I started my yearlong shopping ban on 1. October 2018 and figured it’s time to share my tips on how to create a successful shopping ban of your own. I am incredibly happy to have started my ban. I see it as a great opportunity to spread the word about frugal living and all it entails!
If you’ve read the rules for my yearlong shopping ban then you’ll have probably realized that not much will change for me. I am frugal at heart. I only buy what I need and that’s it. I also shared with you my approved shopping list and gave you a detailed overview of the clothing that I plan on buying.
If you are thinking of starting your own shopping ban then it’s my hope that my tips will help. Let’s do this!
Here are 10 Tips On How To Create A Successful Shopping Ban
1. Know your core values
If you don’t know your values, you don’t know where you are going. Defining your values is one of the most crucial steps to take prior to attempting to do anything. I got crystal clear on my values in my late teens and I am so glad that I did. Do you know your core values? Do you know what drives you?
I vividly remember the moment I sat down and worked out my values for the very first time in my life. It literally changed everything. My life would be completely different today if it wasn’t for defining and actively shaping my values. The book, the Success Principles, is a great place to start and so is this wiki how post on how to define your personal values.
2. Be very clear about your reasons
In order to thrive during your shopping ban, you need to get very clear on your reasons for wanting to start a shopping ban. Are you buying things that you don’t actually need?
Are you spending too much money on stuff that doesn’t really matter? Do you buy clothing although you already have enough? Get very clear on why you want to commit to a shopping ban, better yet, write it down.
3. Take a deeper look at your needs vs. wants
A lot of us are buying way more than we actually need. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is what comes to mind. I am sure most of you have, at one point or another, heard about this five-tier model of human needs. Have a closer look at the pyramid. Where do you personally find yourself at? Wanting to shop less usually arises due to having enough, if not too much.
More than 1.3 billion people live in extreme poverty. They struggle to meet their basic needs. Challenges such as a “shopping ban” are of course not on their radar. I think it’s important to be crystal clear on what needs and wants are and how to differentiate between the two. Take a look at the pyramid and take it from there.
4. Set realistic rules
Setting your own rules for your shopping ban is really important. They function as a rough guideline and will help you stay on track. One of the most important tips on how to create a successful shopping ban would be this one: Do what works for you. The rules for my yearlong shopping ban work for me and that’s not to say that they’ll work for everyone.
When you sit down and start setting your own rules, make sure to set them with you, and only you, in mind. Focus on the most important stuff and keep it simple. A good example is traveling. I am traveling all of 2018 and it’d be unsustainable to include “eating out” on my list of “What I am not allowed to buy”. While I have access to a kitchen most of the time, it’s not always the case and by not allowing myself to eat out I’d set myself up for failure.
5. Keep it simple
I love documenting which is why I put everything in writing and into spreadsheets. While I definitely recommend keeping some sort of record, there is no right or wrong. If you are currently planning your shopping ban be sure to take notes. Maybe have a designated file on your computer or a journal that will help guide you through your ban.
Whatever works for you. I am a lover of spreadsheets and sharing and find writing about my shopping ban really helpful. Whatever is that works for you, stick with it and keep it simple. There’s no need for a million spreadsheets, unless, of course, you happen to love spreadsheets!
6. Tell your friends & family
If you are keen on starting a shopping ban then share it with your closest friends and family. Share it with everyone you are living with, share it with your closest coworkers – share it with people who you’ll know will be in support of your choice.
I am all about sharing it with those who you’ll think will care and support you in your challenge.
7. Plan all your purchases in advance
If you haven’t already set up your approved shopping list, do it now. Planning out your purchases is, in my opinion, one of the most crucial steps. I plan all my purchases in advance and have been doing so for .. well .. years! It’s a habit that I got into and that stuck with me – I highly recommend it!
Now that I am doing a yearlong shopping ban I’ve taken my planning to the next level. You have no idea how exciting this is for me! Yes, spreadsheets and planning things gives me life!
8. Keep track of all your expenses
This is one of the most important tips on how to create a successful shopping ban. Keep track of all your expenses! I recently shared with you my September 2018 expenses and I also touched on how I organize my expenses and why I think it’s so important.
I’ve been keeping track of all my expenses since 2014 and I am a huge advocate of it! I’ve received quite a few comments over the years from people telling me what a difference this one tiny step has made in their lives. If you are planning on starting a shopping ban then I urge you to keep track of it all! If you are not doing it already start right now, not tomorrow.
9. Decide on a length that works for you
My yearlong shopping ban is heavily inspired by the book the year of less and Jenny, from The Simplicity Diaries. Cait, from the year of less, has since done two yearlong shopping bans and Jenny’s ban lasted for 100 days. Whatever length you choose, stick with it and select something that works for you.
Try not to set yourself up for failure by committing to a yearlong ban. Of course, if you are like me and already super frugal then a yearlong ban may not be that much of a challenge. However, if you’ve got too much stuff and go shopping every weekend looking for things that you don’t actually need, then it might be a better idea to start small.
Do whatever works best for you and most importantly, once you’ve decided on a length, stick with it.
10. Make the most of it
Make the most of your shopping ban while you are at it. Spread the word among friends and relative or share your journey online. Read books on minimalism, simply living and frugality and simply enjoy the journey! Don’t be too hard on yourself and take it step by step if needed.
A shopping ban can be a wonderful opportunity to reflect on your values, needs, wants and everything in between.
These were my 10 Tips On How To Create A Successful Shopping Ban.
As mentioned earlier, take a look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and reflect on what it means for you. Where do you personally find yourself when looking at the pyramid?
A shopping ban can be a wonderful experiment. I decided to go ahead and do it because I love nothing more than sharing and spreading the world about frugal living – a lifestyle that I adore.
What about you? Are you thinking of doing a shopping ban? What is holding you back?
More shopping ban content:
- My yearlong shopping ban
- The rules for my yearlong shopping ban
- My approved shopping list
- Essential clothing items
- Why I plan all my purchases a year in advance
Updated: November 2018