Why full price is sometimes the best price

I have had this post in the pipeline for a while and after Tuesdays post on freebies I thought this would be as good a time as any to complete and publish it. It was inspired by Moni some time back when she left this comment in response to my post Mad if you don’t ~ Mad if you do. Here is what Moni had to say…

“My daughters shop in JayJays a lot and they often do a deal which is 2 t-shirts at a discounted price pretty close to the price of 1, and you rationalise, oh well its only an extra t-shirt, it will get used. Last night, Courtney asked me to help her sort out her t-shirts as there were too many to fit in her drawers. I noticed roughly half looked unworn and I asked her why that was? She said they were all the 2nd t-shirt from the discounted price for two deal. She loved the t-shirt she’d gone in there for, but had just grabbed a 2nd t-shirt. However, very rarely loved or wore the 2nd t-shirt.
So I told her to only buy what she loves and knows she will wear, then wear it to death, and next season get something else you love.”

Her comment got me thinking about my son’s clothing purchases or more to the point the clothes I purchase for my son. Liam doesn’t want for much really. He knows his own style, there is no doubt about that. He is a skinny little guy who hasn’t changed in size for years even though he is only 20 years old. Needless to say because of that we usually get good value out if his clothes, years in fact. He has some t-shirts that he has been wearing since he was 12 years old. And yet some perfectly good clothes have still been decluttered over the last two years and there is a consistent reason for that.

The reason is because I can be reluctant to pay full price for items of clothing for him. The price of young mens  clothing can be quite outrageous.  As a result, in the past, if I thought the item he had chosen was not good value for money I would insist he find something more reasonable in price or wait until it went on sale. He would then either 1. settle for something he wasn’t that keen on, 2. wait until the item went on sale by which time there were often none left in his size or 3. insist the item is the perfect one until I gave in against my better judgement.

Well as painful as it was on those rare occasions where I gave in I eventually learned something from them. Something that has eliminated the problem of unloved barely worn clothes being decluttered from his closet. You guessed it, when he got his way he worn the clothes he chose over and over and over until they were threadbare and only good for the trash. while the second choice clothes ended up only worn in desperation but mostly hidden in the depths of his closet. The ultimate result being that these items of clothing would eventually appear in a pile on my kitchen bench. That is where he puts things that he is ready to declutter. Lesson learned…eventually.

The moral of this story is that sometimes full price is the best price. The math goes something like this, a $20 shirt that is worn twice = $10 per wear ~ while ~ A $50 shirt worn 50 times = $1 per wear which is far better value for money. Being that Liam usually only asks for clothes when something else has worn out it is not breaking the bank to buy him what he likes. Mind you we aren’t talking $200 pairs of pants or anything just $50 shirts and $80 Chinos etc. I am not completely insane.

I have to say I can’t believe I just wrote this post. It has always been my policy to get the best price I can and I still do where sensible but there are just times when full price is the best price. Luckily for me I don’t find the need to shop very much so it doesn’t effect me a great deal in the long run.

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter a storage container that you not longer need because you never plan to reclutter.

Today’s Declutter Item

Storage Box

Something I Am Grateful For Today

Getting some chores done around the house, doing my thrift shop shift and still have time to take some exercise. A well rounded day I would say and it feels good.

“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. amazing post, colleen. it took me a minute to realize that 50 australian dollar are not 50 Euros, because I would have considered that expensive.

    I learned this lesson with shoes. We have a very successful chain of shoe shops which sell super cheap trendy shoes. Whatever you are searching for, you get it there. The problem? its rubbish. Those shoes can be worn 30 times and then they are falling apart, beyond fixing. The quality is cheap, the prices are cheap. I had a conversation with a friend who just bought shoes there, I commented (other might take if for criticism) that I dont believe that she will wear them for a long time. her response: “for that price I dont expect much”. explains it all.
    its about your priorities. if you want quality and long lasting items, you go for expensive things. if you dont care a lot, you just go cheap, and declutter those things sooner than later.

    • Oh, don’t get me started on shoes. I just bought some new sandals for 70€ and they already look tattered. One week’s wear. It’s so annoying.

      • oh crap, thats bad. you could make it a statement and wear them proudly – like I do with my chucks, which are basically falling apart. Or you go into the shop again and ask if this is normal and ask for a replacement or similar. 70 Euros is quite a number for sandals… that reminds me. I should get my beauties out of the shelf and wear them tonight, it is summer after all.

        I bought a pair of summer shoes (close to ballerinas) 2 years ago super cheap. me, those shoes and the super glue are quite a team now. I wonder how long they can make it with my applied gross motor skills.

      • I would do as Lena suggests and try to return them. The worst that can happen is they say no but they certainly won’t say yes if you don’t ask. Manufacturers should be made responsible for poor quality products, no matter how cheap they are. I love it that my son has learned from me over the year and has no qualms about taking something back to where he bought it if it doesn’t perform as expected. He nearly always gets his refund.

        • I’d like to be able to do this with ‘services’. I got my ‘house’ painted, and every day I find something else with paint splashes – last night was a mirror, and the frame has painty finger prints. Such a waste of money in my mind!

