Intentional spending doesn’t mean depriving yourself of the things you love

Intentional spending doesn’t mean depriving yourself of the things you love

Last week I wrote this post, which talks about my own journey in becoming more intentional with my spending and buying less ‘things’.

But what I want to focus on today is how I go about bringing new things into my life, the principles I use when buying things, and how you too can apply these principles to ensure what ‘things’ you spend your money on are adding value to your life.

What do I mean by ‘things’?

I’m not talking about the kinds of things that at a human level, we need. I’m talking about the kinds of things that bring colour into your world, that light it up, and that make it a unique place, a place suited to you!

You might get your colour from..

A beautiful painting, classic leather jacket, a new novel, old-school record, paint brushes, plants, headphones, beautiful crockery, a guitar, bike, antique chair, camera, even someone else’s junk… the list of these ‘things’ is truly endless.

These ‘things’ are important.

Things help us express who we are, to be creative, learn, grow and enjoy life. A world without things is possible, sure, but damn it’d take the rainbow away.

So, how you can have these ‘things’ and still be intentional with your money?

There’s a common misconception that if you’re a frugal person then you’re cheap, you live without nice experiences or nice things and i’m here to tell you that’s simply not true…

You can have these things, if you have focus.

The above image captures the ‘things’ that I bought into my life over the past year. These are things that added value to my life, that were thought about and that I treasure. I applied a series of principles to my thinking to ensure there’s no throwaway fast-fashion trends, no impulses, no things gathering up dust in the drawer, and nothing gone to waste – And that to me is so important.

To help give you focus to be intentional with what ‘things’ you bring into your life, here are my top 4 tips:

1. Know your style:

  • It’s important to know what your personal style is, what you like and don’t like, as by doing so you’ll have a set of criteria to measure against when deciding on what new items to bring into your wardrobe or home.
  • To help you define your style this post has some helpful tips and tricks, or you could use a platform like Pinterest to create boards for different areas such as interiors, clothing, gardens, makeup etc, and pin what you like to give you an overview of your style across these areas.
  • By having clarity on your own personal style, instead of going into a store and seeing thousands of items and trends and buying something that you may not truly like, you’ll be able to focus on the items that align to your own personal style and make better purchasing decisions.

2. Quality over quantity:

  • When buying a new item, it’s better to lean towards the cheaper option right? Well not quite.
  • Sure, in the short-term you’ll have the item and had paid less for it, it’s a win-win, until that item wears out and you’re having to replace it a few months later.
  • By buying an item because it’s cheaper, it’s not being smart with your money, yourself, or the environment, and to help get the point across let me pull out 2 coats…
  • Let’s say you buy the first coat for £25, you use it all through Winter and at the end of the Season it starts to lose its shape and pull. You wore it a total of 40 times at 63p per wear and that’s the end of its life. Next Winter you’ll start again with a new £25 coat, and so on.
  • Now let’s say you buy the second coat for £100, you use it all through Winter and at the end of the Season it’s still standing strong, so you use it the next Winter, and the next, and so on. Over 4 Winters at 40 wears per season, that’s 160 wears and 63p per wear.
  • Now, you might think it’s the same cost-per-wear so there’s no difference between the two coats. But the coat that cost you £100 is delivering far more than just cost-per-wear. It’s made of a good quality fabric that is sustainably sourced, is a brand you love, that pays its employees a fair wage, fits you well and there’s one of them across 4 seasons.
  • Whenever you can, invest in an item, it’ll last you longer and you’ll get so much more than just the item out of it!

3. Know what brands and stores you love (and stick to them):

  • Much like knowing your style helps you to narrow your focus when making new purchases, so does knowing what brands and stores you love.
  • Make a list of the brands and stores you really love and buy 80% of the time within these. I keep a list on Google Docs and add to it each time I come across a new brand or store I love.
  • By doing this you’ll start to collate your own personal ‘mall’, and avoid going into stores that don’t align to your values or style.
  • It might sound simple, but it’ll save you a tone of time and almost always ensure what you buy you’ll love.

4. Give it time:

  • See an item you love and want it now? As much as you might want to buy it then and there, walk away (close the window if online) and give it 48 hours. If you still find in 48 hours you’re thinking about that item, if you can afford it and it fits within your budget allowance then buy it.
  • Most of the time however you’ll find after that period you won’t have it on your mind, which means you didn’t love it as much as you thought you did, and you can put your money into something else that you will.
  • Time is important, it gives us clarity and reduces those impulse and in-the-moment purchases we so often end up regretting, use it to your advantage.

I hope you find value in these 4 principles, and that they help you to buy more intentionally and to bring things into your life that you truly love. Remember being intentional and frugal with your money doesn’t mean restricting yourself of the things you love, but it gives you focus to bring in only the things that you truly do (and less of the stuff that you unintentionally don’t).

THE LADDER GIRL

Why I stopped mindlessly shopping and own less things

Why I stopped mindlessly shopping and own less things

I used to love to shop, and I mean shop! I’m talking about the kind of shopping where there’s no intention, no list, no vision other than to mindlessly wander around a mall spending. It was about that instant gratification of having new stuff, things, this-and-that to fill my home and for a brief moment, comfort me.

A new cushion for the couch (already overdressed with an array of textures and colours), or that beige Zara top, a colour I had never worn well with a skin tone as pale as an uncooked chicken (thankfully aided by Bondi Sands when Summer rolls around).

