What I Learned From Not Shopping for a Month

What I Learned When I Didn't Shop for a Month, Spending Freeze Lessons // Pearl Girl

Y’all know I love to shop. It’s the driving force behind this blog — to share my favorite purchases with people. And I know I’m not alone in this love. But in my small NYC apartment, (though I have a great closet), all this stuff can get overwhelming.  So about a month ago, I published this post, announcing that I’d be going on a month-long shopping hiatus. As it’s now September, it’s over, and I have to say, it felt pretty good.

I’ll confess: I didn’t quite make it the whole month. I ended up buying two dresses at the Lilly Pulitzer sale, which I have conflicted feelings about. On the one hand, I really do love both of them, and Lilly is one of my favorite brands. I only buy it on sale, and the sale only happens twice a year. (I usually don’t shop the winter one, just the summer one. Better selection.) On the other hand, it would have been nice to actually have made it the whole month.

Despite my one day of weakness, I did make it (almost) a month. Would I do it again? Definitely. In fact, it’s inspired me to start thinking about what I buy more thoroughly and limiting the intake of stuff into my apartment. Here’s what else I learned.

The less you put the temptation in front of you, the less you feel it.

I have a blog. I’m on Instagram. I live in New York City. I’m also a frequent user of the internet. I literally walk through a mall on the way to work every day. Basically, temptation when it comes to shopping is pretty tough to ignore. But by not allowing myself to shop at all, it sort of removes the temptation altogether. You can’t buy it, so why even look? I set the part of my brain that thought about what I wanted to buy free, and it felt almost like a weight lifted. It helps to tell your friends and family about what you’re doing, so then they’ll resist from sending you links of things you might like, or asking you to go shopping with them.

Resisting sales is hard.

I love a good deal. A lot. So when a good sale comes up, it was hard to resist. After all, in the end, it was my downfall. Resisting 25% off everything at Tuckernuck was one of the toughest moments during the month. (Another favorite retailer with rare sales.) But I held out and I’m glad I did. I found just telling myself that it simply wasn’t an option helped. It can take will power, but it will pass, and then you’ll be happy you resisted.

Not shopping feels good.

I know that buying new things is exciting — believe me, I know. But not shopping feels really good too. You’re saving money, which obviously feels great, and it really did make me think about the clothes I already did have in a new way. I felt like I was a bit more creative with my outfits, and made more of an effort to find the pieces that I haven’t worn in a few months and give them a chance.

The comedown is real.

I can’t lie. When September — and those Labor Day sales — rolled around, I bought a few things. Which I think is only human after a month of holding yourself back from something. Even when it’s an arbitrary timeline you set for yourself, it’s hard not to celebrate the finish line. It felt like the bit of an end of a fast, where you’re feeling hungry by the end of it. And while I didn’t go nuts by any means, I was still definitely feeling that hunger.

However, I am trying to think about these purchases more deeply. The two things I bought after September 1? These heels and this skirt, both of which I’ve wanted for months. If you’ve wanted something long enough, chances are, you won’t regret it. What you will often times regret are spontaneous purchases. Think long and hard before you buy.

You save money. And have less stuff.

Which is really the whole point of this exercise anyway, right? Like I said, I was also inspired to start thinking more thoroughly about every purchase I make. I have a lot of clothes, and everything I add to my closet should have a purpose or fill a void, which is something this hiatus really helped me to realize. I really loved doing this “experiment” and I’ll definitely be doing it again — maybe once a season?! We’ll see.


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