Just a neighborhood gal pal in rural Canada doing something different, and right.
January is traditionally a pretty low-activity month in the retail world. Many people have shopping fatigue from the holidays, and the cold in parts of the world where it is cold keeps crowds out of the malls. But just in case you have also fallen into mindless browsing before (like me), and just in case mindless browsing sessions have also morphed into mindless purchases for you before
(like me), here’s an inspirational lady for us.
Rudyk mentioned a lot of stuff that resonated with me. Her idea that enough objects already exist in our homes and communities, and that we just needed to find it and ask for it in particular struck me. I know I certainly have more of many types of things than I’ll ever realistically need. (If right now a neighbor asked to borrow red nail polish I could say ‘What shade? Chrome? Holo? Jelly?’) I believe this is easily true of every house on my block and many homes in my neighborhood.
In the past I had a habit of relieving stress by browsing merchandise online (This habit is how I became Wise Money Shopper). Everything I do in a day more or less requires that I’m mentally engaged, so online window shopping was where I could be in ‘zombie mode’. Over time though, maybe because I grew inured to scanning products and clicking ‘next page’, I started reading product details and selecting my size, and eventually, clicking ‘add to cart’. I called this my ‘cart dumping’ phase because when I finished I’d just close the tab without making any purchases. In the last year or two, ‘cart dumping’ went down, and instances of actual transactions went up. Sound familiar? I fell into a similar trap as Lori when she said: “I realize[d] in my own life, I’ve been looking for some kind of happiness in acquiring more and more and more”.
Even though I was not after ‘happiness’ through material goods, I was definitely chasing ‘stress-relief’ through the act of browsing and eventually even buying. I liked that I could make a decision and it need not be impactful or have any serious ramifications. The more stress I had, the more I enjoyed choosing random items as that didn’t matter at all. Except in the end that relief is a mirage, as its very inconsequentiality meant I was using it to block out real, important things I had to do, and avoiding facing those stressors. Not to mention the mindless time-waster did in fact grow to have real consequences as I escalated it to real purchases. (I was always careful not to overspend, but that does not discount that I spent real money in exchange for real goods taking up real space in my home). So it’s a slightly different steaming pile, still stunk.
Lucky that I stumbled on Lori and her movement because it was exactly what I needed. I needed to see an example of my past poor behavior out in the wild, and better behavior modeled by others who have climbed out of their unproductive loop. And even though I’m correcting my course of making thoughtless purchases, I’m not exactly cutting ties with clothes and shopping. I want to enjoy shopping, and I can’t do that if I’m using it as an escape. I want to enjoy and wear what I have, but I can’t do that when I constantly suffer from ‘closet full of nothing to wear’ syndrome because I hadn’t been acquiring pieces with intention.
Thanks to reading about Lori and her undertaking, I got to reevaluate my own actions and how they really make me feel. I pledge to make better, more conscious choices in 2019. I’m embarked on a slow-buy (from experience, I noticed no-buy months were often offset by other periods of binge buying), and this time I’ve extended it to include books (also from past experience, when something you have a weakness for buying is ‘exempt’, the whole regiment becomes dangerously easily toppled). To that end I’m reading the many books that have been gifted to me in recent times, which already sit on my shelves unread up to now. And instead of spending my time browsing clothes that I make myself promise I won’t buy, I’m going to blog about my reads here! Cheers, frugal nerds!