I’ve already given up clothes shopping during my capsule wardrobe season, but I’m stepping it up, once again, for the month of August with a shopping ban. Back in January, I committed to a “No Spend Month” during which I chose not to spend any money on eating out, bars, clothes, cosmetics, and anything deemed unnecessary. I paid my bills, I bought groceries, and that was pretty much it. I was blown away by how much money was in my checking account at the end of the month and it felt so good. Recently, I’ve felt like I’ve let my spending get a bit out of control again, and want to reign it back in, so I’m starting with a month-long shopping ban. (PS. I’m using the term “shopping ban” rather than “no spend month” this time, but it’s essentially the same thing. Cait Flanders wrote about her two-year (!!!) shopping ban, and I liked the term better, that’s all.)
There are two big things motivating this shopping ban. First, is that I have some stuff coming up that I need to save some cash for. In October I’m going to NYC, and as much as I hate to say it, October is fast approaching. I’m hoping to buy a new travel-friendly camera and will likely need to pick up a few pieces for my fall/winter capsule wardrobe. The other big thing is my goal of paying off my credit card debt this year. I am very close to accomplishing this, and don’t want to be wasting my money on little things with the debt hanging over me.
The guidelines for my shopping ban this time are mostly the same, but I’ve tweaked a few things. (You can see the rules for my last shopping ban here.)
What I will spend money on…
Rent, utilities, bills. Obviously, non-negotiable.
Groceries. A girl’s gotta eat. I want to put more effort into a proper weekly food shop so I don’t have to resort to eating out. Groceries are cheaper.
Any absolute necessities. If I have any medical needs, something significant breaks, or to fill my gas tank. Also, basic supplies for living like toilet paper, if we run out.
Travel expenses. We have a camping trip to Astoria planned in the middle of the month. I’ll have to pay for gas, and some eating out.
Limited meals/drinks out. I’m giving myself a little bit of wiggle room this time. I plan to set aside $20 per week (in cash) for any meals/drinks out with coworkers or friends. If I don’t spend the money in a week, even better. I’ll roll it over to the next week. I don’t plan to spend it all though.
What I will not spend money on…
Cosmetics, makeup, nail polish, etc. I’ve just purchased some replacement items, and I’ll refrain from any other impulse purchases.
Clothes. I’m in the middle of a capsule, so I’m not clothes shopping for every day clothes anyway. However, this also includes lounge wear, active wear and accessories.
Home decor, candles, artwork, etc. I’ve been in a home decorating kick lately, so this will be hard. There’s some furniture I’ve been looking for, but it’s got to go on hold right now.
Books, magazines, movies, and music. I don’t spend much on these anyway, but I want to be sure they’re on the “no” list.
Starbucks/cafes. I have a terrible habit of waking up late, not having breakfast at home, and picking up a breakfast sandwich on my way into the office. This adds up fast. Not to mention my weekend Starbucks iced tea runs. None of that in August!
Supplies I can make myself. We have plenty of ingredients for DIY anything in our house: everything from vinegar and baking soda, to essential oils and castile soap. I’ll try to make something from what we have before I buy more.
There is a very good chance I will roll this challenge into September as well, in order to really save up some cash for some fall purchases and expenses. One of the big things I struggle with in terms of budgeting and saving is that I get paid once a month. Getting the whole lump sum all at once and having to allocate it properly with enough money left at the end of the month is hard. And I’ve been on this pay schedule for two years! So, by cutting my spending, I can regain a little of that control again.
I’ll be updating y’all weekly about this through the end of August. I would LOVE it if any of you wanted to join me on the shopping ban for August. Obviously, it’s a big commitment, and I would encourage anyone wanting to take it on, to create their own approved shopping list, not just copy mine. We all have different spending habits and goals! I’ll be sharing some tidbits throughout the month with #summershoppingban so you can follow along on Instagram and Twitter.