This week marks the completion of 6 months for my shopping diet. Back in January, I knew things had to change. I felt time poor and knew I was spending too much time and money purchasing things I didn’t need. I would scroll through one particular online site (and I won’t mention them in a bad way cause I still love them) spending hours making wish lists and sending more clothes to my front door. I would have a meeting in the city and wander the shops for an hour or so feeling guilty for every moment that passed and every purchase I made. It was as though I felt a rush of happiness when I got something new but it soon followed by anxiety and guilt about the money I was spending. I no longer enjoyed shopping and felt anxious because I knew I shouldn’t be. Before I sound too much like a brat, I was not spending up big nor could I really afford to be, but it was these little unnecessary purchases that were adding up. I also felt that whenever I was unhappy, happy, or wanting to celebrate, It was a little purchase that I felt had to be made.
So 6 months on, what have I learnt
- How much money I have saved. I don’t know exactly because I can’t work out what I would have spent on shopping, but lest just say I’m not feeling so anxious about finances. I have been focusing on my business and able to even hire some help. I wold much rather be building my empire that my closet.
- I have way more clothes than I actually need. You get to a point in life where you start to realise you can live with a lot less. Have you ever traveled and looked at what you are taking away or what you didn’t wear on your trip and thought, “I have enough to almost last me a year?” Well that’s how I feel with all the clothes I just had to have. My next step is to do a big closet clean out.
- Too many things weigh you down. When you have more options to make it’s more confusing. It’s the choice effect. Life can feel cluttered and you don’t even really get to see what you clearly have. I started to declutter my life and stream line things. One weekend I stayed up till 2am cleaning out my kitchen. I felt I needed it in order to work better. I wanted to feel clear and see less. It’s funny how sometimes these things are related. The next to go is my wardrobe…
- I have enough clothes for TV. When you appear on TV every so often, you can become a bit too fixated with looks. You feel judged and paranoid for how you look and what you wear. I’m much better now than what I used to be, even appearing on a TV show no makeup in jean and a t-shirt, but wearing the same things twice still has an entirely different meaning to in everyday life. Every time I was about to go on TV I thought I needed a new outfit. But really, I have enough clothes. I have worn things twice, made outfits out of bits and pieces I never thought would go together and even found a few dresses I have forgotten about. I’m not on TV talking about fashion, but I can still look presentable and nice with what I already have.
- I started to enjoy shopping again. One of the rules I set myself was that I was allowed gifts. Whilst I hinted to many friends, it was only my mother who got it. I was heading to Melbourne for 2 weeks and was in desperate need of some warm clothes. My mother decided to gift me two jumpers, much to my glee. I had a budget and was allowed to purchase two on her behalf. Going to the shops and actually needing something versus thinking you need something is a lot more fun . I felt like my time was not wasted. I have even started making a list of things I think I might need in the next few months. However, I’m going to have a dig in the bottom of my closet to make sure I can’t find them in their first.
- I started focusing on non-tangible things. During my shopping diet, one of my close friends was badly robbed. All her jewellery and designer goods gone. It makes you realise how quickly we can lose the physical. But what is the real value in life? For me it became experiences. It’s a weird connection but I found I started to focus on doing things and seeing people instead of purchasing clothes. When I wanted to feel happier, instead of jumping online, I called a friend and would organise a time to catch up. If I could live with less and felt lighter and decluttered with less things, then the more important things became memories and making them with those I love.
I’m not sure where to from here and to be honest I’m nervous about no longer being on my shopping diet. I feel that it has brought such positive changes to my life and I love the learnings I’ve experienced. Someone suggested to make myself a budget that I can spend and that it can be accumulated if not spent one month. Another suggested making a list of things I think I need and only purchasing one at a time. Maybe a combination of both?
I’m not suggesting everyone starts their own shopping diet, but I would encourage you to have a look at where you are placing importance in your life. Where you are spending your time and money and consider if it’s serving a real purpose in your life. We need to focus on getting happiness from non-tangible things because if we focus on the tangible, our happiness can be taken away.
This might all sounds wanky to some, but for me the last 6 months made me realise exactly where I was going wrong. Sometimes you need to remove yourself from something to see clearly what exactly was going on.