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Meg Stops the Shop: 366 Days of NO-BUY

January 1, 2020

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366 Days of NO-shopping

I’m not buying any new clothes in 2020. 

One day, in early October 2019, I got sick of all my shit. I was overwhelmed as I shuffled around my closet for an empty hanger. As I tried to finish laundry, I looked around. I felt proud of the new car I paid for in cash last year, but realized I was quietly and internally miserable that I still had $54k in student loan debt, and a half-way renovated home. (Yes, the fact that I had already paid $50k in debt in the last 3 years suddenly escaped me).

And there I went – crawling into that dark pit inside my mind. I agonized over why my lifestyle blog grew more slowly than others. Would I ever learn to code? And I can’t even post consistently. I was spread thin and failing at a lot of my personal goals, but winning, of course, at the comparison game. So I looked at my “blog calendar” and wondered if buying a new outfit for a chic, new adventure I could document for the blog was actually adding any value or substance to my life.

I decided, it was NOT.

Screw it. I’m done wasting money and living half-heartedly. I knew something had to change, and that something was me.

366 Days of NO-shopping

To Thine Own Self Be True

When I decided to break up with consumerism I didn’t know people actually did this all over Youtube. I just wanted to do something for me, because of me. I wanted to give up shopping so I could remove distractions, get focused, stay committed, save, kill my debt, and enjoy life the way I imagined a lot of us would if we didn’t all feel that we have this invisible audience that’s a result of our constant connection to others via social media.

To thine own self be true.” That’s one of my favorite William Shakespeare quotes. He just gets me. There is truly nothing like personal integrity. Personal integrity is soul satisfying, and the older I get and the more hearts and lives I see wrecked on a daily basis as a therapist, the more I realize that personal integrity is just your higher self loving you. I want to love me. Not in a weird, new-age way. But in a kind, authentic way. I want to love my life – in a real, honest way and not just in a “let me make this Insta-worthy” way.

366 Days of No-Shopping So I can Love Life More with Less

If you decide to join me, only you know what you need, and only you can determine what items and/or services you want to stop shopping for this year. My “stop the shop” is not meant to make me delight in personal denial, or punishment. I want to quit shopping for clothes for an entire year to further develop my own personal integrity. I want to honor my time, and my talents and remove distractions. Spending time searching online for that “perfect” blog outfit, and thinking about photoshoots here and there has caused me to lose focus on developing the creative studio side of this blog. I mean, does anyone even know I paint? 

I’m not buying any clothes for an entire year so I can also focus on my friends and family. I want to use my money in ways that bless and serve others, and that allows me to have what Dave Ramsey calls “gazelle-like intensity.” My low end financial goal is to knock out $24,000 of my now $50k student loan debt. My high end goal is $36,000. *I use this monthly cash flow plan to track it all!

In order to succeed at this challenge, I’m giving my self rules.

As a therapist, I tell kids everyday that “rules are made to protect you from you, and to help everyone learn how to be happy and healthy.” These rules aim to do just that!

366 Days of NO-shopping

Meg’s Stop the Shop Rules

What I’m NOT allowing myself to spend money on this year: 

  • clothing 

  • shoes 

  • purses 

  • other fashion accessories, including: scarves, hats, sunglasses, jewelry

  • no home decor *until the hard finishes of a particular space in my home is 100% complete

  • no magazines or books, *unless they are on my 2020 Reading List

    Meg stops the shop

What I AM allowing myself to spend money on this year: 

  • shelter

  • food ($150/week for groceries; $200/restaurants or take-out for Ricky and me)

  • coffee (1 gourmet cup a week, sweet Jesus, help me) 

  • self-care services, like mani/pedi’s and facials (I mean, I’m not going crazy here, people)

  • new Rx glasses (only because I recently got a new prescription, thank you screen life)

  • blog gear, or equipment that is only bought with the sinking fund method 

In order to give myself enough wiggle room for unexpected items, I’m allowing myself to purchase, if needed:

  • New bras, underwear, undershirts
  • One special occasion item in the case of a special event (NOT including shoes)
  • One travel wardrobe item, like a swim suit or snow boots (if I decide to travel, which at the moment looks like a no-go so I can throw $3,000 each month towards my student loan!)
  • Any item that needs replacement after I made a good-faith effort to repair it, and commit to donating or tossing the damaged item
  • One Apple watch using the sinking fund method. *I’m not sure if I really want this, but every year I think it will help me manage my client sessions better and then I never buy it because I am too focused on buying other things. I figure, if I really want it this year, only time will tell. … UM – omg, you guys, that was the punniest-pun ever. Ha!

Word to the un-single: I also decided, Ricky cannot buy me clothing gifts.

Admittedly, he was a little bothered by this, and told me that if he wanted to buy me new pajamas, no one could stop him. As a married person, I’m not going to be accountable to the blog by finding loopholes. I don’t want my partner to just go out a get something for me because I start complaining or this challenge gets tough. If Rick does buy something fashionable for me (which has not happened in the 20 years I’ve known him), that doesn’t mean I have to wear it. I may choose to save it for 2021.

Finally, I also allowed myself to make my own clothing. The only catch is I must already have the fabric at home or keep to a $10 fabric limit for each item. If you have ever made a dress by hand, you know this is no small feat. If you want to consider this a loophole, then I’d guess it’s about the size of the eye of a needle.

Have you ever done a no-spend year?

What should I know before starting? 

What did you learn?

Let me know what you learned about yourself from that experience down in the comments below!

*If you want to challenge yourself, like I am, this year, READ HERE to see how I prepared for Meg Stops the Shop 2020! If you want to join along, but don’t want to commit to 365 days, join me and my lovely friends, Diana, Ilse and Deb January 12th-18th for a Spending Freeze Week! READ MORE HERE.

For other posts like this visit HERE and HERE.

Here I go – I’m unstoppable in this stopping the shop! Woo!

~ Meg

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