Sunday, February 12, 2012

Bye Bye Buy

I'm really not a shopper. Despite having worked at two shopping-based web startups, buying things does not come naturally to me. I am one of the cheapest people ever and mostly opposed to buying things unless I really really need them, and maybe not even then. Or at least I used to be. Ever since leaving the workplace for the non-lucrative stay-at-home mom gig, I've taken to the notion that wisely spent money is a good idea.  The cheapest thing just ain't going to last. Get the well made, the pretty, the right thing instead and it will not only leave you happier but save you money in the long run.

Problem is that line of thinking can get out of hand, and lately for me it had. Spending good money on the right things had transformed into acquiring cute but useless things any time I went into a store. When I caught myself browsing every aisle in Target wondering what else I might get, I knew it was time for a change.

In a nice bit of perfect timing, the ever-stylish Raven posted about some friends taking on a "no shopping" challenge for a month, or even a year. It struck me how easily I could stop shopping and really not miss it. I've got more clothes than I need. The library has books for free. It seems easy enough to work around the things I want by using the things I already have. Since time-based challenges aren't my thing, I'll be keeping up a streak. How long can I go without buying anything?  The nice thing about a streak is if you break it, you can start again the very next day.

Of course I'll still need to buy food and household goods. I'm not trying to live off the land here, just put an end to non-necessary spending. Gifts are an exception, but even then I'll try to get creative and make rather than buy. That's going to be the goal for most things. Making coffee instead of hitting the Starbuck's drive-thru. Trying homemade recipes for cleansers. More DIY crafts instead of picking up little toys for the kids. Already I've skipped buying character valentines  for Lucas' preschool party and instead printed out candy hearts on construction paper. Baby steps.

Hopefully I'll be able to keep this little experiment up for a while. At some point I expect the line between needing and wanting will get mighty blurry and I'll cave. But if I can stay more mindful of all the ways money leaks out of my wallet, it will be worth the effort to go without.


  1. Ooh! This is inspiring! Good luck!

  2. Good luck, I need to do this too - maybe we should start a no spending support group!