My friend Denise was in town for my birthday party this weekend and we spent some time with a really lovely friend of hers, who told Denise that she had gone a year without buying herself something; no clothes, no makeup, no shoes. Amazing! Denise and I share some unfortunate shopping habits.  To put it simply, we both shop if we are having a bad day. And we both like nice things.

Last week, I found myself walking through the mall. It wasn't even that I needed something. I knew why I was there. And it definitely was NOT because I needed something. I always thought the concept of a shopping addiction was bunk (like, if you are supposedly "addicted", then just don't shop). But when you think of it from the standpoint of what you get from the experience, it makes sense. I'm just thankful that I knew what I was doing when I was doing it. So there weren't any major impulse purchases (did you ever wonder how I ended up with a scooter? Well now you know).

So Denise and I were discussing the shocking notion of going a year without shopping. For her, a year without Vuitton and Laboutain. For me, without Chloe. A YEAR! Yeah, a year is too long, so what we agreed to do was to each go 3 months without shopping for ourselves. No couture, no makeup, no shoes or handbags, home furnishings. Nothing that is not a necessity of life. I loved the idea of the challenge. I've got a credit card bill to pay-off (not a big one, but I don't like even the idea of having credit card debt). I want to save more, maybe pay off my car. And I want to understand how shopping is like rain drops in a bucket; drip (I "need"new shoes), drip (it's on sale), drip (this color looks good on me), drip (I'm bored). The cumulative impact is significant. I may surprise myself by how much money I am not spending during these three months.

Aside from the saving of the money, I need to learn how to react to life's stress in a more productive way. I guess that step one was to limit the amount of news I watch (which I have mentioned before). That helps. This is step two. Getting rid of the mindless shopping trips and replacing them with yoga and meditation (which I, admittedly, let fall by the wayside when I was sick and have yet to pick back up in any meaningful way). To regain my focus on healthy eating and exercise (lost my excuse for not going to the gym). To challenge myself to be aware of not only what I am doing, but also why.

I love taking on challenges where you tap into your own willpower. The result is totally within my control. No skill is required. So I think I can totally do this. For me, it will take more mindfulness. So here we go...

Denise, our 3 month challenge starts now!