I came across an article in the NY times yesterday titled: My Year of No Shopping. In the octave of Christmas, as I spent the week reflecting on the year that is almost gone and the pregnant promise of a New Year, I found it refreshing and thought provoking. It would make a great New Year resolution, I thought to myself; though I would be honest to also say that generally I am not a big fan of making New Year resolutions. I have actually never made one.
The reasons and the benefits mentioned in the article resonated with me and I wondered if I could put a moratorium on shopping in my life and for how long would I be able to last? Whilst I am not a die-hard shopaholic, I do like to buy stuff, motivated on both ends of the continuum between prudence and impulsivity. Friends know how much of a weakness I have for gadgets and trying out new-fangled techie toys (well, a shout out that you know now that I am not buying that stuff, do feel free to be generous on my birthday!!!).
So to get the ball rolling on my No Shopping year which I plan to start now (who says New Year resolutions have to start on New Year’s Day after all), here are some of the boundary lines that I defined to help me decide what falls into the no-shopping zone and what lies outside:
- Daily necessities will still be bought – groceries and household items necessary to maintain a clean, simple and healthy life. No luxuries though – which means for example, no chocolates, (gasp!) no ice cream and no alcohol (though some might argue that is a necessity) among other things, save for special occasions.
- Clothing items, bags and shoes will be bought to replace those that have been damaged on a need to basis. Excess clothing, bags and shoes will not be replaced when they are damaged. For example, due to my marathon training this year, I actually have 3 pairs of running shoes (i can see a few eyes rolling) which I will wear down to 1 unless I intend to run another marathon in which case, I would likely maintain 2 pairs of running shoes.
- Absolutely no purchase of jewelry items or watches.
- Absolutely no new techie toys. And if things break down, fix them where possible.
- Kickstarter and other crowdfunding projects are off-limits (which means no new board and card games – another pained gasp there).
- Absolutely no new physical books and kindle books – borrow them from the library instead and if I want to buy a book, visit the second hand bookstore.
- No new cosmetics and perfumes to be purchased save to replace my basic daily make up items and my regular perfume when they run out.
- At least half of the gifts I would have bought for friends and family will be replaced with either experiences (e.g. gift of time that leads to priceless memories) or items I make.
- Things I buy for my children will also be reduced to replacing items that are needed or buying new items that are needed.
As I bid a temporary farewell to consumerism, I thought about my last purchases: 3 bottles of yuzu sake as gifts for a lovely group of friends and a bottle of duck fat for roasting potatoes. Geez, now I wish I had done more luxury stockpiling before I made the commitment to this reprieve! Anyone taking bets on how long I would be able to hold out for?