The Shop-Not Project is done! I completed one year of no shopping on August 31.
* blows trumpet throws confetti purchases 600-page September issue of In Style magazine *
I’d love to say it was a breeze — that I didn’t miss shopping at all, and that I’ve transformed into a less materialistic, less spendy, more centered person.
But that wouldn’t be the whole truth.
Sure, there were many days during the 12 months that I didn’t think about or care about not shopping at all. But I won’t kid you…there were other times when it was just plain painful.
…Like when I had to attend two funerals and combed through my closet over and over looking for something appropriate to wear.
…Or when I dripped Italian salad dressing on my favorite shorts just two weeks into the Shop-Not year.
…And then sat in pine sap in my other favorite pair.
…Or when my cheapie Payless shoes disintegrated, and my husband had to super-glue the heels back in place.
…Or when I chatted with the super stylish moms at school drop-off and felt like a big frumpity bum in my pine sappy shorts.
On the other hand, though, there were significant benefits, and I have absolutely no regrets that I did it (however I do know someone who did a two-year Shop-Not…and I’ll take a pass on that, thank you very much.).
So, in light of 365 successful Shop-Not days, here are my Top 10 Reasons Why Shop-Not Rocks:
10. Less time cruising the aisles of Kohl’s and Target meant more time to read, enjoy the outdoors, hang out with friends and take fun, creative field trips with the kids.
9. Generous friends and hand-me-downs: Diana’s boots, Kristi the Shoe Fairy, Viviana and Aimee knocking on the front door with three bags piled high.
8. Creative ideas: like the Clothing Swap organized by the Edgy Bookworms, my book club girls.
7. A new appreciation for quality craftsmanship. Payless is fine for the trendy fringed booties that will be next year’s look by next week, but if I want shoes that last, I realize now that I’ve got to plunk down a little more quid.
6. The support of friends who regularly checked in on progress [and didn’t rub it in when they sported a new Anne Taylor Loft purse].
5. Talking with my kids about Shop-Not and maybe, just maybe, influencing their attitudes toward the accumulation of more stuff.
4. Closet clarity. I know for sure now, if I didn’t wear an item during an entire year of not shopping, I’m never going to wear it. Off to the Goodwill it goes. Plus the opportunity to get creative with what I already own, instead of simply buying more.
2. Satisfaction: I saved more than $500 and was committed to the program for the entire 12 months [disclaimer: I did purchase two items: a pair of running shoes – because I am old, you know, and my ancient knees couldn’t withstand two-year-old running shoes; and a Cover Girl lip gloss in my favorite shade … because while I vowed to be frugal, I never committed to a year of hideous!].
Pedro lives in Bolivia with his mother and five siblings, and we are so honored to sponsor him through Compassion International with the money I saved from the Shop-Not Project. Pedro’s picture hangs on our refrigerator, and every time I look at his brown eyes and solemn face, I pray that our sponsorship will make a difference in his life.
And can I let you in on a secret? You don’t have to give up shopping for a year to be able to afford a sponsorship. It costs just $38 a month to sponsor Pedro. Seriously. That’s hardly more than the cost of a few lattes and maybe a new lipstick and the fall issue of In Style magazine.
The truth is, it’s not a huge sacrifice. But it makes a huge difference.
Want to learn more? Visit Compassion — in addition to sponsorships, there are a whole lot of ways to make an impact on children and families across the globe.
And consider reading The Hole in Our Gospel, by Richard Stearns. This is the book (along with Ann Voskamp’s posts about her Compassion trip to Guatemala) that prompted the Shop-Not Project (my church is studying the book this fall, so I’ll be reading it again with my small group and writing more about The Hole in Our Gospel here beginning in October).
In the meantime, I simply want to say thanks for your support and encouragement along the way. If it wasn’t for this blogging endeavor, I may never have had the courage to launch the Shop-Not Project, and I may never have been blessed with the opportunity to sponsor little Pedro.
“Being a Christian, or follower of Jesus Christ, requires much more than just having a personal and transforming relationship with God. It also entails a public and transforming relationship with the world…Living out our faith privately was never meant to be an option.”
“There is no ‘whole gospel’ without compassion and justice shown to the poor. It’s that simple.” — Richard Stearns
“If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:17-18
Curious about the Shop-Not journey? You can read other posts I wrote about it during the past 12 months here.