An Experimental Shopping Ban

I’m spit-balling here, but I’d like to try a shopping ban.

Cait over at Blonde On a Budget has become somewhat of a shopping ban pro. She’s even created a two-part Ultimate Shopping Ban Guide (How to Start a Shopping Ban and How to Complete a Shopping Ban). She’s right when she admits that she goes all in — she is very thorough.

I like what she’s doing, but am going to do things a little differently. As she says, no two shopping bans will look alike. And if I’m being completely honest with myself, I don’t want to start a huge and involved project. I just want to shop less. I feel like doing something less should require less effort, but we’ll see how that works out.

Here’s where I’m starting. I think I’ve gotten much better at curbing my shopping than my habits before deciding to become a minimalist. I no longer shop for clothes for fun. I’ve created a detailed budget that tracks the family’s monthly spending. I unsubscribed from most store rewards (sometimes they still sneak into my inbox somehow). I have even somehow managed to get my book-buying weakness under control. And yet, when I ran my errands this morning I made 3 purchases and I didn’t really need 2 of them.

I tried to think about how I got control of my book buying. And I couldn’t really think of any aha! moment that did it. I just wanted to buy less books to save more money. And I slowly bought less and less books. Now I get all of my books from the library. Unless I really, really want one — and when that happens I plan ahead. That’s how I know I really want it. I find myself counting down to the publication date. I know the book will get multiple reads, be it by myself or by others in my family.

So how could I translate that into an everything-buying-ban instead of just a book-buying-ban? My plan is to basically follow this chart:

shopping-ban-flow-chart

And get creative with things I already have around the house.

Since getting my book buying under control, I have noticed that I have another weakness when it comes to buying: food.

Food is tough for me because I can’t just stop buying it. I can’t rent it from anywhere. I need it to survive. I want to eat well and buying quality food can be pricey. And yet, when I am too hungry and stretched too thin, I have a weakness for buying crappy fast food. Because, although I know it’s not good quality, it’s fast and delicious and satisfying. And kinda cheap, but still not as cheap as cooking. Yet cooking every meal every day can get tiring!

Still, I’ve gotten better at my food choices than in my earlier years, as well. Which is a good sign vis-à-vis book-buying habit change correlation. So. I plan to plan meals (within reason), grocery shop within a strict list, and try to think of some fast and easy and good foods that I can have on hand at home instead of calling in for delivery in those hectics moments.

We’ll see how it goes. I’m going to copy the chart above onto an index card that I will keep wrapped around my debit card* in my wallet. I’ll keep you posted on how it works out. I want to try this for 60 days at first, which will bring us to Monday 11 April. Oh, boy — that seems like so far away! Hmm… perhaps I will learn to appreciate what I already have a little more.

Wish me luck.

Enjoy!

*Until I can figure out the best way for myself to go cash-only. Possibly.

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