Rather than splitting this up into multiple posts, I have decided to make it just one post. Good luck.
Over the past few years, I’ve really been working on my ability to save my money and spend it wisely.
As part of my 3 &1/2 Goals for the rest of 2019, I have decided to try a shopping ban.
Using cash for most of my spending money (food, clothes, etc.) has worked well for me, but I sometimes forget to use it.
Here’s how my current system works:
- I withdraw a certain amount of cash each week (say, $100)
- I use that cash any time I make a personal purchase (not gas, groceries, or things for other people)
- I save what is leftover at the end of the week
I’ve been doing this for over a year now, and it’s worked really well so far. I was able to save up to travel to New York City and New Orleans by using this method.
However, I think I can do better.
I’ve tossed the idea of a spending freeze around for almost a year, but I’ve never committed to it.
After reading The Year of Less by Cait Flanders, I was once-again inspired to try out a shopping ban.
I have a couple of small debts (cars, woo…) that I’m trying to pay off before I try to tackle my student loans.
My main goal is to save up a little bit of extra money to try and finally pay off my car early. The loan for it was ~$5,500, and I’ve got a couple thousand left plus interest. I’m just ready for it to be done.
So, after careful consideration, I have decided to implement the following rules for my shopping ban.
I’ve divided it into three categories: Essential, Non-Essential/Optional, and Not Allowed.
What’s Allowed – Essential
I can spend money on these things without any guilt, as they are essential to my ability to function.
- Rent/Bills/Gas/Basic Car Maintenance
- Toiletries, socks, and undergarments (only when I run out/am in need of more)
- Stamps, because I’m almost out, but one sheet should last through the end of the year
What’s Allowed – Non-Essential/Optional
These are things I’m technically allowed to spend money on, but I don’t have to spend money on them. I can always choose to cancel my Patreon subscription, refuse coffee, etc. I will probably get the backpack, postcards, and tshirt, but the rest is definitely optional. However, I won’t feel guilty if I do get them.
- Patreon Subscription (~$10-20 a month)
- Gifts for others
- ONLY coffee/drinks/food when offered as part of social time with coworkers (MAYBE once per month)
- Supplies for my upcoming hiking trip (this mostly includes a new backpack–mine doesn’t have a hip belt, but I have a coupon that I’m going to use to buy it).
- This also includes special postcards and a shirt from my hiking trip–I’ll explain after it’s over.
What’s NOT Allowed
Anything not listed above. This includes:
- New (or thrifted) clothes or shoes
- Notebooks, books, stationary, etc.
- Accessories, bags, or cosmetics (besides the backpack for my hiking trip)
- Electronics or accessories for electronics
- Kitchen or household items
- Non-essential food (takeaway food/coffee, eating out because of laziness, etc.)
It should hopefully be pretty easy. I’ve left myself a lot of wiggle room with the non-essential/optional category.
My goal is to try and save the money I would have pulled out as my weekly spending allowance, in addition to any other money I can save. I’ll be using that money to pay off my small debts.
In the future, I’ll put what I save toward an emergency fund and, eventually, my student loans.
Did I forget something major? Have you done a shopping ban? I’d love to hear from you below!
Alright, that’s enough for today.
Consume less, get out in nature more.