This semester I am taking a class titled: History of Consumer Culture. It is actually quite intriguing, and it really puts things into perspective. As I was creating my personal goals list for 2016, one thing that I added was a one-month shopping cleanse. It is essentially one month where I will not purchase any unnecessary items (i.e. bathing suits for spring break, new phone cases, or another cardigan to add to my winter wardrobe).
So, of course I chose the shortest month of the year, but that is beside the point. The point is that I am taking some time to reflect on everything that I have, and not indulging on items that I desire. While I do not think it is a bad thing to treat yourself, taking this time to watch consumer culture in action without participating in it is compelling. After 9 days, I can say that following through with this cleanse has been challenging. This kind of culture surrounds us in various mediums from billboards to radio advertisements. I probably receive 10-15 store e-mails a day that are advertising new sales and specials. Normally, I would click on the link to about 7 of them, and maybe even purchase something if I can find a good deal (& get free shipping haha). However, for the time being, I immediately delete the message from my inbox to avoid future browsing.
I’ve concluded that this is a good exercise to practice (especially with Lent starting tomorrow). Even though I will go back to shopping for the latest trends in March, I know that this cleanse has already allowed me to become more mindful of my spending habits. Additionally, it gives me an opportunity to practice self-control by means of material abstinence. In some ways, I owe a thank you to my professor for introducing me to the topic and giving me a new lens to analyze the world. However, I am also proud of myself for embarking (and hopefully following through) on this challenge, and will maybe even try this cleanse again in 2016.