Well, folks, I am over 6 weeks into my buy-nothing challenge for 2020 and I am proud to announce that I am going strong! So far, anyway!
Things I've Bought Since January 1
Purchases on the approved list (category)
As I look at this list, I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I feel like this list is too long! There are 19 items on this list, the equivalent of buying about 3 items a week! So I definitely feel like I can buy less. But considering its the initial intro period of the challenge - and that I'm preparing my apartment for a new roommate, to boot - this seems maybe okay. Outside of the approved list, I can count the number of maybe-not-quite-essential items on two hands. So that feels maybe okay too.
Ultimately, I feel better about this list when I consider all of the opportunities I had to buy things. Some opportunities that stand out to me:
Repairing my wallet, rather than buying a new one.
Around mid-January, my wallet somehow ripped and there was a big gash causing my various cards to slip out! Usually, I would just buy a new wallet, but this time I had to repair it. I MacGyver'ed a solution and ended up super-gluing the tear shut. Now it's good as new!
Tackling a rusty soap dispenser rather than tossing it.
I have a mason jar soap dispenser in my bathroom, and the lid to the dispenser keeps rusting all the time! (Not surprising, I know.) I've been fighting a losing battle with the rust for months now, but I've only shown up halfheartedly to the fight. No more! I used vinegar and baking soda to get as much rust off the lid as possible, then I put a sealer on it, then I painted it, and then I sealed it again! Who's boss now, rust?!?!
Avoiding random purchases during a trip.
I recently traveled to Florida to visit my niece (see: birthday presents above). Normally when I visit somewhere I like to pick up a little souvenir from my trip - like a magnet, or a picture, or a book, etc. But not this time! It was tempting to pick up something small while we were in a gift shop, but my challenge kept me accountable.
Generally avoiding Target.
You know the deal with Target, don't pretend. When I went to Target to buy cosmetics (AFTER I had used up what I already had), I strategically parked next to the entrance closer to the cosmetic section so that I wouldn't need to walk through the store to get what I needed. Random Target purchases are kind of a thing for me, so this move definitely helped!
Bracing Myself: Anticipating Future Cravings for Retail Therapy
All in all, I feel like these first several weeks have gone relatively well. I've learned some important lessons about the loopholes I give myself in order to justify buying things. Loopholes like: "this is broken," or "dealing with this is too much of a hassle," or "I'm traveling," or "a few extra items in my cart is no big deal." It's been helpful to mind those loopholes and find ways to avoid them in the past month.
But I think the relatively smooth sailing I've been enjoying lately will soon turn into rough chop. Full disclosure, y'all, it's about to get pretty real for me. For starters, my beloved roommate of 6 years will be moving out in the next 2 weeks and I'll soon be processing the loss of seeing her every single day. Though she'll still be nearby, it won't be the same as living together. We'll both be navigating new life chapters and it'll certainly be an adjustment for both us. On top of that, I'm a couple weeks post-break-up. The break-up itself was mutual and the right thing to do, but I'm adjusting back to the single life and, eventually, I'll "get back out there" again. Then on top of all that, some craziness in my work life has lately been leading to lots of long days and a fair amount of work stress.
All that feels like a perfect recipe for feeling overwhelmed, and when I feel overwhelmed I often find myself craving retail therapy. And as much as I'm not looking forward to those cravings, I am oddly looking forward to noticing them and tracing them in greater depth and detail. I think the lessons of this challenge will get real at the same time that life gets messy, and odd as it may sound, I'm anticipating that with a curious heart.
Till next time!