        • I’ll try, though I don’t think I’ll be successfull. At least not at the shoe store – but maybe, if I write to the shoe maker’s company.
          The shoes are comfortable and the seams are well made – it’s just the coloured leather which seems to be chipped as soon as one touches it. I walk completely normal and the front is already looking as if those shoes were really old.

          • Oh, it’s a dilemma if you find something that is nice and good quality overall but flaws in certain points. My favourite boots: I had to replace the heels after two weeks. I didn’t try to give them back because other than the cheaply made heel they were good and I had looked too long for a pair like that to give it up again. But I did feel a bit betrayed paying for the the manufacturer’s flaws. If it had not been a bit of a travel to get back to the shop I would have asked for a little reimbursement though. Maybe they could give you some shoe shine for free to touch up the leather if you’d prefer to keep the shoes.
            Colleen is right, you should at least ask. Good luck!

    • Don’t always expect a high price to get you good quality though. Sometimes it is purely the name on the label you are paying for.

    • Hi Lena, don’t always expect a high price to get you good quality though. Sometimes you are merely paying for the label. It works in reverse also where inexpensive items are good quality. The trick is to be able to tell the difference by sight and feel.

      • If only “you get what you pay for” would mean you get, what you pay for … (instead of “maybe you get something decent if you shell out the money, maybe you, well, don’t”). I am so super annoyed with my shopping I did in the US last fall. Sure, prices were cheaper than here AND I did some research on what I wanted AND tried hard not to go overboard but stick to a list I’d made AND did look at everything closely. But by now almost everything had proven to be of a lousy quality though I did not settle for the cheapest at all. Maybe it is not using a dryer but almost all the shirts and one jeans lost their shape completely soon(went up approx. two sizes!), a cotton/wool mix jacket sheds so incredibly that it really can’t be worn anymore (it only started to do so after two washings) and overall their was just too much bleeding so that the shirts look really shabby already.
        I wish I had paid full price (in this case meaning German price) for everything – because I would have returned (almost) everything then!!!
        I am still searching for the firms I WANT to give my money to! (Instead of being sort of robbed because you did not really get much in return …)
        Am I the only one who is stupefied every time I shop (or attempt to shop) for clothes how hard it is to find something of a decent, long lasting quality even if you are prepared to pay a bit more (within reason …)?
        A question: Has anyone experience with bamboo jersey? I have a yoga pant of it that I love and that stands the test of time now for five years and still looks almost new. It doesn#t seem to wash out at all. I would love to try to get bamboo for the next t-shirt purchase but it would be great to know if someone has experience with it, as they are hard to come by round here.

        • I wish we too had Europe’s return policy! I agree some of my US purchased stuff hasn’t really endured, but at least in my case, the stuff that hasn’t was cheap, so I feel like it’s OK (I mean coming up three years isn’t that horrible, but then it doesn’t look ‘nice’ like similar better made products…)

          • Hi Snosie,
            Australia is a much tougher when it comes to returns but if something is of poor quality and comes apart of shrinks in the wash then the retailer has to give you a refund.

          • I know a lot of moms that use organic bamboo in their kids’ diapers and it holds up well. I haven’t tried it myself though.

        • Hi Ideealistin, not being able to return things that turn out to be poor quality is certainly a risk you take when shopping while overseas. We try to shop early in the trip and then wear the clothing/shoes and if they don’t wash or wear well we can return them while we are there. How disappointing those US purchases must be for you. I didn’t end up buying much while I was there because I was having trouble finding quality items at a reasonable price or things that I liked for that matter. What I did buy seems to be standing up OK so far though.

          As for the bamboo jersey question. The only experience I have with bamboo products so far are some knickers I bought and the did not wear well at all. I threw them away after about twelve months. My husband has bought bamboo socks before as well and seemed happy with them. I found though that the bamboo items dry quite slowly which doesn’t work well when travelling.

          • Hi Colleen,
            thanks for your thoughts on bamboo. I guess I should just give it a try if I can find something decently priced (and nice) in a brick and mortar shop round here. If I go for it, I’ll let you know how it stands the test of time. Drying is not so much my main point though I’d love to check out the merino stuff (icebreaker) at some point for the travelling-friendliness. There are hard to get here though and for something that pricey I really want a shop where I can try them on and feel them.
            As the weather is lovely round here lately it might not be all that dreadful to go shopping, after all. 😉

          • I have two sets of bamboo towels that are going on their tenth year of use. One set or the other is always in the bathroom.

      • there is this shoe brand, naturalista , I like the style, I thought they were good quality and bought really close-to-pain-expensive winterboots. they lost their shape so much that its now a size bigger than it was when I bought them, the proper sole was gone quickly too and I slipped more than once. they are clearly winter boots. you are not supposed to slip with winterboots, thats one of the reasons you wear them in the first place, but well, yeah. Anyway, I will hold them another season (cant let go yet – far too expensive) and try them with soles inside and with a proper treatment outside, I really hope that will work. But I learned my lesson with this brand. its sad, I like their style, but they just didnt convince me.

