In a tight economy, frugality is key. Part of this waste not, want not mentality is learning or reminding yourself not to purchase extraneous items. The "meat and potatoes" rule can serve as a useful reminder.
Photo by Design Packaging.
Though there are many potential areas where you can easily spend more money than you need to, money weblog Get Rich Slowly focuses specifically on how to avoid buying clothes you'll never wear. The post quotes designer Michael Kors (of Project Runway fame), who suggests following the 70/30 "meat and potatoes" rule.
70 percent of the clothes you own should be meat and potatoes. 30 percent should be icing and fluff— that's colour, pattern, shine, accessories.
In other words, 70% of your outfits should be must have staples and the remaining 30% should be "other" items that, ideally, will help complement the 70% purchases.
When clothes shopping, it's also important to "identify your dominant season", meaning that if you live in largely sunny Queensland, try to make it so that most of your purchases reflect the climate and not, say, that of a southern winter (no matter how much you love overcoats).
It doesn't seem like a stretch to say that you could apply the same basic principle behind that rule to a lot of your spending. (For example, maybe 70% of your grocery shopping should be for your basics—meat, potatoes, bread, etc.—while the remaining 30% could go to your less essential indulgences.) Check out the post for other ways to cut down on your clothing costs, then chime in with your own methods in the comments.
How to Stop Buying Clothes You Never Wear [Get Rich Slowly]