Rethinking My Shopping Habits

Rethinking My Shopping Habits

It was a busy year end, ending in the flu between Xmas and New Year. Being home for a little R & R got me thinking, because well, there’s not much else to do when you’re sick, right. Specifically, I was thinking about my shopping habits for the past couple of years. It seems I’ve mostly been drawn to online shopping and desperately trying to find the right fit and style that reflects the person I am on the inside. Online shopping proved to be so easy, but wait, is it really simpler and more convenient?

Shopping in the classic brick and mortar store was always such a joy, oh…. I get to go to the mall and look, feel and try on beautiful things! That feeling of happiness changed as the pounds creep on at an alarming pace of about 1 pound a month! Now my trips to the mall just ended in frustration, nothing fit, they did not carry “my size.” I was in the depth of old cow territory. Shopping trips now consisted of the big gal stores and plus size sections of my favorite department stores, with the occasional foray in the straight sizes in hopes of finding a roomy XL.

I made a decision late last year that I was going to stick to a clothing/makeup budget, so I sorted through my bank and credit card statement to see where I actually spend my money. Not to my surprise, I’m an avid Nordstrom and J Crew shopper. As I went through my statement I realized 1.) I do almost 80% of shopping online and 2.) of that 80% I return 75% of what I buy. What that told me is that I was wasting a lot of time returning items that just did not fit right or was not complimentary to my plump pear-apple shape. Since I shop mainly at Nordstrom and J Crew which both have locations close to me, it’s easy to return my less than perfect purchases.

I grow weary of the never ending cycle of buy and return, the shopper’s version of catch and release.

Here’s my New Year’s shopping resolution action plan.

  • Clean out closet once and for all ( completed November 2016)
  • Consign or donate unworn clothing ( completed December 2016)
  • Determine, how much money I spend on average on clothing and makeup (completed December 2016)
  • Purchase a gift card to stay within my clothing budget. I buy gift cards on a site like a gift card and at a discount. (more on this in a later post)

After my extensive review, I find the following average annual spend on clothing and makeup after any returns.

1 Nordstrom $500.00 6 ModCloth $200.00
2 J Crew $250.00 7 Target $150.00
3 Sephora $150.00 8 Ulta $100.00
4 Barneys $100.00 9 Macy’s $100.00
5 Gap $200.00 10 Other Stores $200.00


  • I spend the largest chunk of my wardrobe budget at Nordstrom. Nordstrom has an excellent selection of both higher end and affordable options, so it’s easy to mix and match to save a few bucks.
  • J Crew is my go to for classic T’s, especially the striped ones and cashmere sweaters; however, I have noticed their quality has been diminishing over the past couple of years.
  • Sephora gets the lions share of my beauty budget simply because they have 90% of what I use.
  • Barneys is perfect for browsing the hip and of the moment styles, and their shoes are fabulous, I usually end up buying an accessory or sale handbag here because most of their clothing just doesn’t fit me.
  • I love Gap jeans, they fit well and are always to be found on sale. Also perfect for simple T’s.
  • is great for summer wear and pieces with a vintage feel, and I check out their sale section frequently.
  • Targets Who What Wear brand is good for an inexpensive way to spruce up the wardrobe with something an on trend piece without breaking the bank.
  • Ulta is close to my house and ideal for beauty tools, makeup applicators, lotions, etc.
  • I don’t shop Macy’s much anymore but still, make a point of popping in to check out their never ending sales rack. I have found some lovely Eileen Fisher pieces for a great price.
  • Other stores consist of places like, which is great for finding outerwear, Marshalls, and TJ Maxx, and maybe Steve Madden for sale on shoes.

My average annual budget above is $1900, this year I’m limiting it to $1500 a year and purchase gift cards for Nordstrom, J Crew, Gap and H & M for $1000 and put $500 in a checking account which is strictly for clothes and makeup purchases. To start the year, I have a generous balance of $1500 and each paycheck I’ll deposit $50 into my 401F (F is for Fashion) account and only use these funds for anything related to clothes, make-up jewelry, and accessories.

I hope this will keep me focused and become more thoughtful about what I’m purchasing. Another Goal for 2017 is NO RETURNS; it’s just such a time suck.



Wishing you a happy and minimalist new year!

Sydney, The Modern Minimalist

the urban kitten
the urban kitten

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