The Ultimate Shopping Ban Guide: Part 2

January 25, 2016

how-to-do-a-shopping-ban

This is Part 2 of a two-part series on how to start and successfully complete a shopping ban. In Part 1, I shared five things you can do to prepare for it, from decluttering and taking stock of what you already own, to opening a separate savings account you can put all the money you save by not shopping. Once you’ve completed those steps (especially writing the three lists you’ll need!), you can start your ban.

Today, I’m going to cover some of the things you’ll experience and need to work through, as you’re in the midst of it. The toughest time period for me to get through was the first 30-60 days, but there are still challenges and temptations I face today – 18 months into my own two-year ban! The truth is, setting yourself up to start a shopping ban is easy, compared to what you’ll have to do during it.

Here are my suggestions for what you can expect and how to deal with it, starting with outside sources (a.k.a. the people in your life)…

How to Successfully Complete a Shopping Ban

6. Tell Everyone You Know

When I decided to first do a one-year shopping ban, I published a post and essentially shared the news with anyone who visited this blog – you don’t have to go quite that far (unless you want a few more accountability partners, which a blog can surely provide). However, it would be in your best interest to tell everyone you see on an even semi-regular basis.

Start by telling your family, partner and/or kids – especially anyone who lives in the same household as you, and who is part of your family budget. Based on those conversations, you’ll need to decide together if it’s something you want everyone to participate in, or if you’re going to start with leading by example. There might be some resistance from others, if you want everyone to get on board, so don’t push the idea. The most important thing, for now, is to make sure they know about your intentions to not shop for anything besides the essentials for a period of time. Explain what your goals are, how you think it can help you and your family, and even set some goals for what you’ll do with all the money you save.

Extra Reading: Shopping vs. Buying by Seth Godin

After that, tell the people you spend the most time with. You could either have some fun with it, and say it loud and proud right from the start, or wait until friends invite you to do things that would cause you to break your ban. Either way, I would suggest making sure you have at least one accountability partner who you can call/text whenever you get the urge to shop, so they can stop you. And the more people you tell, the more likely it is that you’ll stick to your shopping ban, because you’ll feel the need to stay accountable to not only yourself but also them.

7. Replace Costly Habits with Free/Cheap Alternatives

One of the top concerns people who are considering doing shopping bans share with me is what they can replace their costly habits with – especially when it involves other people. Telling people “I can’t go shopping” or “I can’t go out for dinner and drinks” (if you’re cutting back on restaurant spending, as part of your ban) isn’t always a fun conversation to have. But if you’re willing to suggest other free/cheap activities, I think you’ll be surprised by how many people are more than happy to do something that will also save them a few dollars.

For example, instead of walking around a shopping mall or driving to the outlets, go hiking or take a daytrip to somewhere new. And instead of going out for dinner and drinks, take turns hosting potlucks where everyone brings something. You could even have everyone bring ingredients and cook the meal together. Some of the best things I’ve done with friends, since starting my own shopping ban, are going hiking and snowshoeing, visiting museums and art galleries, and cooking dinners together. I did some of those things before, but not nearly as often when I was a big consumer.

Extra Reading: 50 Cheap, Creative Ways to Have Fun via Tiny Buddha

Now, when it comes to the personal spending habits you need to cut out during your shopping ban, make a plan and have everything you need ready to go. For example, to replace my (stupidly expensive) daily latte habit, I made sure my French press was on the counter next to my kettle at all times and that I never ran out of coffee beans. If you have to commute to work and like to take your coffee to go, I’d also suggest leaving your travel mug next to your coffeemaker, so there are no excuses or mornings where you can’t find it.

Your personal habits will be different than mine. Maybe you buy new clothes every week (read about Project 333 and consider creating capsule wardrobes), new games and books every time they come out, or more arts and craft supplies than you could possibly have time to play with. Whatever you typically buy the most of, make sure your current stock is within range/sight, so you have no excuses to buy more. And whenever you get the urge to shop, pick up and start using what you already have, which we’ll talk more about next…

8. Pay Attention to Your Triggers (and Change Your Reactions)

Here’s where things will start to get tough: when you feel the urge to shop, sometimes texting a friend and asking them to stop you isn’t enough. You need to pause and consider everything that’s happening in your current environment. How do you feel? Did you have a bad day? Where are you (and what brought you there)? What are you doing? Who are you with? And what justifications are you telling yourself? Any/all of these things can be part of the trigger that urges you to buy something, and spotting them is extremely important so you can ultimately change your reactions.

