I Quit Shopping For A Month And It Was A Break I Never Knew I Needed

When I first started working for The Zoe Report, I wanted to shop more than I ever had in my life. As a fashion editor, I scour the market every day in search of on-trend products for stories. Essentially, I am "shopping" for hours on end in service of our reader. My brain is inundated with covetable new clothes and accessories that run the gamut of brands and stores, from affordable favorites like Zara to designer destinations such as Moda Operandi. So can you really blame me for occasionally adding some of these pieces to cart?

Confessions Of A Kind-Of Shopaholic

This summer marks my year-and-a-half work anniversary at TZR. Since my first day, I've consistently made a few fashion purchases every month. At first it was about dressing better, but as time has gone on, I've begun to experience buyer's remorse. A lot of my purchases collect dust in my closet and end up in an overwhelmingly large donation pile—a classic sign of impulse buying. That few hundred dollars from my paycheck every month could be put toward travel, groceries or even (gasp!) savings. I've begun to feel like I'm shopping just to shop.

A Change Of Plans

Call it auspicious timing or maybe it's the season’s chilled-out pace, but I'm feeling jaded. I've become numb to all the pretty things and bored with what I scroll through every day—there are only so many off-the-shoulder tops after all. I decide to seize this lack of motivation as an opportunity to put the brakes on for a month. (Yes, I know it sounds ridiculous to some that this would be a challenge.) I reserve my shopping brain for work, and once I leave the office I don't visit an online shop or step foot in a brick-and-mortar. And you know what? It's really not so bad. Maybe it's easier because I was already experiencing fatigue. I'm not going to lie: I have some weak moments. At work, I bookmark certain pieces that elicit a double take—but I'm not pining for anything enough to actually buy it. Nevertheless, I immediately feel a weight lifted and start to delve into what I should be spending my hard-earned money on.

I invest more in groceries (which forces me to cook at home and eat better), grabbing drinks with friends (socializing is healthy, right?), trying out workout classes (after a very long hiatus) and attending shows and other summertime activities. I even clear those unworn impulse buys out of my closet. The best part: At the end of the month, my credit card statement is exponentially lower than my last, and the purchases I have made are far more rewarding.

The New Me

Thanks to this experiment, my whole shopping approach has changed. Much like a food cleanse, the break has taught me to be more thoughtful about my choices. Going forward, I'll be more selective with fast fashion, trying only trends that boost my confidence, and save to invest in high-quality versatile pieces that elevate my wardrobe. More importantly, I'll continue to shift my spending to areas that are more satisfying in the long run. I now know I can cook a delicious meal at the drop of a hat (and navigate the aisles of Trader Joe's like a ninja), I'm spending more quality time with friends, and I'm engaging in experiences I'll remember. Beats a $50 top any day.