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


  1. We lost 75% of our business overnight in 2008 (not a good thing to own a staffing service in this economy)I was forced into the "no shop" situation that you just experienced. I started shopping in my own closet. Like you, Lori, I had so much extra time. I hate the reason I had to stop shopping but we all got caught up in consumerism and it is nice to have that phase of my life behind me. Can't wait to hear about the visa bill!

  2. I have recently had the same epiphany. It felt so good to get rid of stuff, but then I struggle not to gather more to replace it. I have a wonderful nest here at home with all kinds of artsy things to keep me busy; yet there I am on the computer - shopping! I have realized that it is a deal that I am after, not necessarily the stuff. I think I will give your 30 day No Shopping (for clothes) a try! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Sue- thanks for stopping by. Sorry to hear the reason for your no shop experience. That must have been rough. It's really easy to get lulled into the false and temporary satisfaction of shopping.

    Nancy- The "not replacing" part is a continuous struggle for me, as well. I find it easier to not shop at all than to go out in the world and leave things behind in the store. Because I spend a lot of time online, I had to unsubscribe from the many shopping sites I've joined over the last few years. That helps a little. Good luck!

  4. Just discovered your blog. I have pledged to 'stop shopping' in 2013. So far so good.... ; ) It feels wonderful. It may become a lifestyle change permanently. I have been building a 'store' for years, have told myself I have enough and now it is time to sell. It feels like I am purging my soul, and it is a good purge. Nice to come in contact with those who are feeling the same thing.

  5. Thanks for your comment, daiseedeb. have pledged for the entire year! Kudos to you! I backslid a bit during the holidays but am trying to get back on track. The purges feel really good, don't they? :)


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