Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A year without shopping

My name is Alyson, and I'm a shopaholic. The first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem right?

I have always had a shopping problem. I truly attribute it to "living without" when I was a child. I was gleefully naive to the allure of department stores and The Gap when I was really young, honestly up until the fifth grade. My mom would take me shopping at Wal-Mart where we would put toys and clothes that I wanted on layaway. We would also go to resale/consignment shops, and I would sift through the gently worn clothing. Once at that age of being a teenager, it was like living in designer label hell. Labels meant everything, and I went so much of my life wanting what I could not have, that suddenly when I had my own job and could have it... oh boy, that was dangerous.

I remember my first big purchase, I bought a pair of the first generation super low jeans from Gap. I remember they had no pockets on the butt, and they were SUPER low, and made me feel mature and older and a little bit like J-Lo (I tried so hard to recreate the outfit she wore in her video for "My Love Don't Cost a Thing".

The real problem did not start until I got my first retail part-time job at The Gap. I told the manager during the interview that I wanted to work at The Gap since I was 14 years old. I would walk by the store in the mall and they all looked so cool. Their chucks, their jeans, their khakis and fuzzy sweaters, especially, the headsets. Well, when you say that it guarantees that they will hire you. I worked at The Gap for 3 years earning a pretty amazing discount, racking up a lot of discount jeans, and spending a good portion of my paycheck. It started this downward spiral of compulsive spending.

Fast forward 4 years and still the same spending problem, in fact, it could be even worse. For about three months straight I spent between $200-$300 a month on clothing. So, then I budgeted using Mint and put aside $100 a month for shopping. But really, $100 a month is still a lot. So, I wanted to take it a step further.

Starting November 16th I will go one year without shopping for clothing. I am being specific about using the word clothing. This one year without shopping does not include shoes, jewelery, bags, etc. To be honest, I am extremely picky when it comes to shoes, jewelery, and bags and I have never gone into a spending frenzy when it comes to those type of things. Considering most of my jewelery comes from Forever 21, spending a wad of cash just isn't feasible.

I realized that I was robbing myself of the simple joys of being creative. I was spending money I could use to take a sewing class, buy a pattern, or buy fabric. Instead, I bought pretty camisoles from Anthropologie (one of which I wear all the time, totally worth it, but I've got a pretty big stack of camisoles).

This year:
  • I will sew.
  • I will paint.
  • I will decorate.
  • I will accessorize.
  • I will try new things.
  • I will create.


  1. Alyson, I am SO proud of you for this. It's going to be a great year!

  2. Alyson - I totally know what you're talking about! Going to Pine Tree was tough because it seemed like everyone we knew had money to buy all the expensive designer clothes and it was super important to have those clothes to be "cool". I too am a bit of a compulsive shopper so KUDOS for doing this! I look forward to reading more on your blog about this!

  3. Anonymous8:35 AM

    get it girl :)
    so proud . . .

  4. i know that you know that i can relate. with every season change i go through a compulsive spending frenzy. i should join you in this endeavor (only after i replace my favorite white tshirt i left in hawaii)

  5. Diana6:00 PM

    Just discovered your blog a few minutes ago and I totally see myself...I'm also a shopaholic, and spending 200-300 a month for clothes seems familiar :(
    But a year without it? It's really though, I admire you for that. I am working on my own blog at the moment, hoping that this will make be a bit more creative with what I already have in my closet.
    Wish you good luck with this!

  6. Amanda1:26 PM

    Hi Allyson, I just came across your blog and you've totally inspired me. I am a major shopaholic and have wanted to stop for ages... I've also been sitting on my butt doing nothing (well I'm raising my newborn baby but you know what I mean) and needed the motivation to get moving. I'm going for a hike today with the baby and I have a brand new (unopened) sewing machine that needs to be used! Thanks for the much needed kick in the butt!

  7. Rachel Horn12:03 AM

    I had never read this one, glad I came back to it. Love you!

  8. OMG! I just found your site via 206 Days, No Repeats. You must be ecstatic with day number 365 arriving tomorrow. Yea!



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