A Year (Almost) Without Shopping

For most people, New Year's means drinking champagne and making a half-hearted resolution to lose that last ten pounds. For me, it signals the end of the month-long retail bacchanal known as the holiday season. I'm not against buying gifts for the kids and family, but unfortunately for me, spending time in the shopping arena means constant temptation to buy stuff for myself. And by stuff, I mean clothes. I celebrated New Year's Eve by making one last night-before-the-diet stop at my favorite store, picking up only a navy open cardigan, on sale. This will have to last through the spring, so I'd better wisely choose something that fits well and is versatile.

I've given up shopping before, for short periods, like Lent. This time, I am attempting something I've never tried - heck I'm not even sure is possible: giving up shopping for an entire year. I recognize that for many people, this is a frivolous resolution and the choice to shop or not is made by their budgets. I have been fortunate enough to be able to recreationally pick up a new top while stopping by Target for toothpaste or to lift my mood with a new tube of lipstick. Just look in my closet.

The thing is, that high of acquiring a new thing is temporary in most cases. And my budget could be better spent in other places. Like how I complain that our family never gets to travel anywhere on a "real" vacation. Or how I wish I could afford that really good camera.

I know it's not possible for a girl like me — who's looked toward retail therapy as long as I can remember — to go completely cold turkey. There will be guidelines. And a few occasional allowed "outs", sort of methadone for the shopaholic. It's worth a try.

Grace Hwang Lynch blogs about life in an Asian mixed race family at www.HapaMama.com

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