Thursday, 16 October 2014

why i think the shopping ban is not for me: what really curbs my spending

i do not do shopping bans well. i think after doing it about three times now, with varying degrees of success, it's pretty evident that i suck at it.

this is because: i dislike not being able to shop (even when i don't want to shop; i am weird, i know). i guess i don't do well with this sort of restriction in my life.

i agree that this sounds like an excuse, and is definitely a terrible thing to write out in a blog post. but, in the rather off chance that you are like me, this is perhaps something worth pondering about. for a lot of people, the shopping ban works because it removes a choice from their lives. for me, it doesn't really work because i like having that choice to purchase if i want to.

i keep a spreadsheet of wardrobe spending, meticulously tracking this aspect of my life for the past 2 years. so far, the trends for total wardrobe spending ($) and items (no.) are falling, which is what i want. i don't keep a record of the things that i donated, but i have been donating a lot lately, which is also something i want. i cringe at the monetary value of donated items, which is something i don't want to, but do. i come to the conclusion that in terms of monetary value, rarely worn clothing is a terrible investment.

observing this spreadsheet in the past few months reveals that even in the presence of a choice to purchase, i don't always purchase. i manage to talk myself out of it. most of the time, after lusting after a particular thing, i come to the conclusion that i don't need the said thing, so why purchase. my bank account is very happy with this decision.

i think there is also a reverse psychology happening here - when you tell yourself not to do something, you end up thinking about doing it, and then actually doing it. so instead of telling me not to shop, i tell myself to pause and think about why i purchase. this pause is very important because this is the time and space to evaluate the desire to purchase, not just the item to purchase.

so, in summary this is what works for me right now: exercising a critical eye when purchasing, pausing and asking why i purchase, and once purchased, hopefully wear my clothes to death.

or in short, my goal is to be a smart and conscious consumer.

(this is one of those posts that make me feel so grown up. dont ask why.)

Friday, 10 October 2014

how i am weaning myself from mindless comfort shopping

confession: i have a problem

one: i hate admitting that over the last five years, my shopping has been mostly mindless and was done to comfort me from whatever discomfort i was trying to counteract. i had a shitty coping mechanism.

two: despite my reluctance to admit the above, admitting it is actually ... liberating.

three: i am a work-in-progress; i note that this does get easier with time, although i am not too sure why. i like to think that i understand myself better, therefore can cope better. or that it is simply getting rid of a bad habit and acquiring a new, better habit. or that it is simply an increased awareness exercise. or all of the above. i don't know.

but it does work.

[side note: my life is far from being classified as "edited" or "curated" or whatever adjective along those lines. the end goal is no where near.]

understanding the why

a lot of resources out there are devoted to getting you started on this stop shopping journey. starting is important, because for a lot of people, it is the one thing that kick-starts the journey. once you start, chance of you staying in the course is pretty big, or at least, better than if you didn't start at all. the key to sustaining this is to understand the why - why are you doing this? why is this so important to you? why are you willing to suffer for this?

the answers to these questions are different to each individual, so there is no right or wrong. personally, i want to be a more responsible person: intellectually, mentally, physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually, environmentally, socially (not in any order of importance). i also want more space in my life. i am a firm believer in space because having space allows you to grow, and growing is an important condition of living. put differently, part of living well is growing. i want to live well, so i grow and i am willing to suffer to grow.

the lifestyle you 'should' have (vs what you want to have)

part of the deal about living in a society is dealing with their expectations - these are what i call the 'should's of live. you should do this, you should do that. you should have this, you should have that. for a while, i avoided using the word 'should' in my sentences. it didn't last very long - i was too lazy to construct better sentences that i knew could convey my meanings better. sorry, i realise that this is a terrible excuse, but it was also the truth.

the key to reconciling how we want to live and how society thinks we should lies in this thing called validation, whether yours is externally derived or internally derived. i suspect for most people it's a combination of both, and for those who are comfortable with themselves, most of this validation is internally derived.

so it boils down to you designing the life that works for you. if you are someone who needs a lot of external validation, then make sure you surround yourself with supportive people. if you are someone who doesn't, then you perhaps don't need to do this, but can devote your attention somewhere else, like maybe, supporting those who need your validation.

is it hard?

yes it is. i got to a point whereby i want it quite badly, so i stick with it. of course i think it is worth it. my latest accomplishment is not purchasing anything during September, and i did this without a shopping ban in place! woot!

next i'll discuss why i think shopping bans don't work for me. until then. x

Friday, 3 October 2014

what does your dream closet look like?

we had just had another fashion swap at the office, except that this is more like a fashion dump. that is, things that we are eventually donating to charity. i took out things that don't fit me well, and did not pull anything for myself. major accomplishment. (total 5 items out)

in my latest round of culling, i have been applying the above checklist from in summary, i ask myself this question over and over and over again: does this item have a spot in my dream closet? i do have a picture of my dream closet in my mind, and while admittedly this image changes from time to time, there are certain elements that seem to persist. so i try to stay true to those things and get rid of the rest.

and another accomplishment that's somewhat major: did not buy a single wardrobe item throughout September! woo hoo! i guess being exposed to so much fashion week material really dampens my shopping urges.