shopping challenge

20 To the Max

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Here we are again! Another budget/style challenge! I was looking through old blog posts and realized last year, my goal was to not shop until I wore everything in my closet at least once. Well, I got pregnant soon after that and the challenge ended faster than you can say “baby number 3.”

So, now that the baby is here and we’ve (kind of) settled into a new house, I figure I need to keep my shopping budget on a REALLY tight leash! Enter the “20 to the Max” challenge.

It’s pretty self explanatory: a personal clothes/shoes shopping budget of $20 a month. There are no rollover dollars. If you don’t spend it, you lose it. You CAN use existing gift cards, store credits or store rewards.

In the past, I have found shopping challenges allow me to really stretch the way I style what’s already in my closet, so I’m hoping the same creative juices start flowing.

The month of April is already over, but I plan to continue for three months total! So, if you want to join along, feel free! Use the hashtag #20tothemax on social media to show how you’ve spent your money. 

For the month of April, I bought a $7.56 tank and $7.56 sunglasses–both from Old Navy. 

I actually bought the tank earlier in the month for $12 but was uncertain about keeping it. Then a couple of weeks later, the same top was discounted even more, plus I got to use Super Cash, which brought it down to the $7 price range. (I’ll be returning the one I purchased for $12)

The sunnies were on promotion for $10 and my Super Cash also brought the price down. 

The only thing I regret about the 20 To The Max challenge this month: not spending my full $20!! Old Navy even had $2 tanks the day I was there and I wanted to go back and get a couple, but my kids were with me and they are the world’s best shopping prevention, lemme tell ya! 

As for the month of May, who knows what I’ll get! I’m going to try to do a post featuring items I wish I could buy right now! 

Until then, thanks for reading!! 




The 10 Truths of “6 Months No Shopping”

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Forgive my absence. Instead of rushing to recap my no-shopping challenge, I went on a little vacation to San Francisco (sans kids/avec shopping!) and kind of put the post on the back burner! But, I’m all in now!

My loyal followers know I didn’t technically “not shop.” I need to clarify since someone (who will remain nameless, but I may or may not be married to him) accuses me of being shady for accumulating a few things for free during the 6 month challenge. But as I mentioned when this challenge started, my goal was to not spend money on clothes and not repeat any outfits. I achieved both. Yes, I was able to accept gifts and shop with coupons and gift cards, but I did not spend any money! And yes, I repeated clothing items, but I did not repeat any entire looks!

So, this “no shopping challenge” I loonily gave myself was quite the eye-opening experience. It was strictly self serving–a mission to curb my spending after going on a bit of a shopping binge in December and January. But things evolved from it that I never expected…some good, some bad.

1. I didn’t save money like I hoped. So, you’d think I’d be rolling in the dough with all of that “no spending” I was doing, right? Wrong. (insert sad face emoji here) It’s pretty shameful to admit, but I didn’t really save money by not shopping. I did, however, spend more money on other things. I took the kids out to eat a LOT more than we usually do and that adds up REALLY quickly.  I’m not in denial that I’m more of a “spender” than a “saver.” So, I need to figure out a way to reign that in and be more responsible. If you have faced a similar struggle and have rehabilitated yourself, please feel free to share!!

That pretty much sums up the bad! While it’s only one thing, it’s a doozy. I should probably do a “6 months no restaurants challenge,” but honestly, I know I’d fail miserably at that!

2. I was an inspiration, apparently. I hate to type that out because it sounds like I’m Oprah-tizing myself, but it is one thing that came out of these six months that I did NOT expect. But people on Instagram and other bloggers were extremely uplifting and gave me so much positive feedback! Some said I even inspired them to go on their own “no shopping” challenge! I can’t thank everyone enough for all of the support and encouragement along the way! I particularly want to recognize my IG friend, Tess (IG: @thague611)! She joined in for the last three months and she did AMAZING! Thanks for joining!

3. I learned how to be even more resourceful! I utilized coupons, rewards, gift cards and holidays (Mother’s Day) to get some swag. I thought for sure I’d go through all of my gift cards and Banana Republic rewards in no time. But, I actually left several gift cards untouched during the six months. Everything I got, without reaching into my own bank account, is pictured below.

