It has been six months since I began my year long shopping ban. So far I haven’t bought myself any clothes, shoes or bags. Summer is going to be a challenge. I hope that looking back over the past few months will help me move forward. If you have trouble passing up a good sale or buy things and realize you already own something similar you may want to keep reading. That was me six months ago. Here is what I have learned so far.
My Favorite Things
When you shop on a regular basis it is hard to think of things that you really need. Most likely you just buy what you want when something is approaching its expiration date and move on. Sadly this was not an option for me! I wore a pair of slippers around the house with a gaping hole in the toe all winter. My favorite black yoga pants had numerous holes in them after two pregnancies and about 400 rounds with the spin cycle. I have other pants and slippers but I still chose to look like a hot mess around the house because they are that comfortable.
When you can’t just “replace” the items that you really love are easy to identify. I knew exactly what I wanted for Mother’s Day this year. Last year I asked for gift cards because there was not one thing I could think of that I wanted that I didn’t already buy on my own. I was thrilled to get slippers and $18 yoga pants even though they were exact replacements for things I had. My family was happy to see the worn out versions retired.
Six Months of Unsubscribing
One of the best things I have done to stay on track with this shopping ban for six months was unsubscribing to the hundreds of emails I was getting every week from stores. Every so often and I find myself still having to hit unsubscribe even after months of doing this. I don’t need to see every sale or new styles the minute they hit the shelves. If you are trying to cut back on shopping you should start clearing out your inbox as well. Don’t worry if you do need to buy something there are ways to make sure you get a deal before you go. If you have your phone with you at the store you can look up deals before you head to the store or the register.
I’m glad I do not have to see these sales that pass me by. Summer is usually my favorite time of year to shop because I live in the Northeast. Winter is survival mode when it comes to clothes and when you routinely head out in a coat that looks like a glorified sleeping bag you don’t care too much about what is underneath. Roughly 99% of my winter wardrobe is black or grey and the bottoms of my pants are typically covered stains from snow melting agents on the sidewalk. Getting dressed in the summer is much more fun. I do have one gift card from my Mom that I may use for a new swimsuit. To be honest I’m nervous to even look online because I know how hard it is to stop.
Help at Home
My kids are outgrowing things every day. I have enough clothes to get me by but they don’t. Lucky for me (and them) my husband has a better fashion sense than I do and he does the bulk of the shopping for the kids clothes. Since I can’t avoid shopping entirely I have only bought things for them online when I need to. Even going into a store for the kids means having to pass by things for myself – especially in a store like Old Navy or Nordstroms. Every time I walk in it is just an old habit to look for a few things for myself. I don’t want to go shopping anymore. We were at the outlets in Kittery the other week and I saw 10 things I wanted in a matter of minutes.
I’m glad my family is supportive even if they don’t really understand what the point of all of this is. There isn’t a financial need to be extreme about my spending right now but it is more about control. I needed to become more aware of my habits and spending. I’ve seen what happens when people spend without a lot of thought. My financial goals are not looking like a J. Crew catalog – I want to help support my family and provide security for my children. Having 30 pairs of designer jeans isn’t going to send your kids to college or pay off the mortgage any faster. Changing behavior takes time and effort but it is easier to do when you know “why” you need to do it.
How are you planning to “spend” your summer? My next step is to clean out my closet and find all of my summer clothes from the attic and find a way to sell the ones I don’t want to earn some money and donate the rest. Are you considering a no shopping week or month? Let me know in the comments!