I’m going to try something new. And because I seem to not be able to write much about fashion anymore, I think this might be a fun change of pace.
Since I started really getting into the idea of minimalism, I feel like I’ve been almost reborn in a sense. I literally feel like a whole new person. It’s the best feeling of freedom I’ve ever experienced. I’ve been trying lately to create the same kind of content that I used to, and once I start writing, I hate everything I say.
I’ve stopped focusing only on fashion and have been sharing a lot more about minimalism and how it’s changed my life. I don’t just want to sell things to my followers anymore.
I love sharing outfits to give inspiration, but I don’t want to be that person that only talks about “this is on sale!” anymore because because unintentional shopping is how people get into debt and clutter, two things I do not want to contribute to for anyone ever again. Mainly because that’s part of what got me in trouble in the first place!
Did you know the average person sees 4000 advertisements a day?? They’re allll over social media, TV, the radio, billboards…we’re constantly being inundated with CRAP we’re told we should buy. I don’t want to contribute to that so much anymore.
So, why did I become a minimalist?
My early twenties involved a lot (A LOT) of impulse shopping. That shopping put me in a lot of credit card debt. I told myself it was fine because I would pay it back, but I never did. I just dug myself further and further into the hole. And while I was down there, I did more shopping. I could probably be smothered by the ghosts of receipts past.
I bought so many things I just flat out did not need. But I wanted my peers to think I was doing well. I worked in sales where we were constantly told “Perception is Reality”. So if people perceived us to be doing well, that was all that mattered. Even if it wasn’t true.
But the truth was I was NOT doing well. What originally started as me buying my first designer purse quickly became a form of therapy for when things in my life went poorly. This mistake lasted me over 5 years. At the end of it, I had about $15,000 in credit card debt.
Now, not ALL of that debt was from shopping. Some was also from hard times and having to spend my savings on rent and put everything else on my credit card (the real reason I had them in the first place). But there is no such thing as “good” debt. Getting out of any debt ASAP is the only way to go.
There was a harsh reason for why I gained so much clutter in that amount of time, and once I looked in the mirror, the answer was painfully clear: I was making terrible decisions and there was no one to blame but myself.
I’ve spent the majority of my life trying to be someone I wasn’t. That’s really what it boils down to in a nutshell. I was never comfortable or confident enough in myself to just be me. It was someone different at different times, but still the same reason underneath it all.
At the time, I think I honestly believed that was what I wanted each time. But I never quite felt right about it. Only looking back now can I actually see it for what it was.
I would buy things to be the person I wanted to be at the time. To impress others, to make myself feel better, to feel like I was in a position to buy frivolous things. “Fake it till you make it” rang very true and was preached to me a lot by my old bosses. And every so often my idea of who I thought I wanted to be at the time changed, but it was always the same song and dance.
Looking back now, I see that the reason I was how I was was because I craved love. I wanted people to love me, admire me, want me in their lives. I wanted to provide them with value somehow. I wanted to seem like I had it figured out, because the truth was, I was so far lost I had no idea who I even was anymore. And trying to be like someone I admired or loved seemed like the best way to figure it out.
They say jealousy is the highest form of flattery, right?
I would try so hard to be who I thought I wanted to be, or who others around me thought I was or wanted me to be, and then I would wonder WHY I was so unhappy all the time. That led to spending MORE money to get MORE crap I didn’t need. I assumed I was just depressed.
The more I bought, the more aware I was of the emptiness I was trying to fill. The thrill of the purchase quickly wore off and I was already focused on the next thing I wanted to make me feel better.
All of this became even more of a harsh reality when I started this blog. I saw my favorite bloggers and thought “I want to be like that!”. I wanted a huge closet full of beautiful designer clothes. I imagined having that would make me happy. How could it not?!
But as I got more into blogging, I realized that life was not for me. I didn’t like the pressure of always having to post the cutest outfit that people would like and want to buy. I hated getting all dressed up to go take a bunch of pictures, change outfits, come back home, edit them, figure out when to post them, etc. It did not bring me joy at all. It felt very fake and staged when my life felt far from what my pictures showed.
That realization brought around the first big change of re-branding my blog. I knew I didn’t want to focus so much on fashion anymore. I was buying things constantly and didn’t even realize how sucked in I got.
It’s easy to look around on Instagram and want what others have. That’s actually the reason fashion bloggers make money. People see them in something, they want it, they buy it, the blogger gets a commission for referring that sale.
I thought I wanted to focus on just affordable fashion, which was really great for a while. But shopping for sale items can actually be even worse because you don’t always get exactly what you want, you might settle because it’s on sale. I talk about ways we waste money on clothes here, and impulse sale buys are a huge one!
