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Consumption

2013 March 5

Do you ever just get TIRED of all the stuff? You know, all that stuff you want but can’t afford, or bought but don’t have space for, or bought and returned, or bought and loved and got too big/small for?

No matter what it is, you probably have tons of stuff in your life: electronics, shoes, purses, dresses, nail polish, books, kitchen gadgets, etc. I have all that stuff too! So much STUFF in my apartment with only one closet! My bookshelves are nearly sagging with the weight of all the books, my closet is overflowing, and our cabinets are stuffed to the brim. Yet I just want MORE. I bought four books at a book sale last weekend, got two pairs of jeans and a sparkly t-shirt while I was in Denver (for a total cost of $6.50 thanks to sales, gift card, and a rewards coupon, thankyouverymuch), and just got my hair cut and colored on Sunday.

I find that my addiction to Pinterest, Tumblr, and all those fashion blogs really fuels my need for more stuff. I’m always pinning that cute pair of shoes, or clutch, or jacket, or blouse. I have a pinboard called “Retail Therapy.” As though shopping is a way of making things better. And yes, I did feel markedly happier after my shopping spree last week, but I think that was mostly due to the low, low cost…and maybe the high altitude (I was in Denver).

I got a new pair of glasses a couple of weeks ago that set us back much more than I anticipated, and getting my hair cut and colored was also a high expense, so I’ve decided to curb the shopping for at least the next 3 months, if not more. And by curb, I mean stop. No buying more STUFF because when it comes down to it, I have all that I need–and then some! I’ve cut down drastically on the number of blogs I read and I’m trying not to pin as many shopping items or click on links to retail sites. Trying to avoid temptation any way I can!

Have you ever put a temporary stop to shopping? How did you do? Any tips?

4 Responses Post a comment
  1. meghan permalink
    March 5, 2013

    I am trying not to shop as much because I am making an effort to live on an reduced monthly budget (NOT including rent and groceries), but including my personal bills (cell phone, credit card, and a student loan payment), gas, parking, and then all of the miscellaneous things that I enjoy (coffee, drinks, dinners out, movies, shopping). It has been surprisingly easy. By putting myself on a stricter budget (I literally move all of the money aside from $800 a month out of my checking account into a savings account), I have become more conscious of how I spend on extras. I still fall prey to impulsive purchases– example: I bought a tunic from ModCloth last weekend– but I am actually going to return it, because I would rather put the money toward something fun that I can enjoy with Zach or my friends. That being said, I don’t think the occasional $6.50 in shopping will hurt. But it has become almost like a game for me to up the ante in terms of savings vs. spending which is good encouragement. Another rule I have tried to follow is one in, one out. Believe it or not, that has been harder to stick to than the budget– once you already have something it’s hard to get rid of… I find myself justifying keeping things, even if I haven’t used/worn them in years. Anyway, it’s a definite “embarrassment of riches” kind of problem to have, but I think it is good to be frugal and to re-jig your priorities occasionally– for example, you can think about what the money is going towards (vacation, saving for a house, saving for an emergency fund, paying down debt– some of my goals), rather than what you’re missing out on (another book or cute T).

  2. Raquel permalink
    March 5, 2013

    “Do you ever just get TIRED of all the stuff?” YES! Sometimes I want to run away and be adopted into a monastery and never have to look at possessions again.

    I found that when I started working on curbing my compulsive eating, I started shopping compulsively. And I realized that my desire to put more stuff in my apartment was parallel to my desire to put more stuff in my mouth: a coping mechanism for stress threaded through with underpinnings of the lifelong misconception that I’d never have enough/might run out/needed to fill an emotional need or personal deficiency with a temporary distraction (second slice of cake, yet another pair of earrings).

    Lately, I’ve been cleaning out the closets (don’t hate me, I have more than one!) to consign stuff that’s cute but that I know I can do without or am holding onto because I *may* wear it again someday. I find that I’d rather save money (or earn money on things I rid myself of) to put toward future experiences. I try to enjoy the things I have and rotate my clothes and accessories so they feel “new.” And when I want to break down and buy ALL THE THINGS, I remind myself how much more I’ll enjoy saving the money to spend on making a future memory or making one meaningful future purchase. Journaling about my feelings and meditating have also helped cope with urges to run out and shop (or worse, shop online!). And mindfulness has changed my muthaeffin LIFE.

    J and I have also started a journal this year where we write down everything we buy each week, so we can see where our money goes, in addition to recording household expenses of the utilities nature in a spreadsheet. We also give ourselves each a cash allowance for buying treats for ourselves (candy, beers, lip gloss, etc) each week. It makes us a lot more conscious of our spending. I have definitely stopped buying quite so much crap I don’t need. (Although I still do buy quite a lot of chocolate. A necessity in my book.) It’s too easy to mindlessly shop when everything gets charged on plastic. Using physical cash coupled with the spending journal makes me much more mindful of where my money goes.

    If you view not buying more stuff as a way to add to your life–whether it’s in reduced financial stress, more savings for fun experiences/special purchases, or even more physical storage space in your closet–rather than as somehow taking away from your life, I think it can help change your perspective.

    This was long but maybe there were some useful tips in it. Chronicle your journey for us–I’d love to see what savvy ideas you come up with.

  3. March 6, 2013

    Unfortunately I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of ‘stuff’. But I try not to buy so much anymore. It just doesn’t make sense to have a lot of stuff and I just quit my job so I have very little money to buy stuff with.
    Plus my bf hates it whenever I bring new things to our apartment. It’s difficult though…

  4. March 6, 2013

    I’ve tried several things on this front: I did the “one in, one out” thing in Boston, where every time I purchased something, even if it was just a scarf, I had to give something away. But that just led to bags of Goodwill-bound clothes that were occasionally rifled through and only actually sent to Goodwill when I moved (and would have cleaned out my closet anyway). I’ve had a strict budget, which was usually blown in one shopping trip or on two ridiculous items that have no place in a sensible closet.

    The only solution that I have found useful is full stop. Right now, I have made a pact: I cannot buy clothes until May. Just 100%, no excuses, no budget, nothing. No clothes until May, and even then, I have a strict planned budget and EVERYTHING has to be work-appropriate. I also do not spend any of my salaried paycheck on clothing–only freelance, and only occasionally.

    I find that Pinterest is actually helpful for me because I like the act of shopping, and it’s kind of like window shopping without any real temptation (I very rarely order clothing online). But even that can get tiresome.

    I hope you find something that works for you!

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