May Unshopping Challenge

Garage Sale Toys

Sorry, Franci!

About once a month, around the time the bills come trickling in, my husband and I have the same conversation. It goes a little something like this:

“I have everything I need right now. There is seriously nothing else I need to buy.”
“Me too! I just bought a pair of shoes and now I really don’t need anything else at all.”

Yet somehow, the next day we find ourselves having an opposite conversation:

“I think our living room could use another side table.”
“Amazon is having a sale on dog toys right now and our dog has almost chewed through the current one.”

This has been going on for years, and we decided it’s time to take a break from our favorite websites and stores. Just because they have a set of two pajama bottoms at Costco for super cheap, and most of mine have lost their elasticity, doesn’t mean I need to make that purchase!

Thrift store shopping to save money on clothing

But I don’t have a shirt in THAT shade of red!

I know it’s going to be a mental challenge, but I didn’t realize how hard it’s going to be until I found myself, on day one, browsing the local garage sale and Upcyling pages on Facebook. I mean, that dresser is only $10 and I’ve been looking for one just like that!

Well, $10 here, $5 there and we’re back where we started. It’s more than just the money savings, it’s also the time spent looking for deals and thinking about clicking “Place Order”. That’s why we decided to make May a month of “Unshopping”. That is, no non-perishable purchases for one month.

Food Only!

Food Only!

The same day we were planning our spending fast, I got a notice for a new website launch that is also issuing a “Unshopping Challenge”: Yerdle. The Yerdle Challenge is a movement to draw attention to the excess in all of our lives. It encourages you to stop shopping for 30 days and only buy those things that are not reusable.

Although I won’t be signing up for Yerdle this month, since it is a website that helps you resell your stuff and use the proceeds to buy anything you want at the Yerdle store, it’s supportive to know we aren’t the only family trying to cut back on shopping.

Has anyone else gone through a “Unshopping Month” before? How did it go? I’d appreciate any advice or words of wisdom!


  1. Pretty much every month is an unshopping month for us. Welcome to my world! Maybe one day you’ll learn to hate shopping as much as I do!

  2. I love the idea of doing that. I bet a discrete period of time committed to unshopping will make you more aware of what you do and don’t really “need” every other month of the year. I may join you…

  3. Michele says

    JJ, I don’t know if it is in me to hate shopping, but I agree with LG that consiously not shopping for a period of time will make it less of a habit. Like other mindless activities, online shopping is an attempt to be productive while kind of doing nothing.

  4. A few years back (way back before Visa points!) we wondered where our money was disappearing each month. So for a whole year we religiously saved receipts and recorded them in certain categories. There were a few surprises, but mostly the exercise made a big impression on us! That’s when unshopping became more of a habit.

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