Well, the time has come to explain why I will be mostly steering clear of malls, other shopping areas, and online retail websites during 2018. I am not shopping this year. I have decided to do a year of no shopping, which I started on January 1st.
Yes, you read that correctly. I am not shopping in 2018.
Now before your jaw hits the floor, there are some things I am allowed to shop for during my year-long shopping hiatus:
- necessities to stay alive (i.e. food, other food-related necessities)
- medicine (having a chronic illness means this is super important)
- toiletries/cosmetics (but only when I run out)
- things necessary to run household appliances, like batteries (but only when I run out)
- cleaning supplies
- gifts for loved ones (but gifting experiences rather than things whenever possible)
- books (I’m continuously doing minimalism research for this blog, and since I am taking classes for my Doctorate I need to be able to buy books for my classes)
- experiences (going to a movie, going out to eat with friends or on date night with Will, etc.)
- In addition, I am allowed to replace anything that wears out or breaks, as long as I throw out/donate the original item
I am not allowed to shop for anything that doesn’t fall into the above categories. This includes (but is not limited to):
- household items that aren’t necessities
So now that I’ve laid out the rules, you may be wondering—what on God’s green earth made me want to do this??
Well, it all started when I saw a friend share Ann Patchett’s article in The New York Times, “My Year of No Shopping” on social media last month. In her article, Patchett talks about her decision to severely limit her shopping for a year and how it changed her views on material possessions. You can read the article here.
When I read Patchett’s article mid-December, I was already planning on minimizing our possessions with Will and living a more Christian minimalist lifestyle starting in the new year– and this article sparked something in me. I knew that just minimizing possessions wouldn’t be enough, at least for me—I had to fast from shopping in order to really break some unhelpful spending habits that I had fallen into over the last 4 years.
Fasting has a long history of tradition in the Christian faith. In the Bible, people fasted for many reasons, including when they were mourning, when they were looking to connect with God, and when a big event was about to happen and they spiritually needed to prepare. When people think of fasting, they usually think of food—but fasting can be a removal of virtually anything in order to focus more on God and prayer and the things that matter most.
And honestly, not spending the amount of time I have previously spent searching online for the perfect outfit/shoes/etc. means that I will have more time for my Doctoral studies, writing this blog, and my loved ones.
Not to mention the MONEY I’ve spent over the years on these non-essential items. I can’t wait to see how much money I am able to save just from not buying clothes online because I’m bored, because I can, or because I’m in physical pain or not feeling well.
So, I am doing a shopping fast. For a year. Here’s hoping this shopping fast will help rewire my brain and help me kick my unhealthy habits of (mostly online) shopping.
(PS: I am also currently reading Cait Flanders’ new book, The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store, which incidentally came out after I decided to start my own year-long shopping fast. I have enjoyed reading about her own year of no shopping, and how it helped refocus her life in beneficial ways.)