If there’s one weakness that I have, it’s shopping. And with how convenient it is now to shop online and get stuff on sale delivered straight to your door without even leaving your house, I am sad to say that I am a little bit of a shopaholic!
Shopping is great and all. But once it gets out of hand and you start itching to take out your wallet every time you see something new and shiny at the mall, it’s time to re-assess exactly why you’re shelling out the money and if you really need to buy it.
Last year, I personally felt like I had to deal with this problem head-on. Every time I’d either go to the mall, pass by a store to buy an essential, or see an email subscription pop up from one of my favorite stores, I had an intense itch to buy something. It didn’t matter if I actually felt like I needed it. If I wanted it and it was cute, that’s really all that mattered.
Why I decided to implement a shopping ban
Now, I’m a huge shoe and clothing person and I love collecting both. But after moving in with my boyfriend last year and having to share our very little closet space together, I had to re-assess everything that I owned and accumulated over the past decade.
As I went through my stuff when I was packing, I found I had so many clothes that I’d only worn once or twice (and honestly, many of them hadn’t seen the light of day for years or ever at all!). I also found that I mostly rotated between about 10-15% of my 50-something pairs of shoes in my closet. What a waste of money and space!
Seeing exactly the small percentage of my stuff that I actually used and how much unnecessary money I spent on these things was a shock to me. Did I really need all of these things? Why did I buy these things anyway if I wasn’t even going to use them and they were just accumulating dust at the bottom of my closet?
I’m generally a financial and number-oriented person (having worked in finance and accounting in the past does that to you!) so seeing this was a huge wakeup call. This is exactly why I ended up deciding to implement a shopping ban.
Tips on how to survive a shopping ban
If you’ve never done a shopping ban, you’re basically not allowed to buy anything for the next x number of months that you decide that you want the ban to last for. Of course, you’re allowed to buy essentials if you run out of them but only if they’re necessities that you can’t live without. So that means no shopping for pleasure even if that shirt is calling you at the store!
For me, I wanted to not go too crazy and limit myself for too long as I’d never done anything like this before so I ended up doing the ban for 6 months. And boy were those 6 months hard! Going from shopping every few days whenever I saw something I liked to not being able to buy anything at all was really, really hard but I did it and I learned a lot about myself along the way, especially how to exercise self-restraint!
If you’re interested in doing a shopping ban yourself to reset your shopping habits, learn how to live with less, save money, improve your self-control, or just to torture yourself (haha I kid!), here are some tips I learned along the way that I hope will be helpful to you during your no spend journey!
1. Unsubscribe from store emails
I can’t tell you how many times I haven’t really been in the mood to buy anything only to get an email about a huge blowout sale from one of my favorite stores. The crazy discounts and promotional pictures then totally suck me in and I can’t help but click and go to the store website. Next thing I know, I have 3 to 4 items in my cart! Ah!!
If you’re on a shopping ban (or even while you’re not on a shopping ban), avoid tempting yourself to buy stuff by clicking the unsubscribe button from your favorite stores. And plus, it helps declutter your inbox from junk because some of these stores will email you once or even twice a day sometimes!
2. Avoid the mall
Another wise thing to do is to avoid the mall at all costs. Don’t tempt yourself by even being in the vicinity of a mall! All you’ll see are shiny new things in the store windows and everyone holding shopping bags of goodies they just bought around you! If you don’t see things that tempt you and people around you shopping, you’ll be less inclined to take out your wallet.
And if you must go to the store to get essentials, avoid going to stores that are located within a mall. Instead, try to find locations that are standalone stores and stick to only buying what’s on your list.
3. Set money goals
If you’re learning how to control your spending and stop wasting money on depreciating material things, a shopping ban is a great way to do just that! If you’re looking to save a certain amount for your retirement fund, a down payment for a house or condo, to repay a student loan, or investment purposes, plan out your future financial goals before starting your shopping ban and write it down somewhere visible where you can see it every day. Once you’re in the no spend challenge, keep reminding yourself of your goals and how much money you’re saving each month that you don’t shop. Not shopping is a lot easier when you have a financial goal in mind!
4. Reward yourself
It’s really hard to quit shopping cold turkey if you’ve been so used to doing on a regular basis. What I like to do is still reward myself in other ways that don’t cost much. One of my favorite ways to still feel like I’m purchasing something is to treat myself with a coffee or a steeped tea every once in a while if I don’t have time to make it at home. It’s something small but it helps reduce my cravings of wanting to buy more shoes and clothes.
5. Avoid conversations with friends who like to shop
We’re often the most influenced by people we surround ourselves with especially friends and family. I know when I talk to my girlfriends, they like to talk about any recent deals or purchases that they got recently. If your friends are like that too, try to avoid including yourself in conversations like that because they can feed into your subconscious thoughts and you’ll end up wanting to buy stuff that you really don’t need!
6. Tell your friends and family that you’re on a shopping ban
If you’re close with your friends, just tell them straight up that you’re on a strict shopping ban. If they’re real friends who care about you, telling them can make the whole journey a little easier because they’ll be there to support you and help you along the way. Also, letting them know gives them a heads up to be considerate of your feelings and not talk about shopping around you.
7. Clean up your closet
Since you can’t shop, what better time than now to start purging your closet of things that are taking up unnecessary room and causing more clutter? Take a day or two to sort out your closet, re-organize it, and find out what you don’t like or need anymore. You can either donate them or make some extra cash by selling them on sites such as Ebay or thredUP.
8. Re-discover your closet
Sometimes you might get the itch to go shopping because you’re bored of what’s in your closet, you just want something new, or your clothes are out of style if you like to follow trends. By cleaning up your closet, you might re-discover and fall in love with some pieces that you totally forgot you even had. Use this time to pair things differently with one another to get a whole new look!
9. Take a break from following fashion bloggers
A huge source of my fashion inspiration comes from fashion bloggers and I know a lot of you girls are like that too! If you’re on a shopping ban, I highly suggest you stop following or at least take a break from following these bloggers. Their constant posts on new finds, styles, and trends can be a huge temptation to spend your money on things you don’t really need!
10. Immerse yourself in time-consuming hobbies
Lastly, a great way to keep your mind off of shopping is to immerse yourself in hobbies that are time-consuming so you don’t have time to even think about buying material things! Put your mind into doing something you’ve always wanted to do such as learning a new skill or getting into the best shape of your life.
A shopping ban is a great way to reset your shopping habits, learn how to live with less, save money, and improve your self-control. It’s also a great way to remind ourselves that there is so much more to life than accumulating material goods. I hope you liked these tips and that they’ll help you get through this journey of no spending!
Looking to make extra cash and save more money each month? Take a look at my other posts:
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Have you ever put yourself on a shopping ban? If so, what was your experience like? Let me know in the comments!