I’m halfway through my month-long shopping ban and I have to say, it’s not going anywhere as well as the first one. Let’s start with a little compare and contrast, shall we? The first shopping ban was in January. The new year, when motivation is at it’s peak and just after Christmas when we have everything we need (read: want). The first month of the year flies by, and especially this particular one as we spent a week in California and were caring for a brand new puppy. Then, focus turned to finding a new home to rent and before you know it – it’s February and the shopping ban is done, over! Easy, peasy, no money spent (aside for a few allowable things).
This shopping ban: it’s August. After June and July fly past, August creeps in and sloooowwwws things down. The days get hotter, and time moves like molasses. Suddenly I have time to do things, but this time, no money to spend on said things. The house is full of sunlight, highlighting the spaces that need filling, the old things that need replacing. A new season is around the corner and I’m thinking of sweaters and my pants rip and I start an epic hunt for The Perfect Made in the USA Black Skinny Jeans knowing full well I can’t buy them right now.
I thought the second time would be easier.
I’ll admit this shopping ban is not a total failure, it’s just different. I think my expectations were off. But rather than it feeling freeing like it did the last time, it feels insanely restrictive. And I don’t like that. I’ve been considering what I can do after the shopping ban to control my spending, and up my saving/debt-paying, but for now, I’m finishing what I started.
Here are two things I’m doing which have been helpful.
First, I’ve been keeping a list of everything I think about buying. Well, not everything has made it on the list, but when I remember I open an Evernote document, and write it down. The number of items I think of purchasing has definitely been decreasing over the past two weeks. In the first two days alone these were the items I considered purchasing: washcloths, toothpaste, new Harry Potter book, flowers, sushi, an online blogging class, an external hard drive, flowers (again), and black jeans (again, mine ripped). Aside from the toothpaste, which was obviously on the necessities list, I refrained from making purchases, which would have been rushed, and instead have this list to refer to in the future. I can think these things over and determine if I still need them, and if so, I can take the time to make the right purchase.
Second, I’ve sold a few things to save up for something I want to buy. In the last week, I’ve socked away an extra $165 toward a new camera purchase by getting rid of things I don’t need. I still have one or two more things I’m working on selling to add to that little fund. It feels good to be bringing in money, rather than spending it. I want the camera more than I want washcloths and sushi.
I’ve spent a bit of money on food/drinks over the past two weeks, but I’ve kept it to a minimum. In fact, I’ve only spent $30 and most of that was because I was unprepared for work lunches & snacks. I’ve got a good plan for food worked out this week, so hopefully I won’t have to spend any this week, which means I’ll be able to spend money on our trip to Astoria this weekend without feeling any guilt.
So, so far, so good, but also different. The last shopping ban was so beneficial, but I don’t feel like I’m getting the same benefit this time around. Right now, I’m not sure that I’ll do it again, but we’ll have to see. I think having two pairs of pants rip during each shopping ban is a sign ;) I’ll check back in at the end of the month with a total recap and lessons learned.
Have you done a shopping ban? What was your experience?