shopping.
- So, new game plan. Since in February, I still spent £296.74, despite my best efforts at limiting my spending, then March I will set a goal of spending less than £200. I feel that this will be an achievable goal and if I have a set amount of £200 I can spend, then I will carefully consider each purchase and deduct it accordingly. If I can achieve this comfortably then I will try reducing this further. By reducing my monthly shopping spree spend; I will have more money for our wedding and future savings.
- In conclusion, I am glad I did this as it has shown me that I do have a problem and that I should set achievable goals and consider how much I am spending. Here’s hoping I manage to stick to this plan and save lots of money!