    • Hi Lena – we have a similar chain store here, the only benefit I feel (apart from being cheap) is that you can have that trendy up to the minute look and yes by the end of the season they will have fallen apart. This works well for my teenage daughters, especially if its shoes bought for an occaision, then they thrash them for the rest of the season, then trash them. And then they aren’t subjected to the horrors (said with a smirk) of wearing something that is “sooooo last year”.

      But when it comes to items like boots – as far as I’m concerned, boots are an investment! Buy a good pair and you’ll get years out of them.

      • When I’m scanning the racks at the thrift stores, over time I’ve come to be able to find the quality stuff that is still in good shape. There are a few quality brands that their product (clothing) really holds up and keeps looking nice wash after wash. Of course, I try to wash almost everything with one half the amount of soap that is recommended on the product label AND all in cold water. I do use my dryer, too much! (that is one for your mini-missions Colleen, use LESS energy each day…). Anyway, if the item has survived someone elses use (which is truly an unknown at a thrift store) and still looks good enough to be on the thrift store rack, then usually it is possible to find nice quality brand name stuff for a very little price that will hold up (one hopes) fairly well!!!

        • We received a load of very good quality clothes in good condition at my thrift store on Wednesday while I was there. They were the wrong size for me but I didn’t need anything anyway. You could tell by the way the lady looked who dropped them off that there was bound to be some good stuff in there.

        • thats exactly why I like to buy second hand, or at least from brands that convinced me already. if thrift shop clothes survived the first owner, and still look good, then they will probably hold it for years in my wardrobe. although I tend to wear things out quite fast, because I dont have a lot of different clothes.

    • I sold shoes for a while long ago. With shoes you have to be careful. Many expensive, “designer” shoes are very poor quality, made-in-china stuff for which you pay dearly for a “designer” name. Look for stitched soles, not glued ones. Lift the shoe to eye level: do you see layers of sole glued together like plywood? They ARE glued, and WILL come apart. Are narrow leather straps on sandals merely cut strips with raw edges or do they have a smooth, belt-like edge with fine, even stitching? (Wide leather straps with raw, unseamed edges will hold up if the leather is thick enough, like Birkenstocks.) Is the sole stitched, and not glued, to the shoe? Is the buckle made from cheap metal or is it stout? If you hold one end of the shoe in each hand and push, does it fold easily? Unless you’re buying ballet slippers, you don’t want that.
      Is there a good arch support, or just a few thin layers of sole material glued together? Important questions, all. The best advice on shoes is go to a podiatrist and ask him or her which shoes THEY buy.

  2. I tackled this issue with our teens by giving them a budget of what I felt comfortable paying for clothing. They could spend it any way they wanted, but when it was gone, it was gone and they were responsible for anything else they needed that season or year. I didn’t have to make the choices about what to do and they had to live with their choices. I feel like while they are still under our household, they need to have experiences where they learn by making decisions themselves. I have found this same challenge with food. I now choose to just buy the fresh produce instead of twice as much canned for the same price because it is healthier. I buy organic milk when I can even though it is more expensive. I don’t buy a lot of processed foods because no matter how cheap they are, they just aren’t what is best in the long run.

    • I so agree with this: the clothes, the food, the vacations…. It’s is not the price that is important, it is the value. What it is worth it to you, whether you buy it full price, on sale or even second hand.

    • Hi Spendwisemom, I did the same with my daughter when she turned twelve but my son has never needed this kind of discipline put on him because as I said in the post he doesn’t want for much. I did do it with him to begin with but then he just ended up with the money building up and wearing the same old clothes. He was smart though and took that money with to America when he went back for a visit and stocked up on clothes at American prices (much lower) and hasn’t needed much since. That was over two years ago.

      Good point with food. I am getting more that way inclined too. With the milk I also buy full cream because I mostly use it in my tea and with full cream I only need a fraction of it compared to the lite stuff. As a result I have not only saved money but I have saved on plastic bottles not needing recycling.

  3. Great post !
    when I buy and cook good and tasty products I do not eat large quantities, when I buy junk food ( if I get realy tired or bothered or …) I definitely eat a lot of it. On the first go I feel great, on the second I feel poor.
    But even I know it, I keep on buying rubbish occasionally.

    • I agree Nicole 86 but a little rubbish occasionally isn’t so bad. Although like Cindy said in yesterdays post, if I don’t keep it in my pantry I am unlikely to eat it so I don’t bring it home. I only sneak a little treat like that when I am out occasionally.

      • So that box of crackers I ate in one sitting isn’t really all ***that*** awful!!!???!! Well, I was craving salt and crunchy, sometimes ya just gotta have it! Overall that is not a constant food source in our house, and I don’t feel so great (now) after eating it (but my taste buds sure were happy for awhile!!!). 🙂 Gotta say, overall, NOT worth it.

  4. My husband says “A purchase at any cost, is not a bargain unless you need it.”That would eliminate a lot of buying if we would only follow that rule.

  5. Ah, this is like a saying I have: “A two dollar scarf is a two dollar waste of money if you won’t wear it.” Sure, you stretched your budget, but you didn’t really get anything for stretch. Good insight Colleen.

