How I Stopped Buying Stuff

Looking back over the entries of this blog, I’m amazed by so many early posts antagonising over a shopping addiction. I’m amazed because, without making any particular effort, I just don’t buy anything anymore and certainly don’t antagonise over it.

I’ve been thinking about how and why this might have happened.

  1. Something to do with a shift in philosophy, in this case from environmentalism* to minimalism. I used to thing I shouldn’t buy things I didn’t strictly need because CONSUMERISM IS EVIL, destroys the planet and encourages a system where people aren’t payed a living wage.** Therefore this basically translated as ‘I love shopping and want lot’s of pretty new things but can’t because it will make me a bad person.’ Any argument that suggests something is fun but bad won’t actually stop people doing anything, just make them feel guilty about it. But as I started to read more about minimalism and simplifying my life/possessions I came to the realisation that not buying stuff would actually make me happier, and it did. It also means I can afford to go on holiday. That’s a more convincing argument.
  2. When started this blog I worked part-time to earn money. Now I work full-time in a job I’m really interested in. I’m no longer bored enough to wander the high street, or really have time if I wanted to.
  3. I live in the middle of the countryside: I have to get in the car, drive for 15 minutes, and pay for parking if I want to spend a day shopping. It is much easier to sit in the garden/go for a walk/crochet etc. The effort required means I no longer shop mindlessly.
  4. I’m happy. Now I’m certainly not suggesting this is the case for everyone, but my shopping habit came from a place of insecurity. I needed new things to reinvent myself into the person I wanted to be, and to cheer myself up on days I felt like my life wasn’t going anywhere. I’m a lot happier in my own skin now and confident in who I am (go me).
  5. Linked to this, I feel less of a need for reinvention because I have (finally) development some sort of personal style. I know what suits me, what I feel good in and am happy enough with this to stop feeling the need to buy new clothes all the time. Ignoring fashion trends has also helped with this, as well as giving up stupid magazines.
  6. Finally, I’ve come to terms with what I’m not and am happy with this. I am not a high heel wearer (I will always leave them under a bar stool and go home with glass stuck in the bottom of my foot). I feel self-conscious in anything too short or too tight, so will spend the evening I was supposed to wow everyone with my sexiness hiding in the corner. I am most confident wearing jeans because I am most comfortable wearing jeans – I can sit cross-legged on the floor (as I always end up doing) without flashing my pants. That’s just me.


* This doesn’t mean I’ve stopped thinking about myself as an environmentalist.

** This hasn’t stopped being true.