The start of July marks the one year anniversary of the ban, so I'd like to share my key take aways to encourage you to try your own version.
Experiences really are most valuable
A reason I gave for banning clothing shopping for a year was to put my money toward experiences rather than things. I can honestly say that this practice leads to more fulfillment and happiness as I have developed myself and my relationships further. Plus, I have some exciting travel plans I have been saving up for and I believe those will generate more rewards than clothing items could hope for.
I have been building up my bank account and preparing for the future
With my last year of college approaching I have been thinking about the expenses of the real world...rent, student loans, all sorts of bills... To me if is far better to have an extra $20 in my bank account than another shirt.
Having less stuff makes me feel better
This year I was able to move myself out of my dorm room and back home completely by myself. I packed EVERYTHING (fridge, microwave, carpet, full length mirror, etc) into a Nissan Altima and transported myself home (check out my minimalist college packing list). Not only did I feel incredibly accomplished, but it is also a testament to how much I have been able to reduce my possessions and focus on the essential. Having the ability to get up and go is a comfort to me and makes me feel prepared for any opportunity that may come my way.
I've further defined my style and gotten more creative
Since I haven't brought anything new into my wardrobe I have been more motivated to use everything I already own. This has enabled me to create new outfits and be more in tune with what styles I truly like. You can check out my Pinterest board to see how even what I pin has become more simple and cohesive. Now I know when the time does come for me to buy something, I can select an item I will get a lot of use out of and I will be more willing to buy something of higher quality.
Looking to the future
I've been strongly considering extending the ban for another year. I didn't feel the need to go out and shop once the ban ended and, as I mentioned in the first post, I do so love a challenge. Maybe I will be a bit more lax and allow myself to pick up a few things throughout the course of the year if they appeal to me and are in line with my style. However, I will not be returning to the mindset that allows me to buy unintentionally or frivolously. Keeping my wardrobe small and simple is a habit I have developed and intend to maintain.
How to do it yourself
So, has all of my ranting and raving about a shopping ban convinced you to try it yourself yet? If so, here are some guidelines you may consider using. You can modify or completely create your own to serve your purpose as well!
- Set a timeline. I am a fan of a year (and now maybe two!), but set a realistic goal for yourself. Perhaps it's just six months or a season. Try it out and remember you can always extend it.
- Set parameters. Make a list of items you will be allowed to buy. For me, it was some key professional pieces, while for you it may be a leather jacket you've been on the hunt for or a summer dress.
- Think about benefits. Keeping in mind what you are getting out of your ban (like more money for experiences and less clutter) can keep you on track when you do see something you'd like to buy.
- Say no to shopping for entertainment. When your girlfriends ask you to go to the mall, suggest a hike or picnic instead.
- Tell people what you are doing to be held accountable. During the course of the year I had moments of weakness. But, since my friends and family knew about the ban they kept me on track and would remind me that I didn't really need x,y,z.
What are your thoughts on a shopping ban? Have you ever tried one?