4.28.2009

The Spending Hiatus – Closure… and What’s Next

lovely photo by mrs. french (of course ;-)


After subjecting you to my attempts to take a hiatus from mindless, non-essential purchases for three months, I figured you deserved a little bit of closure. (Or, maybe it’s me that needs some closure, so bear with a long post...)

I’ve been thinking about how to adequately sum up my experience, and all I can come up with is that it was one of my very. best. experiences. Seriously. Ok, I know that seems dramatic (and somewhat unbelievable)… How, you ask, can “not shopping” for a few months be a person’s very best experience? What kind of sad, boring life do I have? Here’s how: not shopping, not thinking about shopping, not planning to shop, etc… left loads time for me to do all the things that I previously thought I didn’t have time to do… things like cooking and reading and taking a sewing class, like going to museums, taking more photos, making weekly trips to the library, doing more projects with the girlies.

Not shopping also made me appreciate what I already have in a more heightened way. I made new outfits with existing pieces in my closet, discovered things in drawers and cabinets that had been tucked away un-used… When I did cheat, like on Audrey’s little blue dress, the treats in Marfa, the bikes (we love our new bikes!), I cherished them in ways I didn’t even think possible… And now, almost three weeks post-hiatus, I am completely in love with this “new life” of ours.

And as with most things in life, now that I can shop I don’t want too, which makes things pretty easy for now… I’m not sure how long this virtuousness will last though, so I’ve been thinking of what “checks” I can institute to ensure I don’t revert to my old ways. I firmly believe most of my success during the actual hiatus wasn’t due to my super-human will-power (trust me friends, I’m weak…) No, it was because every week I knew I had to be accountable to you… That’s the whole purpose of a support group, no?

So I was thinking I’d replace my Monday hiatus post with a “what I bought this week” post. My thinking here is that this will help me be mindful about the non-essential things I buy moving forward if I’m forced to tell you about them…

So what do you think? Are you sick of hearing about this?

And while we’re asking questions, how are my support group folks feeling now that you’re all done? I know some of you like Miss Aimee and Paula are continuing the hiatus; I know that Rachel’s first post-hiatus purchase was a lovely glass straw…

How about the rest of you... What's life like post-hiatus?

26 comments:

Virginia said...

So inspiring to hear how much this has improved your life! I spend so much time thinking and planning home purchases. It's our first home, but still... Would love to keep hearing about this topic from you.

LobotoME said...

beautiful post - and yes, please keep us all updated & inspired. I joined Aimee's continuing project... http://lobotomeblog.blogspot.com/2009/04/spending-hiatus.html

erin said...

i think it's a wonderful idea: living thoughtfully.

Cassandra said...

It was an awesome experience. I posted about it here: http://dandelionbones.blogspot.com/2009/04/follow-yellow-brick-road.html

I too am continuing. It really has changed me.

onesilentwinter said...

i just wanted to let you know how much i appreciated you documenting your experience. i have been on a spending hoatus for along. long time..the things that i really like the most about it, is how much is not wasted, how i ask myself is is a must, a need, or a want and is there a better way for the environement, for my wallet and for the children we do not have yet.

i love the simplicity and appreciation it has brought into our home.

Loop and Lil said...

Congratulations! I ended up only sticking to the "official" hiatus for a little over a month, but found that the things I've bought over the remaining two months have been few, and purchased with no sense of regret. I guess I'm now on an unofficial hiatus indefinitely!

Thanks to you for hosting the group!

Cathy said...

I'm an new reader, but I have throughly enjoyed learning all about your spending hiatus. It is a way of life for me. So glad that you found yourself opening up to the world. Please continue writing about this topic. I'll be reading.

cheers!

Sarah said...

Definitely enjoyed hearing about the spending hiatus and I'd love to continue to read about what mindful spending you've done throughout the week!

Jen said...

I enjoyed the hiatus posts! Have you ever seen the Story of Stuff? I think I've only entered a Target twice since watching it, in 2007! It's on Youtube.

Good luck continuing!

Rachel said...

You're amazing for coming up with the hiatus! I never would have done it on my own and I'm so, so happy that I did. I feel like it's changed my life. I was also amazed by how much free time I have when I don't shop. I love it.

