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Dublin: 7 °C Wednesday 19 December, 2018

'We feel we deserve everything and equate happiness to things, so I gave up shopping for a year'

Lisa Regan decided to give up shopping for a year and says the experience was priceless.

Lisa Regan

WHEN YOU TELL people you stopped shopping for an entire year they mainly look at you with a confused head. Then the questions start: Why do this? What exactly does no shopping mean? And why again?

I decided to stop shopping after watching a documentary on living a simpler life. I realised that perhaps I do equate a lot of happiness to new and in material things, more so than I thought.

I have six pairs of runners, why? This is now the society we live in. More is better, want overrides need and we feel we deserve everything we want.

Step in the ‘no shopping for one-year’ rule and off I went on 1 January 2017. It began similar to a diet when you have the high of beginning something new, you feel you could take over the world and you can’t understand why you hadn’t done this years ago.

This high doesn’t last long, especially when you find yourself strolling through the shops on a casual Friday evening and you remember you can’t buy anything, so this place is no longer for you.


One of my main saving graces for the year was not going into shops. After two months I didn’t even miss the browse, I actually forgot about shopping.

It took a full two months for the cravings to pass. One thing I really missed was getting sports clothing and runners. I train 7-10 times per week so I really value my training clothes. Again, I went back to what I had and I realised I already have far too much. The year passed and there were still some training tops I didn’t wear, what does that say? An awful lot I think.

Wanting new clothes for events is another thing that we justify to ourselves, we need that dress for the wedding, for the ball, for the night out … when really, we don’t.

Lisa Regan in 2017

I have realised that constantly buying new clothes is a mask of sorts for some other area in our lives that might be lacking. You know the questions you don’t want to ask yourself or the niggles of your mind? Sure buy the new dress and then that won’t be on your mind.


Giving up something or taking on a new challenge is always a good idea. Even if you’re not successful. I live by the expression that it’s better to try and fail, than to never try at all.

The fear of doing the things we don’t normally do can be crippling. Our lives are now played out on social media, so never do we know more (or think we know more) about people.

Really, we just see the best side of life, the carefully portrayed best side. So, this all lends to the need to always have new things, look great and buy the new dress. You feel you couldn’t wear the new dress twice, sure wasn’t it on Instagram last week … hashtag throwback to the last event #ThatDressOwesYouNothing.

Since finishing the year it took me sometime to begin to even think about shopping again. The lure of it still hasn’t come back which I’m happy about.

I needed new runners and I bought a pair last week but it wasn’t impulsive. I went in and tried on a few but then I left, slept on it and bought them the next day.

The year has definitely changed my need to buy, my constant need for new.

Giving up or even curtailing your spending on material goods is definitely more than worth a shot. You’ll feel a difference by stepping back, not going for the browse and investing the time spent there in yourself and not on those new clothes.

Lisa Regan, is the Managing Director of Lisa Regan Public Relations LTD a niche public relations firm in Galway.


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Lisa Regan

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