As of September 1, 2011, the Year of No Shopping Project is officially over. Frankly, I’m a little surprised I made it through an entire year with only one slip-up. Why is this page still up? As a reference to the how and the why this blog even started. And also as a reminder to myself not to tread down this path again.

Why are you doing this project?

I got married six years ago to a wonderful man. I stopped working, became a stay-at-home mom and I started shopping….a lot. It shifted from a fun hobby to my main hobby. Somewhere between waiting for my daily macchiato and the first bite of my madeleine one morning, it dawned on me that I was happy, but not because of all my stuff.

All that needless spending. All that wasted time.

Inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, I came up with my own Project. And what better kick-off date than my 30th birthday? I decided to do away with the needless spending and see what happened to all those hours. What happens to life outside the mall?

Do you have to do it? Are you in debt? Do you need the money for a secret marijuana habit we should know about?

Nope, Nope and Nope.

No one’s forcing my hand. In fact, when I first revealed this project to a few of my good friends and my wonderful husband, I got a few wide-eyed stares and “better-you-than-me” pats on the back. Even my husband, who supports every little cockamamie idea, stood in silence for a few seconds, then reminded me just how much pleasure I got from the whole shopping experience.

Thanks to my better half’s astute financial responsibility, we aren’t in debt. He’s even into some crazy ideas called savings accounts and investments.

I’m allergic to marijuana. Don’t ask me how I know.

What are you going to do with all of your newfound time?

Watch every single episode of Little House on the Prairie. Yes, really. Interspersed between episodes of the drama unfolding in Walnut Grove, I’ll spend more time with my family and friends. Explore my city. Attempt new athletic endeavors. Volunteer through a few local charities and women’s groups. Do anything fun my mind can conjure up.

How long are you planning to do this?

One year- from the day I turn 30 to the eve of my 31st birthday

What are some of the things you can’t buy?

  • Clothing (I hope my underwear doesn’t wear thin. I hate a breezy backside and I don’t know how to sew.)
  • Accessories
  • Jewelry
  • Shoes
  • Purses
  • Magazines
  • CDs
  • DVDs (I’m not looking for ways to cheat, but my husband already joined Netflix before The Project started and since I’m such an amazing and special wife, I’d hate to rob him of that pleasure. So, to my advantage, I can order rental DVD’s.)
  • Craft Supplies
  • Fast Food
  • Home Furnishings
  • “Non-essential” fun beauty expenses (massages, etc.)
  • Frou frou coffee shop coffee

What are some of the things you’re OK with buying?

As I’m not doing this project for some important financial reason (debt, unemployment, college fund, addition to the family), my logic and reasoning for the “OK expenses” may seem…..illogical and unreasonable.

  • A good haircut
  • Makeup
  • A meal at a lovely restaurant with family and friends
  • Frou frou coffee shop coffee with friends (not the above stated coffee runs, which I did several times a week, alone, just for kicks)
  • Expenses related to my Monday Dares
  • Classes (enrichment classes offered at local craft emporiums or community colleges)
  • Gym
  • Gifts for family and friends
  • Charitable contributions to organizations we currently support

Is your whole family on The Project?

Just me. My daughter will not be stuffing cardboard in her shoes this year.

What do you hope to get out of this?

A deep sense of satisfaction. A greater appreciation for the goodness in my life. The skill to waste as little and to use as efficiently the time and material goods the universe has entrusted in my care. Too vague? I know…but I really mean just that. If it’s possible to be even one inch happier a year from now than I am today, I’ll take it.