Thursday, June 26, 2014

(almost) 6 months of (almost) no shopping

It all started with a January spending freeze to recover from a brutal holiday budget hangover. The experience was super positive and empowering. In addition to being kind of astonished by how much extra dough I had at the beginning of February, it allowed me to really hone in on the categories that were my biggest money sucks.

Aside from car and food, my guiltiest pleasure apparently is shopping... specifically for clothing and accessories. I am a huge secondhand and bargain shopper, but despite that, it's death from 1,000 small cuts. $50 here and $100 there add up in no time.


I also realized the extent to which I was suffering from another unfortunate side effect of this habit: the accumulation of stuff... a LOT of stuff. My historic home's tiny closet was overflowing with clothes I hadn't worn in months (or ever) because I realized I didn't like wearing them that much or they had just gotten hidden among all the other stuff. It was ridiculous.

I didn't really set out to go on a wearables shopping fast in 2014... Around mid-February, I just realized that I had stepped outside my regular routine of shopping out of boredom and decided to keep it up. I have found these tenets to be very helpful in keeping me (mostly) on track:

Don't go "window shopping." There will come a time when this is a realistic expectation and a pleasurable experience, but it took me a few months of purging the habit of shopping from my system. I have a weird pull to online browsing... and sometimes I just need to step away, slowly and calmly, from the Rue La La.

Don't get caught up in the details. OK... so, I bought stuff. More on that later. I'm still counting it a huge success.

Share the love. I've been so impressed by the support of my friends and family when I casually share that I've only bought 3 4 5 items in 2014. Everyone thinks it's great. Nobody thinks I'm weird. At least not any weirder.

Get a buddy. If anyone is crazy enough to come along for the ride, it's super helpful to have that extra level of support.

Feeling encouraged and empowered, I came across this very timely article last week from the Denver Post: "Minimalist clothing challenge spurs closet clean-outs". Maybe I'll try Project 333 next...

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