    • That is right Cindy. It doesn’t always work out this way though so one has to be discerning no matter what the price or item. That $2 scarf could also be the best choice. Liam also used to love the $2.50 white t-shirts from Michaels craft store and is still wearing some of those after 7 years.

      • Really? White t-shirts from Michaels? I gotta check it out. The proverbial search for the perfekt white t-shirt!!!

  6. Debbie in Alberta

    My oldest who is now 22 was always great to shop with and knew mom would always look for the best deals on clothes. My youngest – now 20 – felt he needed to follow the expensive trends. It was a battle shopping, so that is when I decided to not only give him a budget; but I withdrew the cash I would spend and give it to him to buy his clothes; letting him know how long these clothes were to last and what it covered. (ex: winter coat or not). This was the best and fastest lesson for him. There were times when a couple pairs of jeans were worn over and over. He soon decided that finding those brand names on sale meant he could buy more. He also realized some clothes were a waste and were hardly worn.

    He is a good shopper now, uses his own money, and a great declutterer. He’ll often bring a pile of clothes out that he no longer wears or has outgrown for me to take to the thrift store – or he goes himself. That’s when we know we’ve trained them well 🙂

    • Hi Debbie in Alberta,
      I had it the opposite way around, it was my oldest who was like your youngest but then she was a girl and the other a boy ~ that can make a big difference especially when it comes to buying clothes. Like you I got tired of the arguments when shopping and gave her a budget. She also had the benefit of all the same training from me that her brother got when it comes to budgeting and yet she is still the spender living from pay check to pay check and he can save $3000 over twelve month on a part time wage of $200 per week.
      Very few of my son’s clothes go to the thrift store because they are usually tattered rags by the time he relinquishes them. The only ones that make the thrift store pile are ones someone else bought him without his approval.

      • haha. I cant remember when my mum started giving me money, extra for clothes, besides the normal pocket money… I can remember her being so strict about certain clothes, and when it came to shopping a no meant a no. I knew that, so I didnt argue anymore… I think today, that she really must have hated to go shopping. Maybe thats why I never turned out to be a good shopper, too. Because we never really had a good time shopping. I must remember to say thanks for that 😉

  7. I’m a very picky shopper. I make sure to buy items that are well made and will last. I watch for them to come on sale. If I can’t find something on sale then I don’t get it. As for shoes, I have to wear special ones with orthotics. My shoes cost a fortune and I am thankful my new insurance covers the complete cost. I can get one pair of shoes a year and I get Mary Jane’s. At least that way they don’t look too bad for nicer occasions. I take good care of them but when you wear them every day of the year you are glad when it’s time to get a new pair.

    • Hi Deb J, you and I shop alike it seems. For myself I am happy to bide my time and only buy things when they are on sale but are good quality. If it happens though that a sale just doesn’t come up I still by the quality items because at least I know they will last and be good value for the money I pay. I too tend to choose Mary Jane style shoes ~ Keens usually ~ because when I travel they are the only pair of shoes I need take because as you say they look nice with most outfits and they are cooler and summer than a closed shoe and warm enough in the cooler months if you wear a pair of socks with them. I tend not to travel in the really cold periods.

  8. Years ago I paid alot for a nice pair of eyeglass frames. At first I hesitated because of the price, but am glad I chose to buy the frames, They have lasted for a least 10 years and still fit my style. When I get my lenses changed I keep the same frames. Over the course of the years new frames each time would have costed me alot more than the original purchase.

    • Hi Lisa that is great. I have never reused a pair of frames yet because by the time I am due for a new set of glasses I have found faults with the frames that I am not happy with. My latest pair a good though so here hoping I can reuse them the next time. I do also love my prescription sunglasses so hopefully they will also stand the test of time.

      • even if you only wear your glasses for two or three years (I somehow always manage to get my frames damaged – and fixed up – and damaged again … so when the lenses are worn out I usually need a new frame too), I think it is worth all the money one can scratch up to get a really nice pair. After all: you wear it every day, you see it every time you look in the mirror. It is a necessity, but it also is my fashion accessory number one.

        • I agree Ideealistin. My husband made the mistake the first time, of getting the cheap frames that his employers were prepared to pay for and he hated them and avoided wearing them as much as possible. This time around (because he new I didn’t skimp) he decided to pay the gap and get nicer frames and he is much happier. When I say I don’t skimp, I don’t go crazy and buy Dior either. I’m not made of money. 😉

          • Funny enough, glasses are the only thing I would ever go and buy dior or gucci or prada … But maybe that is German prices. The difference is just not as much from decent quality to decent quality and a brand name. That said I did not really have the choice anyway as most frames were too wide. I had to take the pair that fit best and it was no brand anyone knows but I could have gotten the mentioned brand for about the same price. Well, I am super happy with these glasses and get lots of compliments on them, so they were worth every penny!

          • When I wore glasses, I had three or four pairs. I figured that they were right there on my face – to be seen by everyone, everyday, and I wanted to look good. About five years ago, I had my eyes lasered, but I have to wear reading glasses (“cheaters” from the drug store) but I’ve found a super-cute brand, and I have 5 or 6 pairs. They’re my most obvious fashion accessory.

