A Year of No Shopping

Inspired by this piece in the NYT Sunday Review section a few weeks ago: My Year of No Shopping.

I like to lead a simplified life, and what better way to simplify than to give up shopping, if just for a year? I decided I would sign up for 2018, and thought I would invite others here to join me. This is all about an individual choice, so no need to deprive your children or your significant other unless they want to join in as well. And if you read the article, you’ll see the author made a few exceptions, which I think were quite reasonable:

For me, I can give up buying books and rely on the library. I gave up all my magazine subscriptions years ago, and read them at the library if I need. There’s a very good library in walking distance from my house. I might expand the gift options to consumables (specifically, wine). I’ve been favoring that for a long time anyway, since most people I know have enough “stuff”, and picking up a bottle of wine is easy as pie. If my car battery dies, I will buy another one, just like I’ll buy a new hot water heater if the one in my house dies. But no new computer, which I really was planning on this year (unless it dies, of course). I can stretch the one I have for 12 more months. No new clothes, furniture, golf items (man, is my golf bag in bad shape!), shoes, music, electronic items, or other toys.

If we get enough folks joining in, maybe we can keep the thread going throughout the year. I did clear this with the mods, and they gave it the OK, but asked that we don’t bump it unnecessarily. If it dies, it dies, but I’ll give it one bump at the end the year if it makes sense to see how we did. We’re not signing any petitions or joining any group outside this MB.

Full disclosure: I’m a guy who hates to shop anyway, and I’m old enough to have spent many years buying anything I needed, so I’m not expecting this to be some great sacrifice. Just one more way to keep things simple. If you want to join, best of luck. Set your own rules-- the main thing is to keep true to what you expect of yourself, not what any anyone else is doing.

I have done it for months at a time since reading, over a year ago, My year of no spending is over – here’s how I got through it, which outlines the results of an even harsher regime.

I allowed myself to eat out with friends (food is just food whoever prepares it) and entertainment (occasional movies and live events but no books) but, other than that, just bought essentials. Much in the same spirit that you have suggested.

The most interesting thing about the experience is that, although I consider myself not terribly acquisitive, I have to constantly remind myself, “No, you don’t need that.” Once in a while I forget and break the thread but I will start again today.

Mind you it is forecast to be 113° outside today so staying home will be easy.

I read that article, but this project is not for me.

I went through a long period of being dead broke. I’d pay my bills at the end of the month-- wait, let me restate that: I’d go through my bills and pay some of them and not pay the ones I could let slide-- and then I’d have literally $25.00 left to my name until next payday. No savings, no family to fall back on. Nothing. When I got to the last $125.00 car payment on a SIX-year car loan, I could not come up with the money, so I went down to the bank and they REFINANCED the loan for $125.00 (probably plus a fee-- I don’t remember), and I paid it off the following month. This was a little over 40 years ago. The one thing I could afford was $4.00 half gallons of wine, which I drank by the half-gallon.

Having said all that (TMI), I’m financially okay now. Not wealthy, not well-off, not even “comfortable,” but okay. I let myself buy pretty much whatever I want, mostly books, but also groceries at Whole Foods, the occasional electronic gadget, makeup, pedicures, and handbags. I don’t go overboard. Restricting myself for amusement or on principle or to see if I can do it or for any other reason isn’t something I ever want to do again. YMMV.

Live simply so that others can simply laugh.

Me? Having lived rather frugally for much of my adult life, especially in the last 15 years or so, I suddenly and unexpectedly acquired an expensive hobby (this was about August of 2016) and have been burning through my life savings like a bonfire ever since. And when it’s gone, it’s GONE.

Ok, I’m really curious what this hobby might be. For some inane reason the first thing that comes to mind is vintage firearm collecting.

I eat every day, so I shop almost every day. I like to shop. Gives me a chance to drive my cars.


What’s it, Senegoid?