Thursday, 27 October 2011

Not buying it: the aftermath

Two weeks after finishing my half term of buying nothing, and I am heartily sick of shopping already.  Suddenly, free time that I was using for crafting, baking or reading have become consumed with, well, consuming.  After spending the third afternoon in five days shopping, I have decided to call a halt to the whole thing. 

Two dresses, a pair of shoes, two CDs... they're all lovely but the thrill I got from purchasing them was very fleeting, replaced quickly by a little voice asking, "but do you need them?"  Actually, it was five dresses that I bought, but another feature of my borderline addiction to shopping is a tendency to buy something, then return it the next day.  Of course, laziness or circumstance sometimes means I never return the item and hence my wardrobes are full to bursting of things that have never been worn.

One thing I missed last half term was my Saturday ritual of walking into the city centre, browsing the shops, buying a couple of things and finishing with lunch, so this Saturday I was excited to return to my usual pattern.  However, instead of enjoying it I just found the whole experience pretty empty.  Like Chandler Bing at major New York landmarks, I found myself wanting to moo at the crowds mindlessly wandering from one shop to another.

It seems ridiculous to me that I made it to the age of 33 without realising the utter pointlessness of consumerism, but at least now the scales have been lifted from my eyes.  However, I work best with rules and it wouldn't be enough to control my spending to just say to myself, "oh, I won't shop so much".  So I am reinstituting not buying it, from today.  I have some slightly different rules this time though, to make it a more sustainable long-term approach.

1. No more ban on magazines, however I'm not returning to Red or GlamourMollie Makes, Fat Quarter and Bitch will be allowed but magazines that exist purely to fuel consumerism are still out.
2. There are a limited number of clothes that I genuinely do need.  New bras, a new pair of jeans (my old one have holes in the thighs that are becoming obscene) and, because I just can't quit my spot habit, a polka dot dress will be allowed.
3. Bearing in mind the time of year, Christmas presents are of course allowed.
4. Anything secondhand is fine.  The local charity shops, vintage markets and secondhand bookstores can rejoice at the return of a reliable customer.
5. Buying CDs from an independent record store is fine.  Despite usually being more expensive than Amazon, I try and buy from the wonderful Rockaboom in Leicester, because I would feel terrible if they ever went out of business.
6. The thing I missed most last term was my little Saturday trips to nearby towns like Stratford, Melton Mowbray and Ashbourne.  So in a contentious move, purchases out of Leicester will be allowed within reason (so no trips up the motorway to Meadowhall: that's cheating).
7. No internet shopping.  At all.
8. Craft supplies are an essential: I nearly went mad last term, not being able to buy new fabric when I saw lovely bits and pieces.

Last time around, knowing that I had the blog to report to made me much better at sticking to my rules.  This time around I don't intend to blog much about the details because I hope it will have longevity and it would become pretty boring to write about the same thing every week.  However I know my local readers (especially Leanne, who is very good at reminding me of my rules!) will be keeping a watchful eye on any purchases.  Wish me luck!

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