How to make a choice? Shopping on a budget

In the end of January I start to get restless and it’s the same every year. I want to reinvent my entire closet, nothing feels fun to wear and I google my way around the globe to try and find what’s missing in my wardrobe. For all you shopaholics out there, this is what I do when I try to narrow down my wants to something realistic;

  1. What do I really need?
    This is about necessity, boring as it may be to discover that all your basic tees, socks and underwear have lost all original color and shape. Choose 1-4 items, write them down.
  2. What do I really want?
    Anything goes, whatever weird or may-not-wear-as-often-piece your heart desires, it’s allowed. Choose 1-4 items, write them down.
  3. Are there any accessories that could make my old clothes look good again?
    Sometimes it’s the little things that make the big difference. Choose 1-4 items, write them down.

Be specific, honest and just write down one piece of clothing per bullet point. My list looks like this:
list

  1. How to prioritize.
    Now look at the columns of Need and Want. Does any of the bullet points match? I both need and want a jacket, this will be my focus. If you don’t have any matching points, opt for the piece you want the most and probably will use the most. If you have several matching points, they’re all your focus.
  2. Make a new list, ranking all the items from highest to lowest.
    Your focus should be ranked #1 (2,3,4 if you have many) and let the rest of the items from your Need column follow.  I always try to get the other Need items out of the way at a low cost from a regular store before indulging in my wants. But I also know that I rarely find any girlie zip hoodies that fit (I’m too tall) so I won’t stress that point and strike it from the list.
  3. What’s actually possible?
    Rank the items that aren’t within your budget the lowest, this goes for all the columns. For me, it would be the boots. I don’t actually need them and they’re too expensive.
  4. The accessories.
    Look at the list of accessories. Choose the one thing that you can combine with as many of your outfits as possible and put it right after your Need items. If you have maxed the accessory list with 4 things, chose a second accessory and put it on the list too.
  5. Do the rest!
    By now, you’re left with the middle pieces. The ones you want the most should be ranked highest.

My result:

  1. A new fall/spring jacket, gothic style.
  2. Basic, black tee.
  3. A pair of underwear.
  4. O-ring Bondage belt.
  5. Spiked choker.
  6. Short skirt, bondage inspired.
  7. O-ring choker.
  8. Band shirt, girlie.
  9. Arm warmers.
  10. New boots, 20 eyelet.

But, where’s the budget?
For me, deciding what I need to buy is the budget. Having a list to check off prevents me from getting things I didn’t need in the first place. I also know that a lot things on my list are hard to find “regular” options to, but there is usually some wiggle room. If I find my focus piece (the jacket) a little pricey but exactly what I was looking for, I can always get a regular black skirt and another black basic tee. The chokers could be exchanged for cheaper velvet ones and so on. For us without flea markets and thrift shops there is always eBay (and Tradera, the Swedish alternative) but sizes and materials can be tricky and I’d rather shop from places online with a good return policy.

What do you think, do you have any tips to share?

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