Thursday, February 4, 2016
Tips for a Shopping Ban
Every few months I impose a shopping ban on myself.
The rules are pretty easy: I can only spend money on groceries (fast food doesn't count), food for the pigs/cats and absolute necessities like shampoo. I can't buy any clothes, accessories, make-up/bath products, books or movies.
The shopping bans are always a lot easier than I thought. That's partially because I have strong willpower, and partially because a lot of people think I can't do it and it's in my nature to prove them wrong. If a shopaholic like me can survive, than so can you!
Below I've put together a few of my personal tips that have helped me out during this shopping ban. This mini-guide is specifically geared towards fashionistas with overflowing closets, so the tips will focus on how to avoid temptation and rework your existing wardrobe. There's also a few tips geared towards saving in general.
♥ If you use shopping to combat your emotions (like me), STOP. It is only a temporary fix! Figure out something else that will help you relax and take your mind off things when you are stressed/sad/angry/lonely. Meditate, read a book, go for a walk/run, vent to a friend, start an art project, clean, etc. Retail therapy is just a vicious loop that will make you feel worse when your credit card statement comes in!
♥ Choose a goal to work towards. Maybe all of the money you save by not spending mindlessly can go towards a mini vacation, or your dream car, or a new laptop! It feels amazing when you reach that goal and you realize you're there because you didn't fritter away your money on lip gloss or cheap shoes!
♥ Let your friends and family know about your shopping ban. They will [or at least they should] support you and help you work towards your goal.
♥ Learn how to fix broken stuff. I once ripped the strap on a tank top and I mentioned to my friend I needed to buy a new one to replace it. She looked at me in shock and said "Why don't you sew it?!" Look up tutorials online or ask your mother to show you how to sew, replace a button, or patch up a hole. It's such a simple task that will help extend the life of your favourite clothes!
♥ Also: Pay attention to the washing directions. Wash dark clothing in cold water to prevent the colour from fading and staining light clothes, and either hang it or lay it flat to dry to help retain the shape. Hand-wash your delicates. I've lost many clothing articles to evil dryers or just by not realizing dark blue skirts will ultimately stain the white skirt right beside it. Take care of your wardrobe!
♥ Pick a hobby to help fill up your spare time. I often shop when I'm bored, so having a fun hobby helped alleviate that boredom. Write letters/e-mails, blog, learn how to sew [winky wink], garden or read! If you love to read, I'd suggest going through your bookshelf and making a stack of all the books you haven't read yet! If you enjoy watching movies, stick to Netflix instead of hitting the movie theater.
♥ Shop your closet. I know that black tunic you want to buy would probably look great with your coloured skinnies, but you do realize you have several other loose black tops that would work just as well, right? On your next free day, dig through that overflowing closet and find some gems you've probably forgotten you even have. Try out new outfit combinations.
♥ Realize how much money you're spending on products/services you don't need. Do you really need to get a manicure every month? What if you deleted your subscriptions to magazines you're not really interested in, or got rid of some internet/cell phone/whatever services you don't require?
♥ Get rid of the clothes you don't want to wear. It's just clogging up your closet and hiding all of those gems I previously mentioned! You can donate it, sell it, or....
♥ Organize a clothing swap with friends! (Disregard this rule if you're just trying to get rid of clothing.) This is a fun way to switch up your wardrobe without spending any money. Decide on a set number of pieces to bring and have fun swapping!
♥ Make a list of stuff you want to buy during this shopping ban. At the end of the ban, read your list over and check off everything you no longer want to buy. Personally, I decided I needed shiny leggings despite never wearing leggings and so I resolved to buy them when my ban was done. A week later I came to my senses.
♥ Also: Use this list to help imagine outfits for whatever you'd like to buy. How much wear can you really get out of that skirt? Are you going to need to buy an entire new outfit to match it? If you can't wear it with several items already in your closet, it's not worth it.
♥ Rock the 'price per wear' rule with items you already own. Basically, take the price of an item and divide it by the number of times you wear it in one month. An expensive coat that you wear every single day that helps you look polished is basically priceless. A dress you bought for one night out and never wore again doesn't make the cut. When you're shopping your closet, make a resolution to wear all of those expensive one-time outfits several times to really get the most out of your money.
♥ Organize outings with your friends that don't involve spending time at the mall. It can be difficult to resist temptation when everyone else is shopping! Instead, why don't you....Spend the day at the beach. Have a movie marathon (Netflix it or have everyone bring a DVD). Go for a nature walk or do yoga in the park.
♥ Avoid temptation by deleting those pesky store newsletters emblazoned with 'End of Summer Sale!!' Don't read fashion magazines because you're going to end up wanting that hot new product. It's a lot easier to stick to your ban when flashy deals aren't being shoved in your face!
♥ Try your hand at DIY and re-make some of the items you already wear! Some lace and different buttons can help transform your boring cardigan into something that looks brand-new. If you see an item in stores, try re-making it at home!
♥ If you buy coffee/tea every day, stop! Make it at home in the morning and bring it to work in a travel mug. $1.60 every day doesn't seem like much, but it adds up to $48 a month! Save that money and buy yourself a $5 box of tea to last the month.
♥ Also: Make your lunches at home! You could buy yourself a sandwich for $5 every day....or you can buy yourself a loaf of bread, an entire package of deli meat, and a few other tidbits to make yourself a cheap lunch every day for a week.
♥ Find all of your make-up and bath/beauty products and use them. Okay, I'm really bad for this one. I don't need 100+ bottles of nail polish [half of which are varying shades of pink...] It can be tempting to buy another bottle of cleanser just because it's on sale or a 'new' shade of nail polish, but try checking out what's in your beauty arsenal. I guarantee you'll probably realize you have so much stuff to use up that you don't need another one!
Have you ever tried a shopping ban? Will you ever? Let me know in the comments!