Why I Plan All My Purchases A Year In Advance

Yes, I plan all my purchases a year in advance. At the end of every year, I sit down and plan all my future purchases, my “approved shopping list”.

Why would anyone do such a thing you may wonder? It’s quite simple. I plan all my purchases a year in advance to get a better feel for what’s ahead. Although I’ve touched on it in a handful of my YouTube videos, I’ve never shared with you how I go about it.

Why I Plan All My Purchases A Year In Advance

I decided to do a yearlong shopping ban because I see it as a great opportunity to promote frugal living, a lifestyle that I am incredibly passionate about. This post is all about how I plan my purchases a year in advance and why.

The process

Why I Plan All My Purchases A Year In Advance
I usually mark a day in December in my calendar on which I dedicate a handful of hours to working on my “approved shopping list”

Step 1: Prepare the spreadsheet

At the end of every year, I sit down with my expenses spreadsheet for the year ahead. Most of the time I do this in December however, in light of my yearlong shopping ban, I planned it all out in October. I usually make a note of future purchases in my expenses spreadsheet, just under a different tab. The shopping ban inspired me to rename this tap “Approved Shopping List”.

Why I Plan All My Purchases A Year In Advance
The “Approved Shopping List” tab

The good thing is that I wear and use almost everything that I own on a regular basis. This makes knowing what needs replacing and what needs to be purchased pretty easy.

Step 2: Start taking notes

I make a note of everything that I’ll need to buy the next year.

Why I Plan All My Purchases A Year In Advance
These are the current categories of my “Approved Shopping List” spreadsheet

This step is usually fairly simple. In my head I go through everything that I have and make a note of everything that 1) needs replacing or 2) needs to be purchased.

After this step is complete I usually have a good list of categories and items.

Why I Plan All My Purchases A Year In Advance
A sneak peek into my Approved Shopping List for 2019

Step 3: Include prices

After having noted everything down I go over the list and include prices (where possible) and other useful information. Where do I intend to get these leggings from and how much will they roughly be? Do I plan on getting this item used or new?

Step 4: Set dates

At this point, I usually have a pretty neat list with lots of information. This is where things get interesting! I make a quick note of the month that I intend to purchase the item in question. This can be super vague or incredibly accurate. It doesn’t really matter.

What’s important is that every single purchase is somewhat planned for. I added a “?” to all those purchases that I am not yet sure when or if to buy.

Why I Plan All My Purchases A Year In Advance
This is a sneak peek into my Approved Shopping List spreadsheet

This is how I plan all my purchases a year in advance.

As mentioned, it’s a fairly easy process and I usually sit down and do this in December. It’s always a great opportunity to reflect on what I actually need.

Why I Plan All My Purchases A Year In Advance
Me in budgeting mode

So, what exactly are the benefits of planning all your purchase a year in advance?

The 7 benefits of planning my purchases a year in advance

  1. It saves me money: Planning out my purchases a year in advance gives me plenty of time. Time to look for deals, time to do research, time to look at thrift stores and online marketplaces. This usually results in me saving a whole lot of money.
  2. It makes me more creative: Knowing exactly what I need well in advance makes me more creative. I ask family and friends if they have what I need and I look around. I’ve gotten a brand new blender and new socks this way!
  3. It gives me peace of mind: I find knowing what it is that I need and planning for it extremely reassuring. I know exactly what’s ahead and boy does that feel good!
  4. It allows me to think things over: Planning all my purchases a year in advance gives me the opportunity to think things over. Take a look at the “camera equipment” category for example. I am not yet sure if this purchase is truly necessary and putting it in writing, well in advance, gives me the time that I need to think it through.
    Why I Plan All My Purchases A Year In Advance
    The “camera equipment” category
  5. It makes for (more) intentional purchases: I know exactly what it is that I need and why and can plan for it. No need for impulse or last-minute purchases when everything is planned for.
  6. No mistake purchases: I plan all my purchases in advance to avoid spending money on items that I don’t need. By putting everything that I intend to purchase in writing I buy only what’s necessary.
  7. It allows me to reflect: Planning all my purchases a year in advance allows me to reflect on my needs. Do I really need this or would something else work just fine? Do I really need to purchase this item new or could I find it used? I plan all my purchases a year in advance to reflect on what’s essential and what isn’t.

Why I Plan All My Purchases A Year In Advance

This is how and why I plan all my purchases a year in advance. It’s something I’ve been doing for years and I absolutely love it!

Do you plan all or some of your purchases in advance?

More shopping ban content:

Updated: November 2018

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