Ramen Noodle Budget: Pitfalls & Mistakes

January 25, 2012

The benefit of the Ramen Noodle Budget plan is that it enables you to buy things cheaply. But you should be warned the mentality of budget shopping can often lead to overbuying and compulsive shopping. 

While you might be drawn toward final sales and coupon codes like a moth to the flame, just remember that sales are designed to have a psychological effect on your mind to get you to buy more than you normally would. If you have weak self-discipline, then you could easily end up spending money that would be better saved for something nicer or more essential to you instead. 

Just like how many people compulsively shop at fast-fashion houses because they have the cheapest prices (eg H&M, Zara, Topman), many bargain hunters can wind up compulsively shopping for things on eBay or sales racks because they think the prices are “inconsequential” or the bargain is “too good to pass up”. If you find yourself rationalizing your purchases as such, you’re probably straying into dangerous territory. 

Same goes for shopping at thrift stores, where you might find a great item, but it’s just a bit too big or needs a lot of tailoring work. Put it down, walk away. I’ve done this before and ended up just re-donating the item back a few months later. 

In these cases, it would be best to refer back to your “to buy” list. Make sure what you’re buying is something you’ve wanted for a long time and is part of a bigger project of building a coherent wardrobe. Keep that list tightly edited and don’t stray. 

Saying “Buy Less, Buy Better” has almost become a point of parody in the menswear blogger community, but it still remains a great philosophy and something you should work hard at. Our consumer culture is one of instant gratification, but if you fall into that trap, then you often end up with either expensive or less-than-satisfactory results. 

The Ramen Noodle Budget can help two types of people: 

  1. Those who aren’t necessarily interested in men’s clothing or style, but want to look great. They want to build a wardrobe they can afford, nail the fit, and never have to think about clothes again. 
  2. Those who are starting to become interested in men’s clothing and style, and see themselves as lifelong consumers. However, they may be starting off in ironic graphic t-shirts and cargo shorts, so they need to transition quickly into something more wearable. After that, they can begin thinking about bigger purchases they can plan over the period of years. 

What the Ramen Noodle Budget should not be is a strategy that puts you in the habit of endlessly buying things because they’re cheap. If you do so, you’ll wind up with an needlessly large wardrobe of clothes you got as a “deal,” but you’ll have spent the same amount of money as you could have if you saved your funds and put them toward higher quality purchases – purchases that you might have dismissed as being out your budget. 

Remember the advantage of these kinds of clothes is they often last a lifetime (or at least many, many years), so treat this as a lifetime project. 

(This post is the final part in a series of five. Read all other Ramen Noodle Budget posts here. Previously: Online Retail Deals.)


Just want to say “thanks” for reading the Ramen Noodle Budget series and another “thank you” to Jesse for inviting me to publish this at Put This On and Derek for his editing. That’s it for now, however, you can follow me over at The Silentist. – Kiyoshi

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