This blog post was, admittedly, meant to go live at the beginning February. But then I kind of forgot about it and moved on, and it was only when reading a piece on Man Repeller that I remembered that I gave up online shopping in January. Can I get a woop-woop for my dedication, tho?
Some people are addicted to drugs: other people are addicted to alcohol. Some people are addicted to food (I’m dangerously close to that category), whilst others are addicted to collecting stuffed animals. Me? I’m fairly confident that I’m actually addicted to online shopping.
Like, not just ‘let’s have a casual browse during my lunch hour on Asos, and maybe spend £50 on a wrap-skirt I really don’t need’ addicted: more like ‘I need a black top, so I’ll spend £500 across three websites buying 15 black tops to try on’ addicted. ‘There’s 20% off on Asos, and I have no money, but I’ll increase my overdraft to buy a pair of embellished mules’ addicted. Needs a spreadsheet to keep track of my returns, exchanges and soon-to-be-arriving orders, addicted. (This is the point where my mother has a small heart attack. Mum: I do save some money, occasionally. Promise.)
So, in January, I decided I’d try and stick to two (TWO!) resolutions. Firstly: to cut-back (note: not give up entirely) alcohol; and secondly: to not online shop THE ENTIRE OF JANUARY.
(If you’re interested, I lasted about nine days with the drinking thing. It was my boyfriend’s mum’s birthday, and his dad scoffed when I asked for a tonic water. #peerpressurefromthefam.)
At first, it was quite easy to stick to my new reso – because who isn’t skint AF in January? – but it became increasingly more difficult. The genuine feelings of panic when I’d get an ‘extra 20% off sale!’ email through were becoming overwhelming. The sweaty palms when I noticed my co-workers browsing the new-in section on Selfridges made it hard for me to type. The rage I felt when my boyfriend would get a delivery, and I wasn’t allowed, made me contemplate dumping him. You get the picture.
And then came the FOMO: fear of missing out (on a bargain). What if I missed something mega in the sale, which I’d then have to pay more for later? What if I had a sudden impromptu night out (unlikely) and needed a seriously sassy dress to wear? The fear was real; I felt legitimately out of the fashion loop, and it scared me.
As a get-out clause of this resolution, I was allowing myself to shop in stores: so a trek to the Trafford Centre became my weekend ritual. I have now concluded that I HATE shopping at the weekend: seriously, it sucks. (Why does EVERYONE take their sticky child in a bulky pram to River Island at 3pm on a Sunday? It’s not a crèche. They’ve wiped pureed pea on a blouse I wanted. You’re blocking my way to the changing room. I have no time for these shenanigans.) It also sucked because 90% of the time I couldn’t find my size/the colour I wanted/a top that didn’t have orange Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse smeared on the inside collar. Oh, and finally? It sucked because a load of online vouchers and deals are not applicable to store purchases. So that top that has an extra 15% off online? It’s full price here. Soz.
However. The good points? I spent SO MUCH LESS MONEY. I mean, this one is fairly obvious: when I order online, I order online: we’re talking three orders coming together, all in massive boxes, 99% of which I’ll send back. Then it takes a zillion years for that moolah to hit my account, so I’m eating stale cereal at home because I can’t afford real food. (I like to call this the Asos deficit effect.)
It also gave me an opportunity to re-evaluate my existing wardrobe. I’ve discovered a pair of black culottes at the back of my wardrobe with the tags on, and a pair of tasselled suede booties that I totally forgot about; when you’re forced to actually work with what you’ve got, you end up pulling some half-decent things together.
The month came to an end, and I was expecting to REALLY FEEL SOMETHING: like enlightenment or some spiritual superiority that I’d avoided the allure of Missguided for 31 whole days. In actual fact, I felt…nothing. Nada. Okay, I learnt that I can a: refrain from online shopping if I absolutely have to, so I’ll never end up selling crack to feed a Topshop habit; and b: my wardrobe is sufficient that I don’t need to buy anything else. I have enough oversized white shirts. I wear the same pair two pairs of jeans on rotation, so don’t need another. I can barely walk in these heels: why am I buying them in tan, too?
However, I also learnt that: online shopping makes me feel good. It’s a treat. It’s something that I look forward to receiving. It’s something that helps me blog better, and feel more confident, and look professional and on-trend. Admittedly, those huge whopping sprees are probably not ideal for my bank balance – but it never gets to the point where I’m in trouble because of my online shopping habits. Am I really hurting anyone? No. (Apart from DPD Driver Steve who has to lug my parcels up four flights of stairs, but that’s neither here nor there.)
The moral of this very long and boring story? I gave up online shopping for a month and…nothing happened. Yes, I had more money – but I spent it on other things instead, so ended up with the same amount of end-of-the-month panic as usual. I re-evaluated my wardrobe – but it made me notice what pieces were old and tatty and needed replacing. I wasted time driving to the Trafford Centre when I could have ordered the same New Look shoes in a matter of minutes. Do I feel a better person? No. Do I feel more grown-up? No. Will I think twice before I online shop in future? Maybe-slash-no. I’ll admit it: I’ve got a little bit of an online shopping habit – and I don’t really care…
I missed my Asos deliveries. I missed keeping up with the latest trend launches. And most importantly? I missed DPD Driver Steve.