Wednesday, March 30, 2016

One-Year Purchase Review: March 2015


I didn't bother doing a one-year purchase review for January or February 2015, because I barely bought anything for myself in those months. In March, though, it all blew up. I finally felt confident in my steady paycheck for my new job, and working in an office again made me want stuff like I hadn't in awhile! This was also the month of the infamous Color Revolution, and my desire to replace all my clothes with different colored clothes would bust my budget for the next several months.


My March 2015 finances are hard to sort through, and some of the purchases are unexplained. In addition to what's listed here, I bought some items that I immediately returned (so my net outlay was between $0 and $7 or so for shipping), and I bought a bunch of tiny stuff, like a $2 pair of nail clippers, which I don't want to bother going over. Here are the larger purchases that I didn't immediately return.

Paige gray skinny jeans - $95

Suddenly into fashion, I decided skinny jeans were the right silhouette for me. I loved these gray jeans and became obsessed with them, buying a defective pair (the zipper was broken) when I couldn't find them anywhere else. This price reflects the total cost after I had the zipper repaired at a tailor. Sadly, I realized a few months later (after getting truly well-fitting skinny jeans from Stitchfix) that I'd overestimated my size and I actually shouldn't be getting all those wrinkles in my jeans, nor should I need to pull them up so often. Still, these jeans were super cool.

Money Well Spent? Kind of? I didn't end up keeping these jeans beyond six months or so, but for a few shining months, they made me feel really stylish.
Lessons Learned: Decide whether you are going for style or comfort. If you want comfort, don't get skinny jeans. If you want style, get skinny jeans that fit--tight.


Paige blue skinny jeans - $75


I loved the gray jeans so much that I got a pair in blue. These were 100% ousted by the ones I got from Stitchfix shortly thereafter.

Money Well Spent?
No, because I didn't love these, I just got them because they were similar to my other ones that I did love.

Lessons Learned: I won't say I learned this, exactly--I'd make this mistake several more times before, hopefully, having learned it now--but I should never buy exact copies (or copies in another color) of clothing items. I've frequently done this sight unseen, just buying, like, three identical shirts or two identical pairs of tights in the same order. In this case, I got something, really liked it, and then within weeks I got a second copy. That's better, but even then, I feel like I didn't know for sure that the item was perfect and that my interest in it would be long-lasting, not well enough to try to replicate it. 

Another thing I feel that I consistently underestimate is my desire for variety. Even if a particular pair of jeans WERE perfect, I think it would be better for me to only have one pair, and have my other casual pants be quite different.

2 Pairs of Shoes - $160


I bought a pair of black pumps and red Converse at a small shoe store largely because the owner was this super nice old guy who spent a lot of time helping my wife and me pick things out. I no longer have either pair of shoes.


Money Well Spent? No. I only wore the pumps a couple of times; I didn't try them enough in the store, and they hurt my feet. Within a month I'd replace the Converse with a pink pair, since this purchase was made mere days before my Color Revolution. (Now I don't own any Converse at all, because they are not, actually, all that comfortable.)

Lessons Learned: As much as I want to help local business, I feel like overly helpful attendants can set me up for failure, because I get flustered and would rather shovel money at them than make good purchasing decisions for me. That said, the perfect assistance I got at another shoe store a few months earlier had led me to buy a $180 pair of ankle boots that are 100% perfect for me and that I absolutely still love and wear almost daily now, so you win some, you lose some.

Jade & Navy Plaid Shirt - $60

This marks my first Color Revolution purchase. I'd previously bought a (cheaper) red and black plaid shirt on ModCloth which I really liked, shape-wise, but I now realized the color was all wrong. Although ModCloth didn't have any other colors, I did some detective work and found the original maker of the shirt, and lo and behold, they had a jade and navy version--my exact colors! It seemed like fate. 

Unfortunately, the new shirt just didn't have the magic of the old. I tried to make it work for several months because there was no logical reason there should be a shape difference between two shirts in the same make and model and size but different colors, but finally I had to give up and admit that there was and that the jade one just never fit me as well as the red one had.

Money Well Spent? No, I should have returned it after trying it on and discovering that the fit was off. I just couldn't believe it because its twin had fit me so well.


Lessons Learned: No two items are identical. Even shirts in the same brand, make, and size can vary slightly by colorway or even by individual item. It's important to have an open mind when trying on an item that "should be" the exact same as something else you own or have tried, and be honest about whether this item works as well.

Summary

Total Spent on Material Items: $490 on the items listed above (does not include all purchases in March 2015, sigh)
Total Money Well Spent: $0, right? I think I have to say $0 because 1 year later, I own none of these things.
Total Money Poorly Spent: $490
Percent Well Spent: 0%

Summary of Lessons Learned:
  • Go for comfort, or go for style. Don't compromise and get almost-comfort + almost-style.
  • Don't buy two copies of the same item. Don't buy them at the same time, and don't buy them within the same month. I'd say wait at least 1-2 months to make sure the first item is really working out... but honestly, I almost always regret getting two copies of the same item ever, because in reality I like variety more than I think I do.
  • Try not to buy things just because the salesperson is being nice. I mean, it's good to buy from a salesperson who is doing a good job if they really present you with what you want, and I think it's also find to reward a nice salesperson with an unnecessary purchase in an amount of money you don't mind throwing away. But don't compromise on what you actually want, and don't skip the ordinary procedures you would go through to vet a purchase. When in doubt, buy only one (1) item.
  • Consider each item individually, even multiples from the same brand and style. Try not to let residual pleasure from a different, related purchase spill over into your evaluation of a new item.
  • One of the larger lessons of the Color Revolution should probably have been that (1) there's no rush to replace everything you own, and (2) there's no rush to buy stuff in general, since you know you sometimes have "revolutions" and everything you recently bought no longer seems up to snuff. However, I don't seem to have learned that lesson to date.

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