I just made it through my first month of my 'Year of Intentional Shopping' (Aug 10th- Sep 10th). While I'm still preparing my accountability posts (which may take a little while thanks to all the budgets/accountability categories I set), I figured I'd give a little talk through my experience my first month.
Level of Difficulty
I’d rate this first month largely a success. I had a little shopping ‘snafu’ if you will, but it affects next month since the items have yet to arrive so I can determine if I’m keeping them or not. That episode helped me learn about myself and how I shop in reaction to wanting something I cannot have immediately and how I easily binge once I mentally give myself the ‘ok’ to shop. I did not have to ‘white knuckle’ through shopping less for frivolous items, though I did have to fight to be conscious consistently and remind myself on what I was buying and why. Thanks to my successes, I did buy some household items I normally would have not been able to purchase because I spent all my money on clothing, which is extremely satisfying.
What Did I Buy?
My purchases for my wardrobe were a black asymmetrical zip cardigan/sweater, which I truly love, and a beautiful mahogany-brown handbag to replace my old beat-up one, which I purchased in Germany. I bought my daughter two replacement pairs of boots (grey booties and cowgirl boots, which she grew out of and loves), a quilted jacket, and a lined hooded sweater.
For my ‘at-home’ purchases, I bought a beautiful set of 8 Bavarian heavyweight crystal drinking glasses and two condiment bowls (Nactmann) in Germany, and they were extremely inexpensive compared to the USA. I started replacing all of our hangers with the slim velvet ones I have been wanting (51 so far), and I purchased a new tablecloth and protector that I love. I also spent money on the ‘Uncluttered’ virtual course by Joshua Becker which I am participating in to help me declutter and keep my motivation on not adding to the clutter and shopping less and more carefully.
After I came back from Germany, I put away my (lovely) set of super large green dinner plates and blue floral bowls (which are plastic but look ceramic), and switched over to my BEAUTIFUL set of smaller fancy ceramic dishes I only normally use for Christmas/Thanksgiving. All my aunts served all their meals on fine china, and I loved it. I was so impressed with the plates and smaller portion sizes, and my daughter didn’t break anything. I knew immediately that I needed to change. I now love how beautiful my table looks with the tablecloth & place mats (and they are under the clear plastic cover, which means I don’t need to worry about ruining it or constant washing) and my ‘fancy’ dishes every day. It really inspires me to cook more lovely meals- you know, not just a main dish but nice salads on the side, etc. Sunday breakfasts are really special now-- I make sure I make coffee/tea and use the teacups, and I use the bowls and put fruit in them on the side. I also love that the plates are so much smaller, leading to smaller and healthier meals for my family.
I’ve overall purchased far less than in the last several months. While I did make purchases this month, they were fewer in quantity, less expensive, and all really good, satisfying purchases. A lot of my previous purchases were like being thirsty and eating ice cream- at first it feels good, but you’re thirsty again right after. I didn’t make any more pointless purchases-- in particular I haven’t added anything unnecessary to my daughter’s already full wardrobe just because it was ‘cute’, and I haven’t bought anything that I have any doubts on its longevity or usefulness.
I also have made some great strides in reducing my browsing, which has really paid off both literally and figuratively. I don’t think constantly about shopping like I once did. I still think that it occupies too much space in my thoughts, but I’m well on my way I think to putting it in its rightful place.
What I Need to Work on
My desire to acquire is not where I wish it was yet. I’ve had to hold back on urges quite a bit, both on the immediate desire to purchase things and on determining that if something I wanted to purchase was the right ‘thing’ to buy for me and my family. Basically I had to learn a bit more self-control.
I had a huge desire to purchase all new dishes when I came back from Germany. I remembered my ‘fancy’ set that I was gifted by my realtor, but I didn’t think they were ‘exactly’ what I wanted. But, I held off on purchasing (mostly because I couldn’t immediately find what I was picturing) and pulled them out to test drive my idea. Well, now I know that I don’t really need to buy additional dishes and they look just lovely, even though I didn’t think the color would go perfectly with the tablecloth (dark grey & silver scrolled rims, the rest is white). I’d like an alternate set that also goes with my current set for when I need more for guests (which will be rare, as my set serves 8). But, it’s a low priority! As for my old dishes- I want to resell them. They’re still lovely but they are much too big for what I want.
I also experienced a similar thing with purchasing my tablecloth. I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted and was literally at the cash register with a ‘nice’ clearance one and placemats when I realized it really wasn’t what I truly wanted. I told the cashier I had a change of heart and left without them! When I went back the next week, low and behold a new arrival- the ‘perfect’ tablecloth I had imagined when I thought about getting a tablecloth for the fall (I have a nice red one for Christmas, and no others). Obviously it paid off to wait! I bought new place mats too, but it ended up I preferred my old ones once I had them home and on the table so I will be returning them. Again, I chalk it up to a good learning experience.