I am one month into my ‘no spending’ challenge that I’ve taken up for lent this year. And it’s going ok. I’ve still done our grocery shopping and I’ve bought a couple of ‘approved essentials’ but that’s it.
It’s mostly not been too bad. I don’t really need anything so it’s not like I’ve had to go without. And pinterest and a bunch of thrifty ladies (check out the ‘thriftythursday’ hashtag on twitter) have been brilliant for inspiring me to get my craft on and figure out ways of injecting beauty and newness into my home that doesn’t actually involve buying anything. I’ve started to think a bit differently about need which I’m hoping will continue to shape the way I spend.
So that’s the mostly. But the other bit has been reeeaaallly hard. And the other bit happens when shiny new things are thrust (so, I know I’m 32, but writing that word made me titter. Sorry. Moving on.) before me. I hadn’t realised how much of my attention shopping grabs. I am bombarded with emails from Not on the High Street, John Lewis, Fat Face, GLTC (I know. Could I be any more stereotypical?!). Catalogues from Boden, The White Company and other shops I can’t afford fall on my doorstep daily. There are Next and Amazon apps on my phone. And then there’s actually going to shops. So much beautiful stuff. And when I don’t know it exists, I’m perfectly content. Happy with all the stuff I already have. Excited to start a craft project that will turn something crappy into something special. But when I see it, I become convinced that I neeeeeeeeeed it.
On Saturday, I was all excited about turning a jam jar into a very funky toothbrush holder for my bathroom. Then on Monday – ‘ping’ – an email pops into my inbox and now I am absolutely convinced that THE thing I need to make my new bathroom lovely is an Orla Kiely toothbrush holder. Darn it! I was doing so well!
My commitment to not spending has forced me to not give into those temptations and has also prompted me to think about how much access I give the forces of consumerism to my head. As I am no Jedi knight, and therefore unable to use or ignore the force, I need to just stay well clear. And so now when an email ‘pings’ into my inbox, I scroll right to the bottom and find the ‘unsubscribe’ link. When a catalogue hits my doorstep, I take it to my computer and remove myself from their mailing list. And shops, at the moment I’m just trying to stay well clear! But when I do go, I go with a list and have stayed away from anything that’s not on it. Some people may love window shopping, but I have come to realise that for me, it’s really unhealthy. My equilibrium is massively rocked by this feeling of need that I know is a lie.
I’m hoping that by removing these things now when lent is over, it’ll all be a little easier but I know I’ve still got a massive journey to go on before I can call myself a responsible consumer. But for now, I’ll continue to hit ‘unsubscribe’ and collect my jam jars and tin cans!