It’s All Ripped Up

Two months into my commitment not to buy any new clothes, I have ripped the knee in two of my three pairs of jeans. And it was my two nicest pairs, too.

This development is really challenging me to stick to my guns and not spend money unnecessarily. I’ve asked myself, do I really need more than one pair of jeans? I have other pants. I’m not naked and I can look respectable when I need to.

My plan is to put iron-on patches on the inside of the ripped knees and keep on truckin’.

The $0 Budget Challenge

I lost my job this week. This is no furlough, like I had earlier this year. This is permanent. I’ll be sorry to leave the place I’ve worked as a web and graphic designer for the past eight years and my boss is sorry to see me go, but our research group is grant-funded and, “in these tough economic times,” there just isn’t a lot of grant money for research right now.

peanutsYesterday, my husband sat down and worked out a new budget for us, figuring out how we can get by with our income halved. We discussed various ways we can save money, cutting back on our cable service and newspaper subscriptions, for example. Having just started writing in this blog again, I thought of one way I can help.

I am setting my clothing budget to $0 for the next year, or until I get a new job, whichever comes first. I have plenty of stuff stashed away in my closets; I don’t imagine it’ll be at all hard to manage. Plus, I’m used to keeping and using clothes much longer than most people do (thus the title of this blog – I probably have socks older than some of y’all).

Terms and conditions: Clothing given as gifts doesn’t count. So, if I get some pajamas for Christmas, for example, I’m not giving them back. Exchanges or payment-in-kind is also OK, like when a lady knit me a scarf to thank me for making a poster for her church event. I just can’t spend any money on clothes.

I’ll be checking in on my progress occasionally. And, with any luck, before the year is out I will be ending the $0 Budget Challenge soon because I need to buy some clothes for my new job.

Clearing Out, Giving Away

It’s been a while since I last posted. In the intervening months I’ve had my baby and watched him grow up and take his first steps. I realized recently that my closets were full of maternity clothes that I didn’t need anymore and baby clothes that Ducky had already outgrown.

Fortunately, I have a friend who is expecting a baby in April and another friend who has a baby boy a few months younger than mine. All the extra clothes have been collected, boxed, and I’m giving them away this week. There’s no point in hanging on to these things I don’t need, especially when I know people who will really use and appreciate them.

Giving away these clothes is also good practice in letting go. I know there’s a lot of junk in my closets that I’m needlessly clinging to. The more I can get used to giving things away, the more I think I’ll be able to improve my ability to conquer the clutter in my closets.

Hair color dilemma

I’m still alive, just been in a non-posting funk. And during that time, my hair has continued to grow. Back in August, I got a lovely haircut and highlights at my favorite salon. Since I spend more time inside now than I used to, the highlights make my hair look the color I think it’s supposed to be. They also help hide the gray. They are also rather expensive.

We’re just finishing up a large home renovation project, Christmas is coming, and so is the new baby. I can’t really afford to spend the amount of money I have been spending on highlights. I’m starting to get roots, and in a few more weeks they will have reached critical status. I need to decide what to do.

Let the roots and the gray grow out? Not an option I favor. I’m heavily pregnant and need every bit of help I can get to look nice. If I were going for the full-on frowsy earth-mother look, I never should’ve gotten the highlights in the first place.

Try a home highlighting kit? I’ve considered it; I did a pretty good job once helping a friend put highlights in her hair. But I’m worried that by trying to save money that way I will make a big mess that’s expensive to correct.

Go for a single-process color? This would be cheaper, and cover up the gray. I’d probably get it done at the salon just to make sure I didn’t turn my hair pink or something. But then my hair would no longer be the color it’s “supposed” to be.

Any advice would be appreciated.

September Switcheroo

It’s after Labor Day, which means it’s time for me to reorganize my wardrobe for early fall. This year, though, I’ll be doing things a little differently: since I just began my third trimester, I don’t want to buy a bunch of new clothes. I’ll need to take stock of my existing maternity wardrobe and see if it looks like enough to get me through the next three months. Other than that, my fall wardrobe switch-around routine is the same as always.

  1. Put away anything that looks too “summery.”
    I start with the obvious pieces: white sandals, white shorts, white shrunken cardigan. Next, anything that just seems out of place in the fall, like this dress and skirt:
    dress and skirt

    I know all these pieces will either feel brand-new when I take them back out next spring, or else I’ll wonder why I ever wore them and send them off to the thrift store.

  2. Bring out the jeans and long-sleeved tees.
    My closet is going to be a little crowded during this early fall time when I’m still wearing summer tops along with fall ones depending on the weather, but I know it’s only for a month or so. Then, the lightweight tops will go away to make room for sweaters.
  3. Review my shoes.
    Now is the time when I take a good, hard look at my sandals and flip-flops to determine whether they’ll make it through another summer. I hate getting rid of shoes I love, but I also know that I’m not doing myself any favors by going out in public wearing beat-up, falling apart shoes. This year, I decided that I can salvage the gladiator sandals but the brown flip-flops are too far gone. I ought to look for a replacement pair right now during summer clearance sales.
    old shoes
  4. Put away or give away anything that doesn’t fit.
    This year, that means all non-maternity clothes go into storage. Normally, this is also when I have to admit that the skirt I didn’t wear all summer (or all last fall/winter) because I just needed to lose a few pounds is probably never going to fit before it goes out of style, and it’s time for me to just let it go.

There are times I wish I had a bigger closet, but I think it’s probably better that I’m forced to pare down my wardrobe to just what I can wear right now. That makes it easier to get dressed in the morning and helps me curb my pack-rat tendencies.

My Closet
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