  9. I’m bad about the best deals too but I’ll pay full price if I really like something. For instance, I just bought 5 onesies for my daughter, name brand, for $8 on sale. I don’t love them and I’m really kind of hoping I’ll get something else and return these. However, I paid $8 for this adorable little dress she’ll outgrow too fast but I’m going to put it on her LOTS before she does.

    Although she spit up all over it yesterday, of course. Always has to christen the new outfits.

    • Hey Lynn there is nothing bad about getting the best deal so long as it is the item that is best suited for the purpose. I would never ever suggest that for a minute as I hate paying full price. The title of this post is “Why full price is sometimes the best price.” It doesn’t say always the best price.

      For example:~ My favourite shoes are about to wear through the bottoms. These shoes are expensive and so so comfortable and great for travelling as well as everyday wear. I have been keeping my eye out for a replacement pair even though these aren’t quite ready for the trash yet. Last week I found the same pair reduced from $189 to $113 so I snapped them up. I have put them in the linen closet for when the other pair are past wearing because I know if I start wearing the new pair the old pair will just become clutter. Technically the new pair are clutter at he moment but I prefer to consider them a financially sound preemptive strike.

      • oooh I love that -“a financially sound pre-emptive strike” !!!

      • I was actually agreeing with you. I meant “best” deal as the most for your money – the two for one special, for instance. 🙂 I know that you didn’t mean full price was always the best deal. Anyway, I have a hard time with it because I DO go for quantity over quality and that’s what I meant.

        • I see Lynn and I understand entirely. I love a good deal, quality and quantity in the one transaction is the best outcome. I think if my son decided he needed new pants before the backside is nearly falling out of them perhaps we would have a better chance (more time) of finding the best deal that suits both his taste and my bank account. 😉

          • Haha! My husband is very similar. He will wear jeans until there is a hole and then go “I need new ones”.

            I think I do that too, or used to. This time I waited until my maternity shorts were falling off of me and then I went out and bought some shorts for the summer. *blushes*

      • I like that: a financially sound pre-emptive strike!
        I must try that one on my hubby.

        • Oh I loved those onesies for my kids. They had such cute clothes from their Grandma (love her!), but the outfits I daily had the kids in were the onesies. So of course, as I look back over all their photographs, one or the other is in a onesie with (usually) a big stain representing what was previously consumed on the front. LOL! So I Lynn, I hope that you can get photos of your baby in the cute outfits (even with the spit-up, after all, that is part of baby-hood!). 🙂

          • Carter’s are the best! I spend the money on them because they fit, though they fit about 3 months early than their tag indicates. (On the other hand, I grow ’em big.)

            I take pictures of her every day. My blog is pretty much devoted to the kids, haha. I need to pick back up on posting pictures though…

          • Oh I checked out your blog!!!! SOOO CUTE!!!! 🙂 I’ve set it to my favorites and will go back over and read through later on!

        • This tactic will only work once or twice if you choose poorly though. Believe me he will notice.

        • I like that also. I might use that on a few people. 😉

  10. Quality over quantity.

    Having said that I always shop the opshop store first when I need something: in the last month I have bought “as new” pair of jeans which fit perfectly and a lovely fleece jacket for $6 each so I am really chuffed!

    • I agree Janetta,
      I also bought a new pair of jeans at the opshop and I love them and I am keeping my eye out for a jacket as well. I don’t really need the jacket but if the right one turns up I will buy it and then donate another jacket that doesn’t really suit its purpose for me. I consider this guilt free shopping as it is cheap, one in one out, secondhand and yet still good quality.

  11. Very cute and sturdy little storage box Colleen but great that you dont need it anymore! It reminds me that a long time ago, before I discovered the joys of decluttering I actually went out and bought a second filing cabinet for “all our papers”. We were only a family of five – what was I thinking ! Actually it was simply that it hadn’t occurred to me to regularly cull .When it slowly dawned on me that all those papers were not all essential it was easy to trim right back.We now have only one filing cabinet -with four drawers but our “papers ” only take up ONE drawer , my husband’s study /research papers another one and the other two are half empty and used for things that have nothing to do with papers .We have gone from eight drawers to two -admittedly its only the two of us now but five people did not need eight drawers.I’m quite sure I wasnt the only one going out to buy more storage containers for too much stuff instead of reducing the stuff in the first place. (such a cute box though!)

    • Yes jez you were certainly not alone making that mistake. I am glad you mentioned this though because it is probably time I checked out our little file of warranty papers and the like to see if any need decluttering. We have so little paper now that we don’t even have a filing cabinet just a few file boxes tucked away in the linen closet and one box of tax papers in the garage.

      • Well Colleen – your reply to my comment made me have another look at my filing cabinet – as I mentioned I was very happy to have gone from 2 cabinets to one (or eight drawers to two) .BUT- that was a few years ago so,apart from popping out to see a great movie “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” I spent a large part of the day going through those two drawers .Have thrown out HALF of the stuff including “old tax files” which were not old but ancient ! They have sort of always been there taking up space at the back of the drawer and giving off an air of opression and heaviness (sounds dramatic but true!) Fabulous to toss them out ,ad other out of date stuff and now know that everything in the filing cabinet is relevant and current and labelled and sorted .VERY refreshing!! Thanks for the reminder !I’ve also put a forward reminder in my diary to go through everything again in May next year.