Extra Reading: 7 Reasons We Buy Things We Don’t Need (and How to Avoid Them) via Simplicity Relished

Some of the triggers I identified for myself include: thinking of picking up a latte before going out to run errands for a few hours; considering putting a few extra items in my shopping basket when I’m out with friends; wanting to buy new and expensive things after a breakup; and basically adding any new book to an online shopping cart when it was released, simply because I wanted to read it “one day”. Before the shopping ban, I would’ve done all of these things as soon as I thought to. When shopping wasn’t an option, however, I was forced to face these triggers head on and change my reactions to them.

Extra Reading: Check Your Impulse Spending via Financial Planning Standards Council

Instead of picking up a latte, I start each day by making coffee in my French press (and fill up my travel mug before heading out to run errands). If I craved takeout coffee at home during the day, I used to make a cup and sit on my patio. (Remember this view? Sigh.) Rather than go shopping with friends, I basically always go alone now. (Sorry friends, we are all bad influences on each other.) Instead of buying new books, I add myself to the library waitlist. And when I really feel like buying more, I look at my shelves and count how many I still own that I’ve never read.

If you don’t replace bad habits with good habits, you’re more likely to “relapse” and go back to your old ways. When something triggers you, figure out what else you can do – besides spending money – and eventually it’ll become second nature.

9. Learn to Live Without / Become More Resourceful

Now, I can’t lie – if you’re doing a shopping ban for more than 3 months, there will be a few times where you’ll want to give up and the only way to push through it is to live without an item for a while. For example, last May, my only pair of TOMS (and the only shoes I owned besides runners and boots) did not make it home from a vacation alive. Did I want to run to the store and buy a new pair? Absolutely. Instead, I remembered it was sandal season and decided to live without them, until the shopping ban was over in July. Some might say that purchase was “essential”, because I would’ve been replacing something, but it wasn’t! I had other footwear options, so new TOMS were a non-essential item. Unless you really need something, try to live without it for a few weeks or months, and see how many times you actually miss it. If it becomes a daily annoyance, go ahead and replace it. But my guess is you won’t buy half of what you normally think you need, when you try this.

Extra Reading: 9 Things Shopping Can Never Deliver by Joshua Becker

Depending on what the item is that you’re currently living without, finding other ways to fix or source it (besides just swiping for a new one) may also be easier than you think. We live in a world where it’s all too convenient to throw out what’s “broken” and buy a replacement (and a cheap one at that) – but it’s usually cheaper to fix things yourself. For example, before the shopping ban, I’d never sewn or stitched up anything in my life. All the women in my family know how to sew. My mom and aunt even owned a fabric store on Lower Johnson Street in Victoria, when I was a newborn, where they also sold clothing items they’d made. But the running joke in my family was that if I needed a button replaced on a shirt, I’d travel home and get my mom to do it, lol. Last spring, however, the hem on my one and only pair of workout capris was starting to come undone, so I finally asked my aunt to teach me how to fix them. Since then, I’ve patched and fixed up 4 different clothing items; that’s a skill I’m sure I would’ve picked up at some point in life, but the shopping ban forced me to come up with a free solution now.

The other way to be more resourceful is to figure out if you can rent the item in question (so you’re not bringing something new into your home that you’ll only use once) or borrow it from someone you know. Again, that’s not possible for everything – but it’s true for a lot of things! Heck, I just borrowed crutches from my friend Paul, for my post-surgery recovery next month…

10. Appreciate What You Have

Finally, as time goes on, you’ll start to feel grateful for everything that is currently in your life. From the clothes in your closet to the books on your shelves, using what you keep will serve as a reminder that money has already bought you everything you need. Your relationships, and the happiness and health of family and friends, will take top priority. And if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere even half as beautiful as where I live, a walk outside will go a long way to brighten your day.

Extra Reading: What We Appreciate Appreciates

The most important thing I’ve realized, in all of this, is that the success of your shopping ban will depend on the stories you tell yourself. During the two years I was paying off my debt, I was essentially doing a shopping ban but I often felt deprived; this is part of why I think I went back to spending 95% of my income, when I became debt-free. If you tell yourself, “ugh, I can’t spend money, this sucks,” then you’ll probably end up going on a binge. But if you tell yourself, “I truly don’t need it,” and choose to appreciate what you already have, my guess is you’ll never go back for the items you pass up on.

