Why I’m Giving Up Shopping For A Year

how I quit shopping for a year
Like most, I spent the last few days of December thinking about what I could do to be a little better in 2018. I workout regularly, try to get enough sleep, and eat a mostly-healthy diet (save for the bag of chips and salsa I consume every other day).  And while I know giving up chips and salsa might help me get those ninja turtle abs I’m working toward, I think a life without chips and salsa is not a life worth living.

So I wondered:  What could I resolve to do better in 2018?  Or, maybe I can remove something that I do mindlessly every day with little benefit.  What’s a habit that I enjoy, but doesn’t enhance my life and sometimes actually stresses me the F out?  Shopping. Retail therapy is a legit thing and my health insurance doesn’t cover it.

I adore shopping; the adrenaline rush, the multiple tabs, wish lists, shopping carts filled with all my material hopes and dreams are part of the allure.  Could I really quit shopping for a year?!  No new clothes, bags, shoes or makeup?  Nilch? When I told this to my husband, he laughed and said, ‘that’s like me saying I’m going to give up oxygen for a year!’ Tough love.  I told my closest friends, and one who recently shaved her head leaving her down-the-back curls on the floor said she didn’t know which was the more extreme, her new haircut or my proclamation. Needless to say, shopping is a big part of my identity and typically constitutes a large chunk of my day-to-day.not shopping for a year
I always justified shopping as just being part of who I am, but toward the end of last year, I started thinking about how much time I spend shopping though and realized that it was a lot. Mindlessly scrolling through emails or Instagram where a lot of the people I follow link their covetable outfits could add up to an hour or more spent shopping each day. An hour I’ll never get back that I could have been reading to the kids or working out with my husband… or you know, ANYTHING else. 
But, I love clothes and I love fashion. I studied fashion merchandising in college because I wanted to dedicate my life to fashion. That hasn’t changed. How will I stop shopping for a year? I think it will be very difficult for me, but to put in to perspective (for myself) I have lost both my parents and this will be nothing compared to that. I’m very fortunate to have a pretty good base for clothes, makeup, bags and shoes. I really don’t NEED anything else. Not shopping doesn’t mean I have to give up fashion it just means I will make better use of what I have. I realize there is a huge difference between not being able to shop and choosing not to shop. I’ve been unable to shop before (for financial reasons during and right after college) so surely, I can choose to do it now. 

The best part is its only been a week and I’m already experiencing the benefits like…

I’m less stressed. Normally, I might spend a few hours contemplating what to wear and buy knowing I have a bachelorette party/event/bridal shower/<insert any event/excuse to shop here> to attend in a few weeks. Embracing the fact that I just have my small closet to shop is liberating. I get fewer emails because I’ve unsubscribed from company emails that might tempt me; fewer emails in my inbox has reduced stress. I don’t feel that ‘I wish I had that’ twinge when I look at my instagram feed and see a great bag or shoes that are outside of my budget. Instead I feel, ‘I’ve chosen not to buy that’ which is so much better. 🙂

I’ve got more time.  I’m not completely sure how much time I spent daily or weekly perusing the latest/greatest looks, but I am sure it was considerable.  I’m having a blast trying new things instead (played tennis for the first time last week and had dinner last night with friends and sampled chicken gizzards).

Saving money.  Obvi.


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  • Vanessa Allen Schultz

    I’m doing a no spend month. I budgeted for planned expenses this month, and everything else must wait. I know from the past that most things that “wait” are simply never purchased and forgotten. I’m sure any tempting purchases you face will be forgotten in no time as well.

    • Bethann Wagner

      I agree! Good luck to you Vanessa! xoxo

  • Amy Stratton

    I love this! I’ve heard the phrase “shopping your closet” where people will reinvent and reuse clothes in a new way that they already own 🙂

  • Rosie Janssen

    Love this idea!! You inspired me to spend less in the New Year!

  • Tiffany Barry | Lillian Eve

    I’ve never been a big shopper– I’m a total minimalist, so I think this would be a really fun challenge for you. Sometimes it’s even a challenge for me to see how I can make something work without shopping for anything new.

  • Amy Hansen

    Good for you!! We started project 333 this year and are loving this idea of less too!