The challenge, if you choose to accept it


My friend Denise was in town for my birthday party this weekend and we spent some time with a really lovely friend of hers, who told Denise that she had gone a year without buying herself something; no clothes, no makeup, no shoes. Amazing! Denise and I share some unfortunate shopping habits.  To put it simply, we both shop if we are having a bad day. And we both like nice things.


Last week, I found myself walking through the mall. It wasn’t even that I needed something. I knew why I was there. And it definitely was NOT because I needed something. I always thought the concept of a shopping addiction was bunk (like, if you are supposedly “addicted”, then just don’t shop). But when you think of it from the standpoint of what you get from the experience, it makes sense. I’m just thankful that I knew what I was doing when I was doing it. So there weren’t any major impulse purchases (did you ever wonder how I ended up with a scooter? Well now you know).


So Denise and I were discussing the shocking notion of going a year without shopping. For her, a year without Vuitton and Laboutain. For me, without Chloe. A YEAR! Yeah, a year is too long, so what we agreed to do was to each go 3 months without shopping for ourselves. No couture, no makeup, no shoes or handbags, home furnishings. Nothing that is not a necessity of life. I loved the idea of the challenge. I’ve got a credit card bill to pay-off (not a big one, but I don’t like even the idea of having credit card debt). I want to save more, maybe pay off my car. And I want to understand how shopping is like rain drops in a bucket; drip (I “need”new shoes), drip (it’s on sale), drip (this color looks good on me), drip (I’m bored). The cumulative impact is significant. I may surprise myself by how much money I am not spending during these three months.


Aside from the saving of the money, I need to learn how to react to life’s stress in a more productive way. I guess that step one was to limit the amount of news I watch (which I have mentioned before). That helps. This is step two. Getting rid of the mindless shopping trips and replacing them with yoga and meditation (which I, admittedly, let fall by the wayside when I was sick and have yet to pick back up in any meaningful way). To regain my focus on healthy eating and exercise (lost my excuse for not going to the gym). To challenge myself to be aware of not only what I am doing, but also why.


I love taking on challenges where you tap into your own willpower. The result is totally within my control. No skill is required. So I think I can totally do this. For me, it will take more mindfulness. So here we go…


Denise, our 3 month challenge starts now!

Comments (6)

  1. DY says:

    I went a week once without buying anything for myself. Moment of transparency… OK, OK I compensated with a venti Chai every morning during that period. I’m weak.

  2. HeatherLeigh says:

    Food is not a restricted purchase in our challange. I can easily go a week without buying something for myself.

    What I am realizing right now is I need t ounsuscribe from all the "sale" emails. It’s not so much tempting as a reminder that I can’t buy anything.

  3. some1'saunt says:

    Ok but what if there’s a really amazing sale on something that you use all the time.  I’d give myself 3 "strikes" for things that would really save me money in the long run!

  4. HeatherLeigh says:

    Good point. We can replace our basic grooming items (by the way, I got my CVS shipment today). So something we need, we can buy. Just not shopping for clothes and makeup. Shoes and handbags. Home decor, etcetera.

    I can’t wait to see how much I don’t spend on clothes now. I have a trip to NZ tht will fall within the 3 months. Should be interesting!

  5. Mike Clark says:

    So, you chillin’ or something?  We hear of layoffs at MS, and then in the wake of this news we get nothing from Heather for a week.  You still ‘Softing?  Sure hope so!

  6. HeatherLeigh says:

    I’m still here. If I weren’t, you wouldn’t see me blogging on this domain.  It’s owned by Microsoft. Yeah, Microsoft owns even my mosts ridiculous blog posts. Lucky company.

    Week-long breaks for me are pretty standard. It has nothing to do with lay-offs, just that I am slammed at work (see my most recent post). It was a choice between a weekend and a blog post. I chose the weekend. I do this frequently. Not that I don’t love you guys. Seriously.

    Regardless and more to the point I guess, I don’t have any info to share outside of what is posted on our corporate website. If someone is coming here for official news on Microsoft, I’m sure they have been seriously disappointed and that probably happened a long time ago. I don’t do "news". I’m sure you can tell by my other content here that this is no place for that stuff. Anyway, don’t you want to talk about ME?!  :)

    OK, in all seriousness, my blog brand (if there is such a thing) is pretty well known. I don’t aspire to a career in PR. What you normally expect from me is what you will keep getting from me. If it’s boring, it’s your fault for looking here in the first place :) As always.