How #CantShopWontShop 2017 Changed My Shopping Habits

Ask my mother and she’ll be the first one to tell you I have a shopping problem. I don’t know when exactly it started but since at least 8th or 9th grade I kinda lived by the “see it, want it, buy it” philosophy of shopping.  This of course caused massive problems like maxed out credit cards and closets. I knew I needed to make a change but part of the problem with being a fashion blogger was always showing the latest and greatest trends. It was expensive to say the least.

Sometime around the start of 2017 I noticed my friend and fellow blogger Claire Brown was doing a Can’t Shop, Won’t Shop challenge and I boom, it was like the sky parted and a big light was shining down, this was it. See I love a good challenge so this was what I needed to hopefully curb my desire to shop till I drop.

The rules were pretty simple: Try not to spend your own money on new clothes (essentials like bras, underwear, socks, etc excluded). This meant that if I want to shop I needed to use a gift card, otherwise no new clothes for me. The first few months were pretty simple, it was freezing cold outside and I had no real desire to buy anything new unless it was fleece-lined and cozy.

The real test came with spring and summer lines made their debut.  I still had some gift cards left over from Christmas that I was itching to use, but I knew I needed to use them wisely.  My first purchase was a few pieces from the Prabal Gurung x Lane Bryant spring collection. I bought two pieces, a pair faux leather leggings and a color-blocked dress, that I thought would stand the test of fashion trend time. Thankfully my combo of a discount code and LB gift card covered my purchase in full.

The next test came when Torrid released their Star Wars Collection and being the geek that I am, wanted every single piece of that collection. However I held my ground, looked deep and released I had just enough on a gift card to buy one piece and one piece only. I went with the Star Wars Patch Boyfriend Jeans, again I figured out of the whole collection, these would hold up well over the years, I mean it’s not like my love of Star Wars is ending anytime soon.

I don’t know if it was my sudden move to Brooklyn or what but starting in June, the need to buy everything under the sun lessened. I would see new collections pop-up every two weeks and while I would still browse them I would pass. I didn’t need them. Hell I was still trying to unpack two closets worth of clothes into one much smaller closet. I could barley deal with what I currently had let alone worry about anything knew.

Fall, Fall Fashion is where my true test laid. I LOVE everything about fall: boots, sweaters, layers; I want all of it. I had plenty of fall pieces already in my closet but to quote my girl Ariel “But who cares? No big deal, I want more”. There was also the issue of me kinda having a styling version of writer’s block, I was feeling uninspired and blah, this is a dangerous combination for those with a shopping impulse. This is where the Disney Style IG challenge came in to save the day along with DisneyBounding. DisneyBounding is a form of showing your love of Disney via everyday fashion, usually from items already in your closet. It was like a challenge within my current challenge.

I spent all of October coming up with DisneyBounds for the IG challenge using items I already had in my closet. I managed to put together some  Alice and Wonderland, Evil Queen, Mickey Mouse and Maleficent bounds all some pre-existing pieces in my closet. It was perfect, like a new lease of life on my wardrobe. I kept my new love of DisneyBounding going through November and December, all without purchasing any new clothes (side note: I did have some clothes gifted to me by brands).


I think at the end of 2017 I spent less than $100 on new clothes, I might have slipped here or there, but still $100 for a whole year is VASTLY improved over the $200 a month I was spending.  So did I go shopping crazy at 12:01 AM on January 1, 2018? NOPE. In fact we are almost a whole month into the new year all I’ve purchased is a new dress using a combo of rewards and discounts. In fact I have shopping cart full of pieces that I still can’t bring myself to buy.  I would say the challenge was a success.

Will I continue this for 2018? Probably not. I will however try something else, for every new piece of clothing I do purchase I must donate another piece from my closet.

Want to try the Can’t Shop, Won’t Shop Challenge? Here are some helpful tips I learned throughout the year:

  1. Unsubscribe from ALL store emails. You’d be amazed how much you aren’t tempted to shop when you don’t see it in your inbox everyday.
  2. Cancel any store credit cards you have. It’s so easy to shop when it’s not coming directly out of your checking account.
  3. Sleep on it. If you REALLY feel the need to make a purchase, sleep on it. Brands these days sucker us in with things like “Limited Collection” which makes us think we need to buy it know or it will be gone tomorrow. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve fallen for this only for it to be either re-stocked or go on sale like 3-weeks later.
  4. Disable push alerts on apps. Every store has an app these days so just like you unsubscribed from the email list, turn off the notifications from the app. This way you aren’t alerted to a new sale every other day.
  5. Try a subscription service like Gwynnie Bee or Dia & Co. True you are still spending money every month but with Gwynnie Bee you are getting a constant rotating wardrobe while Dia & Co, you only pay for what you keep.

Have you tried Can’t Shop, Won’t Shop or something similar? Let me know in the comments below how it worked out for you.


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