I posted about this before when I first started my blog, but I just wanted to share again since I've been doing it for 2 full years now - this exercise really helps me be more aware of what I buy and now that I have a few years under my belt, can also look at the categories that require a bit more data, such as the condition of an item.
In 2013 I started to track my purchases and it was very simple, just handwritten in a notebook with the item description, price, and date. Then in 2014 I made an excel spreadsheet that I uploaded to Google drive so I can track anywhere (in case I go on vacation and make purchases), anytime. These are my categories:
- Cost per wear - I've set up the excel to automatically calculate this for me; remember, my own threshold is $1 so before I buy something, I ask myself whether I think this item will meet that by the time I'm done using it (either worn out, or loss of interest)
- # used in year X - now that I'm on my third year, it's interesting to see what items I bought before, that I am still using and how often; helps to let me know what pieces are a staple that I may not have realized before, and might keep in mind to replace again.
- Designer - tells me what designer/brand fits me best for certain items
- Type - type of article, i.e. shoes, blouse, t-shirt, etc.
- Condition (1 poor - 10 - excellent) - this one is more for future purposes so I can get an idea of the quality of the item over a course of time, and see if it's something worth buying again, or perhaps I should go with another brand
- Date of purchase - tells me how often I shop
- Place of purchase - tells me where I shop
- Regular price - tells me how much I'm saving, and just makes me question whether I would have purchased this same item at regular price
When the new year comes around, I just add a new sheet, and copy and paste these categories into it, and I add an additional column to the previous years and track how often I use them in the current year, and adjust the cost per wear formula.
This might seem excessive and probably, slightly, obsessive compulsive haha, but I find it helps remind me of my budget when I look at my quarterly spending to get a gage of how my yearly budget may be looking; tells me what items I may be buying too many of and should take note of before I buy another one (by tracking the type of item, I realize I go on small binges where I buy a lot of certain items - in 2014 it was khakis and button-up shirts, and in 2015 it was shoes); and each time I update how many times I've used an item, it makes me feel good to know I made a good purchasing decision and reminds me that I've come a long way from making random purchases.