49 Weeks

It's been a mere three weeks since I launched the Shop-Not Project.

So can I take a moment to ask why no one reminded me that fall is NOT the best time for a shopping hiatus?

Cozy sweaters. Lush scarves. Autumnal shades of plum and burgundy and charcoal grey. Funky tights. Velvet pants. Skinny belts. Cardigans.

Need I say more?

Nor did it help that the day after my very first Shop-Not post, my sister called to chat. "Guess what I just did?" she squealed into the phone. Spent a boatload of money at Banana Republic, my most favorite store ever, that's what.

In her defense, she's a college professor and needs to look, well, professional. But still. Did I need to hear all the details about the pants and sweaters and shoes and purses?

"Didn't you read my post yesterday?" I demanded. "Why are you doing this to me? This is just plain mean!" Turns out, she hadn't read the post.

So here's a glimpse of what I've learned so far, in three weeks of not shopping with 49 more weeks staring me straight in the eye (but who's counting?):
  • Do not, I repeat, do not purchase the 58-pound, 600-page (no lie!) Fall issue of In Style magazine.
  • Do treat clothes and shoes with care. The favorite green Bermuda shorts with the salad dressing stain on the back pocket (how I got salad dressing on the back pocket is perhaps a topic for another post) that I casually tossed into the washer and then into the dryer? Ruined with permanently set stains. Not looking forward to wearing those all next summer.
  • Do tune out insensitive comments, like the one Noah uttered last week when he got wind of my Shop-Not Project. "But Mommy, you love to shop," he observed. "And you're going to look so raggedy if you don't buy anything for a whole year!" (he may be right; note stained shorts comment above). Hmmm, raggedy – now that's a look I haven't done yet.
  • Do invest in quality versus quantity. The Payless stilettos with the unglued soles are clearly not going to last until the end of next August.
  • Do not spend time with super stylish sister-in-law for four consecutive days a mere three days after launching Shop-Not.
Suffice to say, I suspect the Shop-Not Project will be a bit of a challenge for me. And so far, the benefits are slim to none. Except for the fact that I have not spent a dime (except on quality dark chocolate...might this be a bad omen of what's yet to come?) in three weeks. That's something, yes?

Besides the monetary savings, reading the Psalms last week reminded me why I launched the Shop-Not Project in the first place: to reprioritize, find balance and learn to live with enough.

Do not be overawed when a man grows rich,
when the splendor of his house increases;
for he will take nothing with him when he dies,
his splendor will not descend with him.
Though while he lived he counted himself blessed –
and men praise you when you prosper –
he will join the generation of his fathers,
who will never see the light of life.
A man who has riches without understanding
is like the beasts that perish.
Psalm 49: 16-20


All psalms aside though, stay tuned...the reality is, Shop-Not may be a rough, raggedy road.

Read more of the Shop-Not Chronicles here.

Alita  – (September 21, 2010 at 6:08 AM)  

You are much braver than I. Most would not label me a shopaholic, but if there is a sale on something I adore I will most likely buy it. It takes a lot of love though. I have to say that getting the big Instyle fall issue is a very bad idea. This is not the point I tell you how much I love getting each season's new looks via Instyle. I wouldn't tell you that it sits in my bathroom (the only room with color in my neutral house...ahem) waiting to be slowly read.

Nope. Not at all...

But I wish you good luck sister! Work it. You can do it. :)

kendal  – (September 21, 2010 at 6:43 AM)  

You're doing great. I'm praying for you. Seriously. I would struggle. I would cheat. I would rationalize purchases. I would covet. I'm praying that God will bless you with peace.

alicia  – (September 21, 2010 at 8:46 AM)  

I was wondering how it was going with not shopping. I think of you when I look around me this fall and go "ooh, I wonder where she got that sweater, that's soo cute..oh, that's one more thing I'd like to add this fall..." So, you are offering me control and perspective while you struggle. I have yet to have bought myself any clothes in the last 3 weeks.
Thanks.... I think. ;)

A Simple Country Girl  – (September 21, 2010 at 9:49 AM)  

Michelle,

Isn't it interesting that we are on opposite ends of the shopping spectrum? I was raised by a single parent mom and as an insulin dependent diabetic since age nine, I have always had a sense of cost and money and necessity. I may spend close to nil on clothing, but I carry a huge pack of guilt around. Is that better or worse or the same than overspending?

