Friday, June 12, 2015

A Year Long Shopping Ban?

you might remember that i did my spending frost for a few months, to save money towards house buying.  i'd say it was semi-successful.  the months that i concentrated, i did really well.  but there were at least 2 months that i spent a lot.  but it's not over yet; my 10 months aren't up until september 1.  so i felt like i really needed to buckle down these summer months and assess what i've spent money on so far.

looking back at my spending recap posts, even the months where i did really well still weren't perfect.  i think that's partially because i gave myself an out with the word frost.  i did it intentionally, when i started, knowing that i had a lot of eating out habits to rein in and also knowing that i don't actually buy that much to begin with (i'm a minimalist at this point, i think it's safe to go ahead and label it.)  i also only did 10 months knowing that i would be spending money on moving costs come september.  i've been very successful in not buying things - clothes, candles, books, other clutter causing items - but i haven't been successful at (1) eating out less, (2) going out less in general (i don't spend much but i shouldn't be spending anything), (3) not taking cabs, and (4) tracking the little expenses (like a coffee, a pack of gum, an e-book.)  all those things together add up to more spending fails than i'm comfortable with.

i'm considering taking a page of cait's book and doing a full, year long, shopping ban.  hers is over this july and everything she's documented about it is pretty impressive.  she went a full year only buying the necessities - groceries, toiletries, a few other things she included on her list.  but she didn't buy: clothes, shoes, decor items, books, and a bunch of other things.  her blog is a great read if you're into personal finance, saving money, becoming debt free, all of that.  so definitely check it out.

of course my shopping ban would look a little different.  i'd like to cut eating out almost entirely (which means, in my world, twice a month.)  i would ban all things picked up at the last minute, like gum and magazines.  definitely no more ebooks that caught my eye on pinterest and are 'only' $4.  i'd like to really cut grocery spending down - john's portion, at least.  i pay $28 per month for my lunches and breakfasts combined.  i think that's pretty good.  (eat vegan!  it's good for the wallet!)  essentially, it would have many more details and rules than my spending frost.

i wonder if i could do it.  to not pick up starbucks when i pass one on the way to a street fest.  to not buy the pretty new lip balm, even though it's on sale.  to not order the book when the wait list at the library is 182 people long.  to not grab the cute shirt when mvb has a 50% off sale.  it's not that i spend $500 in one trip to the store, but those little things add up.  i'm just not that mindful when it comes to smaller spending.

it wouldn't start quite yet - i still have my lease ending at the end of august and i'll need to move.  (i think, things still aren't figured out, whoops!)  but i'm definitely considering it.  one the one hand, we'll be moved into a new house by (latest) next april/may.  we'll need new house things.  on the other hand, i've had a fully furnished one bedroom apartment for 12 years now.  plus john's things.  will we really need that much new house stuff?  maybe it'll be good to settle for awhile without buying things, see what we really need.  we have 4 flat screen tvs between the two of us for goodness sake, that's just ridiculous.  i think a shopping ban would be good for me.  you do not need 17 3-wick candles from bath and body works, stephanie.

while i ponder taking on a year long shopping ban, i am going to start with what cait suggested to me - a full month without getting take out.  meep!  i have done it before, right at the start of my 101 in 1001 list.  although, technically, that was fast food and i still went to normal, nice dinners out.  i'm going to make july my no take out month, and i'm going to make that include no dinners out anywhere unless it's (a) someone's birthday - i have quite a few july birthdays, or (b) someone else is buying, like my dad.  thanks dad.  so that will be a rough month but definitely a good taste of a year long shopping ban before i just dive in!

have you ever done a full shopping ban?  do you think you could do one for an entire year?
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