Well, I’m glad that’s over.
My first ‘shopping ban’ was only a mere 30 days long, but I’m embarrassed by how hard I found it.
I’ve written in the past about how years of paring down my belongings and adopting a more minimalist lifestyle has helped me develop a healthy scepticism towards shopping.
It’s not as if wandering through shopping centres angered or upset me, I just felt like I had some kind of superpower which made me immune to all the tricks marketers play to part people from their money. (Even in homewares shops. Lovely, lovely homewares shops…)
So at the beginning of this month I had thought a shopping ban, especially one for as short a spell as 30 days, would be a walk in the park.
As a result, I’d made the rules of the game pretty tough.
Back in December, I had originally considered granting myself permission to buy one specific item of clothing during January.
I have a teeny-tiny capsule wardrobe at the moment so when my work boots gave out in the snow around Christmas time, I was pretty sure I’d need to replace them pretty damn quick. Snowy toes suck!
But then I decided to get a grip and wait the month out without new boots. It was only a 30-day challenge, for God’s sake. What’s the point of a month-long shopping ban if you’re still buying stuff??
Instead, I began wearing ballet pumps or court shoes into work each day and thought no more about boots. What a trooper. WINTER BOOTS ARE FOR WUSSES!
The shopping ban went well for the first two weeks or so.
Knowing that I was immune to the usual shopping frenzy, I even joined my wife Ruth on a trip around the January sales.
We visited three of my favourite stores (all homewares, of course). I knew I was testing my resolve to the max – being cocky, if you like – but resisting felt easy. I just had to remind myself that I could admire a beautiful object without having to possess it and I would be able to walk out empty-handed.
Then in mid-January, my brain just flipped. I think it was starting to rebel against the notion that I was banned from doing something. Suddenly, I was fantasising about buying a new phone one day, a fancy new camera the next.
I found myself researching camera phones online and knew I might be in trouble.
Then I found myself in a claustrophobic, thronging clothes shop within one of the UK’s biggest shopping centres as the January sales drew to a close and the heavy discounts began.
There was a blizzard outside and I wasn’t looking forward to wearing ballet pumps through the snow come Monday morning.
In front of me, there appeared some boots! £70, reduced to £20! None in my size….until I checked the very last pair at the back of the pile.
Reader, I cracked.
I’m not proud. It was only the first of 12 30-day challenges I’m planning to set myself in 2018 and I’ve already tripped up.
But I guess the exercise has taught me a few things:
- I’m not the sort of person who deals well with bans
- I am not immune to the lure of a bargain
- I shouldn’t be cocky
- I am a wuss in the snow
Anyway, at least my first 30-day challenge is over. Details about the second will be coming shortly.
I know some of you guys were joining me by setting yourselves a 30-day challenge this month, either a shopping ban or something else entirely. How did you get on? Better than me?