Friday, June 18, 2010

Start Shopping Smart

About every other month or so I toy with this idea of a Shopping Ban. It usually occurs when I'm putting away my clean clothes and become irritated with lack of space. I have plenty of pants, lots of skirts, a bazillion shoes how could I possibly need another item?! In that moment I decide to cease all shopping until further notice. The problem is however, once I decide to enjoy some peaceful time 'just looking' through my local thrift stores, I have a hard time passing up a great $2 skirt, or an amazing pair of $5 shoes. The problem however isn't that I convince myself that I need these items. I am fully aware the I don't need these items, but I would like to have them. I work hard for my money and when I'm faced with a $6 purchase I can easily justify buying these things, "as a reward for that horrendous phone call I had to take last week". Isn't that the point of working? To make money for ourselves?
The problem isn't that I spend too much money ( although I sometimes do) or that I don't stick to a budget ( although I sometimes don't) or that I simply couldn't fit another thing into my closet ( but it is always well stocked). The truth of the matter is I don't need these items. I spend a bit of time each week purging my closet. If I haven't worn it, don't wear it, or am scared to put it back on because of a bad one-time experience, it goes in a pile to be given to my sister or a friend. These sudden empty hangers however are not an invitation to find replacements, they should stay as a reminder of my accomplishments. If I decided to ban my shopping, I realize that within a few weeks I would find a good excuse, make a purchase and feel guilty. I need to not institute a ban, but instead make a bit of a lifestyle change. I often wonder, if I had something else to do would I shop less? If I spot being envious of other bloggers wardrobes would I shop less? The truth is I enjoy shopping, much like I enjoy reading or crafting. The problem isn't shopping and I shouldn't punish myself by taking away something I enjoy. I just need to become a smarter shopper.

I think this concept will continue to change in my head as I become more accustom to not shopping. There are a few things currently working in my favor.
1.We are moving in a few weeks and I will be busy finding homes for our things, and establishing an aesthetic to our house. I won't have time to shop.
2.Even though we aren't moving far, we are moving which suddenly means those stores I stop by because they are on my way home, suddenly aren't. I'll need to make a point to drive to these locations, and being busy unpacking, I simply won't.
3.It's summer and I'd rather spend my money on concerts, fairs, and enjoying great food with friends on a patio somewhere.
I'm hopeful that by the time we settle into our new place I'll have enjoyed my last few weeks on self imposed a shopping vacation that I won't miss it, and will feel less of a need to go back. My realistic goal however is to simply start shopping smarter.

Do you have a love-hate relationship with shopping? Do you ever put yourself on bans, or restrict your spending? What tips have helped for you?


Meli22 said...

I flip flop like you do... I look at what I have and don't utilize and feel terrible, like I should never shop again. But then- I really want to just replace what I have with things I like more and fit better. I SHOULD just get a one in one out policy- whatever I buy replaces something else, unless I don't have anything similar... good food for thought!

Clare said...

This is such a well-written post. You know my thoughts on shopping bans (thanks for the email, by the way! I'll definitely be using you for encouragement when things get rough!), and I truly think that focusing on a lifestyle change is the best way to go. A "ban" feels restrictive, while a "change" feels new, exhilarating, and healthy. Good luck with your change!!

Alyssa said...

This is a fantastic post, I really enjoyed what you had to say. I also 'struggle' with shopping too much... if I find something I like and it's a fantastic deal, it's hard for me not to buy it! I think "Really, why not?". But then, just like you, when I'm putting away my clothes, I find that I have a lack of space and it's frustrating. I, too, need to make a lifestyle change that Less is More. I want to start purchasing more quality items that I really really really like and that will last me a long time, instead of buying lots of cheaper items. It's hard because I love variety and I get bored easily.

But something needs to change for me! I hope you'll continue to update us on your progress/insights/struggles... it's interesting. I really like your blog and the title of your blog is cute!