March 1st seems like as good a time as any to mark an “official” start to my shopping ban and set up my list, which I’m sure will be altered throughout the year, depending on unforeseen circumstances or something I’ve forgotten.
I would like to start with some useful information about what I’ve done thus far since I started working on this process last year. In addition to decluttering at home, I stopped spending exorbitant amounts of money getting cosmetic things done like monthly trips to the nail and hair salon. There’s nothing wrong with those things and if they bring purpose/joy to your life, that’s great! Go for it! However, it’s something I personally deemed was just not for me anymore.
When I began cleaning out my clothing I held on to a handful of shirts, sweaters, jackets, and pants that I really love but wasn’t wearing hardly at all because, when you own 50 other t-shirts, why would you wear the same few over and over again? I realized that within the past 5+ years I hadn’t worn an article of clothing to the point where it was threadbare or needed to be thrown out. My closet was a constant revolving door of new items that were barely worn before being replaced.
While I held on to probably too many pairs of jeans (5) this will probably end up as an advantage throughout the year. I may end up getting rid of some of them but having a few pairs will alleviate having to purchase a new pair if one is damaged beyond repair (if I destroy 5 pairs of jeans in a year then I’m probably doing something wrong…).
Getting rid of my shoes was slightly difficult for me but I couldn’t constitute holding on to so many pairs I hardly wore while someone else could use them and needed them more than I did. I ended up getting rid of every pair of gym shoes except for one, which I was wearing consistently while the others just sat and collected dust. I kept what I deemed was necessary/constantly worn and I honestly haven’t missed any of the shoes I’ve gotten rid of.
When I began going through my books it became painfully obvious that I was (shamefully) not a library kinda gal. I like to take my time with a book and not have a due date looming over me and I’ve never liked the idea of having to wait to read something because someone already has it checked out (if that’s not the epitome of my minuscule level of patience, I don’t know what is). I read quite a bit in my free time so I was worried about continuing to stockpile books. This led me to spend a decent amount of time finally deciding on whether or not to purchase a digital reader. I bought one in January, marking the first (and only, so far) large purchase of the year and have used it daily ever since.
The digital reader purchase marked the first solid, gratifying example of change in my habits. In the past I would have gotten the idea and immediately purchased it without creating a pros and cons list and making a well-thought-out decision. Unfortunately for me, this past history was never affected by the price of something and many of these purchases ended up being wasteful items that were hardly used. Price was a big factor in my thought process with the digital reader. I was making progress. Small, but progress nonetheless that I could use to prove to myself that I could change my habits. It was also a much better feeling to be able to go to my husband and say, “I want to make this large purchase because of X, Y, and Z reasons” and immediately got a positive response whereas in the past, I would just make the purchase and he’d end up furious with me for not discussing it, and rightfully so.
I’m no longer on my own with myself being the only person who is affected by my poor decision making. He’s always been very transparent with me but in the past I haven’t always done the same. I’m finally on the right path to building a mindset where every purchase is important and is worth discussing not only for financial purposes, but also for simply having respect for the other person that will be affected by these things. It feels ridiculous to have taken this long to finally “get it”, but we’re already in a better position than a lot of people our age, and it’s better to figure these things out the hard way early on than when we’re 45 and in the same boat.
So, to wrap this up, below is my list for my shopping ban with the exclusion of basic necessities like groceries and bills. A lot of these things align with how I’ve been operating over the last few months but I’ve also added a few things that I’d like to set as goals to help boost myself into an even better situation. The main goal is to put away 20% in to savings every month, even though with our careers and lifestyle we could be putting away a lot more. I’d like to start with under promising and over delivering because going in guns blazing is sure to make any bump in the road feel like a major setback. I want to create a positive experience with this, not something that will continuously make me feel like I’ve failed.
- toiletries and basic household/kitchen items (cleaning products, organizational items, etc.) as needed
- dining out/entertainment (within reason)
- digital reader books (no more than 1-2/month)
- basic cosmetics (as needed)
- gifts for others
- unnecessary household items
- “fun” cosmetics (things that wouldn’t be used on a daily basis)
- travel souvenirs (unless they fall under gifts for others)