        • Hi Jez – I am also working thru my 2-drawer filing cabinets and I actually don’t need one at all now but just have to buy one of those concertina file things to store important documents in. The other hurdle to cross is where are we going to put the printer that sits on top of it?

  12. Oh I WISH my mum had the presence of mind with the budget thing when I was a kid. I went to boarding school, so shopping was confined to holidays, although I did get ‘pocket money’ from the age of 10 when I started at boarding school (and it did increase over time). I’ve discovered mum’s shopping is more a time/number of things, rather than cost based (she’s not what you’d call frugal!). So I know with her, even now when I’m buying, once I have 2-4 things, that’s it, we’re done! This wasn’t ideal, because often she’d chose things for me that I didn’t like, and my ‘quota’ would be gone so quickly! I’m such a numbers person, so I wish for how Colleen did it with her daughter!

    Nowdays, well it’s hard to say what my clothes shopping habits are, after 2011 being the year of no new clothes (I did however go to the US, and that was not included in the year of no clothes!). I tend to buy knickers whenever they are in stock in my size and style (which is seldom!), otherwise, I have a ‘one good woolen’ cardigan a year rule (now I have a few which I love, cost a bomb each year, but well worth it). But then I buy cheap jackets/blazers, cause they look great for a small price… And the latest two are getting a fair wear rate! But then coats, one proper winter one is enough. Shoes, I’m full up (though I would like some nice ballerinas… sigh). Socks I’m oversupplied. I suppose now I shop largely by ‘number’ for utilitary things, and otherwise, a bit on price/like (and my budget of the week!)

    • Hi Snosie,
      I sympathise with you over your mum’s shopping routine for you when you were younger. My mum was quite frugal ~ which is where I learned to be so ~ she had to be with five children. She was a dressmaker though and made most of our clothes for a long time. We loved the clothes and were always happy with that. When we got older we only got clothes when we really needed them but that was OK too because she allowed us to choose within reason. By the time I was 15 I was working and buying my own clothes which was when the frugality went out the window for a while. It soon settled down again once I was married and children came along. Although with all the stuff I have gotten rid of over the last two years I was clearly not as frugal as I thought. Although I must admit plenty of it was given to me or bought cheaply at garage sales but nevertheless ended up as clutter.

    • Hi Snosie – this last year has been a big learning curve for me with both decluttering and wardrobe management, well, actually everything management!
      I have a friend who implemented the budget idea but had to alter the idea because her daughter was hoarding the cash.
      Each of my 3 teens has very different shopping psychologies (?) and so I try to adapt how we handle a trip to the shops.

      • Ha ha Moni, that is what Liam would do ~ hoard the cash. He has all the money saving sense his sister missed out on.

        When my kids were teens and they started to get the “I wants” or whining about how much I was prepared to pay or start arguing with each other, I would threaten to start singing right there in the middle of the shopping centre. They know me well enough to be fearful that I would actually carry out my threat. Shopping is so much more fun when the kids get old enough be as embarrassed as their parents when it come to stupid behaviour.

        • Hi Colleen – my friend would drop to her knees in the middle of the shopping centre, assume prayer position for at least a minute, then get up and announce she’d asked God and he said no.

        • HAHA. that made me laugh so hard. great way.

  13. I have a solution.
    The thing about 2-for-1 deals is you feel like you ought to get something different alongside the one you originally wanted – so you always end up with one you don’t like as much. For some reason, people think variety is better even if it isn’t. The answer is to get two the same. If you like it, you’ll wear both of them out.

    • Yes, Romney. That’s what I do. And if I love one, I’ll wear them both until they’re rags.

    • Hi Romney – good in theory, but these t-shirts were for my teenage daughters and when they’re going thru rapid growth, they can grow 4-5 sizes in a year, so for a year or two, they don’t really wear out clothes, just outgrow them.
      I personally get bored with clothes and am happy to see them eventually wear out and go so I can wear something new. My mother in law buys items in triplicate, but unfortunately its not usually something really loves so they don’t get used…..in triplicate.

    • Smart plan Romney, I like that.

  14. Actually, I agree with you Colleen. I’ve learned the hard way that even if it’s on sale, if you don’t absolutely love the item, you won’t wear it or use it. Most of the time, the higher cost will be amertized out ($50/50wearings=$1per wearing) compared to ($5/1wearing=$5per wearing). I own some cashmere pull over sweaters. Easily, I’m up to 100 times wearing each one because I love them so much. But the cardi I bought to wear to a wedding? Hmph–I’ve worn it maybe 4 times. Which is the better buy?

    • I agree willow, but then I go back to ‘there’s only so much money I can spend on clothes/this week’ etc, which means we end up sometimes buying something cheap and seldom using, just because it’s cheap and it fitted one need at the time. I’m finding this more so with furniture of late!

      • The question is Snosie, do you really need it so much that you have to buy it before you can afford to buy better?

