In Investing, Money, Shopping, Style

Stop trying to justify your expensive car or shopping habit as an investment

Be it a salesgirl, a friend, or even a person who is shopping on impulse, there is nothing that irks me more than someone saying:

But it’s an investment piece that will last for years in your wardrobe!

Perfect leather shoes you purchased to wear to work are not going to generate $20 bills every month beside them.

That lovely tweed blazer you paid a lot of money for, is not going to grow $50 bills in its lining every time you wear it.

Basically, if it doesn’t make you money in the long run, it is not an investment.

Period.

I SHOP A LOT, BUT I SURE DON’T CALL IT INVESTMENT SHOPPING

I’m not a saint in this area whatsoever. I shop, and I generally don’t buy cheap clothes for a few reasons:

  • Trends are not my thing — I wait until trends stick as classics & work on me before buying
  • Cheap clothing doesn’t last — It pills after a few washes, colour fades and/or looks old quickly
  • Fast, trendy clothes may have a lot of toxic chemicals hidden in them, waiting to be absorbed
  • Rather buy higher quality second-hand consigned clothing instead of new (recycle! reuse!)

I have less overall clothing, but I’ve been spending more than in the past.

I really get a great sense of satisfaction and joy out of wearing nice clothes with a good variety of colours, shapes and sizes.

What I don’t do, is call my love for shopping “investing in my wardrobe”.

Save-Spend-Splurge-Autumn-Winter-Closet-Wardrobe-Clothing-Shopping-Things

YOU COULD MAKE A (WEAK) ARGUMENT THAT WORK CLOTHES ARE AN INVESTMENT IN YOUR CAREER

Work clothes are an ‘investment’ in your appearance so you can climb the corporate ladder, make more money with your nicer clothes, and save more overall.

Very nice in theory, rarely works out in real life, because we never just stop at buying a few lovely work pieces unless we have a budgeting discipline made out of steel.


In reality, how many ‘nice’ work clothes do you really need?

5 tops at the most, with 5 pants at the most. Then throw in the fact that you might need 2 pairs of shoes or so, and that about ends your ‘investment in your career shopping’.

(You probably need less than that, because you can mix and match).

Frankly, unless you need to buy at least one new suit because you’re next in line to take the corner office (what is that, $500 at a maximum?), you can’t call your shopping habit — ‘investment shopping’.

CARS ARE ALSO GENERALLY NOT INVESTMENTS

Another area this applies to, is purchasing cars and this is where it seems to hit guys more than the girls.

Cars depreciate. That’s what they do. You buy a new car, and every year you keep it, you lose about 15%-20% in depreciation costs alone.

This is great if you own a company, because you can write it off on your books and help lower your taxable income, but if you’re a regular working Jane, not so much.

The only time a car is ever an investment, is if you buy it secondhand, and you use it to REALLY generate more income, in addition to having purchased it for dirt cheap in cash.

Want an example? I did this when I started freelancing: My used car had an ROI of 16,315.79%, and I’m leaning towards doing it again.

IT IS PERFECTLY FINE TO SHOP AS LONG AS YOU CAN AFFORD IT

In debt? You can’t afford that want.

No, really, you can’t afford it.

I am not saying every single penny should absolutely go towards your debt with no room for entertainment, but if you are planning on blowing $300 on a pair of jeans you don’t really need, you can’t afford it.

Minimalist-Wardrobe-Essentials-Women-Dark-Rinse-Jeans

You only ‘need’ those jeans, if you don’t have a single other pair of pants to wear. Nada. Zilch.

And even in that case, I’d encourage you to visit consignment or thrift stores for high quality pants for cheap (depreciation works even on clothing).

So STOP with the excuses, and STOP telling everyone that you’ll wear that [ insert expensive item here ] for years to come, the cost-per-use will be PENNIES, and you’re investing in your wardrobe.

Call it what it is, like I do — a shopping habit.

Share Tweet Pin It +1

Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have paid my $600K home in cash (my half was $300K), my $180K casr in cash, worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

You may also like

Previous PostHow my style has evolved over the years
Next PostWhat's the point in having all this money and time if your health sucks?

8 Comments

  1. Natalie

    Sherry I love you blog and agree with so much of your advice! Complete clothes are not investments and I’ve found now that I’m a phase of life where I replace things when they wear our with the luxury version for instance I had a beautiful pair of classic black leather riding boots that were years old and when they finally were at the end of their life I relaxed them with a French luxury brand. I find this works for me and makes me feel really happy to have luxury versions of my wardrobe staples.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      You are smart to do so.

      Reply
  2. Izabela Michalska

    I couldn’t agree more ((well, actually I could write it under almost every post here). I obey rules you mentioned and feel perfectly fine. I work as a lawyer and have about 35 pieces of clothes (including shoes) for work. I know, that I could even skip some with no harm). Recently somebody asked me: how many pants do you have? (3 – including 2 pair of jeans for less formal occasions). And you are not going to buy any? – Yes, but only when those are going to be worn out.
    Since I’ve reduce amount of clothes and choose only those which are the best I’m really better dressed, and I get also a lot of compliments form other people. Nobody notices I only have 35 clothes.
    Thanks to that I don’t have to go to shop and buy randomly chosen clothes – so I save money. Because I must save money to pay back the mortgage – I bought a flat 5 years ago and decided to repay it in 10 years. I guess it is very unusual, but I don’t want to think about my debts for more than a decade. I’m even quite sure I would pay it back much sooner – and I would be free. In fact I’ve already saved those money (in 2 years), but decided to move to the country and spend those money on refurbishing my house, so I have to start again.

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      I am re-focusing my energies on having an actual goal that makes sense to me. And it’s dividends to replace my income. This has #1 singlehandedly really stopped me from wanting to spend on buying more.

      Reply
      1. Izabela Michalska

        Yes. I also start looking at things as objects I have to spend money on, that means: how many hours do I have to work to buy this thing. And quite often I decide not to buy, or buy sth cheaper. When I pose myself a question: do I want work two hours more to buy THIS, or I can go for a walk with my housband or play with my son and buy cheaper THAT – the answer is easy.

        Reply
        1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

          For me, now instead of hours worked, I am seeing it far more as “how can this $100 bill work for me to generate me more money so I can grow more $100 bills?”

          It took a shopping spree to realize it this time around. I’m pretty excited about my new goal.

          Reply
          1. Izabela Michalska

            I can’t start thinking about investing money – stocks and things like this. I know little about it, and don’t have this “feeling” to deal with it. I only know a few rules I obey, for example: if you take a loan – choose the currency in which you get salary. And I did that. A lot of people took mortgage in euro or in franc and now thy regret it. I also know, that sth is too good to be true – it always is. There were also some another great ways to earn a lot of money very quickly – I could resist it. Now I know I did the right thing. I’m only shocked when i read a figure – how many people decided to take a chance… and lost a lot of money. The only investment I made was – buying a flat to rent. I know it doesn’t give me a lot of money soon, but I hope it would be sure money for my retirement.

          2. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

            Buying a flat to rent out is a good idea, it’s an investment that can pay for itself and you’ll have the asset at the end.

            I am cautious for myself of any fixed physical investments. I want to be able to liquidate easily and quickly and a flat for me is too binding. It would be a great idea in a high-demand city like NYC, London, etc…

Leave a Reply