When You Really Need to Buy Something…

Now, after writing 4,000+ words about how to NOT shop, I do know there will come a time during your shopping ban when you will, in fact, probably have to buy something that’s not on your approved shopping list. The only pair of jeans I owned ripped in the inner thigh 200-something days into my first year and, despite my best attempt to patch them up, I eventually had to replace them. And my cell phone also stopped working; like literally wouldn’t turn on, no matter what I tried. Life happens… things come up… it’s ok! I get a lot of emails from people asking me how to handle situations like this, and I think the answer is simple: YOU BUY IT! You don’t need permission to buy things you REALLY and TRULY need. You just don’t. If you need it, buy it. End of discussion.

Let’s go back to the definition of what a shopping ban is: a period of time where you choose not to buy any of the “non-essentials” in life. That’s it! Was a cell phone a non-essential? If I’d just felt like upgrading, sure… but not when I didn’t have one! You’ll find yourself in lots of situations where you’ll potentially need to buy something. When you get to one, ask yourself questions like this:

shopping-ban-flow-chart

Note: You don’t always need to buy quality pieces. For example, if your kids are young and need new clothes, go for used/cheap wherever possible, since they’ll grow out of it soon! But if you’re replacing something for yourself that you use often, don’t always opt to cheap out. I’ve made the mistake of buying cheap clothes from Old Navy too many times, and they always need to be replaced within 1-6 months.

Now, if you’re buying something from your approved shopping list, be sure to shop around and make the best purchase possible – because you only get to buy it once! I was allowed to buy a new hoodie in my first year, and I tried on dozens before I finally found one that fit right. It took 10 months to find it and I’m glad I waited because it’s something I wear 3-4 days/week.

Extra Reading: 3 Questions to Ask Before Making Any Purchase by Joshua Becker

One final thing to consider is the topic of gifts – both gifts (or specifically gift cards) you’re given and gifts you give during your shopping ban. Again, a lot of people ask what they should do with gift cards during their shopping ban. My suggestion would be to use them to buy things you NEED, not just something you want; that way, it helps your budget and you’re not adding clutter to your home. As for gifts, take the same approach: gift things that will actually be used, not collect dust. (And your time is the best gift of all, but you already know that.)

Ok, I think we’ve covered everything, friends! I just want to reiterate that a shopping ban isn’t meant to leave you feeling deprived. I’ve read blog posts that call shopping bans stupid, claim they are only for people who don’t like spending money (clearly I have no problem spending on travel, lol) and are bad because they’ll cause people to binge right after. But if you set yourself up and make smart decisions throughout it, you have the potential to SERIOUSLY change your relationship with both your money and stuff. Remember: The success of your shopping ban depends on the stories you tell yourself throughout it. If you tell yourself it sucks, you’ll fail and binge after. But if you appreciate what you have and only buy what you need, the results could be life-changing. My shopping ban coupled with the massive declutter/purge of stuff I did have taught me what I value most in life, and none of it can be bought from a store. I hope you finish your own ban with the same understanding and revelations.

Good luck! xo

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47 Comments

  • Reply Tyler January 25, 2016 at 4:21 am

    What great tips Cait, after a month of using the mindful budget and forcing myself to write down what I spend everyday I finally know where ALL of my money is going. So starting next week (would have started this week but I’m on vacation and my spending is all at work) my month long shopping ban starts. I’m even going to set up to put in savings all the money saved by this.

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 26, 2016 at 8:13 am

      Woo hoo! I’m excited for you, Tyler :)

  • Reply Melissa January 25, 2016 at 5:18 am

    So thankful that I’ve found this blog. It helps strengthen my resolve. I was intuitively already doing some of what you suggested (ridding myself of clutter has been therapeutic and I’ve only just started). It’s great to feel as if I’m on the right track. I will be free of debt soon and I want to ensure that it stays that way forever and ever.

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 26, 2016 at 8:15 am

      Feeling as though you’re on the right track (vs. feeling deprived) will help you stay debt-free, Melissa!

  • Reply Tara January 25, 2016 at 6:31 am

    I’ve gotten good at not buying things, except for now we’re having a baby and we did have to get a few things, lol. I’m trying to get as much used as possible, and instead of buying everything at once, we’re budgeting a little each month. But as far as other items, it’s amazing how you realize how much you don’t need. Even my grocery shopping has gone down tremendously because I’ve realized how much we overbuy.

