*L Bee Note: We are taking a break from #awkwardmoneychat this week, and will be back with the first of four new episodes next week. In the meantime, read Michelle's excellent reflections on an entire YEAR's worth of no shopping.
On April 1, 2014 it will have been a year since I’ve gone shopping for anything that adorns the body. I haven’t purchased a single thing. Embarking on a “no shopping challenge” like this one not for the faint of heart.
You have to look a couple of things in the metaphorical eye: greed, desire, lust, and envy were all things I had to address. I’ve learned a number of things about myself during this time and so I’d like to share a few things with you.
5 Important Things I Learned from the No Shopping Challenge
Your clothes reflect your mood
I noticed a lot of people walking around looking like crap. They are wearing pajama’s to Costco, not combing their hair, and not bathing. I think there are a lot of unhappy people out there. I’m not saying that you need to be wearing a suit or dress everyday, but taking the time to put a little makeup on, put on some cute clothes, and groom yourself goes a long way. Remember, I’ve been wearing the same clothes for a year. Making sure that I’m ironed and put together helped me feel pretty good and the days I didn’t take time to put myself together well had a noticeable affect on my mental health.
Riding boots are the key to everything (and so are skinny jeans)!
I live in Colorado where we have seasons. These seasons can all happen in the same day. Think thunder, snow, rain, and 80’s. Yep, this really happens. One of the things that I wore on average at least 3 times a week were my riding boots. I’ve worn my boots so much that they are no longer wearable.
The minute I start shopping the first item I will be investing in is a pair of well-made boots where I could resole the boots when the soles wear down. They go well with everything!! Riding boots are a classic item that’s been around since the 1800’s. Skinny jeans pair nicely with riding boots and when worn with a sweater or long shirt it’s an easy chic outfit.
The Classics Are Classics For A Reason
It’s important to invest in classic pieces such as black riding boots, a cream sweater, white collared shirts, or a little black dress. The key to making your outfit pop is using trendy items strategically. For example, I have a pair of zebra striped black kitten heels. I wouldn’t necessarily wear a zebra stripped shirt. But, those shoes with a simple outfit POP! Invest in your classic pieces. I regretted not having a number of those items throughout the year.
Inventory Your Wardrobe Before Taking a No Shopping Challenge
Have you ever wondered why you have 5 black shirts that are all similar to one another? Or, 5 coats but one gets more usage than the other 3? Really take some time to figure out what you have and get rid of what you aren’t using. Get rid of what you aren’t using.
There's Too Much Cheap Clothing
Quality before quantity. We are surrounded by so many cheap options for clothing. Forever21, H & M, and T.J. Maxx are a couple of the stores that come to mind. It’s so difficult to not buy new pieces when there are so many tantalizing items out there. Eggplant jeans, aqua blouses, blinding white tunics, and so much more.
The thing is cheaply made clothing….is cheap.
Whenever I go to Europe I am very aware of the difference in textile quality. I actually wear my best clothes when I go to Europe. I’ve decided to stop buying cheaply made clothing and investing in quality items.
I’ve also decided to practice conscious spending in all parts of my life. I want to make sure that my spending makes sense from a life-hours expended standpoint. I also have become pretty committed to buying from American manufacturers. I want my dollar to circulate in the U.S. economy for as long as possible.
Additional No Shopping Challenge Resources
- The Year of Less – An entire book about a year long no shopping challenge by Cait Flanders.
- One Year Without Shopping – [CaitFlanders.com – yup, this is her blog that became the best selling book!]
- 6 Week No Shop Challenge – [The Calm Collective]
- How much should I spend on clothing in a year? – [Financial Best Life]
- My Year of No Shopping – [The New York Times]
- 5 Small and Smart Ways to Shop More Sustainably this Year [ ApartmentTherapy]
- A Life Less Throwaway – For people who want to buy items that last a lifetime. By Tara Button.
Taking a year off of shopping ended up being a lot more challenging than I ever expected for completely different reasons than I expected. I didn’t realize the how emotional the experience would become.
I’m currently in the part of the challenge I call “resignation.” I am resigned to finish this challenge with as much dignity as possible.