Who really gives a rip if we look like magazine lay-outs? I don't. How could I when there are kids in my own community who come to school without socks in the winter because of poverty? When there are kids in Uganda who live at the "prison" (please see http://sixtyfeet.org/ ) with not a stitch of clothes for the first weeks--so they won't run away.

Sorry, I am not preaching, just talking. I've always been this way. My husband has to force me to buy new underwear. I have a belt. One belt. It holds up my Wranglers so nobody can see my raggedy underwear... And don't even get me started on cutesy colored socks.

Blessings (and smiles and hugs).

Hey, good job. So, you gonna share that chocolate bar? ;-)

Charming's Mama  – (September 21, 2010 at 10:01 AM)  

You can do it Michelle, I know you can. There's freedom at the end of the road.

Susan DiMickele  – (September 21, 2010 at 10:33 AM)  

You crack me up. I have even thought about joining you! Thought is the key word here. I am dead serious about sending you some clothes -- yeah, I know that kinda defeats the purpose......

redletterbelievers  – (September 21, 2010 at 10:42 AM)  

I actually printed your post and have it in my office. I was close to it anyway, but am using the pledge as a guiding principle
David

jasonS  – (September 21, 2010 at 10:55 AM)  

Good points. Stay strong and thanks for being honest and open. You've given up something that means something to you so it's hard. I know God will bring a big blessing out of it. Awesome, Michelle.

susie @newdaynewlesson  – (September 21, 2010 at 11:21 AM)  

Might I add to your list-do not gain or lose weight. Gaining is worse, because if you lose you can have things altered.

Good luck.

Dayle  – (September 21, 2010 at 1:58 PM)  

I'm not much of a shopper, by nature, but taking a no-shopping vow for a whole year would be rough. We're here for you, Michelle. ;)

elm  – (September 21, 2010 at 6:24 PM)  

YIKES!! Don't spend all your extra cash on chocolate and other assorted sweets!! You can't buy clothes new clothes for an added 5 to 10 pounds of deliciousness!!! :) Keep working on that non-spending thing... it has got to be hard!

emily wierenga  – (September 21, 2010 at 10:19 PM)  

wow. i'm so impressed. i'm not much of a shopper either but i still tend to buy quite a few things, many of which end up being unnecessary. i love this. and i love dark chocolate. :)

deb  – (September 22, 2010 at 9:05 AM)  

There is certainly merit in this
but I hear you on the long term of it.
That's where I get snagged sometimes. I go through periods of not shopping and making do, and I'm not much of a shopper anyway, but then the whole rationalization thing kicks in.
And what is necessary to someone is fluff to another and all that.

Leslie  – (September 22, 2010 at 9:47 AM)  

Scarves. Especially "on-sale" scarves. That's what would get me.

And I love Noah's "raggedy" comment ; )

Flower Patch Farmgirl  – (September 22, 2010 at 8:55 PM)  

I'm inspired anew!

We do this now and then, but never for a year! I don't dare even try to window shop or pretend shop online when I'm not shopping. Painful!

A Simple Country Girl  – (April 27, 2011 at 10:59 AM)  

Michelle,

Isn't it interesting that we are on opposite ends of the shopping spectrum? I was raised by a single parent mom and as an insulin dependent diabetic since age nine, I have always had a sense of cost and money and necessity. I may spend close to nil on clothing, but I carry a huge pack of guilt around. Is that better or worse or the same than overspending?

Who really gives a rip if we look like magazine lay-outs? I don't. How could I when there are kids in my own community who come to school without socks in the winter because of poverty? When there are kids in Uganda who live at the "prison" (please see http://sixtyfeet.org/ ) with not a stitch of clothes for the first weeks--so they won't run away.

Sorry, I am not preaching, just talking. I've always been this way. My husband has to force me to buy new underwear. I have a belt. One belt. It holds up my Wranglers so nobody can see my raggedy underwear... And don't even get me started on cutesy colored socks.

Blessings (and smiles and hugs).

Hey, good job. So, you gonna share that chocolate bar? ;-)

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