February 13, 2019

Fall and Winter Shopping

How has my new minimalist shopping habit held up during the fall and winter seasons?

I can tell from my credit card statements that I am not spending much. During one month, November, when I was busy writing a novel, I hardly purchased anything outside of the bookstores that hosted the six novel writing events I attended. I also make purchases in cash, but the small number of cash withdrawals at the bank assure me that I am not spending much cash either.

I estimate that I bought 25 articles of clothing, spending almost $200 in this category, or about $40 a month. I have too much clothing already, so it takes a smart-looking bargain to get my attention. I am upgrading my wardrobe but not shrinking it as fast as I had hoped. I threw away 30 to 40 articles of clothing, so I still have more than my drawers and shelves can properly hold.

I was especially throwing shoes away. I had a lot of old shoes, and for a time I was wearing them out and throwing them away at the rate of two pairs a month. I am left with 11 pairs of shoes, not counting boots and sandals, and that is more than I need to have, but not too much more.

An excess of food in the house a year ago was one of the problems that made me want to shop less. I remember estimating how long it would take me to eat the food I already had stored away, then realizing that people would continue to give me food. In the last six months, I have been the lucky recipient of perhaps 100 cans of food and more than a healthy amount of party food. I could live on this food — well, almost. I have been doing well this winter at eating the food I already have on the shelves and minimizing my grocery purchases. Cooking more pancakes than ever, I have made a dent in the inventory of flour and dried milk, along with a few other things that can easily be added to the pancake batter.

Home improvements continue to be my third major category of purchases, and when I look at the number of repairs I would ideally want to make in my house, that pattern is likely to continue through this year.

I must not be the only one who is shopping less, because one month ago one of the local big-box stores moved to a smaller location across the street. I didn’t even see this happen — I learned about it from an online display advertisement. This is a store that I would tell you I depend on, but I think I went to it only twice last year, and I haven’t yet found the time to visit the new location.

After almost a year of going shopping less often, I can easily say that the change has simplified my life. And I say this as someone who has always enjoyed shopping. I get the same enjoyment out of it now even though I am spending less time on it. I look back and I can’t explain how it was that I used to spent twice as much time, attention, and money on shopping.

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