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 26, 2016 at 8:18 am

      That’s amazing, Tara! I would also guess your fam/friends will spoil you with MORE than what you need for your little one… it seems to be true for everyone I know!

  • Reply Alyssa @ Generation YRA January 25, 2016 at 8:12 am

    Cait – this 2 part guide has been fantastic, and has truly answered a lot of questions I had swirling in my mind! I am SO glad you brought up the need to buy a latte factor when you’re out running errands. My fiance & I would face that all the time too until we created the same set up of making sure our french press was ready to go in the morning, equipped with travel mugs! Just less than 10 minutes and we have the same great coffee to accompany us on our errand runs. :) Incorporating the positive/great habits really allows you to block out all the urges to spend/splurge in areas you are weak in.

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 26, 2016 at 8:20 am

      So glad you found it useful, friend! Setting things up so we can stop ourselves from giving into impulses is the way to live ;)

  • Reply Maggie @ Northern Expenditure January 25, 2016 at 8:19 am

    This is a tremendously helpful guide! My favorite part in this section was assessing how you’re feeling when you feel like buying something. Is it a trigger based on where you are or what is going on in your life? I also love how your shopping ban isn’t ridiculous. It’s something that could be lived indefinitely – if you NEED it, it goes on a list of things you need, and you can buy it. If it breaks and you don’t need it, look for another option. If you discover that you do actually need it, consider renting or buying. And that doesn’t break the ban. You’re so sensible! :)

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 26, 2016 at 8:22 am

      Oh, environment is HUGE, Maggie. That also reminded me of the tricks stores have… like how every single location of a chain smells the same – this is intentionally done to suck us in! I know I mentioned somewhere in the guide that we should not get sucked into online deals via email, but truly STAY OUT OF MALLS and don’t walk into your favourite shops. Just don’t.

  • Reply Sherry Johnson January 25, 2016 at 9:50 am

    My first experience with a shopping ban was many years ago when I stopped buying books for 6 weeks. This was sooo hard for me! But I felt a great sense of accomplishment in my ability to control my spending habits. Now when I buy a book, it’s only because I couldn’t get it at the library. This has extended to other areas…kitchen items, placemats, Cocker Spaniel figurines, etc. I am content with what I already have and do not feel the temptation to buy more. Doing an inventory really opened my eyes! “Enough!” became a mantra for me. Thanks for your encouragement.

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 26, 2016 at 8:24 am

      “Enough is enough is enough is enough.” I’ve definitely said that to myself many times, Sherry! Thanks for sharing how your 6-week ban on books poured over into other areas of your life :)

  • Reply Erika January 25, 2016 at 9:57 am

    I’ve been reading your blog forever but didn’t realize that you had a daily latte problem. I’m in the first month of breaking my daily iced coffee problem and it has been such a game-changer. I increased my 401k contribution at work to add about what I was spending on coffee ($100+/mo.), did the calculation for what it will be worth in retirement, and was finally sold on quitting take out coffee. To make myself stick with it, I’ve been buying good beans and setting my coffee maker to brew right before I get up. Waking up to a yummy coffee aroma + saving $1200+/year + reaping the benefits of a much larger 401k account makes me wish I had done it sooner! It’s also snow-balling into better budgeting and planning in every part of my life. Planning a shopping ban for February and this could not have been better timed! Blogs like yours have been such an inspiration, thank you!!

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 26, 2016 at 8:27 am

      Oh yea! I definitely did. Mostly when I worked in an office (got one in the morning, then maybe another at coffee break). When I started working from home, I cut back… but I still got at least 3-5/week. I LOVE these stories about how cutting out one thing resulted in big spending changes in other areas of people’s budgets. I didn’t include this in the guide, but if nothing else, I honestly believe that if people cut out their vice for 30-60 days, the results could be life-changing. You’re proof of that, Erika!

  • Reply Laura January 25, 2016 at 11:12 am

    Great post(s) – the tips really broke down the details well. My shopping ban starts today and I’m aiming to make it to March 31st for now. I’ve lost some weight, so I may need a clothes switch by spring (here’s hoping!) I also love the little credit/debit card covers! I downloaded and printed two – what a great reminder!

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 26, 2016 at 8:30 am

      Weight loss clothes are a-ok in my book, Laura! When it comes to that, though, I’d definitely focus on buying staple pieces first (the stuff you KNOW you wear every week). Like if I lose about 6 more lbs., I know I’ll need jeans and workout pants/capris (shirts can be worn for a while longer).

