Thursday, February 7, 2013

2013 Goals: Reflections on No Shopping January

{At the beginning of 2013 I made monthly goals for the year. Here are my thoughts on January's goal.}
Image credit here.
The Mall of America kind of kills me with its never-ending commercialism and the fact that you I can never just go there for one thing. I mean, yes it's a lovely place to take people who have never been to Minnesota and it is a convenient one-stop-shop when you need a lot of things... like a winter wardrobe upon returning from a warm weather country for the last three years.

However, in general, I do not need a lot of things, so not going to the Mall of America and shopping there during the month of January wasn't actually that hard. (Expect when Victoria's Secret would not cut it out with the Semi-Annual Sale emails, but I digress.) ANYWAY - so No Shopping January in relation to clothes and shopping at stores at malls, not really a problem.

Then there's Target. The magical land of some things you need and everything else never knew you needed in your life but now you 100% need it because it's cute/on sale/you know someone who has it/it's been a rough week so you owe it to yourself/insert your own justification here. I think Target's entire marketing scheme is built upon getting you in the door for things you actually need (electronics, groceries, home goods, etc.) and then taunting you with all the adorable things they have. And well done, Target, well done, because it's totally working. That and the dollar section. Don't even get me started on the dollar section.

Upon moving into my friend Liz's new house at the end of December we both promptly spent at least $200 on our first roommate Target run. $200! Each! In one day! And yes, now we have cute red canisters to store flour, sugar, etc. and an adorable wine rack and shelves for the bathroom and more than one box of 16 individual Chai Latte Keurig cups (what? they were on sale!) and all right, fine, I did buy 3 boxes of Triscuits in one trip, but I mean REALLY - $200? Our combined $400 of Target stuff didn't even fill up her car. I feel like $400 of stuff should fill your car - right?

After that gem of an experience I entered No Shopping January, wherein I spent $92.29 AKA less than $100 IN AN ENTIRE MONTH at Target. Not only that, I only went to Target TWICE, once for groceries, which is why I still spent money there even during No Shopping month and once for Valentine's supplies. Essential because Valentine's are pretty AND sending Valentine's to friends is another 2013 goal, so you know, I had to do it. Plus, all my Valentine's supplies were bought in, you guessed it, the dollar section.  In addition to this, I only spent $17 at Kohls, my other form of suburban shopping kyptonite, on a Pyrex baking dish that we legitimately did need in order to cook things.

After all those observations, here are my key takeaways from No Shopping January.

  1. I am not a "shopper" in general so when I do need something, I usually go to the place where I need it, get the thing and get it over with. This is good because it doesn't lead to lots of impulse Mall of America trips.
  2. I am so gullible into a "good deal" it's not even funny. Buy two 24-pack rolls of toilet paper and get a $5 Target gift card? Yes please. Buy three boxes of Triscuits for $7? OF COURSE.  Some of this is good, when it comes to buying things that I would purchase regardless of the deal or not, but as with all things - only in moderation.
  3. Sale? Did I hear you it's on sale? One of the hardest moments of No Shopping January was when my friend Ilse found a (cute, naturally) workout shirt on sale at Target in an equally adorable color that I also happened to love. She bought it. I wanted to run back and get one for myself. I didn't because of No Shopping January. I would like to say I didn't because I literally have a stack of workout shirts at home, but baby steps, baby steps.
  4. The ability to grocery shop at Target is DANGEROUS because once I have the essential food I came for, I am promptly browsing the dollar section for nothing I need in life.
  5. When you think longer about your purchases and where your money is going, you end up making more informed purchases for well-made products rather than last-minute purchases for so-so products. No brainer, right? Right.
Stay tuned for my thoughts on Sober February wherein I do not get to use the 10 wine glasses I bought in December because they were in the Target dollar section.

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