So, I began my shopping ban on February 1st 2019, challenging myself to a period of one year where I would stop being a consumer of goods in the traditional sense and only purchase necessities such as groceries, toiletries and work-related consumables. I was totally inspired to do this after reading A Year of Less by Cait Flanders and seeing how much of a difference it made to her consumer debt.
The past two months have been a breeze, they really have! I have been so incredibly shocked at how easy it has been for me to make such a change in my life, I can honestly say I haven’t even thought about it. Perhaps because I’ve been quite busy lately, so the time has flown by.
My wife has been between jobs since the start of January and has just started in a new position a few weeks ago, so perhaps the fact we have been down to one income has had a bearing on it, because quite naturally we’ve been even more frugal and carefully counting and watching where all the pennies have been going even more so than usual. Spending on any luxuries hasn’t been much of an option anyway.
I suppose really there was a bit of a trial run even before the official start of a month or so, to test the water, so unofficially it’s probably been around three months altogether. So, in three months I have purchased nothing, absolutely nothing, zero, zilch, squat, nada. I haven’t looked at anything in the shops, not wanted anything or even picked anything up. I sort of thought perhaps I may have accidentally picked something up, walked to the checkout and then remembered about the ban, but no, nothing.
Probably not going to make for great reading this is it suppose? Much more interesting if it had been a major struggle for me and I’d nearly cocked it all up, but it hasn’t, and I didn’t! It’s been great, I’ve been far more mindful of literally everything that I’m already surrounded by, no need to purchase anything at all.
I’ve been making great progress on making my way through all the books I already own, I was terrible for always buying books when I’d already a stack at home. I have made a wish list of books on Amazon entitled “spending Ban” for titles that crop up on Podcasts, Blogs or websites. Primarily so I can keep track on possible reads for when the ban is over or to see if I can loan them from my local library. When you’re a lover of books and reading, interesting titles crop up all the time.
I haven’t missed Netflix and Prime at all, though one of my other side challenges has been to drastically cut down on TV, which I have nailed already, I only really tend to watch 2-3 hours at a maximum over the course of a week now. So again, more thoughtfully consuming. I’ve caught up with the odd few bits and bobs on Iplayer I’d missed or stuff that’s been sitting on the Virgin box for forever, or that DVD we’d never got around to watching.
I stopped the meal deals, take outs and coffees about five months ago now, so they’ve been long gone for quite some time now. I’m well into the habit of taking bottled water with me everywhere I go and my flask for hot drinks has paid for itself a hundred times over already. Costa’s got nothing on my French press flask Coffee!
I’m really pleased I started the challenge, It’s worked well so far, having not made any purchases, of course, we’ve had extra money! I’ve paid down £400 on my last remaining credit card so only £300 to go and added £200 to the emergency fund as that hadn’t seen anything added since January (I know I should have just thrown it at the card).
So, in conclusion, it’s such a great feeling to be saving even more money and not needlessly buying things, we’ve already been doing really well in comparison to the way we used to live so this is just the icing on the cake. To be down to one income and still be able to pay down my credit card considerably and to save a little as well has made me feel so much better about ever having to go down to a reduced income again in the future.