What I was doing wasn’t healthy, not for myself, my partner, my bank account or my mental health. I was buying things without a thought, and in return, they were giving me nothing back, and neither was I.

This needed to stop.

It wasn’t overnight that my habits changed – like many things it took time, many conversations, sifting through my things, analysing my spending, looking at photographs of myself. Who was I? What did I value? Where did I want to go? All these ‘things’ were a result of me not knowing these answers.

I needed to define my ‘why’.

Seeking change and a challenge, my partner and I decided to do what many Kiwi’s do in their 20’s and move to the UK. Why? Because we wanted to become more resilient, more confident, and to experience new cultures, people, and challenges that Auckland at the time didn’t offer us.

The change.

To get there we made many changes, which forced us to be more intentional – no longer could I walk through a mall mindlessly spending. The cushions and beige top needed to go.

We moved into a tiny house (7×3 metres) to save on rent, which meant downsizing – It meant researching and discovering new processes and ways-of-living I had never heard about before, all to get us to our goals and to minimize what we had…

I discovered these movements:

  • The Tiny House Movement
  • Minimalism
  • Capsule Wardrobes
  • The Fire Community
  • House Sitting
  • WWOOF

These new learnings aided and pushed me forward. Yes, they helped us save to go to the UK, and they stopped me going into malls, buying without intention and owning things for owning-things-sake. But they also taught me the beauty of less, and to value more what we so often take for granted. My friends, family, education, and opportunities – these are the things that gave back to me and in return, I can give back to.

Owning less will give you so much more.

Owning less is not about depriving yourself, it’s about being more mindful with the things you have and the things you buy.

Next time you go shopping, go with a plan, think what do I need? What do I like? What brings me joy? Does this purchase align with my goals? And if you keep this in mind I promise you there will never be a mall visit without intention or a rogue beige top finding its way into your closet.

THE LADDER GIRL

How to create a Capsule Wardrobe

How to create a Capsule Wardrobe

I remember the first time I heard about a Capsule Wardrobe, I was sifting through my clothing at my parent’s place deciding what to take with me to London and what to leave behind. The task seemed quite monumental, piles and piles of multicoloured, textured, and patterned fabrics splayed out across the bed – all needing a decision and destination to go.

To help me with my clothing conundrum I decided to hit up Dr Google, and that’s where I found it – It came in capsule form (quite fitting!), and once taken all items are then laid out before you into a beautifully curated wardrobe… I was sold.

What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is quite simply:

  • A wardrobe containing fewer items (commonly 35 or less)
  • A wardrobe filled with items you love and enjoy
  • A wardrobe with items that are versatile and interchangeable

The Rules – 35 items or less including:

  • Pants
  • Skirts
  • Dresses
  • Tops
  • Jumpers
  • Jackets
  • Shoes
  • This does not include underwear, swimsuits, workout gear, or accessories (but that doesn’t mean you should have 35 pairs of swimsuits)
  • You shop for things you need at the beginning of each season 
  • New items you incorporate into your Capsule Wardrobe should be of high quality and be invested in, so they last you from season-to-season and more importantly feel good on you, are made from a fabric you like, and that you’ll love to wear!

Why should you try a Capsule Wardrobe?

A Capsule Wardrobe gives you a wardrobe that is well put together, shows off your own individual style, takes up less room, is more intentional, and provides you with a curated palate of items that all go well together – meaning less hassle and decision making in the morning when deciding what to wear.

How do you create one?

By following this 4-step process:

1. Pull everything out:

  • It’s time to get all Marie Kondo on it!
  • Put everything into one pile in a room
  • As you pull out each individual item determine whether it’s an item you love vs an item you don’t or are unsure about.

2. Write it down:

  • Write down what you love or don’t love about these items
  • Is it the material, the colour, the fit, or the pattern?
  • For items you don’t love or unsure about, write why – Why haven’t you worn it? How does it make you feel when you put it on?
  • Writing it down will give you a picture of your own personal style. For me, I noticed I loved stripes, white and black, and high neck collars. I also realised I didn’t like pastel colours as they made me look pale, so it made step 3 a whole lot easier.

3. Sort your clothing into 3 groups:

Keep: Items you love

Maybe: Items that you’re unsure about. Interrogate this category, truly delve into why you’re unsure about it and be intentional. Do you really need that studded denim jacket? Is it versatile? Will it go with items you love?

Donate or Sell:Items off to a new home for someone else to love. But a reminder at this point, if you do end up with more than 35 items in your wardrobe that’s ok, the number is not the point. The point is learning to be more intentional.

4. Identify what you need:

Before you hit the shops ask yourself these questions to help you identify what you need and to be more intentional with your clothing spending…

  • What do you spend your time doing? i.e. are you outdoors a lot, do you go to a lot of corporate events?  
  • What are some key design elements you love? Look back at your list, do you love cotton fabrics, stripes, or are you a neutrals girl?
  • What brands do you love?
  • Go shopping: remember your why, be thoughtful and invest.

By following these principles you’ll develop skills to become more intentional with your clothing and to build your own unique and beautiful Capsule Wardrobe. That being said a Capsule Wardrobe is not a magic pill, it takes time and commitment – I still make the odd purchase I’m later regretting and posting on eBay, but what I do have now is a more intentional approach to clothing, a wardrobe that I’ve invested in, is minimal, goes well together, and that feels me – and that’s something that’s worth committing to.

THE LADDER GIRL