During my unplanned year, I’ve decided to go on a shopping cleanse, meaning I won’t shop for an entire year. My goals are to a) appreciate what I already have, b) break the cycle of “I see/I want/I buy”, and c) save money.
Living in L.A. with an Amazon Prime account, EVERYTHING is only a click away. I noticed how often I would think we “needed” something (like a “vegetable spiralizer”) and then would immediately order it on Amazon. Or I would get an email about an amazing sale at a favorite store, and before long, have $200 worth of items in my cart. This year though, I’ve been craving simplicity and that extends to a reduction in physical stuff.
I also made this realization thanks to “Buxfer” – an online program that uploads your purchases, and then you create categories to see where your money is going. Let’s just say when I added up a few months of the “Kailea Shopping” category, it was MUCH more than I would have estimated. Taking a brutally honest look at my spending habits helped me figure out where I could be saving more.
My parents say it’s less about how much you make, and more about how much you don’t spend, so I figure I can support our savings goal a lot by simply spending less this year. My “No Shopping” cleanse extends to all non-essentials, as well as all personal shopping. If I do need to buy something (i.e. new running shoes) I will use money from the “Extra” category described below.
I’m 4 months in and these are the steps I’ve taken that have helped so far:
- Unsubscribed (or labeled as Junk) all emails from stores. This helped me remove the temptation – out of sight, out of mind.
- Avoid Known Traps – i.e. the mall, or stores/websites I know will make me want to shop!
- Change Mindset – I don’t usually choose “cold turkey” approaches, but in this case, it’s been helpful. The decision to NOT shop has already been made, so I don’t need to internally battle with myself or try to justify anything.
- No Amazon Prime – I didn’t renew our Prime account. The cost of shipping is enough of a deterrent to break my old habit.
- Use ALL Products – Before I buy a new product (i.e. shampoo), I take a thorough inventory to make sure we don’t have a partial bottle I can use up instead.
- Weekly Cash Envelope – I give myself a weekly allowance and I use it for all purchases that can be made in cash (see below).
- “Extra” Envelope – If any money is left at the end of the week, I add to it this envelope, then I can use it for bigger purchases (ex: hair cut). Not only does this help me to spend less on a weekly basis, but delaying gratification makes me appreciate what I’m saving for more.
Our bills are paid online, so our cash envelope is used for:
- Activities (i.e. going to a movie, restaurant, comedy show)
- Household Misc. (i.e. laundry detergent, batteries, sponges, shampoo, etc.)
Overall, not shopping has been easier than I expected. It has made me feel more appreciative of the things I do have, and I feel like I am regaining a sense of control around not buying something just because I like it. Using cash instead of my credit/debit card has helped me become more aware of where my money is going, and how much I have to spend each week. “Browsing” online is a definite danger zone, and I have noticed myself daydreaming about new ankle boots BUT I’M STAYING STRONG.
Let me know if you have any questions and thanks for reading!