Challenging the Shopaholic in Me

It’s only been a few days into 2012, and I already have reviewed one of my resolutions. You are probably thinking “What the hell? It’s been only what? Four days?” Yes, four days into the new year and I realized that I was not very specific with one of my resolutions.

I said that I wanted to spend and consume less in the new year. I am not sure that I completely understand what I am expecting from myself with this resolution. What do I really mean when I say that I want to consume less?

The more I thought about this resolution, the more it bothered me. It seemed incomplete and undefined. That’s why I decided to explain it, and make it daring enough for myself. I want to challenge the shopaholic in me not to buy any new clothes, or shoes, or bags, or pretty much anything that is not consumable such as food, gas, hygiene products and etc. Also, I am not going to pay for anything that does not provide a new experience such as travel, going out with friends or watching movies.

If something important and/or necessary breaks down, I might replace it. However, I might need to re-define for myself what is important and necessary for our household or for me. If the item falls under my definition of important and necessary, and if it cannot be repaired, then I will replace it.

I was thinking to make this a year long challenge. Then I realized that it is not going to work because I know myself:

long-term goals do not motivate me as much as short-term goals.

If I challenge myself to a year of a no-buy, I ultimately will be setting myself up for failure. Six months seemed like a reasonable time frame but it still was a little too long for a beginner like myself. I settled on three months with an option to extend it.

Why I am doing it:

  • I want to prove to myself that stuff does not make me happy. In fact, if anything it stresses me out about my bills and bank accounts.
  • I want to prove to myself that I already have everything that I need and want. I don’t need more stuff. I really don’t.
  • I want to free up my time so that I can focus on something that does make me happy: family, volunteering, writing, growing and maintaining my blog.
  • I want to break the habit of shopping out of boredom or for fun or because I am feeling blue. In cases like these, instead of hitting the stores, I should be hitting the gym.

I will be posting monthly updates about my non-buying endeavors. My first update will be at the end of January.

25 thoughts on “Challenging the Shopaholic in Me”

    1. It is a good advise but it is not for me. The fun part is not looking, it is actually buying. 🙂

  1. I think you have great reasons as to why you are doing this and that is important. You are right- stuff won’t make you happy long term, just in the short term. One thing that really helped me tame my shopping habit was to focus on my big goals. By remember what I wanted long term and how much it cost, I have been able to save more and spend less.

    1. You see… big goals don’t work for me. I am a sprinter not a marathon runner. I like setting up short term goals and work really hard on those. Long term goals are discouraging. Somewhat..

  2. Aloysa – I hope you meet your goals of curbing the urge to spend when you’re bored or blue! If you enjoy going to the mall if you’re bored, try leaving all forms of payment at home. Then you’ll be forced to walk out empty handed! 🙂


    1. Going to the mall with no wallet is liking hitting a roulette table with no chips. Where is all the fun? 🙂

  3. It’s going to be a tough 3 months! I tried the whole replacement only thing and it’s annoying. 😀
    Hitting the gym instead is an awesome idea. You know you will feel better after a workout. Good luck!

    1. Yes, it will be tough. But I think if I can do it, I will be able to change my spending habits.

  4. Good luck on your resolutions Aloysa! The hardest part is the first step! Now that you’ve made your resolutions public, it adds to your motivation (it is a clever trick actually!).

    I’m sure you’ll come through.

    1. Well, it is not just making it public that motivates me but also the fact that I made it in writing! 🙂

  5. Good Cents Savings

    You are right on that a specific goal is much easier to meet – good luck with this one! With something like this I think it’s all about creating new routines and a new normal for you. Three months seems like a perfect amount of time to get used to that new normal. Will stay tuned to see how it goes!

    1. I like how you put it: creating new routines. Blogging already created a new routine for me. It keeps me so busy that I don’t have time to go shopping. Surprisingly, I don’t even want to. At least for now.

  6. I think you can totally do it 🙂

    Material things only give us temporary happiness (for me, I get a “buzz” for maybe a day to one week). It’s all about spending our money consciously on things that DO give us happiness (for me, that’s traveling).

  7. Like what we always say at Safe Money Millionaire, money is EMOTIONAL, not math. Getting things like bags, clothes, makeup for the ladies and brand new tv, laptop and gadgets for guys makes us all feel good, but just temporarily. But the impact they make on our finances is not as fleeting, right? Think about the coming months where you’ll have to see all these purchases on your credit card bill. I bet it would make you ask yourself, “Did I really have to buy that?”

    Again, money is really EMOTIONAL and not about the numbers. Your post actually remind me of the movie, Confessions of a Shopaholic. It was hilarious and very light to watch but underneath all those funny scenes, there was a lesson to learn.

  8. This sounds like a great challenge. Very specific, with a time frame. I like it 🙂

    I think you’ll learn a lot about yourself with this. Good luck!

  9. I’m going to recommend a movie to watch – “What About Bob”; it’s a comedy so it’s got entertainment value. But it also has a message that so many people miss – baby steps. Once you see the movie you’ll understand why I recommended it.

    As for the lofty nonspecific resolutions – try this, don’t buy anything over say $50 for a month; then don’t buy anything over $40 the next month; then each month decrease down to zero. In five months you made your goal. Add onto that this, if you really MUST buy something, make it a gift card – then immediately donate the gift card to a charity the same day (no option of wasting it since you gave it up before getting home)

    1. I think I am one of those people who need to go cold turkey. Gradual reduction would not work for me. Believe me, I tried. 🙂

  10. At first, I thought you were going to do it for an entire year. That would have been crazy, I couldn’t go a whole year without spending on that stuff. 3 months is a really good length to challenge yourself. Good luck, Aloysa. 🙂

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