Anne said...

I'm so inspired by this. Please keep us informed with your new Monday posts!

Jenni said...

I loved reading about your spending hiatus! It encouraged me that maybe I didn't need to spend money and we're now saving up to buy a puppy!

Stephanie said...

I really, truly enjoyed participating in the spending hiatus. I can't tell you how much I learned about the way I think & the patterns that had developed in my life. I am much better off for having gone through this detox. Thanks so much for rallying us all together! It really did make the difference for me.

I'm interested in your Monday feature, but I must respectfully say, wouldn't it be better to focus on all those new events/experiences in your life you so eloquently described & not the lovely things you bought? Part of my realization during this process was that it is often best to avoid temptation to ward off Want. I tried to stay out of the malls, I didn't open those catalogs, & I learned which blogs to avoid. It's a whole shift in focus. Sharing with us the details of things you have bought might just perpetuate the Want.

Joslyn said...

Stephanie...what a great point! maybe there's a way to combine the two without perpetuating the want...
good comment. thanks!

Lauren said...

please keep us updated! I found the whole hiatus to be quite inspiring (I ended up joining the party in february, and just ended my official hiatus last week) and I would love to hear about what you're purchasing/not purchasing/doing instead of shopping even now that its over. thanks!

Rita Finn said...

As I've rejoined the spending hiatus with Miss Aimee at Mostly Mod, I could use continued support. I would love to hear about your thoughtful spends, it somehow builds up my strength!

Feli said...

It's so inspiring reading your spending hiatus post. I am so tempted to do it for a month first to see how I go. I will definitely let you know if I have the go ahead.

Thank you sooo much for sharing your experience with the rest of the world.

Signorina Svizzera said...

Well, as a University student (in Switzerland! gah! can you say expensive?) I am already on my own spending hiatus the entire time I am at school. I know exactly what you mean about those few purchases you make feeling so much more special. I bought fancy hair rinse ( from Klorane: Vinegar and Camomile rinse for blondes) the other day and almost swooned I felt so fabulous :)

gretchen said...

it is awesome and important. congrats. i regularly do a hiatus, one month out of every three. so it is an ongoing thing for me. it is great to get in the habit of deferring non essential purchases. i like how it feels. i am also off hiatus this month and bought some fancy japanese green tea from ito en, a great casual summer dress (on sale) from j crew, some orange wellies for gardening, some really cool art supplies.

Amber said...

i've been thinking about doing this. only thinking and definitely not doing it at the moment, but it's a very very interesting idea. hmmm... i'll have to think some more.

Kristin said...

I love to hear how much you got out of this! It's inspiring...

Ani said...

i'm definitely interested in hearing more. i am inspired to do this but i am so weak. i made an unofficial hiatus but it didn't last more than a week. ugh! maybe seeing more will strengthen my will.

Amanda said...

I would have to agree with what you said. The hiatus made me so much more aware of how much time I spent mindlessly shopping or thinking about shopping or lemming over things I didn't really even want/need. And realizing that I don't need so.much.stuff. has had a huge impact. I've decided to buy fewer things but more quality (AND more natural products, even if they do cost a wee bit more), something I could never really commit to before. And I cleaned out my closets today- I removed over 50 items of clothing today alone! I feel so much lighter now, and less burdened. I'm more aware of what I have, what I need, and what can wait. Which makes me feel a lot more proud.

Did I mention that at the end of the hiatus I noticed I had a LOT more money in the bank? Those little purchases must have added up!

~Amanda

Amanda said...

PS I hear you on feeling weak and needing some kind of control too. I've set a monthly "budget"- the amount of money a month that I can spend on unessentials, however I want. That way I still can't buy mindlessly- we'll see how it works though!

~Amanda

Mrs.French said...

each and everytime I read about this amazing hiatus of yours I am inspired...I am hoping that at one point, I become so inspired that I decide to implement it...I am still working my way up to that point.

I, for one, am really looking forward to your new Monday posts...you are my hero!
xxoo t

Mrs.French said...

oh and...thank you for featuring my photo on such a meaningful post...such an honor...xo t