My month of no spending has come to an end, and I’d say it was pretty successful. During the last week of the month, I traveled to Montreal for a conference. Since it was quite a bit colder there, I had to dig my fall/winter wardrobe out of storage for the occasion. It’s always tempting to buy new things before going on a trip, but this time I managed to resist the impulse to shop by reminding myself that I already had plenty of cold-weather clothes, even if I hadn’t seen them in while.
Looking back at the month as a whole, I’m really glad I decided to do this challenge. Yes, I saved money by not shopping, but there was even more to it than that. Here’s a few other things I learned throughout the month.
- It got easier, not harder. I thought that the impulse to shop would grow as the month went on and the time since my last purchase increased, but I actually found the opposite was true. I didn’t have to think about whether I was going to buy something, because I already knew that the answer was no. Not having to make a decision requires far less effort than ruminating over whether that cool blouse/sweater/bag is worth the money. I also forced myself to get out of the habit of browsing my favorite clothing websites, until I eventually stopped thinking about it altogether. Again, less thought means less effort.
- I gained valuable time. Instead of spending time online shopping, I found myself doing activities that I actually enjoy, like reading. Not only that, but I didn’t having to waste time returning clothes that I didn’t like or didn’t fit, which usually applied to at least 75% of what I bought online.
- I felt better about myself. I wish I could say that I felt better about myself for not contributing to the waste and pollution created by the fashion industry for a month, and although that’s partly true, I mostly felt better about not spending so much money on clothes. I think it has something to do with how I was raised, but spending money has always made me feel guilty, whether I can afford the purchase or not. Also, trying on clothes I bought online that ultimately didn’t fit made me feel disappointed in the purchase as well as self-conscious about my body. Wearing clothes I already own that fit well eliminated these feelings.
And there you have it–the lessons I learned in a nutshell. I would definitely try this challenge again, and perhaps next time, for a longer period of time. I was inspired to do this after reading about Ann Patchett’s year of no shopping, and while I don’t think I’m ready to do a year, maybe I can bump it up to two, or three, or even six months! In the meantime though, I might have purchased a couple of ethical pieces at the end of my Montreal trip, which I plan to share in an upcoming post! Please don’t judge too hard, I’m doing the best I can!