When retail therapy just doesn’t cut it anymore

I’m not buying anything in 2020. This isn’t a new year’s resolution (resolutions are just a waste of time, imho). This is about a lifestyle change and something I’ve been reflecting on over the last several months.

If shopping was a sport, then I’d be a professional athlete. I’m actually really good at finding deals online (too good, as far as my husband is concerned) and I’m even better at adding them to cart. It all started back in 2005 with eBay. I fell in love with the ease of shopping on that platform: it’s a global shopping mall, where I racked up 775 stars on their user rating system. From there I branched out to individual retailers, buying online all of the things I didn’t want to line up in-store for. Again, it was easy.

But it was also a big stress reliever. There are no shortage of rough days in my line of work. Browsing online quickly became a way to shift my thoughts away from the mess of the day to something providing instant gratification and comfort. I’ve often told myself that, after the day I’ve had, I deserve this–heck, I’ve earned this (you’d tell yourself the same thing too if you were me sis, trust!). Eventually, easing my stress and rewarding myself became the top defenses if anyone questioned my penchant for retail therapy.

However, as trivial as ‘retail therapy’ seems on the surface, it is medicating something: meeting some deep, unmet need within. According to a Harvard professor, 95 per cent of our purchasing decisions occur in the subconscious mind. Essentially, our purchases are driven by our emotions.

This is important. For me, this is not about a lack of self-control: I’m not a shopaholic who’s drowning in debt and can’t seem to reign in her spending habit (also, if you are that person and you’re reading this, no judgment sis–we all struggle with something). Reflecting on my ‘why’ prompts me to examine where the disconnect is occurring. As I shared with some of my colleagues a few days ago, I speak so much about what my faith in God through Christ means to me…and yet I still *need* more stuff. Why do I still need more stuff? If God is good then this sale can’t be better.

So, this is how 2020 came to be my buy-nothing year. There are some rules:

  • I can’t buy anything new for myself
  • I can only replace items that run out (i.e. coconut oil a.k.a. my makeup remover, mousse)
  • I can still buy gifts for friends/family
  • I can still purchase new (or used) textbooks for school

Some folks who’ve done this before do make exceptions for their birthday, Black Friday and Boxing Day. At this point, I’m leaving those three days open to see how I feel by the time they roll around. My appetite for shopping might be completely gone by then.

For me, this journey is about a deeper exploration of myself and my faith…but if you just want to shop less feel free to join me, sis! We can do this together. I’ll be journaling throughout this journey and I encourage you to do the same. I’ll probably blog about this again closer to my birthday.

Stay tuned…