The Top Ten Reasons Why Shop-Not Rocks

The Shop-Not Project is done! I completed one year of no shopping on August 31.

* blows trumpet throws confetti purchases 600-page September issue of In Style magazine * 

I'd love to say it was a breeze -- that I didn't miss shopping at all, and that I've transformed into a less materialistic, less spendy, more centered person.

But that wouldn't be the whole truth.

Sure, there were many days during the 12 months that I didn't think about or care about not shopping at all. But I won't kid you...there were other times when it was just plain painful.

...Like when I had to attend two funerals and combed through my closet over and over looking for something appropriate to wear.

...Or when I dripped Italian salad dressing on my favorite shorts just two weeks into the Shop-Not year.

...And then sat in pine sap in my other favorite pair.

...Or when my cheapie Payless shoes disintegrated, and my husband had to super-glue the heels back in place.

...Or when I chatted with the super stylish moms at school drop-off and felt like a big frumpity bum in my pine sappy shorts.

On the other hand, though, there were significant benefits, and I have absolutely no regrets that I did it (however I do know someone who did a two-year Shop-Not…and I’ll take a pass on that, thank you very much.).

So, in light of 365 successful Shop-Not days, here are my Top 10 Reasons Why Shop-Not Rocks:

10. Less time cruising the aisles of Kohl's and Target meant more time to read, enjoy the outdoors, hang out with friends and take fun, creative field trips with the kids.

9. Generous friends and hand-me-downs: Diana's boots, Kristi the Shoe Fairy, Viviana and Aimee knocking on the front door with three bags piled high.

8. Creative ideas: like the Clothing Swap organized by the Edgy Bookworms, my book club girls. 

7. A new appreciation for quality craftsmanship. Payless is fine for the trendy fringed booties that will be next year's look by next week, but if I want shoes that last, I realize now that I’ve got to plunk down a little more quid.

6. The support of friends who regularly checked in on progress [and didn't rub it in when they sported a new Anne Taylor Loft purse].

5. Talking with my kids about Shop-Not and maybe, just maybe, influencing their attitudes toward the accumulation of more stuff.

4. Closet clarity. I know for sure now, if I didn't wear an item during an entire year of not shopping, I'm never going to wear it. Off to the Goodwill it goes. Plus the opportunity to get creative with what I already own, instead of simply buying more. 

3. This encouraging online community right here – you all kept me accountable, especially when temptations were knocking down the door!

2. Satisfaction: I saved more than $500 and was committed to the program for the entire 12 months [disclaimer: I did purchase two items: a pair of running shoes – because I am old, you know, and my ancient knees couldn’t withstand two-year-old running shoes; and a Cover Girl lip gloss in my favorite shade … because while I vowed to be frugal, I never committed to a year of hideous!].

And the Number One reason Shop-Not rocks...

Pedro Mae!

Pedro lives in Bolivia with his mother and five siblings, and we are so honored to sponsor him through Compassion International with the money I saved from the Shop-Not Project. Pedro's picture hangs on our refrigerator, and every time I look at his brown eyes and solemn face, I pray that our sponsorship will make a difference in his life.

And can I let you in on a secret? You don’t have to give up shopping for a year to be able to afford a sponsorship. It costs just $38 a month to sponsor Pedro. Seriously. That’s hardly more than the cost of a few lattes and maybe a new lipstick and the fall issue of In Style magazine.

The truth is, it’s not a huge sacrifice. But it makes a huge difference.

Want to learn more? Visit Compassion -- in addition to sponsorships, there are a whole lot of ways to make an impact on children and families across the globe.

And consider reading The Hole in Our Gospel, by Richard Stearns. This is the book (along with Ann Voskamp's posts about her Compassion trip to Guatemala) that prompted the Shop-Not Project (my church is studying the book this fall, so I'll be reading it again with my small group and writing more about The Hole in Our Gospel here beginning in October).

In the meantime, I simply want to say thanks for your support and encouragement along the way. If it wasn't for this blogging endeavor, I may never have had the courage to launch the Shop-Not Project, and I may never have been blessed with the opportunity to sponsor little Pedro.

“Being a Christian, or follower of Jesus Christ, requires much more than just having a personal and transforming relationship with God. It also entails a public and transforming relationship with the world…Living out our faith privately was never meant to be an option.”

“There is no ‘whole gospel’ without compassion and justice shown to the poor. It’s that simple." -- Richard Stearns
"If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." 1 John 3:17-18

Curious about the Shop-Not journey? You can read other posts I wrote about it during the past 12 months here.


beyondgracegirl –   – (September 2, 2011 at 3:59 AM)  

YOU are amazing.  (i am tossing some confetti for you!!!)  i am in awe of this accomplishment.  truly.  it was a crazy venture and you did it.  WOW!  enjoy that Style magazine :)  and pedro?  i know he is as honored by your sponsorship as you are the opportunity to be a sponsor...

jennifer –   – (September 2, 2011 at 5:33 AM)  

I'm so proud of you, Michelle! You're inspiring, and I know you're going to find huge blessings sponsoring Pedro. I get so excited every time I receive a letter from Junrick's mom (our Compassion child), and I know you'll feel the same.

