By Liz Klemt*
For the past year, conversations about shopping have normally gone like this:
Person 1: “Wow, I love those shoes/pants/shirt/scarf, where did you get them/it?”
Person 2: “At Target/Loft/H&M/adorable boutique! You guys will have to go check it out!”
Person 1: “Forsure!”
Me: “Oh, I’m actually fasting from shopping so maybe next year!”
Person 1 and 2:
Before you ask the question that everyone wonders, and some actually ask, “How do you buy food?!,” I buy food. This fast was limited to clothes, shoes, and accessories. If you want to read more about how I came to this conclusion, please read my post from last January.
But for the past year, I have avoided the mall, averted my eyes from certain sections at Target, and unfollowed all “fashion” accounts on social media.
These were some of my favor responses to learning about my fast:
“I could never do that!”
“Wait, what? Why?”
“That is so brave!”
“Are you so excited to shop next year?”
“Wow, that is so amazing.”
“What if your pants rip?”
And it’s true; I am brave, amazing, excited to shop again and really, really humble. And you can be too!
If you want to fast from something, find your why. Why do you want to fast from shopping? Or fast from social media or some thought pattern? Is it serving you and helping you become more of who you want to be?
Over the year, my why became more defined. It started out with solely wanting to stop frivolously shopping (i.e. when you randomly buy that dress when you go to Target and a dress isn’t on your shopping list). Eventually it molded into the following reasons and questions I want to ask myself:
How can I better foster my money?
I want to invest in quality items and in companies with good, ethical practices for both their products and employees
Side note: I know that I won’t be able to afford to do this every time I shop so I consider how can I change my lifestyle and/or shopping habits to be able to do this when possible
Do I need this?
Will I want this still in a month? Two months?
Do I already have something similar?
If so, how often do I use it?
Am I buying this just to be trendy?
I don’t want to buy something just so I can enable and fit into a consumerist society
Do I even like this or am I being “told” to like it?
After spending twelve months asking myself these questions in many different circumstances, what did I learn?
I learned that I saved a lot of time. No online shopping, no going to the mall, no trying on clothes, no returning those clothes, no wistfully daydreaming about those shoes my friend got on sale.
I learned that life would go on without _____________ purchase.
I learned could still look cute without _____________ trend item that won’t be cool anymore very soon.
I learned that I have a lot more clothes than I thought I did.
I learned I don’t wear many of those clothes.
I learned what clothing I was holding on to like a security blanket.
I learned what clothing I was still wearing and still didn’t feel good in.
I learned to get rid of clothes that I always wanted to like but never seemed to win when I put it on.
I learned to pay attention to the items I was continuously drawn to. When you don’t have new clothes distracting you, it makes you wake up and give your whole wardrobe a double take.
With the money I saved, I bought camping gear for a two-month solo road trip that I quit my job to go on (which is a story for another time). I invested in experiences and traveling. It also saves you a lot of money when you’re traveling and you can’t buy all those cute, over-sized, long-sleeved t-shirts that are all the rage.
I started making a list of items that I wanted more than a random urge while walking past them. I had to be still thinking about it three months later and then it would make the list: a bathing suit, slouchy sweaters, yoga leggings that don’t stretch out after wearing them one time, new bras, those leather ankle boots everyone seems to have, black sneakers, and several other items. I found that most things fade from your memory quite quickly. But the items that made the list, I was sincerely excited to enjoy when the time came.
Since January 1st, I have used my compiled list to guide my shopping and me. I have made some of my purchases from my list and am still on the hunt for others. There are still items that made the list that I opted not to buy (I’m looking at you, leather ankle boots).
If you want something, consider it. Write it down. Wait it out. Don’t do your Amazon one-click shopping. More than likely, you’ll move on from it. And if you don’t then maybe it would be a good addition for you. You won’t know unless you test yourself.
While my experience has been overall extremely positive, I think that learning the worth of my business at stores may have made me an even more indecisive shopper (if that’s possible). If that’s the only downsize to this crazy fast, then I’ll take it.
And so now that it is 2016, a new year, and I accomplished last year’s resolution successfully, I decided I needed a new New Year’s resolution. Almost as difficult as not shopping for a year, I will not sleep in the same room as my phone in an effort to go to sleep when I lay down instead of scrolling through Instagram and watching Snapchats for two hours.
Stay tuned for what I learn through that.
*Liz resides in Denver, CO. She is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Leadership at Denver Seminary. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram as @Y0LK_. Check out her adventures from her solo road trip on her blog, Chasing the Coast.