How I Gave Up Shopping for Lent

in , , by RoyallyPink, 3:30 AM

 After last year's no-buy fail, I was determined to reduce my spending/shopping in some shape, way or form. I've definitely come a long way over the past few years and do a decent job at saving most of my money... but the impulsivity of clicking "Place Order" is still there. 

I decided last minute, before Lent started, that I would give up impulse shopping. I had given it up once before and wanted to test my willpower. I was starting to get overwhelmed with the amount of shopping I was doing and felt that I had too much stuff. It was the perfect, short timeline to take a nice break from shopping. 

If you're not Catholic, Lent is the time between Ash Wednesday and Easter, usually 40 days. It's customary for Catholics to give up something they love during Lent to represent the time that Jesus traveled through the desert before his crucifixion. I've been giving things up like sweets, soda, chocolate, etc for years but shopping is my true love now so it only makes sense. 

Lent does not officially end until this coming Thursday, Holy Thursday when the Last Supper occurred but I let myself go last week because I had enough... I also needed outfits for a bridal shower over this past weekend so if I was spending that money, I mind as well end it a week early.

The Rules

 My basic rule for this time period was hat meant I couldn't buy anything I 'wanted'. I was not going to buy makeup, clothes, accessories... anything frivolous that wasn't necessary.

The one caveat I gave myself was any new Stoney Clover collections because I have an addiction and I'm grown enough to admit it. They also always sell out within the first hour-day they're released so I wanted to be sure I got what I wanted. I also allowed myself to use my tax return to buy my Louis Vuitton bag because the price and condition was too good to pass up. 

How Did I Do?

Other than the SCL denim collection, the flash sale they had, and my LV bag, I successfully did not impulse shop for over a month. I didn't buy a stitch of makeup, a candle, a piece of jewelry... nothing. It was the longest I've gone without shopping in a while and it felt really good. I thought about buying things nearly every day and started keeping a list of the items I would buy once Lent was over. 

Making a list of items I want helps keep my thoughts organized... and it helps me look at what I really want. Sometimes I go back and take things off that list which proves I didn't really want them to begin with. Telling myself I can only buy things off that list definitely helps with the impulsive urges. Sometimes I will see thing and immediately buy them but sitting on it for a few days or a week helps me understand if I really want that item or not. 

I think I was really successful with this little test and while I've gone off the deep end since last week, I think I will be able to implement some of this willpower going forward. 

Why Can't I Do This All The Time?

That's the old age question isn't it? Why can't I stop shopping? Why do I love stuff so much? I ask myself that question whenever I place an order, whenever I receive a package and when I look around my room at the amount of stuff I have. 

I have always been someone who loves 'things'. I've always loved accessories, jewelry, and random knick knacks and it's something I took with me into adulthood. It's obviously an issue when you're spending all your money on things you don't really need just because you didn't take a minute to consider if you actually need them.

I am also a really big emotional shopper; when I have a bad day, I want to buy something to make me feel better. When I'm anxious or feeling depressed, shopping makes me feel calmer. It's definitely a problem and I've been trying to work through it... and making lists of the things I want helps me.

Sometimes I truly feel overwhelmed by all the items I want and when I feel manic and panicky about shopping, I remove myself from the situation... I close the app, exit out of the website, and just sit to think about if I need these things or if I'm just feeling bad and want some instant gratification.

Another thing that helps is putting a lot of money in savings so I don't have it sitting in my checking account, waiting to be spent. I need to save money for a variety of reasons and having those goals has helped me save over the years. When I first graduated college and knew I wasn't going to be leaving home any time soon, I felt like 'what do I have to save for? That's so far away!' I now see that was a massive mistake so I'm trying to right my own wrongs.

So, this little experiment of not shopping for 30-40 days was a really good thing for me and I will be implementing  these strategies into my everyday life and will definitely do shopping 'cleanses' for extended periods of time... maybe I'll even do one in April because I already feel guilty for the money I spent last week! 

Let me know if you have any questions or if you think I should turn this into a little challenge for our community!


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