I Bought NOTHING For a Year; Here Is How It Changed My Lifestyle
Almost four years back, I unconsciously built the mindset that if only I could have the trendiest clothes that models wear, I would look great as well.
Stupid, innocent, or manipulated, I don’t know what should I name that mindset.
However, I am fortunate enough to have a father who is a born minimalist. Since I was a little girl, I have been hearing this from my father ‘It’s not how beautiful one looks but how beautifully one thinks that matters’
My father rarely buys anything new (not even at festivals) even when he earns pretty good money.
Though none of what my father said made sense to me until 2020. In 2020, I started making money on my own. It was the time of Covid-19 when people were getting fired from their jobs and there I was, making money from the comfort of my home. I somehow developed the mindset that if I am working so hard then I must have everything that I want.
Although, I come from a strong family and my parents never really said No to anything I wanted. Yet, I always had one thought in the back of my head that once I start making my own money, I will buy whatever I want, no matter how expensive it is. And, that’s exactly what I did.
To satisfy that old mindset, anything that looked cute to me, I bought without giving it a second thought. Perhaps that was my way of telling myself that my hard work should be rewarded. Perhaps that’s the reason for making money.
In the midst of 2020, when I decided to start my own YouTube channel, after writing the script, I opened my wardrobe to wear the most beautiful top I own. But what I saw in my wardrobe surprised me.
I couldn’t find one top that I truly liked. Some tops were really cute but not comfortable, some were comfortable but not good enough, and some were untouched.
I kept looking at my wardrobe with disappointment. Disappointed to see how I own so many clothes but when I need one top, I cannot find it. I knew at that moment that even though my wardrobe was stuffed with clothes, I didn’t have anything to wear. Yes, that favorite dialogue that every girl can relate to.
After my anger turned into guilt and shame, I came to the conclusion that I never liked the dresses I have, and I always loved the dresses others have.
All in all the conclusion is that I realized that I was buying clothes that I neither liked nor needed in a hope that ‘I would look good in them’ And that’s when I went on the 1-year no-buying challenge.
It’s been more than a year since I bought anything. Let’s see how I view money and shopping NOW.
1. My Relationship With Money Transformed:
As I said, when I first started making money, I built the mindset that spending money is a way of treating yourself for your hard work. Hence, I was spending on things that I never use.
However, after the no-buy challenge for a year, my relationship and mindset around money have transformed. I respect my money and now my mindset says that ‘MY MONEY DESERVED TO BE TREATED WITH LOVE, RESPECT AND MINDFULLY’
I believe that money doesn’t come easily to anyone and if it’s coming to me, I must not think of it as just a piece of paper that can be spent on anything.
All in all, just as you deserve someone who loves you and respects you. Money also deserves someone who loves it and respects it.
The reason why I don’t like to shop mindlessly now is that I think my money deserves to be spent on something I really love.
2. Self-Control Stronger Than a Rock:
I admit that I used to lack self-control and that’s the reason one ad was enough to manipulate me into buying what I don’t want.
Being on the no-buying challenge was the toughest thing that I have done in my life because Oh God, so many cute things on social media were attracting me to them like a magnet.
However, just after a few months into the no-buying challenge, I could observe that I was no longer craving for shopping, I was no longer staring at that dress I saw on amazon and I was not thinking of buying things out of boredom.
In fact, a few days back, I was thinking of buying new clothes so when I opened the shopping app, unlike previous times, I observed that I was not adding any random things to the cart. I was even asking myself, DO I REALLY NEED THIS?
This question, DO I REALLY NEED THIS, developed as a default system after the year-long no-buying challenge?
Surprisingly, I ordered nothing because I couldn’t find anything that I truly loved, something that I would be comfortable in.
If you also want to learn self-control, I challenge you to buy nothing for at least 6 months. If you can complete the challenge, you will see yourself as an entirely different person. And if you cannot, then you need to ask yourself some questions about your self-control.
3. Happier, Satisfied, and Intentional Than Ever:
After that incident, I started decluttering my wardrobe and I got rid of almost 70% of the things I owned. Don’t worry, I didn’t throw them away, rather I donated them.
When I went to donate those clothes and other things, I saw a magical smile on the face of those who were living in a small hut yet were somehow quite happy with their life.
After seeing their lifestyle, I felt that suddenly my heart is heavier. I felt sorry for the people but I felt sadder for myself. I realized that the way I am living is not what I wanted from within. And at that moment, my father’s advice made complete sense to me. I thought if these poor people can be happy even when they own nothing, why can’t I be happier when I own so much?
This no-buying challenge has changed something in me. During these 12 months, I have realized that without shopping, I can not only stay alive but I am also happier, more satisfied with my life, and more intentional about how I want my life to be.
Besides, the joy that I have felt in giving cannot be felt in shopping. I am happy to know that I am not collecting stuff mindlessly, I am satisfied to have enough self-control and I am intentional towards my wants and day-to-day life. Now, when I am not wasting my time on window shopping, I can actually use this time more intentionally by dancing, drawing, or doing anything that brings true happiness and joy.
4. Don’t Let Your Happiness Be Dependent on Anything:
You and I are happy creatures but you have been manipulated into believing that you cannot be happy all the time.
For example: Let’s say you are completely at this moment. Your life feels complete, and you don’t feel that something is missing to be happy. However, as soon as you open social media and your eyes see the latest phone, you feel ‘I wish I could also have it’
Then you see more people using this amazing phone and you feel ‘if only I could have this phone, I would have been happier’
Did you notice something?
You were always happy but then you voluntarily handed over the key to your happiness to a mobile phone. Now, until you get that phone, you cannot be happy.
This is just an example of what happens to most of us. You and I voluntarily choose to give away our happiness to something that we don’t have control over. And then you search on YouTube for ‘ how to be happy’
After this no-buying challenge, I have realized that my happiness comes from within me and nothing I own or don’t own can ever decide how happy I am in my life.
Knowing that my happiness doesn’t depend on anything has eased something in me.
Besides, if I ask you to recall the most beautiful moment of your life, what would you say? (really comment down and tell me)
Now, read your own comment and tell me if you really cared about what you were wearing at that moment. Your happiest moment is created when you were having fun with your close ones, laughing out loud at a dirty joke with your crazy friends or when you achieved something that you always wanted. Your best moments are never dependent on what you were wearing, how you were walking, what nail paint you had, or anything else.
Instead of wasting your salary on the trendiest clothes, take your parents for a dinner date in a good hotel and make them feel special, or do something good for yourself or others and see how your happiest moments keep on adding to the album of life.
After this one-year no-buying challenge, a lot has changed in my life. I no longer have a wardrobe stuffed with clothes, I have clothes that I truly need. I am no longer easier to manipulate, I have a strong mindset around money. I don’t spend money like ‘I don’t care’, I invest money rather in things I truly cherish.
I encourage you to take this no-buying challenge as well for a year, 6 months, 3 months, or whatever you think is correct. The basic agenda behind this challenge is to make you realize how you are trapped in this fast-moving world. Everything around you is designed to just manipulate you. To grow a stronger mindset and an intentional life, it’s important to declutter and go on no-buying challenges from time to time.
Also, I have started my YouTube channel, it would mean the world to me if you check out my first video here. Everyone of you have supported me immensely on Medium and now I seek your love on YouTube. Thanks again!