No [personal] shopping for six months


When I announced on Twitter yesterday that I was embarking on a six month self-shopping ban, I was met with many different comments. Some people were amazed by my willpower, and others said they’d never be able to do it. I also had some people ask me what I was going to do about after-holiday sales, how  I’d get people gifts for the holidays and even if I were still planning to go grocery shopping or if I’d become a freegan.

Well, I’m here to set the record straight. Yes, I am going on a shopping ban for the next six months (November 1, 2011- May 1, 2012). No, I’m not planning to become a freegan. No, I’m not trying to make a commentary on our society by not shopping. I’m not looking for attention, notoriety or places to make socioeconomic commentary. I’m merely just trying to save some money, and this is an easy way to do so, that I can control. And my plans for the holidays are to either attempt to make gifts, because I can be crafty, or use Etsy to purchase some really cool small-business made gifts for friends and family. My shopping ban is pretty much just for frivolous things for myself. I am going to set out a few ground rules, and I want you guys to all be aware of them and keep me in check if you think I’ve fallen off the wagon.

  1. If I need new undies or bras, I’m allowed to purchase new ones during the six month period, but ONLY if I actually need new ones. Joe will have final say for this rule.
  2. I am allowed to swap clothes with other bloggers, friends or family. I am also allowed to sell my clothes, but the money cannot be used toward new clothes, it must instead be added to the house fund.
  3. I am allowed to receive gifts of clothing or accessories for the holidays, and if I am given a giftcard, I am allowed to shop with it. But, I cannot spend more than the amount that it is on the card, unless it is less than $1 or covers the sales tax.
  4. Because I work with brands and stores on a fairly regular basis, I am still allowed to accept items for review. These are items that are still within my budget, fit within my disclosure policy and are items I would spend my money on, if I weren’t on a shopping ban. (In addition, any ads I sell will also be put toward our house fund, and not toward my clothing fund). (*edit- I am not actively SEEKING any reviews or items, but I have a few that I haven’t worn/posted about yet that I want to make sure will not be viewed in a negative light because of this ban)

This list will be edited/updated as needed.

The reason I’ve decided on this ban is quite simple. I have too much stuff, and Joe and I would like to buy a house. I’d rather work on saving our money toward a large purchase like that, than buy another $40 skirt I don’t really need. I’m one of those shoppers that likes to be thrifty, but it is so easy for me to start with one $3  from the thrift store, and pick up nine more, meaning I only spent $30, but I now own ten dresses that I think are cute, but I don’t really need.

I’ve discussed my spending habits and our budgeting a little before, and while I’m not going to go into detail because I’m not comfortable plastering that much information about myself all over the internet, I came to the decision that this was the best experiment to try. I mean, let’s all be honest. It’s so easy to head over to Target to grab a gallon of milk and walk out with coffee, a new tank top, a sweater, shoes and a new DVD, but no milk. I’ve seen some people talk about it before, and I’m guilty of that bad habit as well. I want to break that habit.

The clothes I currently own are very nice, and don’t need to be replaced. I’m also not planning to gain/lose a large amount of weight any time soon, so my size shouldn’t fluctuate. If it does, obviously these rules will be reevaluated and things will change.

I’m also planning to be very candid here, and share my successes, my weaknesses, my failures and how the process is going. I know I’m not the first one to go through an exercise like this, and I certainly won’t be the last. But hopefully my attempt at this experiment will help me, as well as at least one of you reading this.

Day 1 is complete. Wish me luck for the remaining 182 days!


30 thoughts on “No [personal] shopping for six months

  1. This is great, Suze! I’ve often thought about a shopping ban myself, but when it comes to my clothes… I really own a small & crappy closet. That’s been my focus, building up what I need and don’t have (like sweaters! How do I own, well, now 2?). I’m really excited to see you share this experience with us…. it’s incredibly inspiring and really makes me consider more and more doing one myself!

  2. I feel like I ought to join you. I tried GAAD last year, but it actually made me more shoppy rather than less. But lately I’ve been fairly successful at selling underused clothes, and as I’ve used the income to buy new things I’ve really been feeling like, OK, now my closet’s full, and it’s more full with things I like than with things that are the wrong size/not loved/etc. So maybe I’m in a different place now. Plus I’d really like to save some money for a kitchen remodel.

    All of that did not stop me from walking into Target and walking out with a clearance Missoni sweatercoat on Sunday, though.

  3. Good Luck Suze! I am so guilty of everything you stated above. Often my hubby says “You’re CUT OFF” but then he never follows through or gets on my back about the things I come home with. I also have a daughter who has my “I have to have it” traits. I should set a better example but I lack will power.. please blog any tips on how you are managing!!

    • I will! I’m excited to see how well I fare. It’s only day two, and I’m good, but I’m sure when I get a new catalog I’ll freak out!

