Let's Experiment: Three-Month Shopping Ban

The Stones River Battlefield near our complex, one of our favorite shopping-ban destinations - free and beautiful.

You know my favorite way to save up some money? Not spending any.

Ok, so it might not be my favorite way, but it is the most responsible and effective way that I've found. In fact, we are usually on a perpetual shopping ban as a choice. But first, what is a shopping ban?

Well, a shopping ban isn't a way to suffer needlessly.

We eat. We buy groceries. We buy freon for Justin's beloved 20-year-old Miata when it goes out in July. We take our cats / ourselves to the vet / doctor when we get sick. We buy gifts for birthdays and holidays when they come around.

What we don't buy are things we don't actually need. Clothes (we have plenty), impulse-buys, the next game on Xbox, etc. are things we avoid buying when we're on a shopping ban. Really, we simply ask the question, "Were we fine five minutes ago before we thought about buying this?" before taking the plunge on even the smallest of purchases.

That's what a shopping ban is. What a shopping ban does is two-fold.

It saves money

I already mentioned this, but it's worth saying again - so much money goes into things we don't even think about. A coffee run, a cute t-shirt, or another picture frame... all those kinds of things add up over the long run. As people who desperately want to travel, we often ask each other aloud, "Would you rather have that item or go to ----?" Because each time we choose a new destination, we are that much closer to getting there.

It saves the planet

This is, to me, just as important of a reason to ban shopping for a season. I believe strongly in using what you have before buying something new. Putting yourself on a shopping ban, even a temporary one, interrupts that cycle in your brain of automatically buying things that aren't needed, and forces you to think outside the box to fix problems. Those solutions often end up becoming the first option, rather than the last resort. If I have an event to go to and don't have the perfect outfit, I borrow it from a friend before even looking at buying something - a habit that began because I had refused to buy anything new for that season. The more we buy, the more we throw away, and the more junk ends up in landfills and poisons the earth. Shopping bans help us take a closer look at what we already have, and we usually find that we already have more than enough resources at home to handles any situation. 

So, it's March. We have a destination in mind for summer (more soon!) and it's about three months away, so we've decided to go on another shopping ban to save up! If you'd like to join me, comment below or follow me on social media so we can do this together! And if you have any tips for how to make shopping-ban life a little easier, please let me know! Thanks for following along, friends. Happy Saving!