No shopping???!!!

The challenge this week was to only buy food and water - it's harder than it sounds!

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This challenge was a real reminder for me of how far I have (and haven't) come.

Let me give you some background; my name is Vanessa and I shop. I didn't always shop, but it's a habit I'm still struggling to break after very deliberately cultivating it for a long time.

Not long ago, I had a very senior corporate job (yes, that means very well paid...) and that's pretty much all I had. I worked. Even when I "played", I played with colleagues. Even when I "relaxed" I was unpicking a sticky problem in my head. I was the archetypical "cash rich, time poor" girl - boo hoo... And, to be honest, there were things I liked a lot about my job, just not the things you might think. I liked the tricky problems, I liked the adrenaline of critical deadlines; I even liked a lot of my colleagues, which is no surprise because they were generally clever, funny, nice, but driven, people just like me.

I wasn't sure about the 110% lifestyle - you may have gathered I'm a walk by the river on a sunny morning or read a good book on a rainy afternoon kind of girl - but I thought "in for a penny, in for a pound" and that I might as well give it a fair trial so I threw myself into doing the only thing I had time to do with my money. I shopped. And to be fair, for a girl who grew up in a house where there was never enough money to go around, I had a lot of fun indulging my love of quality and quirky fashion. I did it so well that even became my persona - my "hobby", I guess - I was "the girl who loved to shop".

After a while, though, it wasn't so much fun. I got pickier and pickier. My closets got fuller and fuller. But shopping stopped being a treat that I could finally indulge in and became just another activity - almost a chore (I know, "tough life, you jammy cow"...) and totally automatic. Luckily, I could still see that and I realised my experiment hadn't worked. Full closets didn't fill me up. And that's when I started plotting my escape.

I'm self-employed now, and run a fledgling consultancy. Money is tighter when you're self-employed and I've put myself on a budget; it was reconciling that one month that showed me the habit is still there. It's less expensive - it's a new book or a new pen or a new lipstick - but there was still hardly a day that went by that I didn't buy something (ironically, several books about clutter clearing in the last few months). And I honestly didn't know - it was just habit.

So this week of consciously not buying anything has been a chance to reboot. I didn't buy the new book a friend recommended. I didn't buy the new gloves I fancied. I didn't buy another face mask. I could go on and on... And the great thing is that I didn't miss any of them :-)

It's probably to early to say I'm a reformed shopper, but this week has been a huge help on the road to reform! Just for fun, here's a post from my blog showing a step on the way


cat lover, wife, designer, analyst (the spreadsheet kind...), friend, sister, daughter, writer, consultant, lover of beauty...