Today I went to Chatswood, which is a area of Sydney with a sizeable shopping district. There are 3 shopping complexes within a block of each other. I had to go to two of these shopping centres to return stuff I’d previously bought (prior to my no spend month). I knew this would be a test of my willpower and I was right.
Here is the list of things I wanted to buy (but didn’t) during the short 2 block journey from the carpark, to store 1, then the walk to store 2 and then back to the car.
- Bonsai tree
- Spanish paella
- Chorizo, prawns and garlic mushrooms
- Boost smoothie
- 2 x floor cushions
- Fur rug
- Another mug
- Himalayan salt lamp
- Sausage bread roll
I am so thankful I had planned ahead and ate a homemade lunch before I went to the shops, otherwise I definitely would’ve definitely got the chorizo and prawns and the smoothie.
A few things I realised on my trip:
- I have never had to say no to myself so many times in such a short period
- The shopping culture/habit was developed when I was very young. It’s currently school holidays now, so there were many groups of kids just hanging around shopping centres today and that reminded me of how I used to do that when I was young. I mean if you spend your free time as a kid hanging out at shopping centres with friends then of course you’re going to develop a shopping habit.
- How much money I would’ve usually wasted on small things (e.g. smoothie, food, a mug, etc), which I never realised before.
Even though I am still in the very early stages of the no spend challenge, I can feel my thought patterns beginning to change slowly and it’s like I’m learning from scratch how to differentiate a ‘need’ from a ‘want’.
It has also highlighted how mindlessly I used to buy things, it was like I was on autopilot handing out money to whichever store wanted it. Now I feel like I have to go to the other end of the spectrum and be extremely conscious and deliberate with every decision, no matter how small. I basically need to learn to say no to absolutely everything so that I can recalibrate my decision making process when it comes to purchasing and maybe in future I can find some middle ground.
Lastly, I did get a few things, however I am still counting it as no spend because it was an exchange for some of the items I returned at the first store, so technically I didn’t have to spend any money on it AND I still ended up getting a refund of $64. The three items I got were:
- Striped button-up shirt – I’ve been looking for one like this for the last 4 months so I definitely been wanting this for a long time
- Knit top – I have no reason for wanting this aside from it looks good on me
- Sling bag – I’ve been using the one I have basically every day for the last year and it’s looking a little worn, so I wanted a replacement
Just in case I change my mind, I’m leaving the tags on these items for a few days and I’ll see how I feel about them by next week. If I still love them then I’ll keep them, if not I’ll return them.
*UPDATE* – I just tried on the knit top again. I like it but I don’t love it, so it’s going back.