It seems like almost everyone I know (myself included) is trying to save up for something. I suppose we’re just at that age – everyone wants to either get into the housing market (if they haven’t already) or take the chance to do some extended travel before settling down to being a proper ‘grown-up’. For most of my friends and I, this has come down to seriously cutting back on unnecessary purchases of clothes, shoes, accessories and cosmetics. Which actually is harder than you would think!
I’m not on a ‘ban’ per say, but this year I’ve been trying really hard to simplify my wardrobe and work more towards minimalism. I’ve managed to stick to only buying a few things so far this year (all shown in the photo above), and am considering my next few purchases quite seriously before making them. It probably also helps that I’m being so vigorous with my saving that I don’t really have anything left over for new clothes! So anyway, here’s a few things that worked for me:
- Doing Project333 helped heaps – what’s the point in buying new things if you can’t wear them for another 3 months?
- Unsubscribing from all the (many) shop mailing lists I had invading my mailbox every day. Email and shopping minimalism in one go.
- Deciding to no longer buy shoes or clothes online – I seem to have a 50/50 rate of getting something that both fits and looks good on me, and I used to waste a lot of time browsing online stores. It’s also much easier to spend on a credit card than spending cash.
- Mending, altering or dyeing items from my current wardrobe to give them a bit more life.
- Sorting through my current wardrobe and finding things that I’d forgotten about, or new combinations of items to try out.
- Really carefully considering purchases. I’ve bought things in the past that have turned out to not really be flattering, fitted badly, made of problematic fabric or just don’t really suit my style or lifestyle. I’ve heard people say they like to think of at least three different outfits they could use an item in before purchasing it, and I think that’s a great idea!
- Not going shopping. Sounds obvious, but I think some people find this difficult. Window shopping is like sniffing a donut and thinking you’re not going to want to eat it. If you don’t seek out the donut then it’s less tempting.
- Having a tangible goal to work towards – I don’t think I’d be able to be anywhere near as good if I was saving just for the sake of it.
- Setting a limit rather than a ban – I used to set aside $50 per week for ‘frivolous’ things, like dining out, drinks at bars, coffees, clothes, cosmetics etc – everyone apart from everyday bills and expenses. I find this more useful than going completely cold turkey, and it also made me think about priorities – do I want to have drinks with friends or buy a new top? Do I want to buy a coffee every day, or have a nice dinner with The Boy?
- Finding a different hobby. Not an issue for me, I have more hobbies than I know what to do with!
- Gathering momentum. I think it gets easier over time, and now that I have a bit of savings I’m clinging to it and feeling very reluctant to let go of any money that I could put in there.
Currently I have a little wishlist of items but have been too lazy, too busy and too stingy to go searching for them at the right price, which I’ve taken to mean that really I’m fine without them for now. My last little shopping stint in Singapore (oh come on, you can’t go to Singapore and not buy stuff!) has satisfied me for now, and I’m working on making a few things to get through autumn and winter. I feel like I have much more willpower in resisting shopping than resisting food. I wonder if I could make it through the rest of the year without buying stuff?
Got any other good tips for surviving a shopping ban for me?