Today is the first day of my next three-month challenge: Shopping Abstinence! From November 1st through January 31st I will not buy STUFF for myself.
Okay, so what does that actually mean? I’ll shop for things I need – but not things that I want.
Things I can purchase:
- Gifts for others (holiday season, and all)
- Replacement clothing necessities (ie, if gym shoes blow out I can replace them)
- Home supplies
Things I cannot purchase:
- Fashion shoes/boots
What am I trying to accomplish here? A lot of things, I suppose. I’ve been examining my own consumerist habits and analyzing them in a variety of different ways. I’ve also tried altering my shopping behavior so that I make more conscientious decisions. But I haven’t tried cutting myself off, cold turkey.
I’ve never been particularly good at budgeting or saving. Actually, I’m terrible at it. Hopefully this experiment will help me improve a little.
Every time I make a purchase, I get rid of stuff. I hate clutter and junk, but it seems like I can never escape it. If I don’t bring more stuff in the house, I don’t have to do the dance of getting rid of shit to make room for the new. I can just pare down to the essentials.
Use What I Have
I have no shortage of clothes I like to wear – I want to just wear them and enjoy them.
This is the big one.
In the last few years, I’ve changed the way I dress dramatically. I used to be a jeans and t-shirt girl. Comfy shoes only and little to no make-up. I used to think I did it out of being practical. I didn’t NEED to look nice, and I had no desire to spend my time doing my hair.
But that was just a story I told myself and others – not actually how I felt about it. The real reason I put no effort into my appearance was driven entirely by insecurity. I thought there was no point putting any effort in because I didn’t matter. On the rare occasion I tried to look nice, I felt like a little girl playing dress up in mommy’s clothing. (I suppose it’s the opposite of what some ladies do. I’ve met some women who spend hours and hours “getting ready” because they don’t like their bodies or want to show their real face. Just a different way of handling the same insecurities.)
Compound that with being young and broke and there was just no opportunity for me to experiment or find what I actually enjoyed wearing or how I wanted to present myself.
But things have changed. I’m older, insecurities are fading, I want to invest in myself – and I have a tiny bit more expendable income than before. I think I do a decent job of purchasing things because I want to care for myself and not because I’m trying to make myself feel more secure – but I’m not entirely sure. If I can successfully abstain from shopping and still feel good and confident, I’ll know I’ve won.