Stopping shopping #3

I’m 3 months into my non-shopping adventure and wanted to reflect on what I’ve noticed about this experience. For those of you who didn’t read my first and second posts about not shopping, I decided to not buy unneeded stuff (including new clothes, books, cards) and only spend on either things I really need – food, train ticket to get to work, birthday presents – or memories (like a meal out with Gregg, paying to go camping with friends). My intention was to live like this for three months (until today!) but feel already that this is more of a forever lifestyle than a short-term experiment.

When I started on 17 June, I feared that not shopping or buying would feel restrictive and uncomfortable but instead it has felt liberating. With spending off the table, I feel more present. Just like I do when I switch off my phone and decide to just be in the moment.

I have also noticed that I appreciate what I already have so much more than before. Not buying needlessly has made my possessions – my sunglasses, clothes, shoes, bags, books – have more worth to me than when I could replace them without much thought.

It also feels really good to be doing something so practical and proactive to support the environment. It’s lovely to know I’m playing my part in stopping the needless churn of stuff being produced.

I have bought a few things that I could have done without – ben and jerry’s vegan ice cream (it is bloody amazing!) and a new face wash (I’ve got enough micellar water to last me until Easter so didn’t need a new one but was starting to get spots so wanted to get something that would be more targeted towards my skin type).

I’ve also decided that I’m going to slightly relax on not buying coffees at work. I had committed to not buying any during my three months but have found it uncomfortable. It’s often a way that people get stuff done at work in a collegiate way – going to a nearby cafe, buying each other a drink and talking about shared issues and work. I want to be part of this community ritual and if that means spending £20 a month on coffee, that’s ok by me.

On the whole, I’ve now stopped spending and it feels good.

It feels like this is impacting others too. I’ve really appreciated talking to my mum and what this way of being might mean for Christmas – perhaps less stuff being bought, a focus on what people need instead of buying something that I’m not sure the other person will like just to give ‘enough’… It feels nice to consider Christmas in a simpler way – focusing on spending time with the people I love instead of worrying that I haven’t bought enough for people.

I also really appreciated the few days I spent with my auntie last week who made her way down to Brighton to meet Jenson. Agreeing that this time together would be our Christmas and birthday presents this year has taken the pressure off her buying stuff that she’s not sure we’ll like and I’ve valued the time together over any presents we might have bought each other.

So here I am, three months after I stopped shopping, committing to keep living this way of life. It feels good to have a goal, like a little challenge, and so I’m going to try living this way for a year – yes, a year! – until 17 June 2019.

I’m sure I’ll have moments of difficulty, when I want to buy stuff, but I know that I can make this work and I know that it’ll make a difference with savings, with appreciating what I have, with connecting more with people as I ask to borrow things like books instead of buying them myself.

I love the simplicity, how it allows me to have greater presence in the ‘now’ and I love the positive impact I’m having on the planet as I buy less stuff.

Long may it continue!

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