A Toronto Transformation

saving money

Could You go a Year Without New Clothes?

vintage prom dresses at 69 vintage TorontoWhat do you mean I don’t need another frothy vintage prom dress?

According to a recent eye-opening and kick in the ass-ing review of my last three months’ spending, I could not.

Which, of course, immediately made me want to try.

To be fair, those three months included my birthday, when I was generously gifted some funds specifically to put towards an “investment piece” I’d been hemming and hawing over for about a year. Still, it was shocking to see just how much I actually spent on clothing in just three short months.

It made me re-examine my view of myself as a fairly financially responsible person. Because the truth is, while I’ve been patting myself on the back for being debt-free, I really haven’t been putting nearly as much money as I could, and arguably should, have been away for a rainy day.

Apparently, no sooner are my essentials paid off for the month, than I head out to spend whatever’s left over on food, clothes and a retrospectively inexplicable number of trips to Shopper’s Drug Mart. I’m like a moth to an optimum points flame. Half the time I just wander in there to see what’s on sale when I need to kill time.

Looking over my spending, not only was I disappointed in how little I had squirrelled away, and what a ridiculous amount of my paycheques was going to retail therapy and lazy food shopping, but I was dismayed to realize that I’d become such a rampant consumer.

When I think about the things I value most in life, of course, most of them aren’t things at all. They’re people, experiences, nature and feelings. And while there’s certainly room there for enjoyment of stuff, fashion stuff included, I was a little crestfallen to realize just how much stuff I was enjoying, and how that might be pushing aside the experiences I’d like to think I value more.

So, while I might not be ready for the challenge of going a year without buying a single new item of clothing that I’ve seen some bloggers sign up for, I am going to make a concerted effort to cut way back on my spending, particularly in that area and go from there. Even cutting my clothing budget in half for a year would be a significant boost to my overall savings.

Luckily I hosted a clothing swap this weekend, and snagged some great new-to-me stuff from my friends, so that should keep the spending wolves at bay for a little while at least.

Baby steps, you know?

Taken in shoes I already own, of course.

Are you guys big shoppers? Good savers? Could you go a year without new clothes? I’d love to hear any saving money/avoiding buying clothes tips you have in the comments!

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How to Host a Clothing Swap



Heaven help me, but I do love clothes.

I love how, silly as it seems, sometimes the right outfit can change your outlook and boost your confidence, how changing your style outwardly can open up the possibility of bigger changes. I love beautiful fabrics and textures and colours. And of course, I love the procurement of said clothing. I love hunting for just the thing and the thrill of actually finding it, or browsing aimlessly, on the off-chance of turning up some little treasure.

So, to sum up, I like to shop.

However, I also like to eat, and pay rent and travel, and take classes, so I try to keep my shopping habits reasonable, live within my means and all that. I also have a problem with rampant consumerism.

Fortunately in high school, my friends and I came up with a way to slake our lust for new clothes without further feeding into the wasteful, fast-fashion, big old corporate greedfest or breaking our budgets.

Here’s how we do it.


We go through our closets and bring anything we no longer wear to one of our apartments. As you can see, I’m clearly not the only over-clothed woman I know.



We try things on

We cultivate new looks. I call this one, "80-year-old Floridian Hipster."

We cultivate new looks. I call this one, “80-year-old Floridian Hipster.”


We eat a delicious Passionfruit tart from Hot Oven Bakery


We (ahem, I, specifically) dance around in cutoffs while lamenting the fact that shorts look pretty weird with a compression stocking.

We bask in our newfound freebies!

We bask in our newfound freebies!


I schedule a pickup with the Canadian Diabetes Association Clothesline, leave the leftover clothes and accessories on the front porch, and we’re done! Wardrobes livened up, more room in our closets and bank accounts intact!

Would/have you attended a clothing swap? If so, how was yours done? Are there any ideas/components you would add?

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