I pride myself on my shopping for family and friends all year. I have a presents drawer that can produce the perfect gift with little preparation. My social media is filled with ads for sites I’ve visited one time, and after seeing the same ad 8 million times I end up buying it. What can I say, I’m a capitalist’s dream.
I also believe in voting with my dollar. I want to support companies that are creating change, treat their employees well, and share my ethics.This can be hard when it’s so easy to turn a blind eye on everyday purchases or save a few bucks buying the cheaper version.
After reading the New York times article on a year of no shopping, I knew I’d found my New Year’s resolution. I am lucky to have so much and the ability to buy things for fun. I justify my purchases by shopping locally, or buying handmade things, but I know I’m still buying into the idea that all of this stuff is making my life better. So, I’m setting some rules. But, this resolution needs to be sustainable and take into account the twists and turns of life. I’ve had some time to prepare and mayyyy have spent a pretty penny preparing for my year of no new shinies (hello new bathing suit for my Honey’s 30th birthday trip) and I’m a little terrified my favorite (read: only ones that fit) jeans are going to finally rip down the butt this year, but that’s why I’ve built in some wriggle room.
A year of no shopping:
- No target, no Walmart, no Amazon. None.
- Groceries are unlimited. Flowers are allowed. Prescriptions or any health purchase needs are a go BUT stop purchasing the snake oils. (i.e., lumbar support pillow for work is ok, but the random supplement purchase that you bought because you want any miracle cure at this point needs to stop. Or is that just me?).
- Shampoo and toiletries are allowed ONLY when you’ve run out. Use up or get rid of those bottles that have been sitting there for months.
- Eating out is allowed. But I’m limiting my coffee purchases to weekends only.
- Presents: If you must gift, the purchase must be sustainable, preferably American-made, local is best. If possible, give your time or an experience. Clean their house, watch their kid, make them dinner, give them something handmade.
- Cheat day: once a month, a single splurge can be made BUT it must be sustainably made. Splurge on the leggings made of recycled water bottles that will last a few years instead of the cheap ones that get pilly after one wash. The cheat purchase can also be used for a massage, or manicure, or self care experience. Ideally, by not buying the little crap, there’s a little extra cash for that one purchase. Also, as a person with a chronic illness, I could use a day of escape.
The dream is to spend less money but also spend less time shopping – no more surfing the web and making fake shopping bags full of wants that I’ll never purchase (still just me?). I want to put an end to walking out of Target with a dozen things I didn’t intend on buy. I want to stop buying 5-for-$25.00 underwear that wears out after a month. I want to eliminate the need for a perpetual Goodwill donation pile for the duplicates and unnecessary things.
For the record, there’s a lot of privilege here. I do have purchasing power. But, now, I want to put it to good use. This is a full year commitment. No backing down. Will you join me?