        • I’m not sure… I think I often get ‘second best’ (ie cheap) and then I settle with what I have. Just yesterday I spent $50 on a coffe/side table, which is OK money (and it’s great quality, real wood at least!) but it’s not exactly what I want… You’re question will sit with me for a while…

    • Willow, I’m with you with the cashmere! So worth it (though I have to admit I never paid full price so far but maybe one day I will … if I can’t get a hand me down or second hand). What I love about it, too, is taht you can air them out instead of washing them all the time (yes, I do wash them even if it sometimes says to bring it to the dry cleaners, wool wash with wool wash detergent is fine).
      Discovering that, now I am spoilt of course 😉

    • Hi Willow, when I buy clothes these days I try them on and as I look at myself in the dressing room I ask myself “Do you love it and does it feel comfortable?” If the items passes that test then there is a good chance it will be coming home with me. Mind you I do some change room aerobics to be sure the item is comfortable no matter what moves I am going to be making in it.

  15. Hi Colleen – my son sounds similar, he’s also a skater, so they have definate ideas on what they want. I actually have to bully him into buying more clothes as he thought 2 changes of clothes was plenty while he still had school uniform – but this caused issues if I ran behind with laundry, and frankly he got to the stage where he looked like he’d dressed himself out of the rag bin.

    He was average height but then suddenly powered up to 6 foot 2 which has made it more challenging to find clothes in the lines he likes. I went thru the maths with him like you did in your post and told him I’d rather he bought clothes he will definately wear, and sufficient clothes so I’m not washing and using the dryer last thing at night (what a waste!) so he has something to wear the next day.

  16. Wow 40 comments already by the time this post showed up in my reader. About the only thing I can contribute to this post would be: there are some things destined to be on sale for a reason. Either it’s junk to begin with, has design/construction flaws or nobody likes it enough to pay full price.
    There. That’s my contribution. 😉

    • Good contribution Jane. This is really obvious too when there a hugh stocks of the item in question. Especially if it is at one of these consignment stores like Ross or Nordstrom Rack.

  17. Everyone’s comments are “spot on”. Less is more. When I choose quality over quantity, I am so much more satisfied and enjoy the purchase so much more. If a discount or special sale price is involved, that is just extra frosting on the cake, but does not ever hinder my decision to buy.
    Martha Stewart once wrote about her closet saying something to the effect of, “I would rather have a few well made clothes than a closet full of lesser pieces”.

  18. Well I’m immediately guilty of the daily Monday Mini Mission for today: ‘declutter a storage item that I no longer need’. The story goes like this: yesterday there were some under-bed storage containers (nice ones made by Rubbermaid) in the dumpster in the alley by our garage. Well, finally I told my husband to run out and take a look at them, and that if he liked them to dig them out w/ the lids and bring them into the house (WHAT?). Yes, BRING THEM into THE HOUSE. So he did. I washed them out and they are perfektly good storage containers. So we are going to see if need them; however, if we don’t need them, THEY ARE GOING TO BE TAKEN BY ME TO a LOCAL GOODWILL!!!! I just couldn’t see them sitting in the landfill for the rest of their lives. They have good use in them, IF THEY ARE NEEDED!

    Now, as far as today’s post, this was an interesting point. I’d rather have one thing I LOVE and paid a reasonable price for than 10 things I think are OK and got either for ‘free’ or hand me downs or a low price. Even if it is free, that doesn’t mean it is always for me! 🙂 So with that in mind, over 15 years ago I paid an arm and a leg for a gorgeous black skirt by a top designer at a very upscale retail store. Well, I still have that skirt, I still wear that skirt (dress up, w/ blazers for interviews, etc). I have taken very good care of it and it has lasted all these years (it is extremely well made). A basic gorgeous black skirt!!! A timeless piece! I’d say the cost of that skirt, if I average in years and amount of times I wear it (and will continue to wear it) is pennies, or maybe even a penny, per wear!!! Lucky for me, it has a stretchy type waist band and has adjusted to and continues to work just fine to any of my ‘sizes’ over the years! 🙂 ALSO, it says to dry clean only, but I’m ok putting into my washing machine on a gentle cycle cold water wash and then letting it lay flat to dry!

    • I am glad you rescued those containers but I am also hopeful you don’t need them and will release them to the good will to go to someone who isn’t as declutter evolved as you are.

      I do love the sound of that skirt. I have several items that have stood the test of time and some weren’t even anything special. Every winter for the last 13 years I have got good use out of a long sleeve nightie made t-shirt fabric. It is nothing special and wasn’t expensive but it has certainly paid for itself.

  19. Hi Colleen,

    I have been a long time lurker on your website which kept me motivated when I moved interstate 2 years ago. I always enjoy reading your posts and do so almost daily. Thank you for you ongoing efforts. Today you have inspired me to clean up my fridge.

    I think your son has managed to achieve the ideal situation. Only buy what you use and wear it to death. This gets the most value from the item and doesn’t create clutter or any problems for others. It makes good environmental and financial sense. I think this is “responsible consumerism” which I try to aim for myself (often less than successfully).

