I am banning myself from shopping for a year. Yep, that's right, come July 3rd, 2016, I will be able to shop again. But until then, I will not be allowed to purchase anything that goes against the rules! This shopping ban idea is heavily inspired by a similar plan adopted by Cait Flanders at Blonde on a Budget, so if you like this idea, check out her blog for more. So, let's dive in, shall we?
I have four main goals in mind that I hope to achieve as results of this shopping ban. First, I hope to consume less, create less waste, and tread more lightly on Earth. I also aim to gain new skills and a new degree of health by not ingesting processed and plastic-encased foods. I also want to become more resourceful - seeking out solutions to problems that don't simply involve buying something - and more mindful of what I consume. Finally, I want to learn to appreciate what I have and take my life's focus off consumption, appearances, and things. Without further ado, here are the rules:
Things I Am Not Allowed to Shop For:
- Most* processed/packaged/frozen foods
- Cosmetics and some hygiene products
- Clothes, shoes, and accessories
- Gifts for others
- Cleaning products and laundry detergent
- Books and magazines
- Basic kitchen supplies (plastic bags, tin foil, etc.)
Things I am Not Allowed to Buy New:
- Dishes, pans, pots, kitchen utensils
- Decorations/household items
Things I'm Allowed to Shop For:
- Specific groceries: produce, eggs, milk, yogurt, cheese, meat, ingredients for recipes, and a few other things (sourced as locally as possible!)
- Medicine/pharmacy stuff
- Raw ingredients and DIY supplies.
- Household appliances/electronics
As you can see, this is basically a yearlong experiment in making as much of what I need as I possibly can.
I put an asterisk next to "Most processed/packaged/frozen foods" because there are some foods I will need to buy that come in packaging, like the occasional meat product and cheese, since I don't think I'm ready to make that myself. There are a few things in the gray area, like yogurt and peanut butter, that I'm not sure yet if I'll be able to make or not. I will also not be buying any basic kitchen supplies like plastic bags or tin foil (unless I do need them for a DIY, in which case they fall under the category of supplies) to practice cutting down on waste, which means I will need to find other ways to store my food!
I wrote "some hygiene products" down because I recently found a bunch of recipes online for shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, and the like. I also already make my own deodorant and exfoliating scrub, so I'm going to challenge myself to make as much of my own hygiene products as possible. However, I'm not absolutely binding myself to using homemade toothpaste or shampoo if it doesn't get the job done right. Additionally, I will not be buying any cleaning supplies or laundry detergent! I have a friend who makes her own detergent, and I've read in a number of places that all you need to clean your house is vinegar, so I think this will be fairly easy. I'm also not buying any cosmetics for the whole year! This is not a huge deal, because I usually don't wear any makeup anyway. I will miss mascara, but I can live without it.
"Gifts for others" also made the cannot-buy list, for two reasons. First, the custom of gift-giving, to me, represents the deeply ingrained materialism in our society. Instead of spending quality time with each other, we give others material things to represent our connection. That doesn't fly with me. I'd rather give someone yummy food and a meaningful experience rather than just a thing. Secondly, being a Jack-of-all-trades, I'm crafty enough to make my own gifts. If I really want to give someone a thing, I can make that thing myself. Handmade gifts are also much more special because of the time and thought put into them, so I think they will be more well-recieved.
Now, how to keep myself accountable for this…. Well, that's what a blog is for! Aside from adding tutorials for all the DIYs and recipes I try and approve of to the blog, I will also be keeping a couple lists going on the tab I have added marked "Shopping Ban". One list will include things I want to buy once July 3rd 2016 rolls around, and one will be a list of things that seriously tempt me to break the shopping ban. I plan on doing an update post every once in a while just to let you all know how it's going, and that's when the lists will get updated too. The Shopping Ban tab will also link to all posts tagged "Shopping Ban 2015-2016", so you can see all my updates in one place.
Alright, well, that's all I have to say. Do you have any suggestions or thoughts on what I'm doing here? Have you done a shopping ban? How was your experience? Let me know down in the comments! And wish me luck!!