      • Reply Laura January 27, 2016 at 5:26 am

        Good tip – I’m finding that some of my work clothes can go a little longer – my pants are just a bit baggy. :-) I just sit at my desk all day, so I can get away with it a bit. I should be able to “shop” in my closet for the next few weeks too. :-)

  • Reply Debby January 25, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    This is really hard! I had no idea. I don’t consider myself a big shopper, and have cut back significantly but I am obviously still buying more stuff than I realize. I admire you for getting this far with your shopping ban. Very impressive.

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 26, 2016 at 8:30 am

      Thanks, Debby! It’s not as hard as it looks, I promise. :)

  • Reply Emily January 25, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    Great tips! I’m in the middle of a year-long clothes shopping ban and I’m really enjoying it and being challenged by it! You inspire me to think through and put off every spending decision.

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 26, 2016 at 8:31 am

      That’s so cool to hear, Emily! One of my friends in Victoria says whenever she thinks about buying something now, she asks “what would Cait do?” haha.

  • Reply Formative Fortunes January 25, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    I love number 6, telling people about the shopping ban would definitely make me feel accountable, I need people to make sure I don’t fall off course!

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 26, 2016 at 8:31 am

      And don’t be scared to tell people! Just don’t make your accountability partner someone you normally go shopping with… they’ll have no problem talking you into buying stuff (it’s crazy).

  • Reply Kristen January 25, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    I think these are wonderful tips for everyone. I think even if people don’t go on a true shopping band, following these rules will make them more mindful!

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 26, 2016 at 8:32 am

      Very true, Kristen!

  • Reply Emily January 25, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    Thanks for part 2 Cait! I’m still in the declutter phase of the shopping ban, but after discovering I owned 6 bronzers, 20 moisturisers and over 70 nailpolishes, I’m feeling positively ill and very ready to begin a shopping ban. Learning to appreciate what I have is definitely the lesson I’m most looking forward to embracing. Thanks again!

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 26, 2016 at 8:34 am

      I’m so glad you took the time to tally things up, Emily! Just seeing them is one thing, but adding them up (and later seeing how long it takes you to USE all of those things) is what will help you stay on track. Like the 45-50 books I’d never read? I still haven’t read most of them! That’s why it’s easy to not buy more… I bet the same will be true for those products.

    • Reply Bee January 26, 2016 at 7:53 pm

      Emily, I have the same issue with nailpolishes. In counting mine recently, I probably have about 30 and only use about 5 of them. I have vowed not to buy another until they all run out (or dry out), which I assume will not be for quite a while!

  • Reply Ally January 25, 2016 at 9:20 pm

    Your shopping ban guides have been really useful. With the assistance of my fabulous budget planner (thank you for creating a means to keep all my finances in check), I have begun to realise that I spend more than I would like on ‘eating out’. Not the fun, social, catching-up-with-friends lunch, but the I-haven’t-been-organised shop-bought breakfast/lunch/dinner/snack/coffee/tea. So my shopping ban for the next 6 months focuses on additional food and/or drink that I have not purchased within my weekly shop. I am allowed to go out for lunch with friends once per month, with a budget of £15. It’s early days, but I am excited by the challenge. Thank you Cait for your inspiration.

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 26, 2016 at 8:38 am

      I think that’s fantastic, Ally! You’ve already realized what you do/don’t value, and you’ve set a plan to make sure you cut out what you DON’T value and given yourself a budget to enjoy what you DO. My job is done ;)

  • Reply Claudia January 26, 2016 at 4:34 am

    Hi Cait,
    I’m following your blog for a few weeks now and I have to admit that your posts rip directly into my heart – very deep. Thank you for sharing your story and experience. I know what I did all my life is “retail-therapy”. I had debt all my life, till today. E.g. my DVD player breaks down, I order one online – settlement in installments and certainly…payment after 100 days first. I did not save money for these particular cases, never. I repaid loans all my life. And I always spend too much money each month for my creative hobby, which I really, really love. But I always have a bad conscience too and I’m sick and tired of living in debts, always being scared of occurring unforeseen funds.
    I started to write down everything I buy, started to muck out my crap a few weeks ago and I assume this will take a longer period of time, but that’s ok. Step by step. I sold 4 cartons of books , I’m just writing my lists you suggested and how my shopping ban will look in detail. I prepare my food at home now, buy cheap personal-care products etc. To be honest…I’m scared starting my shopping ban but I go through with it now because I’m more scared to continue living beyond my means.
    Again, thanks a lot for your blog, for sharing your story. Reading your posts is very encouraging for me.