I'm working my way through a huge stack of books right now, but I'm going to have to add "The Hole in Our Gospel" to the top!

Jenifer –   – (September 2, 2011 at 6:08 AM)  

Michelle, way to go!  It is so awesome that you did this for Pedro.  That takes a lot of courage, planning and self control.  So proud of you.

Mary B  – (September 2, 2011 at 6:14 AM)  

I am amazed and impressed.  Congratulations!

Katie Ganshert –   – (September 2, 2011 at 6:25 AM)  

Love this! Great job, Michelle!

JeanWise –   – (September 2, 2011 at 7:06 AM)  

This is so inspirational.  Love all your reasons for why it rocked your world, especially Pedro. The one on closet clarity is also very good. and one I need to work on. So glad you shared. I admire your courage to accomplish this.

Michelle DeRusha  – (September 2, 2011 at 7:25 AM)  

We already received our first letter, written by Pedro's sister. I totally cried!

Michelle DeRusha  – (September 2, 2011 at 7:26 AM)  

Thank you, Dawn! We got a letter from Pedro's sister this week -- he sounds so cute (she said he loves to jump -- having a jumpy 6-year-old, I can absolutely picture that!).

April  – (September 2, 2011 at 7:38 AM)  

Wonderful!!! This post made me grin until I got to Pedro, and then it just made me glow. You rock!

Jezamama  – (September 2, 2011 at 7:49 AM)  

Congratulations... and welcome to the family, Pedro!

Lisa notes...  – (September 2, 2011 at 8:08 AM)  

Yea for you, Michelle!!! This has been a great journey to watch. Thanks for letting us tag along and learn from YOUR experiences. hehe

Megan Willome  – (September 2, 2011 at 8:14 AM)  

Congrats, Michelle! Such a good post!

NancyFranson –   – (September 2, 2011 at 8:15 AM)  

You are a rock star! I really like your list--especially your comments about paying attention to quality and craftsmanship, rewarding those who craft things that endure. I'm also glad you splurged on the lip gloss! Thanks for introducing us to Pedro. Hoping many more will find sponsors because of your stories.

Marlece  – (September 2, 2011 at 8:17 AM)  

wow, good for you, so on Sept. 1st did you go and get you a new outfit? Just teasing! You know, this is awesome, so impressive. I have not stopped spending money but have cut WAY down and it does feel good to find other ways to change up an outfit, or just be content with the things I already have. But, this is awesome, good for you!

Michelle DeRusha  – (September 2, 2011 at 9:17 AM)  

Ok, I admit, I did have to stop at Target yesterday...and I was wooed by the $10 capri I did buy them! :) It actually felt WEIRD to shop again -- good, but weird!

And yes, Marlece, you got it: contentment with what we already have. It IS possible!

Michelle DeRusha  – (September 2, 2011 at 9:18 AM)  

Thank you, Nancy. And yes, I hope people will be inspired to take the leap and sponsor a child in need. It really is doable with a relatively small sacrifice. And to get that letter this week in the mail from Pedro's sister makes it SO worth it!

Katy  – (September 2, 2011 at 9:48 AM)  

wow! what a challenge. almost makes me want to try it out =)

Gaby –   – (September 2, 2011 at 10:40 AM)  

Congratulations on sticking to it! And on the benefits from it, especially Pedro. You are an inspiration and I hope other people take up the challenge (I would, but I already don't shop much because I'm cheap! :) )

Courtney Buxton  – (September 2, 2011 at 1:19 PM)  

Hooray! Hooray! You are an inspiration.

Ostriches  – (September 2, 2011 at 7:12 PM)  

amazing. You are inspiring...especially your frumpity bum. 

Michelle DeRusha  – (September 2, 2011 at 7:33 PM)  

Yeah, the frumpity bum was NOT pretty.

Jodi@CuriousAcorn –   – (September 3, 2011 at 10:17 AM)  

Been catching up on all these great posts.   Loved every one.   I'll always remember that cheese makes storms less scary  :) 

Karrie Shew –   – (September 3, 2011 at 12:19 PM)  

what an awesome fast for the Lord and the glory of His kingdom!  you are amazing...i pray to have your strength in consumerism.  i just seem to be sucked in so easily!   Blessings to you!

Cassandra Frear –   – (September 4, 2011 at 5:07 AM)  

This is very meaningful to me. As I am facing years of seminary, I am facing years of deliberate frugality. I'm trying to adjust from my former life as a news editors wife. I have lots of questions about how I should do it. 

Thanks for your encouragement!

Jamie @ Six Bricks High  – (September 6, 2011 at 6:39 PM)  

I am seriously impressed with you and your shopping-not.  You truly inspire!

Michelle DeRusha  – (September 10, 2011 at 9:31 PM)  

Thanks, Jodi! And yes, doesn't chees make all things a little better?

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