“Shopping can be an addiction” says Ivy Ekong. Few months ago while tidying up my wardrobe and getting it revamped for Spring, I noticed that I have 3 pairs of the same shoes in three different colours. This was like a pattern in my closet, and of course it was the same with my hand bags and even clothing . While thinking about my purchasing habits, I realized I was spending more money than I’d like on shopping. Not only that, but I was buying clothes I wanted, not that I do actually needed them, my makeup drawer was overflowing with beauty products, and I was running out of closet space. It suddenly dawned on me that I was wasting too much money on shopping. Even though my shopping habit is mostly extravagant, they were becoming more and more unnecessary. Am sure many of you relate to this, especially as women.
So, what was my solution? I would go 60 days without any retail therapy.. Trust me! 60 days wasn’t doable, (because I’m obviously a shopaholic) so I went 30 days without shopping.
Can you wrap your head around the idea of not shopping for 30 whole days? Not to sound dramatic, but I, for one, could not. Especially when my mailbox keeps flooding with offers from yoox, and the likes of them. Asos is practically my second home, not to talk of Shopstyle, and net-a-porter. So in my mind, not shopping for one months was alarming. But hold on a minute ! Did I still buy necessities like deodorant, body cream and toothpaste? Of course I did!
Prior to my 30 days shopping challenge, I made sure to unsubscribe from some retail marketing emails, just so that I am able to enter this no shopping adventure with a clear head. I also didn’t frequent the shops as usual. I made sure to establish what was off-limits, and what was considered an everyday essential. Off-limit items included apparel and accessories (jewelry, purses, shoes, hair extensions etc), as well as pampering beauty services, like manicures, waxes, eyebrow treading, and blowouts. Essentials were mostly narrowed down to toiletries and household items, like groceries, my kids stuff etc.
Did avoiding the mall like the plague make me a changed woman? Not quite, but it did lead to some important realisations about how I was spending my hard earned money. Sometimes when you’re shopping so often you do not realise the damage you’re doing to your bank account. When you don’t shop or swipe your credit card for 30 days, you will naturally be driven to dig deep into the back of your closet and salvage old items you once deemed un-wearable. That’s exactly what happened to me. The truth? There were plenty of really great pieces I had discarded too quickly. Old pairs of jeans, tops , dresses, and even shoes presented themselves as completely viable outfit options. I ended up discovering a whole new wardrobe inside my very own bedroom.
I separated “need” from “want.”
The sentence “I need that pair of shoes in my life” was basically my life motto. I also noticed that when you buy a pair of shoes, you also have the “need” to buy a matching handbag. But when I restricted my shopping during those 30 days, it was easier to identify the difference between “need” and “want.” I even made a list of things I actually did need, so that when the 30 days were up, I had a well-defined guide for any future shopping. You can do same too, after all what do you have to lose? Nothing actually! But more to gain when you see your bank statement. What you think you spend is very different than what you actually spend. Once I took a look at the numbers, I could no longer hide behind rationalising my shopping habits. There was a noticeable, positive change to my bank account during those 30 days, one that I hope to maintain even now that the challenge has ended.
In all of this one thing I learnt most importantly is that ; confronting your not so good habits and looking for ways to improve always pays off as long as you’re determined. What really drove me to shop? Shopping – especially online shopping – is a source of immediate gratification. And if you’re feeling bored or uninspired, immediate gratification can be an easy quick but temporary fix. Instead of shopping, I chose to focus on doing more professional things like sketching outfits for my future clothing line. After all, why should I keep buying if I can have my own line for people to buy. When you fine tune your thoughts this way, then you will want to invest more in yourself professionally to accomplish your dreams. Also spending time with my family and giving my kids 100% attention and not on Internet sites.
This challenge made me realise that I was shopping to relieve stress, delay professional projects, and generally avoid life’s challenges. Not shopping for one months allowed me to pinpoint areas in my life that needed focus and attention.
It will be great to have some of you partake in this challenge too. Who wants to try? I am here to answer your questions and support you during the period you would like to challenge yourself for regarding shopping.
My dress is from here
Till my next post …….
Featured photo from : Instagram