Mrs YFG: on cutting my clothing spend by 90%

Mrs YFG here.

This week I walked into a colleague’s office and remarked “nice coat”. Turns out it was £450, and is meant to look as expensive. This gave my colleague the opportunity to let loose. They weren’t happy. She had to drape her coat over the back of her chair. It had no loop to hang the coat on a hook. She wasn’t impressed. For £450 she didn’t even get a coat hook.

My first thought was WTF. Why spend that much money on something which doesn’t return its value, and which you don’t love? Why buy it when you are unhappy with it? And then I remembered that we had different priorities. Different desires. We are different people. And I used to have the same desires…

MrsSpendyYFG

I grew up learning that if you earned money, you earned the right to spend it as you wished. I worked from age 11 (paper round…). That money was mine to do with as I pleased, as long as I saved one-third of it. The harder I worked, the more money I received, the more I could spend. My capacity for acquiring pretty shiny things expanded. Excellent.

This carried on throughout university: my loan was there to be spent. If I had it, I spent it, and if I didn’t, I had my savings. Because I was going to earn it all back as a hotshot lawyer, right?

Lifestyle inflation hit me hard when I started working at The Firm. I went from being a poor student to a trainee on well over than the average UK annual salary. Each month I’d save a quarter of my salary and then proceeded to use the rest for what I felt I deserved. I could afford it, right?

I would think nothing of spending £300 per dress (try The Fold London for such epic beauties). And more commonly about £100-£150 on something fancy from Hobbs. I would buy these items to cheer myself up and try to repair my poor self-worth. I would look more beautiful if I wore expensive clothes: I would be better.

Of course, this is a ridiculous amount of money to spend on things that are not essential and don’t matter. I am fortunate enough to have had that disposable income. It makes me feel stupid for wasting it.

Buying stuff won’t improve your self-worth

Years later (and thousands of pounds poorer) my self-worth is not improved. Dressing top to toe in LK Bennett does not make me a better, happier, or smarter, person. I could do my job in pyjamas (and would very much like to do so). I wish I had put the money into my savings instead: £100 saved is £100 I don’t have to earn.

Just because I can afford something doesn’t mean I need or want it.

Comments

  1. Interesting, I went away and consulted the spreadsheet, I’ve spent 1394.36
    on clothes in the past 8 years. Max spend was 432.10 in 2012, Min spend was 52.49 in 2015. People occasionally give me clothes with a look of despair in their eyes.

    1. Whoa big spender! 🙂

      I’ll admit my clothes spending is outrageously low. I barely buy any clothes and pretty much everything is from TK Maxx or Charles Tyrwhitt (when an offer is on). I’ve never had any negative comments on my clothing. Maybe people are just being nice!

      1. There was a happy philosopher post recently where he revealed he owned a load of clothes and had decided he wasn’t going to buy any more..

        Off the back of that I did a round-up – I own 76 items of ‘normal’ clothing. 17 items of cycle gear and 7 items of DIY clothing (i.e. rough as hell)

  2. I used to spend loads on clothes, but I grew out of it (though fortunately not them) – I have enough pairs of smart trousers to last me until I retire for sure.

  3. When I got married, we picked out her dress at Hobbs. I usually don’t care about brands and spending a lot to feel it must be better, but I must say it looked good, like I still remember it today. So yes, it was expensive, but to me nothing looked better on her than that dress 🙂

    1. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with buying good quality clothes. Mrs YFG has some lovely items. I think materialism – valuing good quality items – is a good thing. Unfortunately, lots of modern consumer goods are commodities, throw-away items of poor quality and little value. Particularly when it comes to clothes (then again I’m quite extreme…)

  4. It’s rare that I buy clothes now as I have wardrobes and cupboards full. The good thing about staying the same weight and shape over the years is that everything continues to fit! the past few years, pretty much all my ‘new’ clothes have come from family (bought as gifts or hand-me-downs) – perhaps they’re trying to tell me something, haha! Not including the Hawaiian shirt for a works fancy dress event, the only item of clothing purchased so far this year is a pair of socks in January!

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