Recently I have been spending my time reading content rather than creating it and a blogger that really inspired me was Cait Flanders who runs a personal finance and mindful consumption site. I really encourage you to check out her content. One of the topics she covered was a shopping ban. She did hers for two years which is really impressive and she has so many great tips on her site. Reading her blog and listening to her podcast got me interested in the idea and while my driver was for environmental reasons it couldn’t hurt to save a little money.
There are so many ways to personalise a shopping ban. My ban didn’t cover any food or healthcare/hygiene products. What appealed to me most was being more thoughtful and conscious with what I bought so my first rule was that I had to add it to a list and wait for at least a week before I could buy it. That way, any of the initial impulse had worn off. The second rule was that if at the end of that week I still wanted it then I could buy it but only if I could get it second hand.
I have been applying the principles for about six months now and I have really been enjoying it. The only exemption I made was for some Christmas presents although I did primary give experience type gifts or charity shop finds for most.
Of the things that I got second hand a few of my favourites are;
- A wardrobe for £30 from a local charity shop that fits just perfectly in the bedroom
- Two mirrors for £1 each to go in the bedroom and bathroom
- An entire bridesmaid outfit for a wedding in July (dress, shoes and bolero)
- a new set of bowls for the kitchen from a charity shop
- Some new work outfits from a clothing swap event (swapped against things I donated)
It was actually quite hard to think of things that I had bought in that time as many things didn’t make it onto rule two. After the initial impulse had worn off it turned out that I definitely didn’t need it and I didn’t even want to buy it anymore.
Doing this reset my thoughts on shopping and because I didn’t want to buy anything anymore I stopped going to shops. This also meant I stopped seeing things that I hadn’t wanted before I went into the shop but now thought I really wanted.
One other action I took at the start was to unsubscribe from offers emails as they came into my inbox. This certainly helped reduce temptation.
I am really enjoying thinking more carefully about the things I buy and there have been some unexpected benefits;
- I have more time as I no longer get tonnes of offer emails
- I don’t feel so attached to stuff as I used to. Strangely not buying things means there is more space in the house and it has made it easier to go through the things I do own and either donate them, swap them or sell them.
- Because the house is emptier it is quicker to tidy up and clean
- I have more time to do other activities as I don’t go to the shops anymore apart from for grocerys.
- I saved some money
- I only need to take the bin and recycling bin out once a week as there is very little packaging coming into the house. Most of the time it is not even full.
I am going to continue with rules one and two but have added another exemption. That I can buy items to up-cycle second hand finds into new items. I need some parts to fix a set of drawers and some dye for a pair of shoes and I am OK with that new addition. I will have fun making and mending.