Resistance and the Art of Not Shopping
How surreal it is to be writing a blog about the art of not shopping, being that I am an avid thrift shopper. We’ve read a million times that we need to be a less wasteful society, big on recycling, protesting against fast fashion and converting to efficient methods in our daily lives. I recently read Patrice’s blog post How Taking a Shopping Hiatus Can Lead to a Better Wardrobe and reflected on my own shopping habits and style. When you stop and think, you know what you wear regularly, what is a staple in your wardrobe and an idea of what your “style” might be.
I have never felt that I have a particular style, I just like things, I buy – I try it out. Patrice talks about her “go to uniform” and I started wondering what mine would be. A lot of women I’ve noticed recently, have a “go-to” that is leggings and a long tunic. I have never found leggings to be comfortable and I don’t find long tunics to be particularly flattering on my figure so that’s definitely out for me. But I do think high waist skirts and tucked in blouses are one I repeat often. I love my skinny jeans, cozy sweaters, big bold jewellery and a layered look. I have started the process of moving, with the intention of buying my first home so I am packing up off-season clothing and starting to take a closer look at my current closet. With my situation I am deciding if things are better to be sold, donated or brought with me.
Just because I’ve had it a long time does not mean its “me”. I’ve been hanging on to it because I bought it, because something attracted me to it in the first place. Now I can look at it with a more concise eye and make that cold choice: Do I need this? Do I love this? Do I wear this? I started looking at the excess, which is hard because I’m looking at a variety of seasons and accessories some of which I can only wear at certain times of year. But I have a lot. We all probably “have a lot”. As I’ve said before, on any given day I can open my closet and take out 10-15 items that I don’t love completely and either donate or consign them. Its an easy in and out for me.
With this impending move, I have been taking a serious look at my finances. Without realizing the closing costs for my first home will equate to just shy of my 5% down payment – I am budgeting every dollar to save for this extra cost that sort of blind-sided me. I gave up the lease on my rental, cancelled my utilities and internet plan for the end of April. Putting all the stones in place to make the transition from renter to owner. A major savings will come from taking a hiatus from thrift shopping as much as it pains me to admit it. This past weekend was a half price sale at Value Village, but thankfully packing bins was a good distraction and helped me resist. I did not make any sort of attempt to go in on either day. Instead I setup a new excel budget for planning for buying this future home, tracking every dollar spent on food, fun, taxes, gas, medical, etc. Every dollar is recorded.
When you actually analyze and track your spending, you start to see where your money goes. This goes for every aspect of your life as well not just clothing. Every morning you stop at the coffee shop and pick up your coffee and bagel – there’s $5 a day times 5 that puts you at $25. Next you add on your lunch that you buy every day let’s say $10. Add that on that’s $75 a week. Not thinking its such a big deal the day of? That’s almost $100 a week in breakfast and lunch that could be easily made at home.
Little things make up the bigger picture. Restraint and self control is an amazing skill to master. Our wants and needs run our lives. Maybe we even have a compulsion, a routine that is embedded in us and we feel we have to do it. My goal is to purchase exceptionally little while I am in this transition, reinvent what I already own and make it new.