It’s been 6 months since I last posted a shopping ban update; 2018 is flying by. For those who are just joining now, this year I started a self-imposed “shopping ban” to give my consumption habits a swift kick in the pants. You can read about my rules, or check out Caitlin Flanders’ blog, since she was the one who sparked this project.
Here are my biggest takeaways
No, I haven’t felt deprived at all! In fact, I feel pretty damn content. This is probably because my shopping ban doesn’t include a ban on fun activities like movies or getting a massage. I’ve gotten to do all sorts of fun things this year, I just haven’t bought any new clothes, shoes, makeup, or household items.
I have saved a lot of money this year, despite being unemployed while working through a coding bootcamp through March. I owe my saving abilities to this shopping ban, which is a huge deal. I actually have money to go on a fun trip this summer!
It has been easy to focus on my new career as a software developer, since most of my free time is spent studying or facilitating coding clubs in my community. There’s hardly time to think about buying useless stuff when my life has been so full of meaning and learning!
The urge to “go shopping” hasn’t risen its ugly head in months. I rarely think about “things” I want to buy, but rather the experiences I want to have.
I’m obsessed with “using up” a product before buying a new one. Seriously, it’s fun! I use up one candle before buying another. Same with lip balm, face wash, lotion, etc. This builds up anticipation for the next purchase and makes me really savor the new product.
I like buying gifts for people. When I see a small something that reminds me of a dear friend, I like buying that thing and gifting it away. While this isn’t a behavior that isn’t very frugal or minimalistic, I’ve accepted it as part of who I am. I like making people feel special through thoughtful gift-giving.
Tracking my spending, budgeting, and working on personal finance habits is fun (for me at least!). I love sitting down every Sunday and categorizing my purchases using Mint. It’s awesome to have these free tools which make boring money stuff more enjoyable.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: the library is an amazing resource for free books and magazines. Plus, going to the library is a lovely way to spend an afternoon.
The dumbest thing I bought that made me break my shopping ban:
A Rubik's cube… what the hell was I thinking?
The best purchase I made:
Computer glasses. Seriously a game-changer. I wear them all day at work.
Honestly, this shopping ban hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would be. Sure, there are moments when I receive a paycheck and want to buy clothes or jewelry, specifically this adorable necklace from an indie designer… but it’s easy to remember that 2018 is not the year for thoughtless consumption. The real challenge would be for me to not eat out on the weekend! Maybe this will be next year’s challenge.
I highly encourage you to try your own shopping ban, even if it’s just for one month. See how free you feel without the urge to go shopping or spend hours browsing online.