Part 1/5: How My No-Shopping Resolution Led to the Greatest Decision of My Life
It has been nearly eight months since I published my last blog post. On January 1st, I announced that I was giving up shopping, except for groceries, birthday gifts, and other dire needs as my New Year’s resolution. I listed out some pretty specific end results I was aiming for with this new practice which I'll respond to later in the post. (Trust me – you’re going to want to read the end.)
I’m sure you have some burning questions… and I’m burning to tell you!
Q: Did you break your no shopping rule so far?
A: A little. I gave in on buying books. It’s my guilty pleasure to receive a book in the mail and just smell and feel the crisp new pages (weird, I know). What has been different with these book purchases is that I am much more choosey on the books, and I actually finish reading them.
Q: What were the exceptions you’ve made on the rule that you didn’t expect?
A: I purchased a $10 cardigan from Uniqlo because the temperatures drastically fell one evening in April, and I was out all day. It was my mistake for not thinking ahead to pack a sweater with me, and trust me, I felt so guilty for buying something! I also purchased a new pair of cross-trainer shoes for my favorite workout at Tone House after the soles of my original pair wore down. We work out on turf, so it’s easy to slip if your shoes don’t have the proper tread. I brag that I did not go for the most expensive shoes as I normally would. They weren’t the least expensive, but I felt good about getting exactly what I needed – nothing more, nothing less. And best of all, I love them! I also didn’t sneak in any other apparel while I was at the Nike store.
Q: Did you save a lot of money?
A: Yes, I definitely saved money. My goal wasn’t necessarily to save a certain amount, but it was to get used to the idea of staying within a constrained budget. Working full-time with good benefits and compensation, I realized that I have been lucky in getting paid to basically wake up (like, seriously). And since I had the comfort of having a paycheck just rolling in every two weeks, I didn’t mind spending beyond my means because I knew I always had money coming in. What was really exciting this year was that I was able to pay for all my upcoming trips with hard, cold cash! This is the first time as an adult that I have done this. When I used credit (because points), I immediately sent a payment to cover it.
Q: You mentioned that you are going on trips. What else was on the “approved” list?
A: I was rigid on things like clothes, makeup, bags, shoes, etc. Basically, things that have just been distractions for me because they were what I relied on to numb any bad feelings I had about myself ("retail therapy" is not real therapy!). I budged on things like buying facial moisturizer, body wash, mascara, when I ran out. The things I continued to pay for were:
- Bills, like my cell phone, electricity, rent, etc. (duh)
- Workouts, both ClassPass membership & other workouts
- Netflix & Hulu
- Dining out, although this has cut down drastically
- Events & activities with friends, also reduced a lot compared to before
- Vacations, but being more mindful and actually staying within a budget
Q: It has been almost eight months. How long are you going to keep this up?
A: Definitely through the end of the year. I still have some temptations, but I love that I freed up so much mental space for other things than making decisions between one black top versus another. Maybe next year, I’ll buy a few nice pieces for my wardrobe. I learned that I still really love nice things. When I went to Gucci a couple months ago to get a pair of shoes repaired, it was so hard to be in there. I struggled a little, but I reminded myself that I can come back later and this restriction is just temporary.
Q: What were your goals in your “no shopping” resolution, and have you succeeded in meeting them?
A: My goals included:
- feeling more gratitude,
- alleviating my mind from having to make frivolous decisions,
- being more present,
- understanding what a true necessity is, and
- connecting within myself for more clarity on how I want to live out my life
So far, I’ve managed to hit each of these, and I’m continuing to build on my progress. It’s not like there is really an end to reaching any of these goals. It’s constant work to be aware in each of those areas, but it has certainly become easier and more noticeable when I’m misaligned with them.
One goal I didn't list in my post from January because it needed to be kept secret was that I wanted to practice making trade-offs and see if I could do it because...
I desperately wanted to quit my job. and i'm finally doing it this Friday without another one lined up!
Some of you may have already figured this out because I announced on Instagram in early-June that I was transitioning to part-time status at my job. However, after some kinks with the paperwork and my own mini meltdown, I decided that the time has come for me to leave the corporate world behind altogether!
In honor of starting this new chapter, I’ll be publishing a 5-post series (one blog post a day leading up to Friday) and revealing what really transpired since January until now. Enforcing this "no shopping" commitment was just the beginning of coming to this decision. It also was absolutely necessary for me to start cutting the noise out of my mind, so I could focus on uncovering my purpose and why I felt I couldn't live it out. In the past eight months, I worked diligently to muster up the courage to finally make this leap. I can’t wait to share how the rest of my journey has unfolded with you!
If you have other questions about my no-shopping experience so far, drop a comment, DM me on Instagram, or send me an email.