I spoke about minimal shopping before. But what about no shopping at all?
As I have mentioned a couple of times before, what concerns me the most about shopping is not time or money spent purchasing unnecessary goods, or space that these goods are taking, but the never ending consumption that takes a toll on many aspects of our lives.
We are living in the world when most of the households have more material goods than ever before. And with rising living standards we feel the need to continuously purchase new and more luxurious items as some of them are also becoming a modern life necessity. However, it seems that we enjoy having lots of stuff only if we know we can keep buying them — because a drop in standard of living can feel worse than no improvement at all. And that’s how we, without realizing, start living a wasteful life. Not only do we shop for sake of owning more, we also are leaning towards items which are convenient, disposable and low-cost. As a result, the increase in consumption leads to pollution and resource-depletion, while more waste is generated.
Giving up the habits of convenience once and for all is not easy. What can be done, however, is self-assessment in consumption habits. If we would understand better what triggers the urge to purchase (and waste) more, we could find more efficient ways how to fight that urge.
I consider myself a responsible consumer. The one who tries to purchase things that are needed and in most cases are used on regular basis. However, I do have my slip offs too. That’s why to learn more about my shopping habits I’ve decided to take No Shopping Challenge – 30 days of purchasing necessities only.
Before I even decided to commit myself to no shopping month I already knew my weaknesses. Amongst all of the things I can easily say no to, books and beauty products are the most difficult to resist. And so, to make this experiment more interesting, I decided to take track of the things I was tempted to buy. Here it goes:
- books (at least once a day);
- lip products;
- essential oils
- makeup brushes;
- face mask;
- hand cream;
- magazine subscription;
- wine glasses;
- body scrub;
- monthly book subscription.
As I was trying to put mind off these things I found myself repeating one the three: “I already own one”, “I own enough” and “I don’t even wear/like it”.
Making and analyzing this list made me realize that the desire to purchase most of these items was sparked by social media and sponsored content I consume on daily basis. Another thing worth mentioning is that items that were so interesting to me at first were completely forgotten (this doesn’t apply to books) in few days time. Once again I’ve learned that it’s worth stepping away for a little while, to save yourself from wasteful and useless purchases.
Coming back to reality, no, this month did not go without me purchasing food only. Here is a list of things I bought this month that wasn’t food:
- hair dye;
- a plant (the one in the picture above).
It is just happened to be the month when I needed to restock on shampoo and hair dye. Trainers, on the other hand, weren’t something I needed desperately. But yes, my old pair has been looking a bit off recently, and I’ve found a pair that I really liked that was on discount, so I decided to take the plunge. And a plant, well… I lost it.
I must admit having no shopping month wasn’t easy. In fact, it was more difficult than I thought it’s going to be. Even though I’m not a big shopper, restricting myself from buying even the smallest things was quite challenging. I understood, that at times I shop out of habit. I go for a stroll around the city during lunch break and hop into a shop or two. Before I even realize, I have already purchased something. Usually nothing big. But one lunch break after another and I have quite a few things on my hand.
Did I feel any different during this month? Yes. Most of the time I was happy to be free from having to make a decision whether to buy a certain item or not. I knew the answer before the question came to my head. I don’t need anything, I own enough. And that’s probably my the most important take away from this challenge.
Now your turn! Learn about your shopping habits or test your will power by sticking to necessities only for at least 30 days.