I’m giving up shopping
I’ve been getting a lot of questions about my resolve to “buy nothing” (see my Grammy story on instagram) so I figured I’d give it some proper space and share in detail what exactly I'm doing and why.
But First: This is not a unique idea. I take no credit. In fact, there are probably Facebook groups in your local area dedicated to supporting people who have decided to "buy nothing"— have a look! I was personally inspired by a good friend AND STYLE BLOGGER (!!!) @bethann.wagner. I mean, if she can do it, what the heck is my excuse?
Second: This is not some self righteous movement nor something I’m trying to evangelize… I’m not trying to convince anyone else to stop shopping and its definitely not my intention to make anyone feel guilty about their spending habits! The goal of this post is simply to keep you informed on my journey and to help me stay accountable (I'm sure I'll be sharing some weak moments with y'all soon).
Lastly: I am not a “shoppaholic” and have a healthy relationship with money. In fact I help many of my clients budget their own lives! This is not my trying to fix a psychological issue but simply scale back and refocus my lifestyle choices.
So, why give up shopping? Candidly: this idea spurred from an immediate need to save more money. I am making some radical career changes this year (more on that later) and I need to responsibly safeguard myself and my family from unforeseen hard-hardships ie, stockpile cash for a rainy day. I took inventory of my lifestyle and tried to identify where I got the most joy. I decided there are a few luxuries which brought such joy and richness into my life that I should not give them up: going out with friends, seeing incredible music, travel— basically, experiences.
But something had to give. Then, like mana from heaven, I opened Instagram and saw this post from my dear friend, Bethann and had an aha! moment.
As you can probably tell just by looking at her, Bethann is a stylish fashionista (she's also one hot mama!). So much so in fact that blogging about clothing and fashion is her livelihood. I said to myself in that very moment, If she can do it, so can I.
Nervously, I went to my closet to see what I would have to work with. First, I noted the countless garments I had never worn. I also saw very little history... I don't get emotionally attached to things I buy. In fact, I’ve gotten into such a habit of buying/purging clothes over the years I can count on one hand the number of things in my closet I'd owned more than a year. Yikes.
When I started to think about my shopping over the years, I felt sick to my stomach. Not only was I mindlessly spending TONS of money out of habit (an estimated $20,000 per year), but the time and energy I have spent shopping, hunting for deals, or frantically running out to shop for an upcoming event was staggering. I remember bargaining with my husband several times to "sneak out of the house while the kids napped" on the weekends so I could go find "the perfect shoes/coat/dress" for a holiday party. I recall getting frustrated with my kids when they'd interrupt me while I was CLEARLY only on page 47/99 of the Anthropogie 40% off tag sale. Ugh!
Could I cut this out of my life? It was sure worth trying.
As January comes to an end, I'm thrilled to report I've survived almost a month of no shopping. I began by tracking every dollar spent in my calendar (I found that automated trackers like Mint are not tactile enough for me— I have to punch in the numbers myself to really feel what I'm spending). It's a little like counting calories. It's such a pain in the ass to do it, that just the act of forcing yourself to do it ends up affecting how many things you put into your mouth, or how many times you pull out your wallet. And also like dieting, when I had a "good day" —ie, spent $0 I felt euphoric.
So, how was it possible to buy nothing? Well, to clarify… there are still a few things I am buying. Groceries and other necessities like cleaning products, diapers, gas, etc. I am not buying any "nice to haves": clothes, accessories, home decor. I have created some rules that allow for gift giving. Both buying gifts for other people and also accepting gifts from other people (like, if my husband wants to buy me some new running shoes 😅 because I completely forgot that I needed some, we can discuss)— but for the most part I’m using what I have, or borrowing what I don’t. It’s been humbling.
I'm learning a lot about myself. I learned that I've gotten very lazy. I used to pride myself on my own sense of style and creativity. Putting together an outfit used to be a fun challenge for me. Over the years, I began simply buying new clothes to make me feel stylish, fresh, and confident. Didn't matter what it was— as long as it was brand new, I felt good. Now, I'm enjoying sifting through my closet again and making up fun outfits out of older pieces I forgot I had. I'm more deliberate about what goes on my body and am feeling so much more creative overall.
Maybe this inspires you, too. Or maybe you're rolling your eyes and placing bets on when I cave. That's fine. I'm not here to prove a point or start a revolution. I'm just one woman trying to make a difference in my own life, one day at a time.
So, I'm curious... what would YOU miss most if you gave it up for a year? Tell me in a comment below.
PS If you're interested in this topic, I recommend checking out @theschoolofbetty — she has "not shopped" for many years off and on, and is now a financial educator.