I was at Target the other day to pick up a couple things and I grabbed a basket because I didn’t want to carry everything. (I hate pushing shopping carts unless absolutely necessary and if you happen to go to a store with me and we grab a cart, I will conveniently find ways to have you push it the entire time.) As I was picking up the items I originally came for, I saw an endcap with some really neat Halloween craft supplies. Before I thought about it, they were in my basket. Then I remembered, I don’t do crafts and I’m supposed to be on a shopping ban. So back on the shelf they went.
In June, I read a book called The Year of Less by Cait Flanders. Because I have too much stuff already, I decided then and there to start my own shopping ban. I came up with my own rules and used a few of hers.
- I can’t buy anything new unless I’m replacing something that ran out (personal products) or I’m getting rid of something in its place (broken or ruined items)
- Food doesn’t count but I’m decreasing my budget to discourage impulse buys/unhealthy purchases
- I am allowed to buy gifts for others but only within reason.
- I can renew any memberships I currently have, but can’t start anything new.
- Trips don’t count but souvenirs do.
- If it’s an absolute necessity, then fine, otherwise, no new purchases just because I want something.
So, no new clothes unless somehow all my clothes stop fitting me. To be honest, I hate shopping for clothes, so that’s not a big deal. Also, I only buy secondhand. You can find awesome deals in a thrift store. Anyway, I’ve been doing the challenge now for 5 months, and oh my goodness, it’s harder than I thought it would be. I figured it would be easy-peasy, but suddenly I realize how much of an impulse buyer I am. Other than the Target story above, I also randomly purchased a book off Amazon in September without actually thinking about it; not even a little bit did I think about the fact that I’m on a shopping ban until I read the confirmation email. So I debated, do I cancel the order or gift it instead? Well, when it came in the mail, I read it and passed it along as a birthday present. And then I took Amazon off my bookmark list and replaced it with my local library’s website.
Online shopping is much too easy for me to do impulsively because it doesn’t require going anywhere. So my biggest chore was to go through and unsubscribe from promotional emails. I’ve never really paid attention to how many advertisements I got. Somehow, I’ve ended up on a LOT of lists and some companies make it very difficult to unsubscribe. One company made me click through 4 different pages before it was finalized and then a pop up appeared that asked if I was 100% sure. Yes! After 4 pages, the answer is obviously still yes. I also unfollowed a lot of businesses on Instagram because I didn’t want to be tempted by sales or new products. I put ad blockers on my computer and phone. You can never completely cut yourself off, but you can cut back on exposure.
So the shopping ban has been difficult. I’ve cheated a couple times, especially in the beginning. I never really thought of myself as a shopper, but it turns out I am. I guess I’m swayed by advertisements and/or good deals, and end up buying things I don’t actually need and after a while, don’t even really want. Before implementing the ban, I couldn’t have told you the last time I waited a few days before making a purchase I decided I wanted. Now, I suddenly need to break a shopping addiction I’ve never acknowledged. Uffda, I have a feeling my impulsive nature will constantly challenge me, but here’s hoping it’s a successful endeavor.
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