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Shopping Freeze: One Year Later

A year ago, when I wrote that I was going to try to go a year without shopping for clothes, I have to admit, I was a little nervous about undertaking that challenge.  I mean, I had a history of spending between $100-$300 per month (omg) on clothing.  It was completely out of control and I was absolutely addicted to shopping and spending money on clothes.  I was worried about going "cold turkey," but I also knew that I needed to do something drastic to refine my spending habits.

In my post, I outlined the parameters of the challenge.  I was allowed to buy myself clothing using gift cards and rewards, I could purchase clothing out of necessity if I gained/lost weight, I could buy some school spirit gear for the school I work at, and I could replace my old-and-falling-apart black boots.  I have to say that for the most part, I stuck to the challenge.  In all, I believe I wound up spending a grand total of around $300 on clothing the entire year...and nothing that I bought was without much thought.  Not too shabby, when I was spending up to that amount every month.  And for someone whose hobby is (was?) shopping and buying clothing, that's pretty good, I'd say!

This year of no shopping has been a massive learning experience for me.  I've learned that I really can get by with not having as much clothing as I thought I did.  I can get dressed and create unique outfits without needing to constantly have new things.  I can resist the temptation of buying something all my blogging friends have.  I can walk into Target or a mall and walk out with empty hands.  I can try many things on in a fitting room and walk away from it all...even if it's not that expensive and/or adorable.

I'm proud of myself for not only setting out to accomplish this challenge, but also for sticking with it (for the most part).  It's changed the way I think about clothing - I'm much more discerning now when I look at things to buy.  I'm more inclined to leave things in the dressing room or return things to the store if they're not 100% perfect or if I'm not head over heels in love with them.  I'm pickier about fit, color, style, and price (aka, it doesn't have to be on clearance - I'm more comfortable spending a little bit more on an item that I really love).  I don't have that compulsive urge to shop and spend.

Going forward, I can tell you right now that I'm a changed woman.  Yes, I'm eager to "have permission" to shop now, but at the same time, I don't feel like I need to do a lot of shopping anymore.  There are some things I'd like to purchase and have been holding off on for at least a replacing my old beloved Birkenstock sandals (I'm still holding out for the perfect pair - I've been on the hunt for about 3 years now since my old pair fell apart, because I'm super picky about them...), or looking for a dress or two to wear to fancier or special occasions (all my dresses are either casual or very work-centered instead of more playful and fun).  However, I'm going to try and shop within a certain set of (loose) guidelines...

I've become increasingly concerned with consumerism - what that means for myself as an individual, but also how consumerism affects those around me.  I've done lots of research about how to be a more ethical consumer, and I'm determined to put what I've learned into practice.  I'd like to try and do about 80% of my shopping in the most ethical, sustainable, and responsible way possible.  This means shopping secondhand, local and/or United States based companies, or shopping brands with missions that I support (such as TOMS, which I've talked about before).  I'm going to try to avoid shopping at stores who are known to treat their employees poorly or that negatively affect the environment.  I'm eager to do some more research and find more brands and companies that have missions and practices that are positive.  Wish me luck!

All in all, this year of no shopping has been a fantastic experience for me.  If you've ever thought of putting a freeze on your spending (even if it's just for a month or so), I highly recommend giving it a try.  The lessons I've learned and the way it's changed me have been gratifying and life-changing (as crazy as that sounds).

Have you ever done a shopping freeze?  What did you learn from that experience?  Did it change the way you shop and spend?

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