Can you believe I made it through the whole month of August without buying any clothes or accessories?! Me neither! I definitely don’t think I would have stayed true to the challenge had I not announced to the world via CTF that I was doing it. Knowing that I would have to post the results publicly was a big motivator to refrain from spending.
Now that the longest month of my life is over (just kidding, that’s a tad too dramatic!), I wanted to share with you three things I learned along the way. I also want to let you know what I would do different for next time, should I decide to try the challenge again.
1. I made substitutions
The terms of my No Shopping Challenge were that I couldn’t buy any clothes, accessories, or shoes for the entire month. I quickly realized that didn’t prohibit me from buying beauty products. Talk about a major loophole!
I ended up buying more makeup and beauty products this month than normal. And with makeup I have the same issues as with clothes: I don’t really buy expensive items, but buying a bunch of inexpensive things really adds up over the course of the month.
When I started the No Shopping Challenge I set aside some pieces from my closet that I wanted to rewear, and I think that’s also a good idea for makeup as well.
Maybe if I picked out some lipsticks or eyeshadows from my makeup drawer that don’t get worn often and made a point of using them during the challenge I would have been less tempted to buy new products.
2. I didn’t really need what I thought I needed
My middle school self would be saying, “Duh, Captain Obvious!” That’s the whole point of the challenge: to re-evaluate what you have and what you want to buy. I made a list of some items at the beginning of the challenge that I would buy at the end if I just couldn’t stop thinking about adding them to my wardrobe.
One of them was this Columbia rain jacket. It has great reviews, is really cute, and would match everything, but I already have a rain jacket. This red one that I wore with my rain boots in Munich.
And there’s nothing wrong with this one! It’s functional, the red is fun to mix and match with, and there’s honestly no need for a new one.
I also had a lot of items on my Wish List that were definitely summer pieces: off the shoulder dresses and flip flops, for example. Now that I’ve waited a month I have no need for these items. It’s better that now I’m buying items for cooler weather instead of warmer weather that is fleeting.
3. But I Also Missed Some Deals…
Something that wasn’t on my Wish List but I ended up wanting to buy this month were my favorite running shoes: the Asics Gel Cumulus. I’ve worn this particular kind of running shoe since high school, and they’re what works for me. There is no substitution when it comes to my running sneakers!
During August they became available on the Amazon Warehouse for a really great price, but because of the No Shopping Challenge I didn’t go for them. Now that it’s over, the discounted pair is sold out, and all that’s left are pairs around the $100 mark.
Hopefully my favorite running shoes will come around again on sale, but until then I’ll just wait it out. Running shoes aren’t really an impulse buy for me, but a necessity since I run weekly. Knowing that I could have gotten something I needed (actually needed) at a great price makes me think I should reevaluate the terms of the challenge.
What I Would Do Different Next Time
So what would I change for next time? Well, technically I wouldn’t do a No Shopping Challenge. I would instead do a ‘Limited Shopping Challenge’ where I minimize my personal spending to somewhere around $50 for the month.
This would let me take advantage of sales on things that I really needed (like running shoes), while still having to carefully consider what I bought throughout the month.
Running shoes were what came up this month, but another month it could be something else. Anything necessary in my closet, like collared shirts, pencil skirts, and work flats would need to be replaced as soon as possible if they became stained, ripped, or unusable over the course of the month. So the small shopping budget would help with that.
I also think having a small limit would help with the mental aspect of the challenge. Knowing that you can’t buy ANY clothes and shoes for 31 days means that all you can think about the whole time is shopping! But having a small budget takes away some of the anxiety associated with it.
Like I’ve said before, fashion is not the most important thing in the world, and I like the reality check of a shopping challenge every now and again to help remind myself of that.
Did you also try the No Shopping Challenge? What tips do you think would make it easier?
I’m heading out on vacay today, so this week and next week CTF will just have two posts so that I can enjoy time off. Drew and I are going to Liverpool and Scotland for 10 days, and you can keep up with our journey on Instagram stories!