In February I announced that I would stop buying clothes for 6 months and I’ve been kind of quiet about it since then. As a former shopaholic and current fashion enthusiast, I was slightly intimidated by the challenge but excited to see how I would survive (sarcasm) without shopping.
As I’m closing in on the fourth month of my shopping ban, I wanted to break my silence and update you all on how everything is going. I decided to stop buying clothes for a number of reasons but to reiterate some key points:
- I already have a ton of clothes that I’ve accumulated over the years.
- Despite having a decent amount of clothes, I couldn’t ever shake the urge to buy even more clothes whenever the opportunity made itself available. Just pure greed, I know.
- Shopping had always been an emotional activity being that it’s always perked me up and made me feel happy. Being a PF blogger and just getting serious about my money in general, I didn’t want to prioritize activities that caused me to spend money in order to feel happy.
- I didn’t want shopping to derail me from meeting my financial goals. I want to be able to control my urge to shop.
- I wanted to appreciate the clothing items I already had and become resourceful by making use of them. I’m sure we’ve all heard of one of the #1 first world problem scenarios: When a girl walks into her fully stocked closet and shifts through tons of outfits claiming she has nothing to wear and must go shopping. I didn’t want that to become me.
So here’s what’s been going on for the past few months.
My One Slip Up
I’m happy to say that since I started my shopping ban, I haven’t purchased a shred of new clothing. I did however, end up purchasing some shoes so I guess that counts. Here’s how it all went down.
I subscribed to JustFab last year and it’s an online subscription-based fashion retailer well known for their shoes, bags and athletic apparel. Kimora Lee is the founder and if you watch T.V. you might have seen that commercial with the women screaming about shoes for only $39.95. Yup that’s the one.
Every month subscribers get billed $39.95 to use to purchase an item but if you don’t want to be billed, you can simply skip the month. The trick is, you have to remember to skip the month every 30 days if you don’t wish to pay. Turns out I got caught up with life and forgot to log on and skip one month so I got charged and had a $39.95 credit to use to purchase something through their online store.
I wasn’t really in the mood to plead with the customer service rep to reverse my charge because it was ultimately my fault as it’s my responsibility to skip each month. I ended up just purchasing a pair of sandals for the summer and canceling my account with them to prevent any more incidents like that one. I wasn’t happy about this normal slip up but I wasn’t beating myself up about it either. Things happen and a pair of gorgeous shoes is not the end of the world. The Giving Assistant blog just published their 2019 buyer’s guide for the best sneakers for women. I suggest having a look if you’re running out of ideas!
I’m No Longer Avoiding Stores
When I started my shopping ban, my main strategy was just to avoid retail stores at all costs. If I had to go into a store like Kohl’s to pick up something for my son, I would just use the entrance opposite the women’s section and just avoid even walking in that direction. This strategy fell off quick. My goal was to stop shopping, not be afraid of seeing clothes like an addict or something.
One day I just decided to go walk around Target and Kohl’s during my lunch break and window shop. Instead of avoiding the clothes section I walked right through it so fearlessly. I saw some nice things, but I didn’t feel the urge to purchase anything. I kept reminding myself of the goals I listed above, plus I recently reorganized my closet so I could see how many options I truly had and buying something new just didn’t seem necessary.
Since then, I’ve taken my sister shopping and helped her pick out a graduation dress, picked up a nice top for my mom for Mother’s Day, and did a little more window shopping and I was able to deny clothes purchases for myself with complete control. I didn’t even feel bad after I walked out of a store but I felt excited and empowered.
The Urgency To Shop is Gone
I’ve taken on other habits and responsibilities and no longer feel the need to shop to uplift myself. Work and freelancing definitely keep me busy, but activities like exercising, art, baking and cheering my son on at his soccer games on the weekend keep me in a good mood.
Now that I’m focusing more on experiences instead of material possessions, I long to go on outings with my family or have fun nights in the house playing board games. Since I don’t see a lot of my friends often due to conflicting schedules, when we do hang out we usually do something very laid back and low cost ← my favorite type of outing.
I also started to feel remarkably content after I packed away all my winter clothes and reorganized my spring and summer clothes by getting creative to combine new outfits. I discovered that I had plenty to last and even though some of my clothes are anywhere from 6 months to 5 years old, everything I wear is still in pretty good condition.
Being grateful for what I do have, picking up new hobbies and feeling content with what’s in my closet helped me eliminate that dire urge I once felt to shop all the time.
Temptations No Longer Work on Me, It Can Wait
Since I’m not longer avoiding stores and the women’s clothes section, you’d think I’d be tempted by the clothes I see from time to time. Well let me tell you, I was but then I realized something crucial.
A few days ago during a staff meeting at my job, my boss randomly asked me if I purchased the necklace I was wearing from Charming Charlie. When I surprisingly said yes he told me that he recognized it because he was shopping for something for his wife for Mother’s Day this month. I purchased the necklace I was wearing that day at least a year ago and evidently, it was still being sold in the store.
When it comes to clothes, shoes, furniture or almost anything, retailers always try to hype consumers up about sales and create a sense of urgency. I realized that the “deal of a lifetime” and “semi-annual sale” comes around every year and if I ‘miss’ something, there will always be other opportunities. Right now these so called deals can wait and I can always catch the next one.
I feel like I already met 90% of my goals even though my 6 months is not over. But will I run out and treat myself to new clothes when my 6 months is up? Nope. Only things I truly need will be purchased and right now I’m thankful that I don’t need much. Time really flies when you focus in on a serious goal.
Whether it was shopping or not, have you ever had to temporarily ban yourself from a costly activity or habit that you started to become dependent on but didn’t align with your overall goals? Tell me about it in the comments.
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