Saturday 14 April 2018

A month without shopping

As mentioned in this post, I decided to try a little experiment throughout the month of March, where I went one month without shopping for any non-consumables. This included clothes, shoes, books, jewellry, accessories, homeware items, etc.

When I initially set out to undertake this challenge, I was a little unsure if I would be able to succeed. I don't tend to buy a huge amount of things each month, but I do like to treat myself to the odd new piece of clothing when browsing online, or a new candle for my home office when I'm at a homeware store, or a new book to add to my to read pile. So, after reading The Year of Less by Cait Flanders a couple of months ago, in which the author discusses her experience in giving up shopping for an entire year, I thought I'd give it a go for a month.

So, how did I go? Well, I do have to confess that throughout the month, I did make one purchase, however it was an item that I had told myself that if I came across the perfect version, I would allow myself to purchase it. Essentially, for a few months, I have been on the hunt for the perfect long sleeved black and white top - not navy, not 3/4 length, not too high-necked, not too thin but not a jumper...I was quite picky.

I spotted a top that fitted this criteria about halfway through the month, on the website Hard to Find, and told myself that if I still wanted it at the end of the month and it was still available, then I could get it then. When I first saw it, it was $90, and when I went back to have a look towards the end of the month, there was a one day sale where it was reduced to $27, so I allowed myself to make this one exception-purchase given that I was still thinking about it a couple of weeks later and it was only discounted for a short period. So, while technically I can't say that I survived the shopping ban, I don't regret this purchase as it wasn't an impulse buy given that I had been looking for something like this for months, and I was able to save quite a bit of money buying it when I did, rather than waiting until April to purchase it at full price.

I think one of the main lessons I learned throughout the shopping ban was that a lot of the time when I see something I like, if I wait a bit of time and think about it, then a week or two later, I actually don't want the item anymore. Something that I found useful was keeping a wishlist on my phone of any items that I wanted, and revisiting it every week or two to determine whether I was still interested in that item, or whether it was more of an impulse want at the initial time of seeing it. This is something that I have continued to adopt, and have learned that more often than not, if I stop myself from clicking the Buy Now button, I don't actually feel the need to buy it in the coming weeks.

While I did find the ban challenging, and there were moments where I did want to make some impulse purchases, it was actually easier than I thought, and the 31 days flew by pretty quickly. I have made a few purchases since finishing the ban, however each of these have been considered purchases, items that I was thinking of bringing into my home for some time.

I would definitely recommend trying a shopping ban for a period of time, whether it be a week, a month, or a year, as it is a very interesting experiment in learning about your habits and what might trigger you to make a purchase. I definitely think more about what I buy now, and strive to buy quality over quantity as much as possible.

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