Everything in Moderation: Self Imposed Shopping Ban

In my 2015 Personal Finance Goals, I suggested that I am going to go on a shopping ban every other month for this year.  This was a direct consequence of going a little nuts while shopping in Seattle over the holiday season with my sisters.  I bought $200 black boots at Nordstrom Rack and a myriad of other items and I think spent over $500 on shopping alone that weekend (terrible, I know…yikes!!!).

There are some other personal finance bloggers who are doing a shopping ban, notably, Blonde on a Budget, who is not shopping for anything for an entire year (something that I couldn't do for sure!).  Shopping bans can be a great way to practice minimalism, reduce materialism, and help you re-think what you're going to buy before you buy it.  It also is a great way to save money as well.

So far, my shopping ban is a little lax (well, not too lax) and I just can't shop for any clothes or accessories, or make up products…really anything that I don't really need or deem essential.  It also includes things like home improvement items (like a new toilet) and things like a Bodum French Press (I broke one while washing dishes and haven't replaced it).  My shopping ban is lax because I'm not restricting myself from eating out with friends or having coffee (I rarely have coffee out, but sometimes I do spend $2-5 a week on coffee when I am with my coworkers) or brunch (one of my favourite things to do on weekends).  It also does not restrict me from buying gifts for people.

Self Imposed Shopping BanMy shopping ban is in effect alternate months:

  • January- no shopping
  • February- okay to shop
  • March- no shopping
  • April- okay to shop

…. and so on and so forth, you get the idea.

Well, how am I doing?

Not too bad I think!

My Shopping Ban Progress Report

January 2015-

I did well this month (I think it was the high bills from the holiday season) that made me feel like I was spending too much so I didn't have the urge to splurge on myself.

The only thing I bought clothes-wise was a Roots onesie for my friend who just gave birth to a baby boy.  I also bought a blender gift for my boyfriend for his birthday.

February 2015-

This month I was allowed to shop and was on holiday for half the month.  The US Dollar was high so I didn't really spend that much money because paying a 25% premium doesn't sit well with me.  I bought a sun hat for $20 at Nordstrom Rack (I think there is a pattern here, me and Nordstrom Rack should not associate with each other I think) and a dress for $35 at the same place.  I bought a black sweater for $25 at the Armani Exchange outlet.  Of course, I bought some souvenirs when I was in the States but I don't count that in my shopping ban.

Related: Using Groupon To Get Good Deals

March 2015-

March was a bit more difficult for me because I started thinking that there were things to improve around my home and even started making a list of what I want to buy or places I want to go to shop in April.  I did okay though, I went into Anthropologie (that's another dangerous place because everything is so nice but so expensive) and came out not buying anything.  I bought a pet carrier for my dog but I consider that a gift as well and not buying something for myself (haha, see what I say about my rules being lax?).

April 2015-

This month might be the beginning of the spending spree (well, hopefully not).  I have identified that I would like some new underwear (maybe that is too much information) and would like an Ikea shelf insert (they are used for the kitchen but I like to put it in my wardrobe so my clothes don't fold into a pile so easily) and would like a new toilet.  I have started selling stuff to raise money for my new toilet (haha!).  I think for me, any home improvement stuff should just come from extra money because improving my home likely won't yield any increase in price when I sell in the future (however, it would be nice to live in!).  Some of my dreams include switching to stainless steel appliances, changing the counter top and back splash, which would probably cost around $3000- I likely won't do this though, there is no need and no rush to update my kitchen.  Everything works just fine.  There is also a clothing warehouse sale that I like to go to so that might set me back another $100-200.

So far, I like this idea of a shopping ban alternate months.  It makes me feel like I have an “end” to the discipline and I can relax a little bit in the near future.

Readers, have you ever tried a shopping ban?

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Young is a writer and former owner of Young and Thrifty and the main "twitter' behind Young and Thrifty's twitter account. She lives in Vancouver, BC and enjoys long walks on the beach, spending time with her anxious dog, and finding good deals. If you like what you read, consider signing up for email updates.

1 Comment

  1. Zina at Debt Free After Three on April 16, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    I’ve always wanted to do a shopping ban! It’s so easy to spend money without really thinking about it, and making a list of things you really need can refocus your spending intentions.



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