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4. My closet is deeper than I thought. I had several people tell me they’d never be able to go 6 months without repeating an outfit, so I started to become a bit concerned that I’d be able to pull it off. I don’t have closets full of clothes. Just one 😉 And I never did a full tally of items in my closet. I just dove in, hoped for the best and monitored what I wore on Facebook and Instagram.

I did have a close call for a couple of potential outfit repeats, though.


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5. The Goodwill pile got attractive. I guess it’s like how some girls dump a guy out of boredom, so they toss the guy to the side, but continue to string him along in case nothing better comes along (not that I’ve ever done that!)! Then you realize he’s not so bad after all and you bring him back in! Poor guy. That poor guy was my trusty Goodwill pile. I realized there were some things lingering in there that were worth a comeback, at least for now: the sheer “snakeskin” print top on the left and the black bolero/shrug. I also resurrected a couple of other tops that I wore after the challenge ended: the green top and the off-the-shoulder top.

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6. The Goodwill pile needs to expand.  Believe it or not, there were still some things in my closet that never got touched! So, if I can go six months without wearing them (on top of not repeating outfits), I probably need to cut those strings and let those pieces go. The items I didn’t wear are either too tight, totally dated or they are just simply too boring. We all have those things we just can’t seem to let go of for some reason, and it’s time for this girl to get a reality check! It’s time to Let go and Let Goodwill.

7. I have a decent stockpile of classics. By classics I don’t even mean black pants, black pencil skirt, black pumps and white blouse. I realized I don’t even own a simple, black pencil skirt or a classic, well-fitting white blouse! I barely even wore my black pants. I’m talking about more classic silhouettes with more of a “wow” factor because of their not-so-basic color or pattern. Take my yellow pencil skirt, for example. The style was versatile and classic enough to pair with a myriad of other different tops, but the color was interesting enough to keep the look from being boring. Same goes for my red, wide leg trousers and white blazer (that I actually wore more than my black blazer!). I would get Instagram comments on how my looks still seemed fresh despite repeating several items and I attribute that to the “unique” factor of timeless silhouettes. I did a post a while back on “non-essential essentials” that I feel expand a closet exponentially.


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8. Layering was my best fashion friend. There is no better way to maximize your closet than to layer! Obviously, you can throw on a blazer, cardigan or scarf to a sleeveless dress and freshen up the look, but there are other ways to layer, too! That sleeveless dress can take on a whole new look if you pair a top over it, so you are now wearing it as a new skirt! I did this a few times.

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9. Pattern Mixing was my second best fashion friend. Another way to maximize the closet–combine items you may not have combined before. I felt like I was on a fashion adventure whenever I mixed patterns. These are some of my favorite combinations: floral/stripes, dots/dots, stripes/dots, stripes/dots/animal, plaid/stripes. I’ve read different “rules of pattern mixing” but I’ve also seen the rules be broken. I try to be mindful of proportions and colors, but ultimately, it’s all about experimentation and what just flat-out seems to be most cohesive to your own eye. Go with your gut.


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 10. The Aftermath On August 1, 2014 I was able to shop again. I already told you how it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be to fill my shopping cart and actually pay for the contents. That was unexpected! Another thing I didn’t expect to feel was uncertainty and maybe even a bit of anxiety! This challenge had defined my wardrobe for 181 days and I almost felt like I was having a bit of an identity crisis on day 182. For six months, I had woken up (or gone to bed) thinking about how I was going to change things up for the next outfit. At the end of the challenge, I didn’t feel the pressure to be as creative with my wardrobe.  I had no closet obligations. At first, I felt like a zoo animal who is suddenly back in the wild and doesn’t know what to do in the world! That may be a bit dramatic, but hopefully you get what I’m saying. It definitely took me a few days to get acclimated to the shopping world again. But, I’m happy to say I’m experiencing a Celine Dion moment of sorts… because it’s all coming back, it’s all coming back to me now! 😉

Thanks for following me on this journey! I can’t wait to show you some of my first purchases and great deals I’ve already racked up!