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 26, 2016 at 8:43 am

      If you’re scared to start a shopping ban right now, Claudia, keep decluttering, taking inventory and writing lists. It’s ok if it takes you time to get through that part… I spent a solid month decluttering in 2014. While you’re doing that, try to be extremely mindful about any spending you do, and maybe just start by tracking your spending so you can see where your money is going. I’m going to email you about this :)

  • Reply Elizabeth January 26, 2016 at 4:59 am

    Perfect timing! I’m doing a shopping ban for Lent. Thank you for these tips and resources.

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 26, 2016 at 8:43 am

      Nice! Good luck, Elizabeth :)

  • Reply Melanie January 26, 2016 at 6:02 am

    I’m coming up to the end of month one of a three month shopping ban. I can already see the difference in my spending habits. I am going to have to break down though and replace a pair of black dress pants. My go-to pair came out of the washing machine the other day destroyed. They were almost 2 years old so they had definitely had their share of wears. I have been trying to piece meal it with older dress pants still in my closet, but they look old and worn, and possibly too short. I am just not comfortable so since this is a replacement I will feel okay with buying a new pair. This will be my first trip into a store other than the grocery store all month…wow that will feel weird!

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 26, 2016 at 8:48 am

      Oh, if you don’t feel comfortable in your pants, Melanie, REPLACE THEM TODAY. I mean, shop around and find a quality pair that will last… but start shopping. You should NOT feel uncomfortable; those kinds of feelings are also what can cause us to binge shop later. And when you get them? TOSS THE OLD ONES. Don’t keep the stuff you hate wearing. If your closet/drawers only contain stuff you actually like wearing, it makes getting dressed in the morning a lot easier. (Also, I’d be curious to know how you feel stepping back into the mall. I personally hate it now! Feels so overwhelming.)

  • Reply Shelly January 26, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    Love part 2 of the shopping ban. I’m not quite ready for a shopping ban, but what I am doing is buying less. Not because I can’t necessarily afford it, but because its not worth the space in my home. Our family of four got back yesterday from spending a night two hours away.
    1. Walmart. Had McDonalds for lunch. The kids used their gift cards so our lunch was only $6. Picked up things on list. Teenage daughter wanted video game; that she bought with Walmart gift cards.
    2. Costco. Went there on Sunday because the $2 off was ending that day for the fibre one lemon squares we love!! Only bought the snack items, etc. That was on our list; except for a package of those felt thingies you put on the bottom of chairs. We did actually need those, plus it has the little ones for inside cupboard doors that we were looking for. DID NOT BUY KCUPS!!!
    3. Michaels. Ok, so I promised my younger daughter, who turned 11 earlier this month, that new Copic markers were part of her Bday present. So of course this was not a cheap shopping trip. She picked out 6 markers, and a sketch book(which she paid for herself). My other daughter picked out some new art supplies. Trust me when I say, she definitely uses it! Luckily we got one item 40% off and the purchase qualified for 25% off. Total was still $100.
    4. Hotel. Husband and kids went swimming in the hotel pool and then wer went to Montana’s restaurant for supper(that was not cheap,even though the girls ordered from the kids menu). Then it was back to the hotel where I grabbed another free coffee before they closed the coffee bar. Did I mention they have free coffee !? Free breakfast at the hotel in the morning. They have an excellent breakfast. Lots of variety.
    5. After breakfast it was appointments and then to the mall for “Star Wars.” Paid for movie tickets and used gift cards for the food(skipped lunch).
    I think we got off a lot cheaper than other trips. We are usually there every two months and don’t stay the night unless it’s an early morning appointment.

  • Reply Bee January 26, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    Thank you for another great article. I really like your suggestion of telling everyone you know. In doing this, I have realised that my sister and a lot of my friends are trying to save at the moment as well.
    Also, I have quit my vice (sweets) for all of January. In doing so I have realised that I specifically buy sweets when I am out running errands, similarly to what you have said about your coffee habit. I would just spend my loose change but I have worked out that I probably spend $15 – $20 a week on chocolate, cookies and lollies! I have been keeping all my smaller coins and notes saved in a jar and I just went to the bank and deposited $60!