  4. This is so awesome! I am loving your idea! I only shop at thrift stores, so that’s saving already. Do you follow the Swapaholics? They have the list of all swaps in the States, and some other countries! I blogged about couponing last week – my husband and I saved about $90 on groceries! Also – freecycle is a great source – I got a ton of craft supplies off of it! :)))))

  5. I think your comment about how you are going to “save some money, and this is an easy way to do so” is hilarious. I do not think a shopping ban for 6 months is easy! I wish you luck:)

  6. Good for you! I afully support you, but I just couldn’t do it myself. I have toyed with the idea of giving myself a 1 month ban and even that freaks me out. I’m gonna follow you closely, hoping to pick up tips. Good luck! x

  7. Congrats! I did the exact same thing (with almost the same personal rules) from January to July of this year, and I think I’ll do it again this year. It taught me a lot about my closet and my spending habits, and I’m so glad I did it. It was MUCH harder than I thought it would be, but I was very proud when it was over. Good luck!

  8. i did this for almost that same length of time, from around february to august. it was easier than i thought it would be – i stayed away from places that offer clothes. granted, i’m in a town that doesn’t have a target or a goodwill – i get cat food at the pet store, and any household necessities at the grocery store. if it’s wasn’t around, i wasn’t tempted.

    i’m guessing this also includes things like jewelry & nail polish? drug stores were my downfall – i’d grab a new lip gloss every other time. that stuff adds up quickly! >.<

    good luck and have fun! there are tons of resources online for low-cost upcycled DIY sorts of gifts. 😀

    • Yes, I’m including nail polish, make up, accessories, all that stuff. I don’t tend to run out of makeup quickly, but I’ll buy new stuff.
      I’m one of those “oh, I’m not out, but I’ll get it anyway” people, and it drives me crazy!

  9. OMG. That’s tough. I dunno if I can actually do the same… but for some reasons, I’d like to put myself on a shopping ban too for six months. Hmm? Maybe I can start now so I’ll have someone with me who’s in a shopping ban too? Haha!

    Christmas is coming soon so I must start to save (for the presents, lol). >.< That's a great idea you gave there about diy gifts than buying. I think I'll consider that. 🙂 But I guess in the end, I still need some stuffs to use for my DIY gift. LOL

    Good luck to you! ^^ And good luck to me. lol I'll also start with this personal shopping ban. Just in case you'll see me tweet about online shopping or so, please stop me. Haha! XD

  10. That is such a great idea! Not only will it help you save lots of money, but it will be force extra outfit creativity too! Good luck!

  11. I think its a great idea…I commend you for trying…let’s face it, how many things that we buy do we actually “need”? Not many Im sure….think of all the extra $ you will have!!
    The best of luck to you hunnie!!!

    • I’m thinking I’ll do an updated next week about my first week, then maybe move to monthly updated. I’ve been good so far, but I’m sure it will get harder as I begin holiday shopping!

  12. I am so inspired when I read about girls doing a shopping ban! I try for a while then fail, but I have been getting a little better lately asking myself…do i need it, love it, is it practical? things like that! I need to start shopping my own closet!

  13. That is awesome – good luck! I definitely would love to challenge myself to this one day because I have such an online shopping addiction. That is amazing that you are going to attempt this during the holidays. Can’t wait to hear about the results!

    • You could try a month or two. I’m also keeping a running tally of what I would buy if I wasn’t banned. I am curious to see the amount of money I would’ve spent and didn’t. I’m a little nervous about choosing to go on a bam around the holidays but excited to see how strong my willpower can be.

  14. Good luck lady! I’m not buying any clothing right now because I’m not going to have a pay check coming in for another 2-3 weeks and I’m already going crazy!

  15. I’m impressed by this! I have trouble staying within budgets, so maybe one day I’ll follow your example. Consumerism cold turkey. I hope you’ll keep us up to date on your findings – I look forward to reading about it! I wonder what your own expectations are – like, do you think you will get more creative? Put more thought in your outfits? Revaluate some garments you’ve had for a long time?

    • Thanks! I am really hoping that I’ll get more creative with what I already own, and because my work place allows jeans on a daily basis, I’m really open as to what I can/want to wear every day. I am not stuck to ONLY workplace suits, etc. I’m also hoping that I’ll realize the full potential of what I own, and I’ll stop that “want” for new things, or for new things that are very similar to what I already own. For example, I own three different purple skirts. They’re all different shades of purple, and two are thrifted and one was a birthday gift, but they’re all PURPLE. Why do I need three purple skirts?!
      That’s what I’m hoping to get to the bottom of.
      I’m also thinking of taking a very critical look at advertising throughout my process. I don’t work in advertising, but I know that value of good PR, and also of good advertising. I’m curious to take a critical look at what used to drive me into stores, and why it did that, and ways I can conbat those feelings of “gotta have it, really want it.”
      And, yes, I’m hoping it will also help me reevaluate items I already own. I’m the type of person that gets an attachment to certain items of clothing. For example, I have a shirt that I know I will NEVER part with, because I remember wearing it to chemo treatments with my dad, and he pointed out that random design I thought was cute, was in fact peacocks. We laughed about it for the rest of the day, and I just have such wonderful memories tied to that shirt, that I will probably turn it in to a pillow before I’d get rid of it, even if it didn’t fit me anymore, because of those memories (my dad’s been gone for ten months).

      I’m planning to do a recap this week, them maybe once a month, so I’m not boring anyone, but also so I’m keeping everyone up-to-date. I also want to make sure that I’m giving readers the information they want to read throughout my process, so I’ll probably ask what people want to know as I continue. 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

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