August 28, 2009

Could You Stop Shopping for One Year?


Yesterday after school, my eight year old daughter had a dentist appointment; I sat in the kid-friendly waiting room with my two sons and thumbed through the latest issue of Good Housekeeping, a magazine I haven't read in I don't know how long.

This article caught my eye: Could You Survive Without Shopping for a Year?. I read it and found myself asking the same thing - could I, could we do this?

If you read through the article online (which appears to be the full article, not an abbreviated version), you can see the author had certain things they could buy - groceries, for one, or anything defined as edible or depletable - but that was it. Impulse buying, shopping for pleasure, and giving in to the sheer I-want-it-now was off limits.

It's interesting to note that this personal experiment by the author was in 2003, six years ago, well before the explosion of deal-blogging and coupon-blogging and the implosion of our nation's housing market and economy in general.

So, could I do this?

I can honestly say that I'm not sure. I tend to be strategic in my spending (ie: buying LL Bean shoes in a size larger for my daughter to grow into because they were only $3.50 with free shipping after clearance pricing + a few bucks I had left on a gift card), so I can also honestly say I'm not an impulse shopper. In fact, I really don't like shopping at all, hence my love of internet shopping and eBay. I research and price compare online before I buy and always, always, always search for coupon codes and use one of my cash back shopping sites.

Both Knute (my hubs) and I tend toward frugal by nature and necessity (sending our kids to Catholic school requires it) and part of that for me is being that strategic spender, grabbing deals on items we'll need in the future (usually for the kids or on those depletable items like shampoo and soap and groceries). Could I give up that strategic spending mindset on items like clothes and shoes for the kids? Hmmm...

At the end of the article (pages 6 & 7 online), there were two moms who talked about their own similar experience in ditching shopping. I found myself reading those and thinking that for some people, doing a mini-version of this could be an eye-opening experience. Impulse spending and shopping-as-sport are the norm for many people in our consumer culture as is eating out two or three times a week.

So what do you think? Hop over and skim the article when you have time to read more if your curiosity is piqued (as mine was) and weigh in with your thoughts. I'd love to hear your take on this!

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