I mentioned in my Life Lately post that I would be embarking on a No Shopping Challenge for the month of August. For some people that doesn’t sound that hard. I mean, lots of people go several months without buying new items, but that’s not the case for me. I may be a big sale shopper, but the majority of my personal budget each month is still spent shopping.
And to be fair, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Some people love makeup and like to buy new eyeshadow palettes or lipsticks each month. Some people love DIY projects and spend most of their personal budget on craft supplies. My husband loves rock climbing, so he spends his money on his gear and climbing trips. What I’m saying is that everyone is allowed to have interests, and if yours happens to be fashion then by all means buy the clothes and shoes!
But at the end of the day, necklaces, dresses, and heels are just things. And I do want a life that is full of stuff other than material things. I have some big travel planned in the next few months, and I decided to scale back on my fashion spending to prepare for those experiences. I like to call myself a responsible shopaholic!
So if you want to save a little money this month (for whatever reason), consider joining me in a 31 Day No Shopping Challenge. Here are the 4 steps I’m taking on day 1 to help me succeed.
1) Plan what you want to rewear
If you’re starting a No Shopping Challenge, you probably think that you have lots of things to wear in your closet already. I know I do! So the fun part of the challenge is thinking about all the ways that you’re going to rewear what you already have.
Do you have an item from last season that you loved, but haven’t worn yet this year? Maybe you usually wear dresses, so it’s time to switch it up with trousers. You could make it a mini-challenge within a challenge, and try to wear all of your least worn items throughout the month!
Thinking of the challenge in a positive way, as an opportunity to wear what you have in a new way, instead of negative in terms of what you can’t buy, will make it way more enjoyable. Here are some of the items I plan on re-wearing this month:
This red peplum pencil skirt.
These flare jeans. Similar here.
These loafer mules.
2) Eliminate triggers
(AKA unsubscribe from every retailer in your inbox!)
What usually sets me off on an online cart-filling quest is an email from one of my favorite stores telling me all about a huge sale going on (looking at you, Old Navy). I didn’t intend to go shopping online, but the classic marketing ploy worked, and next thing I know I’m buying things I definitely don’t need (a fourth pair of sculpt jeans) and spending more than I want. To get the extra discounts and free shipping, of course!
The truth is that I wasn’t planning on spending until I read that email and got sucked into the sale. If I didn’t know about the sale to begin with, I wouldn’t feel like I was missing out on a deal.
So I’m unsubscribing from retailer emails for now. I can always sign up again at the end of the month if I really want to.
3) Plan for other activities besides shopping
Think about when you normally go shopping. Do you like to shop online right before bed? Or maybe on Sundays you like to go to the mall with your friends and browse shops. Well, wherever you usually find yourself shopping think of a different (and cheaper) alternative so you don’t get tempted.
I shop a lot online, especially in the mornings before getting my day started. I have one last paper due for my grad school class this month, so I’m going to be researching for that instead of shopping. It’s a lucky coincidence to keep me from failing the challenge.
If you don’t have a paper due, maybe instead of typing in the url of your favorite store, head to a news site and brush up on current events. If that doesn’t sound appealing, maybe take some Buzzfeed Quizzes (addicting!) or browse Pinterest for 20 minutes instead.
If you like to shop in brick and mortar stores, plan some other activities like hiking, making something from scratch in the kitchen, or relaxing on the couch with a glass of wine and a good book (or blog 😉 ). Anything else that can give you those feel good vibes without shopping.
4) Take stock of what you think you need
I know what you’re thinking…Kristin, if I’m supposed to not be spending money, why would I make a list of things I need? It does seem a little weird, but hear me out. What stopped me from doing a No Shopping Challenge for the longest time was telling myself that I needed certain things, so it just wasn’t the right time to start. Whether I knew about a really good sale coming up, or maybe I had travel planned where I wanted some new outfits for it, I always thought there were things that I had to have that month.
But guess what? I was lying to myself.
There are a lot of things I would like to have, but don’t really need and probably aren’t flexible pieces for my wardrobe anyway. So the point of making a list at the start is to have something to compare with at the end, when you can say whether or not those items really were something you were wanting in your closet over the 31 days. You’ll probably realize that most of your ‘needs’ are actually ‘nice to haves.’ And now you can be a responsible shopper the following month, where you know what items you actually do want to add to your closet.
So what do you think about starting a No Shopping Challenge? If you think a whole month might be too much, try just doing it for a week or two and see how it goes!
I’d love to hear any other tips you have for making it through the 31 Day No Shopping Challenge!