Could You Stop Shopping For A Whole Year?
It’s a new year and hopefully, it will be a much better one!
The thing is just because we get to get our new planners and calendars out doesn’t mean we get to forget all our old troubles.
That’s why so many of us set new goals at the beginning of the year.
You know the usual suspects. Lose weight. Drink less. Pay off debt. Be a nicer person. Blah blah blah.
But here’s a new one. Could you stop shopping for a whole year?
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Before we even get started I want to say, I totally don’t claim ANY credit for this idea. I heard about it in this great book called “The Year of Less” by Cait Flanders.
Cait Flanders is really amazing because she has actually accomplished all the goals mentioned above! And one day, she decided to put herself on a shopping ban for an entire year. The surprising part is it totally changed her whole life!
What is a Shopping Ban?
Here’s the thing. Cait didn’t jump into her shopping ban willy nilly. She prepared.
She decided she wasn’t allowed to shop for anything that wasn’t groceries or necessary toiletries for an entire year. But she did write a list of things she could shop for if she needed to replace them. For example, she knew she needed a new hoodie.
So basically a shopping ban is where you decide to stop shopping for things you don’t truly need like food, medicine, and deodorant.
In your shopping ban, you might especially focus on the things you have a weakness for. These things could be things you don’t think of as things. For example, Starbucks Coffee. If you are addicted to a fancy coffee drink every day it’s probably eating up way too much of your budget!
If Starbucks isn’t your problem maybe it’s eating out or buying workout clothes or candles, jewelry, lotion, or pens and planners (yes, I’m a big fat nerd). Whatever your weakness is you definitely need to take a break from buying so much of it!
What Can You Buy When You Stop Shopping?
We can’t actually stop shopping. We all need to eat and sometimes, our jeans won’t button anymore or our favorite shoe breaks on the way to work.
If you are going to stop shopping for an entire year you need to write a list of things you are allowed to buy if the need be. You need to be specific.
If you know your winter coat is about to bite the dust write that down. Are your tennis shoes about to fall apart? Put that on the list.
Just remember you are not going to be buying multiples of these things. You are going to ask lots of questions before you buy anything. You are going to consciously and intentionally find the best version of the thing you need before you buy it!
Aside from that, it’s simple. Buy your groceries. Don’t bulk buy toilet paper (even after the great TP scare of 2020) or lotions or makeup or anything. Just get what you actually need. Don’t buy anything else.
It Sounds So EASY to Stop Shopping!
Right now, you are thinking it sounds completely doable to stop shopping for a whole year. Or maybe you are mortified. I have to confess, I feel both ways depending on the day.
Cait Flanders started out a bit of a shopaholic so she found it more difficult than she expected. I casually played with it last year and found myself messing up without even meaning to. (And I’m a minimalist).
It’s important to remember that we live in a consumer society. That means we are constantly being told that we need to buy stuff. When we talk to our friends we often talk about stuff we recently bought or want to buy. We even shop socially! “Let’s go shopping” and “Time for a Target run.” are normal parts of our vocabulary!
We also tend to try to shape our emotions with outside influences. If it’s not drugs or alcohol we use shoes and Starbucks to get ourselves out of the dumps.
It’s best not to expect it to be easy when you start out. Know that you will face some serious Amazon itchy finger if you decide to stop shopping for an entire year!
Why Should You Stop Shopping For A Year?
Cait began her shopping ban because of a big bunch of debt she was carrying around and adding to.
I have, in large part, stopped shopping because I don’t want a bunch of clutter.
Why should you stop shopping?
It can help you pay off debt. You would be surprised how much money we spend on little things like Starbucks and a new shirt here and there or all those cool new gadgets.
It can help you save money. That’s different than paying off debt. After you pay off the debt you can save money, lots of money. You can use this money for things you actually want to do, like travel!
If you stop shopping you might also start appreciating what you already have more. You might start spending the time you took shopping on creative endeavors or your health! Maybe you will just spend more time outside or with your family.
You will also have more money to spend on things that aren’t things like travel, education, and fun experiences!
Stop and think about why you might want to stop shopping for an entire year and write down the top three reasons so that you can remember them in the late nights when online shopping calls you on your phone.
When You Stop Shopping You Might Want To Let Go of More
When you stop shopping you may need to become more resourceful. But guess what? You have a lot of resources in your house already! In fact, you probably have too many resources.
It may sound funny, but at the same time, as you stop shopping, you might want to start decluttering. Take a good honest look at all the junk in your house. All that junk used to be money. But you, and only you, converted it into the piles that surround you.
If you know what you already have you won’t think you need to buy more. Take stock of what you have that can really serve you in your life moving forward and get rid of the rest.
Who knows? You might even end up living the minimalist lifestyle!
Will You Stop Shopping For a Whole Year?
I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t try a shopping ban. If you have a shopping addiction you probably should. Maybe you hate shopping. You might still try it because you shop more than you think.
If you want to stop shopping for a whole year you could pay off debt, save lots of money, start your own business, grow closer to your friends, and discover the real you!
That’s what happened to Cait Flanders. Seriously, grab the book through your library or click here to buy it. It’s very inspiring!
Do you think you could stop shopping for a whole year? What is your weakness that you spend too much on? Please share in the comments below!
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