Wednesday, December 9, 2015

No Shopping for a Year

Last week I mentioned challenging myself more seriously to do away with excess consumerism and focusing even more on what matters most.

Well if you can believe it, starting in January I am doing a major decrease in shopping.

Inspired by the blog Blonde on a Budget, I am banning myself from purchasing anything new for an entire year.

Ok! ok! There is more too it than that so don't freak out quite yet! There are rules in place so that we don't starve as a family, keep clean, and still enjoy life. I will explain more of why I decided to challenge myself this way, but first, here are the rules.

Things I am allowed to buy:
  • Groceries and kitchen supplies (tin foil, etc)
  • Toiletries (toilet paper, toothpaste, shampoo, etc.)
  • Makeup (I only wear mascara and blush and so I am only allowed to replace these when I run out)
  • Cleaning products (pretty much detergent and dish soap since I make everything else using this)
  • Kid Necessities (wipes, diapers (we use cloth during the day and disposables at night), etc.)
  • Kid Clothes if necessary (Generous hand-me-downs cover mostly everything. If there is a true need, my goal is to shop second-hand/thrift stores first (i.e. Max will need a new coat next winter))
  • Haircuts (I only cut my hair twice this past year, so I think I will stick with that number again)
  • Gifts for others
  • Christmas/Holidays (Limited to $50 per person)
  • Experiences! (more on this below)
Things I am NOT allowed to buy:
  • Clothes and shoes (I have given myself some flexibility if I have gift card money to use or if something desperately needs replaced (my nude flats currently have a hole in them), but that is IT!)
  • Extra makeup (nail polish, eye shadows, etc.)
  • Toys (the boys have plenty)
  • Books (the library is free!)
  • House stuff (furniture, appliances, decorations, etc)  
Experiences include going out to eat (limited to twice a month), going to zoos or museums, movies, concerts, water parks, and travel. To me experiences embody the spirit of focusing on what lasts; memories stay with you forever and time spent with loved ones or even on personal goals builds healthy relationships and greater love. That is EXACTLY what I am trying to get at here!

Guys, this is going to be hard and just thinking about it makes me nervous. But at the same time, I am really excited because I know it is possible! I have everything I need, everything else is just excess really. I just have to chant that when it gets hard.

So why am I doing this?

Because I believe that shopping takes up too much of my time.

Because I know that I spend money unnecessarily on things that end up as clutter.

Because I want to more aggressively attack our student loans.

Because I want to practice self-control.

Because I want to be satisfied with what I have.

I want to slow down, I want to simplify, I want to connect.

I want to focus on being instead of having. (@zerowastehome)

I am ready. I know it will be challenging and frustrating, but I know that it will be worth it. I know this will stretch me in the best possible ways and teach me lessons that I wouldn't learn otherwise.

There have been a lot of resources I have utilized to get me to this point, but I want to share some of them with you in case you want to know more.

Becoming Minimalist
SUCH a good resource! Great posts and awesome links to other like-minded blogs. This is an internet wormhole worth going down. I especially love his weekly round up of articles!

Blonde on a Budget
She has successfully completed a no shopping ban for a year and is on her second year (in a row!). Most of my personal challenge comes from her inspiring success.

Hands Free Mama 
She has another book and a blog, but so far I have just read this book. I love it. It is meant to be read over the course of a year but borrowing from the library doesn't afford me that luxury. It is still just as inspiring and helpful, especially as a stay-at-home mother.

"Of Things That Matter Most" 
This has been an influential talk since I first heard it and more recently he has spoken about simplifying and finding joy despite circumstances (find those here and here respectively).

Slow Your Home Podcasts
These are basically interviews with all of my favorite simplifying blogs. Good stuff.
The Small Seed
A spiritual and thoughtful-living blog. I love its posts and resources.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
A best-selling book on finally getting rid of the clutter once and for all. I really enjoyed reading it an implementing it as best I could.

Zero Waste Home
This lady's four person family produces enough garbage a year to fit into a glass jar. No joke. Her book is ripe with steps and tips for eliminating waste and focusing on reuse.

Harmless Home 
This blog is written by the same friend who introduced me to Becoming Minimalist. She no longer writes on it but I still utilize her advice for creating a toxic-free home. Plus I still get to text her for personal queries! She is so well-researched and thoughtful, I love everything she sends my way.

Budget Bytes
This is one of my favorite food blogs. I started using it when I was first learning how to cook and her recipes were perfect for our small budget and growing tastes. Her recipes remind me that food doesn't have to be complicated or expensive to be good and healthy. I still use many of her recipes weekly. Her copycat Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana is especially amazing!

Thanks for reading about my crazy life and thoughts. I plan on updating my progress as often as feels necessary here on the blog and I love knowing that there are people supporting me my crazy ideas. Wish me luck!


  1. I loved this post when I first read it back in December, so I came back to comment when I was thinking of you this morning. I really respect that you are trying to pare down and focus. I recently found a blog/website that I've been loving for a day by day breakdown of de-cluttering/ cleaning out. It has organizing in the title, her mantra is that before you organize you must de-clutter. She's hosting a 91 day challenge to declutter. I think you are a year or two further into your de-cluttering and simplifying journey than I am, but since it reminded me of your blog post I thought I would come back & share. Thanks for all of the great links in this post.

    1. Her challenge is awesome. I am going through the garage today (why does moving always unearth all the junk you own and scatter it throughout the garage?)and always love a good resource to organize my efforts. I keep meaning to write about how things are going with no shopping (all good things!)but I keep getting side tracked by other projects. Thanks for all your support and I love that you are making your own changes!