About this time last year I embarked on a new frame of mind as a fashion consumer. I stopped shopping. I had reached saturation point. By the end of August this year when I gave up the house I rented and moved back into house share accommodation, thus getting rid of almost everything I owned, I had already had my light bulb moment.
Not owning lots of things has been cathartic (my buzz word for 2016). It has been my detox. In the same way that you might give up coffee or cigarettes or alcohol I gave up shopping for shopping’s sake. I was just sick of it. And it feels really good.
Now, I only buy things when I really need them and I think about where they come from. I have time to consider this because I am not constantly reaching for the rail in the nearest shop. The effect has been extraordinary. My realisation – shopping does not make you happy. It makes you dissatisfied. It makes you broke. It makes you frustrated.
Even better, it’s had a knock on effect to my food shopping habits. I don’t impulse buy in the supermarket anymore. I don’t buy junk. I haven’t bought a chocolate bar since September. And it wasn’t a conscious decision. It just sort of happened. I didn’t need it. Once you rationalise the difference between wanting and needing, the rest is plain sailing. The additional knock on effect is that I am happy. Far happier than I have been in a long time.
The psychology of shopping and happiness is not a new concept by any means. I made it the subject of my final year dissertation at university. So I was already aware of the shopping/misery loop and how the stores rope you in. But implementing it and experiencing how one effects the other has been a very interesting experiment.
When I do go out, shopping is no longer a minefield. I am not swung by sales, or 241 offers unless it is something that I do need, or already use anyway. And I go into town less on shopping expeditions. I have more genuine me time.
Of course, I’ve had to streamline because I don’t earn a lot. I don’t even have a regular wage. I run my own business. My income is dependant on a whole range of factors. And I’ve tailored my lifestyle to fit within that budget. But because I have dealt with all the above, coping with the lower wage and prioritising how I spend what I do earn, is also easier.
More money does not make you happier, it makes you spend more which makes you more miserable. Do you see where I’m going with this?
Because I am now only shopping when I really need something I am also considering where those things come from and realising the value of sustainable, ethical and UK made. And probably because I have more money available I have found that I am buying more expensive things. I buy everything with the intention that it will last. I am also researching my purchases more too. I’ve been looking at branded items and sustainable sources. Something I would never have done before because I just didn’t have the money.
I can’t hope to convert any of you to this way of thinking. Mindful shopping is a way of life not a quick fix until the next sales day. If you’ve already discovered it, then you know how good it feels. If you’re still on the cycle of shop cheap, buy often and repeat, you won’t know what I’m talkiing about. You may never know. But if you’re already bored of the Saturday binge cycle and want to break out of money draining habits, maybe this is for you.
It could change your life. If not, it may change your outlook and make you a happier person. And we could all do with a little more genuine happiness in our lives.
For all things Falcieri Designs check out my website at www.falcieridesigns.co.uk