My Shopping Ban: Rules & Guidelines

Shopping Ban Rules

I am so ready to be out of debt that my determination not to spend money is oozing out of my pores! Last weekend, I officially set up my shopping ban by writing down the rules and guidelines I’m going to follow, making a new budget, and creating a list of allowed products I can buy. 

I realize that my list might need to evolve during the ban, but I created guidelines to make sure I don’t let me trick myself into buying things I don’t need (I am REALLY good at tricking myself).

To keep myself accountable, I’m listing my rules and guidelines below, as well as the items I’m allowing myself to buy.

RULES/GUIDELINES:

  • I will not buy any new books or videos. I will borrow from the library instead. 
  • I will not pay for any new online courses. I will finish the ones I have or take free ones. 
  • I will not buy any toiletries or cleaning supplies not on my approved list. I can add things only if it is something essential. 
  • All bigger purchases must be evaluated against my life design. If approved, I will research the best price but will wait until the shopping ban is over if I can. 
  • I will plan clothing and accessory purchases and will try to make only 1 shopping trip per season). Before shopping, I will go through my closet to remind myself what I already have, so I can make sure to buy things that can mix and match with what I have, and to prevent myself from buying trend items that I won’t wear very long. 
  • I will go to the grocery store only 2x/week, 1x to Shoprite and 1x to Trader Joe's. 
  • I will make a list of what I need before buying groceries and will stick to the list. 
  • Each Saturday, I will plan if I will need to buy anything other than groceries, toiletries, or cleaning supplies in the next week. Make those purchases all in one day to limit the opportunities for impulse buys. 
  • If I slip and make an impulse purchase, return the item if possible. 
  • Every Saturday, I will also review how I did that week and plan for the week ahead.

Allowed Purchases (aside from general essentials):

  • 1/2" auger from Home Depot to fix bathroom sink (September) 
  • 1 pair of medium colored jeans (October) 
  • 2 new bras (October) Plastic window kit for the winter (Oct-Nov) 
  • I can replace jeans that develop a hole. 
  • I can replace something that breaks only if truly needed and can't wait until end of ban.

Essentials (Food/Toiletries/Cleaning supplies):

I will spare you the long list of food and other boring household stuff that I buy. I just want to mention here my general philosophy on food spending. Over the years, I’ve developed a sort of standard menu for myself. I used to eat tons of refined carbs and sugars, and I used to buy so much food that I never ended up eating.

Through trial and error, I came up with a limited number of meals and snack items that would make up my diet. My “menu” as I call it, is made up mostly of my favorite healthy or mostly healthy foods. It allows me to eat less, feel full longer, and also enjoy what I’m eating even though I eat mostly the same things all the time.

This might sound horribly depressing to you, but I have to say it’s really worked for me. I eat the same exact breakfast everyday. It keeps me full all morning, and I wake up every day craving it. The same is true for dinner and lunch. I do have a few options for lunch and dinner to allow for some variety, but mostly I eat the same thing every day. Also, I get some variety by mixing up the fruits and vegetables I eat for snacks and sides.

I will admit it was difficult in the beginning to try and eat the same meal every day or only alternating between a few options, but over time, the more I ate it the more I craved it. I do still allow myself to go out and eat different meals whenever I feel like it, but I often don’t even want something different anymore.

What do you think? Did I leave any rules out that I should consider adding? Do you think I’m crazy for eating the same meals every day? –It’s ok, you can tell me. Please leave a comment below or email me at heather@heathergracehanson.com.