why I bought nothing for an entire month

Honesty hour: I’m a materialistic person. I like nice things. I also like buying nice things. Surrounding myself with beautiful things makes me happy. Working as an interior architect, it just makes sense to me. 

It was mid January when I realized I was spending too much money to my liking, and too fast for that matter, on stuff I didn’t really need.
I just started a new job and felt I needed to ‘reinvent‘ myself. Y’know, new year – new job – new me, that sorta nonsense. I bought the lot: new shoes, some clothes, a Matt & Nat bag, makeup and jewelry. It was the middle of the winter sales, and I got lured in. I don’t regret a single thing I bought though, they were all solid purchases and good deals, but did I really need them? Really?

 

never not shopping

First, let me tell you this: I don’t spend money I don’t have. I don’t own a credit card (I do use my bf’s from time to time but shh) and I can’t dive below zero on my bank account. Heck, I even bought my first car in cash because it just didn’t feel right to me to take on a loan. You get the point, I don’t like the feeling of being in debt. I guess I have to get over it one day, if I ever want to drive a modern day car (seat heater please) or own a house that is.

I do most of my shopping online these days, and there’s just nothing like the feeling of clicking that ‘complete order’ button and anxiously awaiting its delivery. The very next day yespleasethankyouverymuch.
Nowadays, some online shops even allow you to pay up to 14 days after your purchase (I’m looking at you, Zalando), making it super easy to just click on through and adding things to your basket you’d normally think twice about. I always end up buying and keeping more than I originally planned. And then the 14 days are up and I’m due a few hundred. Yikes.

The main reason for me to do this no-buy is to stop wasting. Not only my money, but also my time. I really feel like it’s time for me to move on from fast fashion and invest in better quality clothing, preferably from sustainable brands. Last October, I bought this amazing jumper from a high street brand but sadly, it already looks like I’ve been wearing it for 5 winters on end. Sure, I got a good 3 months of wear out of it and it was only 25 euros, but I’d rather spend 3 times that amount for a jumper I can actually wear multiple winters and still have it look good. Now that would be money (and resources) well spent, wouldn’t it?
I’d also like to stop wasting so much time and energy on online shopping and trying to keep up with what’s hot and happening atm. It’s so easy for me to spend hours and hours (and hours) on the sofa, browsing multiple online shops to see what’s new and what tickles my fancy. Before I know it, it’s time for bed and I didn’t really spend my night the way I planned.
I’m also very aware of how much of a snowflake ‘problem’ this is. It’s only since I started working a few years ago that I’ve been able to buy myself nice things. I have lived the reality of not being able to buy the things I want (even if those wants were very modest), or for settling for the cheapest version available. It’s not that I was poor, I always had a student job up until my masters’, but I was just making the most of what ever money was available.

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plan of non-action

Ok, I decided that if I really was going to do this, I’d have to set myself some clear rules. The most important one was, of course, to stop browsing and buying from online shops. If I don’t go have a look-see, I won’t be tempted to buy something. That also includes not popping out to the shops during my lunch break at work. I’m not allowed to buy any new fashion or interior items – not even on sale.
I did allow myself to buy second hand items. I go to the local thrift shop about once a month, and I go online looking for vintage goodies when it strikes my mood. Stumbling upon something cool second hand can be rare, so I wasn’t going to go completely poop on my party by not allowing myself to buy a nice find. So I didn’t.
I also allowed myself to spend money on experiences. The whole point of this challenge isn’t to skimp on every penny possible, it’s trying to break myself free from my ‘wasteful’ spending behavior. I go to the cinema about once a month (whenever something good is  released at least) and grab a nice dinner or lunch once every few weeks. If I wanted to go out more and spend more money on experiences than I normally would, I’d allow it. Experiences make memories, a 4th pair of black ankle boots do not.

 

did I succeed?

Not really. Lol.

But!

It hasn’t been a complete bust. I haven’t been mindlessly scrolling around on the ol’ familiar webshops, but I’ve been researching fair fashion and sustainable brands, browsing their online shops and enjoying their editorials. Sustainable fashion is usually a bit more pricey than your average high street brand, so you tend to think twice before you purchase. I made small wish list and I hope to invest in a spring/summer capsule wardrobe very soon. It all comes down to picking the right pieces that are versatile and are wearable all year round.

I’m not going to lie, it’s been hard resisting Aziz Ansari’s voice in the back of your head telling you to ~ treat yo’self ~ when you see the most perfect vegan heeled sandals ever. And I caved. Once. I ordered me a pair of vegan loafers from Ahimsa on the Avesu webshop, but I had to send them back because they didn’t fit and my size wasn’t available anymore. So yeah, oops. Now I’m left empty handed and with the feeling I can’t even make it one month without spending on clothes. Darnit.

Oh, and I also bought some second hand goodies (it was allowed!!!). I found myself a super warm flanel shirt (which also fits my boyfriend – so double win), a fancy pair of blue slacks and a striped jumper. For the total price of 6,25 euro. Bam.

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So what did I learn in this no-buy month (or at least my attempt to)? It turns out I can’t resist browsing for fashion inspiration, whether that’s through the brand’s online shop, pinterest or other blogs. Should I feel bad about it? I think not – I’ve always been interested in experimenting with my clothes and how I look but it’s only since a couple of years I actually have financial freedom to really buy and try out different things. So I guess I’ve discovered that fashion (in its broad sense) and styling has become more of an interest to me.

With that being said, I want to turn into a new direction with my fashion choices. I hope I can resist to buy from high street brands and fast fashion, and start experimenting more with sustainable, ethical, vegan and / or ecological brands. A wishlist is coming soon.

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