How We Shop

How We Shop: a New Year’s shopping fast

Marielle Segarra Jan 1, 2020
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Haley Falconer started the post-holiday season with a shopping fast. Sean Gallup/Getty Images
How We Shop

How We Shop: a New Year’s shopping fast

Marielle Segarra Jan 1, 2020
Haley Falconer started the post-holiday season with a shopping fast. Sean Gallup/Getty Images
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New Year’s Day is a time when many of us reflect on our lives and how we’re living them. We make resolutions — exercise more, eat healthier, take time to relax. Which brings us to the latest installment of our series, How We Shop, about what we buy, why and how. It’s about a woman in Boise, Idaho, who made it her New Year’s resolution to stop shopping.

We begin on Christmas Day in 2017, when Haley Falconer looked around her house and started to reevaluate her life choices.

“It just felt like we were overtaken by stuff,” Falconer said.

The stuff included shiny new plastic toys for her young sons, clothes, books and piles of trash — boxes, tissue paper, wrapping paper.

Aside from the Christmas gifts, Falconer realized that she and her husband Sean had already amassed a lot of stuff: three sets of dishes, 10 lip balms, 17 containers of hand lotion.

“I just felt like there was something that I could do about it and decided that I should stop buying things,” she said.

Falconer decided to go on a shopping fast for one year.

She set some rules. She would buy groceries, but no clothes or shoes or housewares. If her sons really needed something, she would try to buy it secondhand.

On New Year’s Day in 2018, her hair clip broke — the one she used every day.

“I was pretty bummed out about it, because I felt like I could not go out and buy something that felt inconsequential on the very first day,” she said.

She sucked it up and used a rubber band. Eventually, her husband took pity on her and bought her a new clip.

Haley Falconer, her husband Sean and their sons. (Huckleberry Cloud Photography)

The shopping fast was hard at first. To avoid temptation, she took all the shopping apps off her phone and unsubscribed from promotional emails.

And it got easier. She got creative.

“I had two weddings that summer and I borrowed dresses for both of them,” she said.

Even though she lost 20 pounds that year, she didn’t buy any new clothes.

On Jan. 1st, 2019, the fast was over. Falconer bought a new pair of jeans.

But she said the experiment has changed how she shops.

“I think now I look at every purchase and really question whether or not it’s something that I need,” Falconer said. “Even if it’s something that I want, is it something that I love?”

Falconer said one benefit of the shopping fast: it saved her family about $4,000.


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