Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Sold on no-shopping diets

  • Print

MY latest diet involves cutting my spending, not my calories.

I'd read articles about shopping diets and it started to sound like a great idea. After all, my finances are still pretty thin after the holidays -- the season of overspending.

The idea is simple: stop shopping for anything but the bare necessities of life such as food, underwear and basic footwear.

The Great American Apparel Diet asks people to stop shopping for clothing for a year. Now that's hardcore. I brought up the idea to a friend, who openly giggled at me. I settled on a shopping diet for the month of February, which also happens to be the shortest month of the year.

In a way it's like getting back to my roots.

Some of my Ojibway and Cree ancestors were great hunters who lived off the buffalo but never took more than they needed. When they killed, it was with purpose -- not because it was on sale.

Today, we've got consumerism, which is an obsession with buying new stuff when you really don't need it.

Those hunters had it right. Take only what you need and make good use of it. Store a bit away for hard times and you'll be OK. But there's no use carrying a bunch of dead weight around. That's just foolish.

Besides, no shopping for a month wouldn't be too tough. I've been a single parent while going to school, and often went months without buying something for myself. One month of not buying anything should be a piece of cake, a great way to pare down and simplify my life.

First off, my no-shopping diet meant a good old closet cleaning. That way I could find some "new clothes" I hadn't worn in a long time. Then I put together a pile of stuff I'm not wearing and some household items to donate.

Some stuff goes to friends and family, the rest goes to the Salvation Army and a nearby women's centre. That was the easy part.

The next step was getting rid of all of those pesky sale emails from retailers I've known and loved that keep popping up in my inbox. It took the better part of an afternoon, but losing the temptation to online shop was easier without all those lovely reminders.

The first week was going well -- but then I hit a rough patch at Superstore. They had a bunch of Joe clothes on sale.

A few things were appealing, but I persevered. I asked myself, do I need it? Sadly, I didn't need new shirts that felt soft as cashmere and cost less than a jug of milk. I have plenty of sweaters already.

The other day was the toughest, when I saw some shoes for sale online.

Shoes are allowed on some no-shopping diets, but not on mine. Especially when they are black-, clear- and gold-coloured wedges.

Those shoes are not essential basics no matter how hard I try to spin it. I could never hunt in those babies.

I broke a sweat, emailed the seller for more details and then went to bed.

No-shopping rule No. 1: When in doubt take 24 hours to think about a purchase. By morning those shoes were out of my system, but it was a close call.

Now I'm in the homestretch and it feels good to look at my bank balance.

Maybe I can save my money for something important, such as a new camera, or renovations to my house. The necessities of life are things I need, not want.

Maybe I'll do this diet for longer than 28 days. Well, maybe...




In case you are wondering about my "real diet" here's a progress report.

The Dukan diet is going well. Carbohydrates are something I can only dream about but the pounds are coming off. After six weeks I'm halfway to my goal weight and feel better than ever.

It's amazing what healthy eating and daily exercise can do to lighten your outlook.


Colleen Simard is a Winnipeg writer.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 25, 2012 J6

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Jim Flaherty remembered at visitation as irreplaceable

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press.  Local/Weather Standup- Catching rays. Prairie Dog stretches out at Fort Whyte Centre. Fort Whyte has a Prairie Dog enclosure with aprox. 20 dogs young and old. 060607.
  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press. Local- WINTER FILE. Snowboarder at Stony Mountain Ski Hill. November 14, 2006.

View More Gallery Photos


What are you most looking forward to this Easter weekend?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google