Here I am almost a month after my 100 days Shopping Free ended, and I'm finally feeling ready to talk about it. It may be dramatic to say that this challenge changed my life, so instead I'll say that it changed the way that I view shopping for what I hope to be ever. I've always had what I deemed an appropriate relationship with shopping, though I have gone through many phases. At times I shopped to fill a need, at times for fun, sometimes I made purchases for the retail therapy, and other times I liked the thrill of adding to my closet. I have always been a bargain shopper and have never made a purchase instead of paying a bill, so in my mind my relationship was still an appropriate one. A few years ago, shopping had become a past time for me. Each night after work I would stop by a different store and I would never walk out empty handed. I didn't have another pass time to occupy myself with, and so I let shopping fill that need. I quickly recognized that I was headed down a dark road, and cut back to trips once a week to my local thrift stores. I set strict rules for my purchases ( only if it will work with 3 other things in my closet ) and I decided to start re-mixing more and purchasing less. I was settled into a new, even more appropriate relationship with shopping. Naturally during the last year or so, I have begun to shop less frequently. I simply don't find the desire to as strong as I once did. That isn't to say though that after a particularly hard day at work I don't hear the voice in the back of my head saying loud, ' You deserve to spend some time unwinding by sorting through racks. Maybe they still have that sweater you want. You have a coupon anyways, why not go? '.
When I first heard about the 100 day detox hosted by the Unpretentious Teacher, my first thought was ' Wow that's a long time. I would do that if I had a problem but I don't.' About 15 minutes later I realized my mistake. I had dismissed the idea, clearly showing my problem. If there is no problem, then why not do it? I had challenged myself in that moment, went right to my blog and posted my participation for the world to see. There was no backing out now. I did a quick count, Christmas Day would mark the end to my challenge and in my way stood holiday shopping, Black Friday and my birthday. What exactly was I thinking?
My biggest surprise? This challenge wasn't so hard. On approximately 5 occasions I sat at my desk and thought, ' Man I would really like to go shopping after work today. Guess I'll have to do something else', and all of those times happened during the first 2 months. After that I just didn't give it much thought. Suddenly, instead of thinking about shopping I was filling my time with my passions, reading and photography. I went with my girlfriends and sisters to the mall and some of my favorite stores and purchased nothing. I even tried some items on to simply leave them on the rack when we were done. I simply didn't need those items. Even more importantly? I was saving money. That extra $20 each week I may have used to pick up a few great thrifted items, was now going right to the bank. I did make one purchase during the challenge, a watch which I blogged about and consider my exception, something I had denoted at the beginning. My family kept joking about the impending shopping spree that would occur once Christmas Day would come, and I hadn't thought they were wrong. Instead however, the holiday's came and went with no purchases. I had started this project with the intention of going 100 days without shopping, and about 75 days in I realized, that I just don't need to be shopping like I had once thought. Eventually of course I would make a purchase. I bought 3 button downs and a Mustard Sweater from an off-price store near my house about 2 1/2 weeks after the challenge lifted. Just this week I also bought a Christian Siriano purse and a Red Leather Jacket from the Goodwill that I found while shopping for a costume. Mostly though, I've been saving my money to make some purchases for my camera. The relationships I had before with shopping may have been appropriate, but the relationship I have now is healthy, and that is a much better place to be.