Fast forward to now, April 2019. I’ve been practicing Minimalism for 3 full months and have loved every minute of it. I kind of felt like I needed to just press the reset button on my life and start over.
I just got married 5 months ago, and now that Jake and I are in this new life together, I wanted a fresh start. Although he knew about my debt well before we got married, I hated the idea of now adding it onto him. So I decided to make a drastic change.
Not only have I been getting rid of a plethora of things in our home, but I’ve also stopped bringing new things in. I haven’t bought new clothes or things for the house since the beginning of the year (minus 2 things I got with a gift card), and it’s been a really nice change. ESPECIALLY for our bank account.
I never realized just how much I was spending on all this CRAP until I had to look back through our bank statements to prepare for tax season for my blog. Going through them made me feel sick to my stomach because I couldn’t believe how careless I had been just in the last year where I had actually thought I was getting better than I was in my early twenties!
In reality, I was just making more money so it was less noticeable. Yikes. Talk about not being self-aware.
I’ve read quite a few books since the beginning of the year (more than I’ve read than the last 3 years combined) and they’ve all been about Minimalism and living with less. I’m currently working on a book review to share with you all if you’re looking for a place to start.
A lot of them talk about being introspective and visualizing what you truly want for your life. So for the first time, instead of thinking of what others would want or like, I really thought about my own tastes.
That really showed me that I tend to go for more simplistic styles without a ton of bright colors or busy prints. I like classic and timeless, but super comfortable and well worn-in. Not overly stuffed furniture that you KNOW is too hard and you don’t even want to sit on it because it looks too fancy. We’ve all been in one of those houses.
She walks you through her process of not buying anything outside of her pre-made list for an entire year as a basic personal change up. A makeover from the inside out; the good, the bad and the ugly.
Reading this book presented a new challenge to me. I liked the idea of the self-reflection involved in not shopping at all. Really reflecting on WHY I get the desire to shop and confronting it head on to form a new, healthier habit instead.
Because of allll of the reasons listed above (and then some) I’ve decided to not shop for anything unnecessary for the rest of 2019. I’m already at almost 3 months without making it an “official thing”, but I want to say it out loud and share it with my readers to hold myself extra accountable.
I want to take all of the money I save not shopping in the next 8 months to pay off a good chunk of my debt. We had been talking about buying a house but decided before we take on more debt, it’s best to pay off what we already have first.
Over the next 8 months, there will be things I can and can’t buy (mostly from Cait’s list). I’ll outline them below:
THINGS I CAN BUY:
- groceries (pre-planned, no impulse buys)
- cosmetics & toiletries (once they’re within the last week of use)
- gifts for others
- items purchased with a gift card I already have or am given
- anything that wears out or breaks, but the item it’s replacing must be discarded
THINGS I CAN’T BUY:
- accessories (jewelry, scarves, hair accessories)
- household items (decor, furniture, etc.)
- electronics & appliances
These are items I’ve been wanting for some time and have budgeted for already. They’ll probably be the most well-thought out things I’ve ever gotten as I want to get the exact right ones.
- slip on shoes
- small heel replacement sandals
During that time, I’m going to take a full inventory of things we own. I want to see JUST HOW MUCH we have, because I know that it’s MORE than enough already, even after getting rid of thing for 3 months.
Likewise, I want to keep track of things I do buy (minus food) to see exactly what my spending habits look like over the next 6 months. I’m considering doing a monthly recap and discussing the process and what I learn as I go.
Now keep in mind, this is just me doing this, not Jake. He doesn’t spend much anyway (except on food) but also brought his own debt into our marriage. I’m hoping that between the two of us, we’ll be able to pay off at least $5,000 of our debt between now and the end of the year. That breaks down to $625 a month in addition to our monthly minimums going toward our remaining balance, hopefully more.
That’s a pretty lofty goal, I admit. But I’m determined to make a change, and this is my first step. Long term, I want to aim for being completely debt free (credit cards and student loans) by the time I’m 30 (2021).
The whole point of this experiment is to change the way I think about money. Dave Ramsey says the way people change how to spend money is to change their behaviors associated with it. If I’m forced to really THINK about everything I want to buy and then pause and realize I don’t need it, that will make a huge impact on me down the road with regards to what I find important in terms of purchases.
Check back for the updates as I go to help hold me accountable! I’m thinking if the 9 months goes well, I might keep it going in 2020. Get real crazy.
Have an awesome rest of your day and thank you for being here. I appreciate you.