Saturday, 9 July 2011

Day 10

I'm at day ten.... and so far so good (although my husband, Russ, is quick to remind me that I did spend four of those days on a camp in the country - ie, nothing available for the buying).
Yesterday I realised that it seems to be a want to just buy something (as opposed to buying with a purpose) as we were at Bunnings (not my usual preferred shopping location) and I found myself longingly looking at closet storage, desperately wishing Russ would buy me one of the storage items as a present.  When I didn't get anything I felt abit down.

This whole challenge does make me see things differently.  We had to go to the plaza yesterday to collect something and I found it so interesting to watch the shoppers.  People shoving others as they walked hot and bothered with arms full of bags, kids screaming that they wanted a particular toy (kids seem to be consumers before they can walk!), lots of credit swiping, and a general feel of chaos. 
Do we shop because we've thought about what we need, weighed up the options and made a decision? Or is it purely emotional decision making? Do we do it for the buzz? Also, meeting in shopping areas seems now a genuine means of socialising.

At the moment I think I'm doing pretty well.  I haven't broken my shopping rule but I have realised how much I think about shopping.  I've stopped myself at least four times in the last few days from saying "Let's go down to Highpoint" or "Why don't we have a wander around Viccy Market" -  it's my natural inclination every time. I realised that I have a love for looking or window shopping but those things won't really assist me in reaching my goal so I've had to be strict.

Actually, now that I'm not window shopping or just popping down to the shops for a wander I do find that there are these little pockets of extra time available to me.  And in these times I've been taking stock of what I do have and either organising it better so that I can see and use it or, if it's no longer serving any purpose other than robbing me of space, I've been putting it aside to give to the Salvos or toss in the bin.  I'm hoping that doing this, "shopping my wardrobe", as one lady doing this challenge put it, I will be made more efficient and renew excitement in what I do have -  as half of it I've forgotten existed!

Friday, 1 July 2011

Tees and Cees

"What about UNDERWEAR?" or "What about WEDDING PRESENTS?" or, "What about MAKEUP?" (Actually, the last one I thought of myself today while I was sitting in the staffroom stroking one of my most permanent pimples, it's kind of like a member of the family now, really..).
Ok, so, since making my challenge public I've been bombarded with questions about the guidelines!  Everyone wants to find the exception.

I guess that I'm just making it all up and setting my own goal posts.  However, instead of taking it on a case-by-case basis, I feel "The Rules" must be outlined.  In the absence of a guideline...we usually end up falling!
Here's what I've got so far:

-  Food shopping is permitted
-  Purchasing medicine or self-care products is fine (bandaids, razors, deodorant)
-  No clothes shopping AT ALL (even underwear I'm afraid)
-  No gifts
-  No luxury items (ie, perfume, straightening balms, anti-wrinkle cream (that one's probably not really necessary at this point anyway so it's easier to scrap..) etc)
-  No development of photos (killer for me - I'm Kmart's most loyal developee. I should warn them that their business is going down...)

I think that this whole thing is best summed up by NEEDS vs WANTS....although, I'd say that in this day and age, the lines between those two things are somewhat blurred.  Do I need my scented body wash gel or do I want it?  Do I need yoghurt or is that a want, too?  It's hard to know how far to take it.

The other thought I had today was about charity.  I was desperately trying to problem-solve the gift-giving aspect of this challenge and considered those World Vision gift cards where you buy a family from a poverty stricken country a donkey or a well.  I guess it's still "shopping" whether it's donkey shopping or shoe shopping.  Something to think about.

Today, I must say, I had my first realisation of how much I should be doing this challenge.  Having never had a credit card and never making purchases over triple digits, I had a bit of an illusion that I wasn't "as bad as everyone else".  We love that comparison scapegoat don't we?  Basically, we say, as long as there are people out there with bigger issues than us, we're blameless little halo-wearing, harp-playing angels.  It's our favourite justifying tool. 

Anyway, today after I finished work (for 2 whole weeks - yippeee!), I straight away thought to my happy little self, "I'll go and have a wander around the plaza for 20 minutes before I head home... and I'll pick up a magazine to read infront of the fireplace tonight....". RED ALERT!  I stopped myself in my thinking.  No. I wouldn't go for a wander.  I'd go home and read a book.  I felt a sense of loss - like a kid who has been told their friend can't come over. 
But when I got home I gave myself a pat on the back...CRISIS OVERTED!

Thursday, 30 June 2011

The very beginning

So it all began last year.  I think it was around Christmas time because spending was on my mind more than usual.  I came across an article in a magazine about a lady who had decided to give up shopping.  What? Is that even possible? Yeah. Apparently.  Her name was Judith Levine and she was someone crazy enough to put it out there that maybe our "consuming" is getting a little out of hand.

Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that I was preparing to move out of home after years in one house.  I felt suffocated by all of the "stuff" I had - but I couldn't let it go.  It got me thinking about consuming and material possessions in general.  How could it be that they could have such a hold over me that, although they no longer had use or value, I couldn't bring myself to get rid of them?  Did I own my stuff...or did my stuff own me? I started researching the psychology behind clutter.  Facinating. One episode of the show "Hoarders" will give you some startling insights, too. People, my research suggests, shop when they're stressed, bored, celebrating, nervous....etc. It's a way to "feel" good.  We don't want the item, we want the feeling we'll get from purchasing it. Sometimes things don't ever leave their shopping bags. 

Fast-track to now, Thursday June 30th, 2011.  I've decided that, at the end of the financial year, which is now, I'm going to forego shopping for anything bar necessities for a year.  No presents for others, no clothes, no magazines (waaahhh!), no decorative things for the house. Zip. Nada. None. I'm afraid of failing but I'm also excited about the type of life this challenge makes available.  I'm looking forward to using my time, energy and resources in different, more creative ways.  I'm driven by the fact that I will slow down the rate at which I accumulate "stuff" that robs me of physical and mental space!

I plan to update this blog weekly in an effort to remain accountable to my challenge.