5 Things I Learned From My Yearlong Shopping Ban

I started my yearlong shopping ban on 1. October 2018. My ban was inspired by the book the year of less and Jenny, from The Simplicity Diaries.

5 Things I Learned From My Yearlong Shopping Ban
Lunch with my favorite people

If you are frugal, then doing a shopping ban is a great way to spread the love about frugal living. It might get more people intrigued, more people curious about what it’s all about.

My first post in a series of posts about the ban was this one and boy was I excited to share it all with you! I ended up creating a subcategory for it and shared as much as possible, including my monthly expenses.

5 things I learned from my yearlong shopping ban.

1. Less is more

I ended up sticking to my approved shopping list and of course, needed to purchase things that came up along the way, which weren’t accounted for in the beginning. Throughout the year I realized again and again that the less I own, the happier I am.

2. Don’t buy it, borrow it

I noticed that I didn’t always need to purchase something (new and used), I could simply borrow it. I did that on a handful of occasions and it worked out great.

3. Furniture isn’t for me

I recently moved into a completely empty apartment and realized that I don’t really need furniture.

What did I end up buying? I got a used standing desk, a Korean futon, three used wooden shelves, and a new clothing rack.

What did I get for free? A cupboard and shelf for my clothing. No need for a sofa, bed, chairs and anything else I could fill my beautiful space with.

4. Mending is amazing

I got inspired to fix whatever I can myself – I fixed pants, t-shirts, and socks. You name it, I fixed it. I learned to really enjoy mending and now, whenever I spot a hole, I am excited to fix it.

5. Formal clothing? No.

A handful of months into my shopping ban I started attending interviews and you know what? I showed up in black jeans and a black jumper.

What shoes did I wear? sneakers or boots. I was planning on buying a shirt and shoes for interviews and realized that I wouldn’t want to work somewhere, where I couldn’t wear to an interview, what I’d be wearing every day.

Are you keen on doing a yearlong shopping ban?

If you plan on taking the leap, make sure to ask yourself these 5 questions, create an approved shopping list, take a look at these 10 tips for a successful ban, and start integrating some of these habits.

What’s next?

I wouldn’t do another shopping ban because living this way is so ingrained in me and I couldn’t imagine living any differently. It’s become second nature.

That being said, the shopping ban was a great opportunity to create excitement around frugal living, a lifestyle that I am so passionate about.

Of course, there are a handful of things that I am curious about and that I didn’t explore during my yearlong shopping ban:

  • knitting
  • sewing
  • pickling

If you’ve got any tips on knitting, sewing or pickling, shoot them my way. 😉

Have you done a shopping ban? If yes, how did it go? If you are still at it, how is it going?

If you are new to it all, would you be keen on trying it?

Let me know in the comments down below! I can’t wait to hear from you! 🙂



  1. Linda
    November 4, 2019 / 6:53 PM

    I have tried doing a shopping ban several Times and I fail miserably every time. But I’m not giving up. I am back at it. Some months I don’t shop at all and some I fall for temptations.

    What a privileged life I have.

    • Nina
      November 9, 2019 / 11:38 AM

      I am thrilled to hear that you are back at it! That’s true indeed – I am incredibly grateful!

  2. Danielle P.
    November 6, 2019 / 7:08 PM

    What an interesting list! I’d be interested in knowing more about your futon and how you’re finding it compared to a bed.

    • Nina
      November 9, 2019 / 11:35 AM

      This is a great idea! I’ll see what I can come up with! 🙂

  3. Lara
    November 8, 2019 / 9:19 AM

    I am on a yearlong shopping ban since the beginning of August and I learnt so much from it already. Often I felt like I needed to dress to impress and this made me buy quite a bit of clothes. Since I started I got rid of everything in my closet that doesn’t fit well or that isn’t comfy. Why wear something uncomfortable? A relaxed and content mind will impress much more than chic clothing.
    I now own about 40% of my clothes compared to August and roughly 15% what I once owned a few years back and I still have many things I only rarely wear.

    And whenever I thought I don’t spend much time taught me that I can save even more without feeling like I am compromising.

    Have you bought anything recently that you ended up not using or liking as much as you had hoped you would?

    • Nina
      November 9, 2019 / 11:45 AM

      Hi Lara,

      Congratulations on cutting down on clothing, both owning and buying it!

      Yes and no. I was given a Jacket that, turns out, I didn’t need. I have a friend who liked it from the get-go and I ended up giving it to her. She loves it and I am happy to see her wear it! There’s nothing that I bought recently that I ended up not liking. I don’t differenciate between something that I got for free and something that I bought though. Stuff is stuff! 🙂

      Much love from Berlin,

  4. Kathy Worden
    November 11, 2019 / 9:09 AM

    I too get excited when I see a hole in something. I consider mending a form of meditation. Bernadette Banner, on YouTube, is a historic costumer. These artists mainly sew all there wears by hand. She & her pals have videos on how to hand stitch. My Granny showed me this craft. I have a vintage Singer Featherlite sewing machine. It is small and can fit under the seat on a plane. It would not work well in a backpack.

    • Nina
      November 12, 2019 / 6:45 PM

      I feel you! That’s impressive! I’ve been actually thinking of taking up sewing and don’t happen to know anyone who sews in my immediate surroundings. I’d love to give it a go (again) prior to committing to getting a sewing machine. All that stuff would take up a significant amount of space and I am not sure if I am ready, ha! I’ve heard great things about the vintage singer machines, I need to do some more digging! 🙂

  5. Mary
    November 14, 2019 / 9:28 PM

    I am currently trying to stick to a shopping ban, however there are times when we go out as a family and spend time together such as eating out, then we may stop at the mall/outlets for the regular ‘browsing sales even if you don’t need things’. I don’t like to say let’s not go there because others may want to get items even if I don’t need anything and after all not everyone is doing a shopping ban. Even if I told them i’m on a shopping ban, I still browse when i’m in the stores and it’s tempting to make purchases that you don’t need.
    This has basically become a regular source of entertainment and I know there is an option to not go but some of these weekends are the only time I get to spend with family and usually shopping isn’t the plan.
    Any advice on how to still go to these places but not break the shopping ban? This is much harder than simply not going to the stores at all.
    I think it’d be a great topic to write about, especially for some people who end up in these shops with friends or family even if they didn’t plan that trip.
    Thanks for sharing your journey and inspiring others to take the challenge

    • Nina
      November 17, 2019 / 11:31 AM

      Hi Mary,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts! It’s certainly a little difficult when one is surrounded by people who enjoy hitting up stores as a leisure/family activity.

      My friends and family know that I am not fond of shopping. So when they are keen on going somewhere and want me to join, I usually suggest thrift shops.

      If they end up buying something, for whatever reason, then it’s at least something used and sometimes, dependent on the store, even for a good cause. I personally enjoy browsing second-hand stores – especially vintage sections – for inspiration although I don’t do it a whole lot now.

      I usually just stay away from stores altogether and suggest cooking or grabbing food somewhere. I totally get that that can be tricky though. If all else fails then I at least wanna go to a place, that I, would I need something, would support with my money and thrift places are those kinds of places for me.

      I hope that helps! 🙂

      Have a great Sunday!

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