My Year of No Spending
Several years ago, I made a New Year’s Resolution that I would go a whole year without spending money on myself. That meant no buying clothes, no buying accessories, no buying makeup, no buying ANYTHING. It was the first New Year’s Resolution that I have ever kept.
Here is what I learned from the experience.
I had way more clothes than I needed.
Prior to my Year of No Spending, I actually purged a bunch of clothes that I did not wear, and I still had way too much stuff. They say that you only wear a fraction of the clothes that you own, and I definitely found this to be true for me.
Using what I had was really satisfying.
Finding that old pair of sunglasses right before my beach trip instead of buying new ones? Winning!
I have more eye shadows, lip glosses, lotions, and perfumes than I could ever use in a lifetime.
I have made a pact (with myself) that I will not buy a new one of any of these items until all of my old ones are used up or thrown away. Since I have a hard time throwing perfectly good things away, I imagine I will never buy an eye shadow, lip gloss, lotion or perfume ever again.
To help ease the strain of not shopping, I had to stop going to stores when I was bored.
Shopping is no fun when you are not buying. All of the sudden, I had a lot more time on my hands to do the things I really enjoyed, my kids were no longer throwing a fit in the Target checkout, and my wallet was much fatter (figuratively speaking).
When I stopped buying things for myself for a long period of time, I became really content with what I had.
My husband asked what I wanted for my birthday and I told him that I did not want anything, because I didn’t!
Not spending money on myself meant that I had to become a much better planner.
I had to have everything I needed for the day prior to leaving the house, because there was no picking something up at the store once I left.
When others find out that you are not spending money on yourself for a whole year, they look at you like you are crazy.
Some will even try to get you to buy things. I could go into the psychological reasons why you not spending money makes them feel uncomfortable, but I will just leave it at that.
When I unplugged from shopping, I realized that consumerism is so pervasive and temporarily enjoyable, yet ultimately is an unfulfilling preoccupation for me.
I continued my Year of No Spending for another six months after the year was up. Now that I was in the habit on not spending, I did not want to go right out and start buying things. I now knew that I did not need them.
Additionally, shopping was not fun for me anymore. Instead of seeing possibilities of what I could wear or have, I just saw money down the drain.
I will say, after wearing the same clothes for over 2 years, they were starting to get a little ratty.
I just recently added a few items to my wardrobe, and I feel like a million bucks when I wear them. I doubt that I will ever go back to buying whatever catches my eye whenever it catches it, but I will instead relish the opportunity to buy out of necessity.
As I reflect on My Year of No Spending…
I cannot help but be struck by the conclusion that I am blessed beyond measure. Not only am I able to afford the things I need, but I also have so much excess that I can even have a Year of No Spending. Not spending money on myself for a whole year, and still having more than I need, has left me with a gratefulness for the blessings I have. Further, I move forward with a desire to give more to those who do not have what they need.
I hope that the important things I have learned stay with me for a long time. But more so, I hope the sense of gratitude and generousity that I feel as a result of my Year of No Spending remain with me forever.
I would love to hear your thoughts! Leave a comment below, or share this on Pinterest or Facebook if you are feeling inspired!