i actually wasn't planning on posting the specifics of my shopping ban, since me knowing it would be enough.  but i got a few questions about what i plan on restricting and how i'll tackle holidays and things so i thought i'd gather all that info in one place.  so yes, i did officially decide to do a full out shopping ban.  i'll be looking over my finances this week/weekend and planning some things, so it will officially start monday, july 13.  and go as long as possible, but at least until april 30, 2016.  is there anything you're wondering about?  i'm not sure how often i'll talk about it, so ask away in the comments and i'll answer everything there.

here's my personal, self-imposed rules on what i will and will not be spending money on:

allowed:
gifts.  this is probably the biggest one people were wondering about - how to handle christmas and birthdays.  but the truth is, i don't plan on restricting this in the shopping ban.  i like gift shopping/giving.  i don't have many people i buy gifts for anyway, since i have such a small family.  and i never go overboard.  but yes, i'll still be getting wedding gifts and birthday gifts and whatever else comes up.  i do have some plans for people that i know value my time over gifts, which is good for the bottom line.

groceries. see the last item on the 'not allowed list' - i'm limiting take out so that will increase my grocery budget.  nothing outrageous, i'm still limiting grocery spending to what it should be - $100 per person, per month.  i'm not crazy, that's the national average.  and that number includes toiletries, makeup, cleaning supplies, pet stuff.  except for me; hawkeye has her own budget. which brings me to

pet supplies.  hawkeye knows no budget.  vet, groomings, expensive greenie treats and $25 4lb bags of dog food, all fair game.

netflix.  i don't have television guys - not regular channels, not cable.  just me and my apple tv.  netflix is my joy and i realize i could do many other things with my time but tv shows marathons are my jam.  and my hawkeye cuddle time.  so $8 a month is a small price to pay.

a haircut.  notice the a.  singular.  i get my hair done twice a year.  just did it in may, so i'll do it again in the winter months.  my twice yearly mani/pedis are also allowed.  it's not that i don't like these things, it's that i don't have the patience to sit through them.  do you know how long it takes to highlight my freaking hair?  2 hours.  at least.

household supplies.  it's not like i overuse paper towels, toilet paper, or cleaning supplies.  i think these are necessary, i usually count them in my grocery budget as they don't eat up too much cost.

cta costs.  that's the public transit here in chicago.  i don't have a car.

cleaning service.  my roommate and i book handy every 6 weeks to 2 months.  it costs us $10-$12 a piece and it's worth every penny.

a new hair dryer.  my current one sucks, it's a cheap little thing from a drug store.  i don't dry my hair often enough to justify a crazy expensive one, but if a nice one goes on sale around christmas time, i'm getting it.

and of course all the regular monthly bills - rent, electric, gas, health insurance, internet, and anything medical related or professional related like my license renewal.

not allowed:
clothes.  absolutely no clothes shopping unless it's to replace a worn out item i wear regularly.  i haven't determined yet if this will be easy, i'll really have to see in a few months.  for the most part, i do not buy clothes.  it happens so rarely.  i do wear everything in my closet, regularly, so when my beloved black sweater gets that hole that was threatening itself all last winter, i'll have to get a new one.  but other than replacements, i don't find myself shopping often.  i window shop online but rarely commit without a gift card.  (speaking of gift cards, i am allowing myself to use them if i get them!  i have vs, amc theaters, and bb&b waiting already.)  i do buy a new shirt here and there, and i'm not really conscious of when/why i do it, since it's not a need.  i'll have to really commit and keep an eye on this category.  which also includes shoes and jewelry, both of which i loathe shopping for and, let's be honest, wearing at all, so that won't be an issue.

makeup.  again, only to replace what runs out.  also not going to be difficult because i have my one perfect product i like in each category and i never stray.  i did recently get diagnosed with rosacea in my oh so always pink cheeks (but hey, i never have to wear/pay for blush) and i need a milder foundation soon.  which, no, i have not replaced yet because i'm a cheapskate at heart, skin issues be damned.

toiletries.  i. have. so. much.  if, by some miracle, i actually make it through all the shampoo, soap, toothpaste, and q-tips i own, i'll go ahead and buy those things.  but i would be shocked if i ran out of anything before the end of next april.  shocked, i tell you.  i don't even know where they all came from, but i have a stockpile.

expensive entertainment.  matinee movie, sure.  reserved seat tickets in the 21 and over section complete with drinks and dinner at the fancy movie theater, no.  street fest, yes.  $200 concert tickets, no.  i'm also putting e-books and online courses in this category.  while they're never expensive, individually, they are unnecessary entertainment that really add up.

planners.  say it ain't so!  but yes, no planners.  my planner goes through next summer.  (nothing that goes in that 'supplies' category either - paper, pens, post its, etc.)

convenience store nonsense.  i don't know, i always grab random crap while i'm at walgreens or cvs.  i go in for something legit and leave with gum, a bag of chips, a bottle of iced tea.  it's ridiculous.  i need to just order what i need on amazon and stay out of the corner store, apparently.

candles.  i love candles, need them.  but i won't be buying them.  they'll certainly be my answer when anyone asks 'what do you want for your birthday/christmas?' but i'm going to resist spending the money on them.

things i already don't buy.  in case anyone was wondering - cds, dvds, books, magazines, electronics, kitchenware, laundry soap, travel.


and the two biggest hurdles i'll be tackling:

taxis.  i take way too many taxis.  it's all about the convenience but it's such a waste of money.  taxis are officially for emergencies only.  and by emergencies i mean it's 3 am and not safe to take the train home alone.  or when i need to get hawkeye somewhere and someone with a car isn't around.

take out food and drinks.  coffee isn't a big one for me anymore - i use my kuerig on the weekends and the coffee at work is free.  i drink it black anyway so to pay more than 50 cents a cup for that makes my frugal blood boil.  however, this mindset has never extended to food and i have no idea why.  i certainly know how to shop and get the cheap but healthy ingredients.  do i do that?  no.  generally when i'm on my own i do, but when it's me and john, or when the weekend hits, it's take out, take out, take out.  chicago has so many great eats to offer!  never mind the fact that i order nothing but nachos any and everywhere.  

so i'm establishing a hardline rule of no breakfasts or lunches out, at all.  i think i'll leave leeway on dinner time, sort of ease into making as many meals at home as possible.  my current plan is to make all weekday dinners at home (sunday-thursday) and then doing take out with john on friday or saturday.  we generally don't do both, but it has happened in the past.  right now, i'll leave both friday and saturday night open for getting take out or going out to dinner, and then tighten it up to only once a week in a few months.  and we're definitely picking cheaper places to eat!  as far as drinks, like booze, that's simply not getting cut out.  i don't drink during the week, so i'll just put myself on a budget during the weekends.  i know all the cheap places to drink anyway - my pbr drafts are only $1.75 at my local bar.

and that ends this crazy long post.  did i leave anything out?

p.s. john is mostly doing this as well, so no, it's not 'let john pay for all the dinners and movies and vacations.'