  • Reply giulia January 27, 2016 at 12:27 am

    I’m agree with the entire post and also if I’m better as budget planner instead shopping banner, I’m goign to try something similar from February, I have some personal and financial goals to achieve and have more savings/side hustle and s to do a good job is important so thanks for sharing

  • Reply Abigail @ipickuppennies January 28, 2016 at 9:58 am

    If you really want to go out for drinks with friends, you could pick them up and be the designated driver. You can drink water, or some places will front you free soda if you’re the DD.

  • Reply Emily January 28, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    I love this! I’ve been on a shopping ban since Christmas, and already feel so empowered by the money staying in my bank account. No lunches or snacks bought at work is the area where I’ve seen the biggest results. Staying away from clothes, books, and coffee has come really easily.

    I have some “built in exceptions” like a ski trip that has been planned for months (including eating out), and going for pizza when it would have been more expensive to host a home-made pizza night.

    My one area of concern is feeling alienated from my friends. I’ve tried some alternatives (going for drinks but just getting water, offering to host a games night) but I feel a bit removed from them and can already tell when I just don’t get invited out with them, because they think I’ll say no. It’s a weird dynamic for me that might take some time to get used to.

  • Reply Mary in Maryland January 28, 2016 at 2:16 pm

    My Catholic youth introduced me to the concept of “near occasions of sin.” If I don’t go into the store, I can’t be tempted. Two quilter friends have called today to say that an online shop has 324 Kaffe Fassett fabrics for sale. I have plenty of fabric already. Before going into dangerous situations (quilt shows with an accompanying yard sale) I like to spend time petting the fabric I already own. When people ask how I can bear not to buy something, I say, “I am in touch with the abundance in my life.”

  • Reply Tanja in Germany January 31, 2016 at 8:52 am

    Thanks for your posts, your tips are great! I am into a minimalistic life style. First I thought I do not own that much stuff. Now that I got rid of half of my belongings I still have enough to lead a content life and need less time to clean up or organize. Decluttering also made me aware of how much time and energy it costs to give away things when you have already spent lots of time and energy in collecting them. That also makes me think twice about buying new items. And it is funny how many things you actually do not need at all even if some people try to make you believe you won’t be able to live without them.

  • Reply Lauren @ Lauren, Etc. February 1, 2016 at 5:20 am

    This two-part post could not have come at a better time. I decided mid-month to embark on a 90-day shopping ban beginning in February. I shared why it’s time for me to go through this experience on my latest blog post. I would love for you and your readers to check it out. Thank you for being such an inspiration, Cait!

  • Reply allroundbetterme February 1, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    Just catching up on my blog reading, and read through your how-to posts on the shopping ban. Great stuff! I haven’t been officially doing a shopping ban, but since I’ve been budgeting last January, I’ve basically just stopped buying stuff… (I guess that’s what happens when you have to account for every penny spent…) I still have a lot of decluttering to do, but I think I need to make myself an approved shopping list so that I can give myself permission to buy a few key things… like a pair of shoes… I had to throw my go-to pair of shoes out while on my recent vacation because I had basically walked through them… And most of my other shoes are starting to wear out and are on their last legs… (or feet? haha!) I should probably get a new pair of shoes before I have to go around barefoot…

  • Reply Jane February 8, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    Appreciating what you have is my new mantra for 2016. Everyone thinks they need more of something, their life will be better if they have X. Poverty + LOVE can be just fine and anything else is a bonus.

  • Reply Liv April 10, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    I really appreciated these posts, perhaps especially the last one on preparing for a shopping ban. I did a 10 month ban once and really liked it, but I did it impulsively and without thinking through my rules properly, which made it somewhat more miserable than it needed to be, especially towards the end. Anyway, I’ve been playing with the thought of doing a shopping ban again, and your posts pushed me to finally commit. I’ll be starting an 18 month shopping ban on May 1st, set to end on my 30th birthday! :D Eeeek, this is going to be interesting!

    I’m already looking forward to spending the month figuring out my rules and getting set up! I’m getting married in September and I already know I don’t want to include wedding related things in the ban (already made plans for decor, food etc. with my boyfriend so it seems wrong to suddenly go back on that), but we’re planning a (relatively) inexpensive DIY wedding anyway (I’m even making my wedding dress myself), so I’m good with that. And anyway, knowing how my last shopping ban went, I know I’ll be super conscious about the money I spend on things that aren’t part of the ban too.

    Maybe I’ll even get around to starting that blog and writing about all this too… :)

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