Sunday, October 7, 2012

30 Day NO BUY experiment

Coming off of my recent 30 day NO BUY during the month of September, I will report that the experiment went well.  My spending was relegated to groceries, gas, yoga and the other day-to-day expenditures for utilities, etc.  I decided to do this because I believed that a lot of my shopping was a bit mindless (especially online) and that many of my thrift store purchases were because I just couldn't leave something "good" behind. But one day when I found myself dropping off bags of donations at the Goodwill, then walking through the door to look for more stuff, I had an epiphany.  I had created a kind of cycle of buy/donate in order to keep piles from developing in my studio. Time to rethink this shopping thing. I knew a couple people who had successfully reduced their shopping and had downsized their lifestyles. I was curious what it would feel like.

During September I did no online shopping, thrift store shopping or any of the other type of shopping that I have come to love.  I decided to create a Pinterest board to place photos or bookmarks to things that I came across during the month. I named the board "Thanks, I'm just looking."  This was really helpful to me because it created a place to hold things that I came across and thought I needed, and really think about their necessity. I know other people who just add things to shopping baskets online and then leave the website. That didn't appeal to me because many of the things I thought I needed, I wanted to be to access again to rethink the need vs. want.

I did find it difficult not to turn into the thrift store parking lots as I drove through town. My car knows the way to all my favorite stores and drives me there without me asking. So I had to be very conscious of my online and real life activities. I began to realize how much time I had been spending accumulating things. And it wasn't that I was overspending, I was just over accumulating. 

Because Carl and I put all of our purchases on our credit card and pay the balance monthly, part of my motivation was to see the next monthly statement in order to be able to visually appreciate the result of my experiment.  As I wait for the Visa bill, I believe that during the month of September I learned a lot about myself.

What I learned:

1. I shop spontaneously
2. Given a couple days of waiting, I may find I don't really need or want the item
3. I have more time to be creative
4. I see what I have rather than what I need

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