Life After the Shopping Fast…

Posted by: Julie on Monday, August 11th, 2008

no-finish-line.jpgThis past Saturday (2 days ago) marked the six month point since I announced my shopping fast back on February 9 and thus the “finish line” of this amazing journey.  A friend of mine and I were at a small group barbeque Friday night, so we stayed out until the clock struck midnight and went to the Super Wal-Mart in Oswego to celebrate the breaking of the fast.  [For those of you who don’t know, the Super Wal-Mart is my favorite place to shop.]

Well, all I came out of there with was a $9 swimming skirt and a black summer dress that was so much on clearance it was practically free.  Seriously?!  That’s it?!  I literally still felt like I wasn’t ‘allowed’ to shop, so I couldn’t even look at anything.  My brain had trained itself not to need or want or view anything at a store.  It was the strangest feeling in the world that I was actually allowed (and being encouraged by my friend) to purchase whatever I wanted.  I just couldn’t comprehend it.

Now, before you think anything too grandiose about the effects of this experience, I’m quite certain I’ll get back to the swing of things and embrace shopping again – have no doubt.  Each time I wake up in the morning and realize I need to replace those 15-year-old pillows, I am motivated to shop.  Each time I get made fun of for wearing torn up shoes, I am motived to shop.  But you know what isn’t there anymore and I hope never comes back?  That feeling of being motivated to shop out of feeling like I don’t have enough.  I hope I never have that feeling again.

Sure, there are necessary purchases I will make over the next few weeks – the pillows, a pair of shoes, a new pair of jeans to replace my coffee-stained pair, maybe even a few picture frames to give some memorable pictures as gifts – but I hope I never feel like I don’t have enough.  Sure, I am bound – as all of us women are – to look in my closet and say, “I don’t have anything to wear.”  But this shopping fast has taught me to get creative and take a second, maybe a third, and definitely a fourth look and discover things from 5 and 10 years ago (sometimes more!) that are absolutely “enough.”

About three months ago, near the halfway point of the fast, I blogged about some of the things I was able to do because of this dramatic decrease in spending.  I encourage you to click here to read that list.  One of the things I mentioned was increased generosity to Community, one of my biggest motivations for doing the fast in the first place.  [Now, before I throw out these numbers, please remember that I have no mortgage and no children and no husband begging to purchase expensive tools and a big screen TV.  It’s just me.  So really, these numbers are nothing to write home about.]  The number at the halfway point was 47%.  Because of this fast, God had allowed me to be able to give 47% of my salary in 2008 back to Him through Community.  Well I must admit that after discovering that number, I became prideful and started thinking that I had “arrived” in terms of generosity.  I “got it.”  I thought, “Things couldn’t possibly get more radical than this.”

Well, I am embarrassed to say that I looked at my record this morning and I am now only at 36%.  What happened?  Did my pride and complacency cause me to lose my motivation to give generously?  I’m not sure.  But I do know that making it to the ‘finish line’ this past Saturday definitely doesn’t make me feel like I have “arrived” in my generosity.  It makes me want to search and pray for what the next challenge in my life will be.  There’s no other place I’d rather invest my time and money than in the local church.

At Community, lives are being changed every day.  It blows my mind.  Just last weekend, 25 people gave their lives to Christ through baptism.  It was incredible!  The stories behind these 25 baptisms will absolutely change you when you hear them.  I’ll try and post some of them up here in the next few days.  For me, there isn’t a bigger motivator than seeing someone’s life changed.  It causes me to reallocate my spending so that I can give generously when someone gets baptized.  I want to invest in the place that fostered this life change and will continue to encourage this life change.

So that begs the question, what now?  If you haven’t reached the actual finish line, then what is the next leg of the race going to look like?  I’m not sure yet.  I am praying about that right now, and I will definitely keep you posted.  Any ideas?

Thank you to everyone who encouraged me along the six months, gave me nice clothes to borrow for special events, made fun of me when I wore things from the 80s, and challenged me to take this to the next level.  And thank you to Community for being a place that helps people find their way back to God so effectively that it would motivate and inspire someone to stop their spending so that they could give to that cause.  I am humbled to be a part of the team, and I am looking forward to what God has in store next….

36 Responses to “Life After the Shopping Fast…”

Shelley Says:
August 11th, 2008 at 10:35 am

Yes! Its time to shop all the clearance racks and Back-to-School sales! My favorite shopping sprees are at re-sale shops and Goodwill. I bought like 50 books for 35 bucks, where I would be lucky to get 7 at B&N for that. And, I can give them away without guilt of “wasting” money.
Hope you are sleeping on fluffy new pillows soon.
Thank you for your inspiration!

Dave Ferguson Says:
August 11th, 2008 at 9:58 pm

Julie, this is totally inspiring and proves that you get “IT”! Dave

Steve Says:
August 12th, 2008 at 7:58 am

Julie, Way beyond cool! Proud of you and thanks for the inspiration. I sensed 2 things from talking to you during the “fast”: a desire to follow God’s leading and following with a “glad heart!” May you never lose these qualities.

pat Says:
August 12th, 2008 at 8:52 am

Hi Julie,
When I grow up, I want to be like you!!! Any time we could go for lunch? I’ll BUY…you teach…DEAL?

DL Says:
August 12th, 2008 at 8:56 am

This should go on the CCC Generosity blog. Very nice job. Thanks for leading by example and pushing others. And take the lunch deal.

Greg Lee Says:
August 13th, 2008 at 12:07 am

Love it, Julie. Thanks for leading by example

Jeff Ekblad Says:
August 13th, 2008 at 12:53 pm

I’m sure my wife can help you get back to the “shopping swing of things”.

Jesse Phillips Says:
August 13th, 2008 at 1:44 pm

Wow, Julie, that’s HOT! Praise God for your generosity! I hope more of us can get on that train (including me!).

Ed Bahler Says:
August 15th, 2008 at 9:55 pm


Thanks for your passion and vision. God’s spirit radiates from you and inspires me when we’re together.

My dad taught us to:

Make all we can
Save all we can
Give all we can

I can’t say I’m up to your 40%, by any means, but your story reminds me of his life lessons. For example, paying more than $5 for a restaurant meal bothered him. To him it simply meant less to the Kingdom.

Keep the faith.

Appreciate you,


Working out what is important « Wife Mother Woman’s Weblog Says:
August 28th, 2008 at 3:58 pm

[…] be! These thoughts have been swirling around my head for a couple of weeks now since hearing about Julie Bullock, a woman from church that took up a 6 month shopping ban. Rick and I spoke with her about her […]

Cynthia Says:
October 4th, 2008 at 5:59 pm

Hi Julie,
I can’t wait to get started on my own shopping fast. Could you please post/send your Feb info on how you got started. Thanks!

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