I have a weakness for clothes. And shoes. And accessories. And more clothes. And I am really a sucker for sales. So there I sat one October morning, in front of my computer, with a few items in my shopping cart contemplating what to do. Check out now or close the browser window. Such a hard decision! It has been just about 10 months since I last received a package just for me with new pretty things. So the decision now, after nearly 10 months, to click or close, was weighing heavily on me.
Just after Thanksgiving last year I decided that 2018 would be my year of no shopping. Inundated with holiday sales and the urge to spend I evaluated my closet. During last year’s holiday sales I purchased things I thought I would need for the year ahead. So I stocked up on date night clothes and a few super sale summer items. The rules for my year of no shopping were intended to be simple – no clothes, no shoes, no accessories. After my holiday shopping I had earned reward points with a couple of retailers and made the decision that I would be able to use them, with a $20 variance as a buffer. I mean, how could I possibly let those hard earned rewards points go to waste? They were just enough to get some extra basics (I’m a big fan of stylish white t-shirts) and a bonus sundress.
Seeking support, and I knew I would need a lot of it, I mentioned the plan to my family as a way to hold me accountable. To my surprise, my daughter decided to embark on the adventure too and give up stuffed animals for the year. To know her is to know she has a weakness for stuffed animals that might just be stronger than my love for clothes.
I set this goal for a few reasons, in no particular order:
- I wanted to fully enjoy the clothes that I already had and wear them until they truly served their time
- I wanted to save some money
- I wanted to get a handle on what was really important to me
- I wanted to see if I could do it
Well, we all know based on the title of this blog article that I didn’t make it the full year. And some of my readers might be smirking and saying, “I knew you couldn’t do it.” Your opinion is yours, and that is all.
It was a valiant effort and I feel good about how far I did make it. I struggled, especially around three and six-months. I consulted with my mom and friends to talk me out of buying things when I was distracted by pop-up ads and all the shiny new colorful clothing that introduces each new season. Eventually I did stop browsing websites and redirected my energy elsewhere. I came to embrace what I already had and became more creative in my closet. I even did manage to save a little money but also redirected the spending to other things like getting my nails done more often, a massage here and there, activities with the kids. I even sort of stopped wanting stuff. And taking it a step further, I started donating more and more. I had a feeling come fall I would really get the itch to buy a few new things, and knowing myself, I was right. And I did end up clicking check out now, although doing so wasn’t an invitation to go on a shopping spree. Once I clicked purchase on the infamous pants, it did make it easier to click that lovely check out now box a few more times. I’m not proud of that, but here is where I ended up:
- The few items I have bought since October have been more thoughtful and not frivolous.
- I’ve come to appreciate need vs. want, although I still struggle with this because I don’t really need anything. This has prompted a more forward conversation with myself to increase my awareness of now vs. the bigger picture. It may seem odd to make a connection between shopping and life goals. For me, my life goal is to be the best version of myself each day. I do not care for feeling overwhelmed and overfilling my cup with things is overwhelming. So, to reduce that, I strive to buy less. Period.
- I did take some pride in discussing this unsuccessful journey with my daughter. It was really hard as her role model to not follow through on my goal and also to admit I had given in. I beat myself up over it for a couple of weeks before I spilled the beans to her. She too was pressed up against hard feelings throughout the year with the temptation of new stuffed animals. It was easy for her to say “I’ll just extend it into 2019” when a new stuffed animal landed in her arms. I tried to explain it doesn’t quite work that way, even when she insisted I apply her same logic about my pants purchase. She thought nothing of it to say I could just not buy anything for the first six weeks of 2019 and “I would be even”. I found it fascinating to hear her perspective and I really listened to her. What I heard her say was forgiveness is most important.
- I spent time doing other things I enjoy.
- Let’s be honest. I still love clothes, shoes, accessories. More clothes. I’ll always love a good sale. I have to say though that after this hiatus, I don’t get the same thrill buying clothes. Fashion is something I have loved since I was a young girl. I like to keep the majority of my wardrobe classic, with a few fun and unusual pieces thrown in like whimsical sweaters, colorful and unique dresses or bright pants. Metallic shoes. Animal prints. Just a little something to make each outfit express my personality. With the extended break from shopping, I feel more careful with my selections and don’t have that urge that screams I have to have it!
- The impulse to buy is very strong, but that’s all it is. Just an impulse and not a lasting memory. There is only one item that I vividly remember wanting (psst, it was the Drakes for JCrew giraffe print bell-sleeve top). So all the other hundreds of things I wanted I can’t even remember. To me, that says a lot. If it’s not going to be memorable and doesn’t leave me wanting to come back to it again and again, it is not worth the purchase. I need to love it!
- Over the weekend my daughter accompanied me on a few last minute holiday errands to shops around town. The stores were jammed with things to buy and so many sales. I’m proud to say I stuck to my list, and my list only!
- Do I wish I would have conquered my goal? Yes, of course! I do not like to give up or give in. The ebb & flow to conquer all is very strong within me, so this was a huge let down to myself at first. A little part of me is still disappointed and I look forward to crushing the next big thing. The difference is that I have learned to turn inward for this strength.
Here are the pants that ended my year of no shopping. So far, it was kinda worth it as they are on regular outfit repeat.
Coming soon…my annual holiday gift guide!