My Year Without Shopping: Week Four
As I write this, it’s been 26 days since my voluntary prohibition on shopping began. In an effort not to be the sulky girl who prattles on obnoxiously for 12 straight months about how hard it is not to go to an awesome sale at Aritzia, this post will focus on the good things that have already come out of my resolution.
Anyway who read my last entry knows that not shopping isn’t always easy for me (even though it’s sort of disappointing how hard I’m finding it). These past weeks haven’t been much more pleasant. In fact, a couple of days ago, I had what amounted to a weird fever dream about buying discounted trousers at Club Monaco. I actually woke up sweaty, which was a) very surprising because it’s really cold in Toronto in January and b) very upsetting because it made me realize my body and mind are having way more difficulty than I anticipated with this adjustment period.
Still, while overall the experiment has been a definite challenge, there are some decidedly good elements to it. It is those things that I shall now share below:
- I don’t have to worry as much about my adhering to my budget. My income is good enough to support myself decently, for which I am grateful. However, it is not an astronomical amount of money. While I was not spending several hundred dollars a month on clothes or anything like that, the difference between being a clothes shopper and not being a clothes shopper is the difference between being on a tighter budget and not really having to worry that I might spend more than I earn. When I’m allowed to shop, I become obsessed with money. I constantly go over my finances to see if I have the money to buy a $70 dress I noticed the other day on Modcloth (Modcloth is particularly dangerous for me as their website allows you to search specifically for floral dresses, which are my favourite thing in this world, even ahead of Tarot chips). Now, there’s no danger of me going over my allocated shopping money for the month, because I’m not shopping at all. Financially, I feel much more relaxed after opting out of keeping up with fashion trends and the like.
- I have more money to spend on things I care about that aren’t clothes. I am not trying to judge people who prioritize buying garments. Fashion is art, but when I’m allowed to buy clothes, I often spend a bit more each month on that area of my budget than I personally would like. I buy clothes to the neglect of spending on other things sometimes. Now I have more money to spend on micro donations for things I care about, like homeless shelters or the Red Cross. I also have more money to spend on cool cultural experiences, like going to the theatre. Even with all these fabulous new things I can do with my money, I’ve still noticed that I’m saving a bit more than I did before. In aggregate, buying clothes is far pricier than I think I realized!
- I’m developing a great sense of self-control. Every time I walk buy a sign that says “Sale” but I DON’T, I feel smug. It goes beyond smugness, however. This project (which some have called extreme) is helping me realize that I have far more self-discipline than I once thought. Sure, it can be frustrating to deprive yourself fully of something – and to know that prohibition will last for 11 more months), but it’s also thrilling. I’ve never climbed a super tall mountain, but eliminating clothes shopping from my life is my version of that. I’m not sure if that sounds sad to you, but frankly, I don’t care. I have set myself what I experience as an important goal. and even though it’s only been a few weeks, the challenge is helping me realize that I’m stronger than I thought I was.
- I’m learning what kind of consumer I want to be. I don’t want to be a wasteful Western consumer who shops recreationally. Sure, I think clothes are art, and so I may permit myself to buy them purely for their aesthetic value even after the experiment concludes; however, what I don’t want to be is the girl who buys a new scarf she thinks is nothing special out of boredom. I don’t want to be a knee-jerk recreational shopper. I want to be an intentional shopper who only buys things out of necessity or because their artistic beauty overwhelms me. In light of this, when this year is over, I’ve decided to spend more time on Etsy.