    I decided a few years ago to only buy 3 whole outfits per year instead of individual pieces. I mostly buy them from a local designer who manufactures locally as well. Whilst not cheap, the clothes are beautiful, good quality fabric and get worn constantly. Now that I have done this for 4 years I have a lot of outfits to chose from. I used to buy a lot of things just because they were cheap or on special but found I often donated them to the op shop with the tags still on as they didn’t make an outfit or suit me or the rest of my wardrobe.

    You sound a bit like my dad when I was a teenager. “Are you really going to wear this $90 jumper 90 times? Otherwise it is a ripoff!” I eventually convinced my dad to give me an allowance and used it to sew my own clothes after learning a few lessons about buying expensive branded clothing. I can see his point now (I don’t think I will tell him though!)

    • Hi itgirl and a very belated welcome to 365 Less Things. So nice of you to come forward and introduce yourself. I am glad my blog has been helpful to you all this time and that your move went well way back then. I won’t take any credit for the fridge declutter I will give Cindy and the readers who went from talking about pantry decluttering to fridge cleaning. Both those things inspired me to give mine the once over too. They didn’t need much decluttering but the can and condiment shelves both needed a good wipe down and the fridge needed a wipe out. Now I just have to stop avoiding cleaning the oven. Errrrr!!!

      My son really is quite good at responsible consumerism. He keeps his sight on the big ticket items like camera gear (he is a fine arts student with a photograph major), computers for everything digital including editing photos and his focus at the moment ~ saving to go to America for five weeks at the end of the year. He is good at going without other things in order to save for what he want. He is also good at investigating his intended purchases well before buying.

      Your three outfits a years sounds like a reasonable plan and keeping it local and good quality is always good. I imagine that being such good quality there may come a time that you won’t need to buy anything for a year or two.

      Ha ha tell your dad, give him a little boost.

  20. Although I have a fairly small closet, I still have a lot of clothes in there. Many are duplicates. I have a lot of t-shirts for the summer, although I have my favourites – the rest isn’t going to be worn quickly.

    So, I’m starting to wear my favourites a lot, and when they are gone (some are of decent quality – most aren’t), I won’t replace them, but use up the rest instead.

    While shopping, I have a shopping list. So, this year was a blazer (since I should look professional during the final presentations at school – I’ve seen fellow students in a full suit!) and a hat for the summer. That hat is already quite a few years sitting on that list – I can’t find the perfect one! Luckily I still had some sense (a few years ago) and didn’t acquire a new one while I’m on the hunt for the perfect hat.

    • I like you plan of wear them out and then use up the second favourites before buying anything else. The blazer sounds like a good investment under the circumstances though. If the hat can wait then let it wait don’t don’t forget to slip, slop slap to take care of your skin in the Summer. Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat.

      • Lol, what a great song! I’m already using a lot of sunscreen, so luckily, I don’t burn my face that much.

      • haha. amazing song.
        I went out with my bike yesterday for about 30 minutes and the sun was really burning down. and because I spend my days inside, on my desk, I tend to forget that fact, therefore forget the sunscreen and 3 hours later you have a crowd saying “wow, you have a nice tan on your back, looking good” – and I am thinking, wait- biking in the sun for 30 minutes is actually having an effect? so sunscreen it is now before i leave the house. slip, slop, slap.

  21. So true! It is better to have a few things you love AND wear than a closet full of things you don’t.

    One thought for all those 2 for the price of 1 – if they are from somewhere like Jay Jays maybe your daughter has a friend who also like the same style t-shirt and they can pay halves for the 2 shirts, which is 50% each so still a saving. Or she can give one as a gift to a friend. I have noticed that a lot of BFF’s wear the same style clothes varied only by colour, particular in the teen years. So this could be a win/win.

  22. I’ve often thought that things are on sale for mostly negative reasons; they’re naff colours or styles that the majority of shoppers havew already rejected, ephermeral fashions which are already on the way out, mis-made or were just overpriced at the original price. I was once browsing the racks at “Next”, a midmarket UK clothing chain in their much-anticipated sale when I had a lightbulb moment; that I wouldn’t want any of this stuff if it was offered free, never mind paying even a (much reduced) price for it.

    I buy a lot of my clothes at thrift stores and apart from the obvious savings, one thing I like is that things have mostly been used so you see what they come up like after a bit of wear and laundry. I’m sure we’ve all experienced the disappointment of having a new garment come out of the washer like a rag. I’ve had some things which I’ve bought for pence at jumble sales which have been worn incessantly for years and loved to death and other garments which have been carefully-researched and shopped-for with military precision which have turned out to be mistakes and hardly worn.

    I think that it’s excellent to shop with a friend and split the difference on 2-for-1 if you have someone to work that deal with. There was even a small movement in the UK where people would wear a badge when shopping in supermarkets saying they’d split 2-for-1 or BOGOFs (stands for buy-one-get-one-free) so that singletons could share the savings enjoyed by larger households. 🙂 Didn’t really catch on as we’re quite a reserved culture when it comes to approaching strangers but it was a worthwhile try.

    • this question: would I get this for free is excellent. I will use that on my mother the next time she is buying stuff because its on sale and a bargain.