The Mindful Materialist
No-Buy Challenge: The Halfway Point
At the beginning of 2020 I set out on a challenge to buy no new clothes for the whole year. So how have I been doing these past six months?
Second hand clothes: 5
Money spent: $7
I’ve been doing pretty well! This year has been a strange one so far to say the least – with shops and markets closing due to the coronavirus, the temptation has effectively been removed. I haven’t had the opportunity to impulse buy purely because I’ve spent a good portion of my time at home or at work. I can’t deny I’ve done some online browsing, but that hasn’t translated to impulsive shopping. It’s a habit which I’ve wanted to break for so long and I think I’ve finally done it through this challenge. I can’t deny I was tempted a few times: I saw a Louis Vuitton bag for $75 in a vintage shop and a gorgeous handmade scarf in Daylesford for $69, but I resisted. By removing the option to buy, I’ve somehow removed the desire. I’m wearing the things I already own and I’m ‘shopping’ from my own wardrobe.
I was inspired by Signe from Use Less to try out a capsule wardrobe system. So I’m rotating my wardrobe each season and putting the things I don’t need for now in storage boxes. This way I’m reuniting with old favourites each season and it gives me the same joy I get from buying something new. I’m also discovering which colours and fabrics I’m more drawn to in my own wardrobe, so in future I can make smarter decisions based on what I already wear.
Second hand and gifted items
While I set out to stop shopping, that hasn’t stopped friends and family gifting their hand-me-downs and buying birthday presents for me. I’ve inherited a summer wrap dress, a Country Road jumper, a cardigan and jacket from my grandma and a pair of flats from my aunt. My step-mum bought me a gorgeous trench coat from Sézane, and my mum bought me a pair of boots from Obus for my birthday. I also needed a black jumper for work, so I decided to look in a charity shop and I snapped one up for $7. This is the only thing I’ve spent money on, but it was pre-loved and something I needed for work so I’m ok with that.
So what have I done with the money I’ve saved?
I’ve saved! It’s amazing how much your bank account grows when you don’t spend money. I’ve spent some savings on books, a new car battery (ouch), plants and some magazine subscriptions and I’ve also bought a couple of puzzles to get me through the lockdown weeks, but that's it!
What about supporting local business?
I’ve felt really torn this year with so many businesses struggling through coronavirus restrictions. It’s been rather tempting to quit my challenge and buy things for the sake of supporting Australian small businesses. But the whole point of this challenge is to question my consumption habits and live with less. In light of that, I decided instead to research brands and curate my brand directory, share them on social media and tell my friends about alternatives to the high street shops. I’ve had people messaging me asking for advice and wanting to know about Australian brands they can support, and that has been such a rewarding feeling. So while I may not be supporting businesses with my wallet right now, I’m supporting them in other ways. And when I can shop again, I’ll be making informed decisions about what I need and which businesses I want to support.
What is on my shopping list for next year?
By cutting out shopping, I’ve become better acquainted with what I already have (and what I don’t have). So far, the only thing I’ve been continuously wanting to buy is a sweater – I’ve realised all my current jumpers are knitwear and they’re not the best for exercising in. I’ve spent time researching the ethics, sustainable practices and fabrics of Australian brands so that when I choose to buy that sweater next year, I’ll be making a heavily informed decision. Besides that, there is nothing I’ve been lacking. I have more than enough clothes, and this challenge has been a great way to prove that to myself.
Here’s to another six months!