I find it very interesting to read about participants' grand objectives with respect to undertaking a ban only to read weeks later that they purchased x (but it doesn't count because a voucher was used) or they purchased y (but it doesn't count because it was an item that was on their wish list for months if not years). I giggle to myself but then think - I've been there and done that! I can totally relate and at times it's almost as if I am reading about my very own shopping ban attempts.
Self-imposed spending bans
I could never really figure out why maintaining not shopping was such an issue for me? It's only now, with the purchase of our new home (yes, settlement when smoothly) and the responsibility of servicing three mortgages between my boyfriend and I, that the penny has dropped as to the reasons for my past failures.
The reasons are as follows:
- I have always been dissatisfied with the contents of my wardrobe - there's always a piece or two missing. Upon buying those two pieces, I realise that there are another one or two pieces missing.
- I will refrain from saying that I like to shop (because I seldom make a day of it), but I do love bargain hunting. This usually occurs in short spates in my lunch break. Let me tell you, a lot can be purchased during a lunch break, and multiple bargains soon add up to a mountain of money.
- Until recently I could afford to shop like a maniac (read: go crazy during sale times and make single expensive purchases).
- I have had no reason to budget until now, meaning that my level of disposable income was high. This of course leads to disposable purchases, in the sense that one starts behaving like a spoiled child with too many toys... you wear it once and then toss it in the corner.
Spending bans due to circumstances
To say that being faced with the challenge of servicing three mortgages has changed the way I view spending my money and the true necessity of my possessions (more to do with having to pack them than anything else) would be the understatement of the century!
There are two ways I could go now:
- Not spend as much as I have in the past.
- Accumulate a massive credit card debt in order to maintain my unrestricted lifestyle.
Take my last frivolous shopping spree (if you can even call it that) that I enjoyed in Melbourne - I bought 5 things and truth be told I don't need any of them. Not to say that I will not use or wear my purchases or that I am not pleased with them - but I bought everything simply because I wanted it. Needless to say, no more buying the latest moisturiser just because it sounds good and I want to try it, because for the time being I have enough moisturiser to turn the Sahara into an tropical oasis.
Secondly, I have noticed that the things that I do need (arguably) have become glaringly obvious. I find myself looking out for this stuff and my vision is no longer obscured by the things I just want and buy first or buy because I like or buy just because I can. These items that I NEED have now become the only items that I plan to buy.
And last but not least - I have come to acknowledge to myself that am an extremely lucky woman. Not only can I still afford to buy what I need, but I already have a wardrobe full of lovely clothes that would make most women pretty happy. It's time to take advantage of this blessing.
So next time you go shopping and are considering the purchase of yet another bottle of pink nail polish or the 10th striped top to add to your collection - ask yourself DO I REALLY NEED THIS? I mean really ask yourself this question. Answer it for yourself. Don't feel compelled not to buy the item just because your answer is no (because maybe your circumstances allow you to go crazy Broadway style and also I would hate for you to miss out on the bargain of the century), but don't be surprised if you walk away empty handed.
Here is a video of Bart and Millhouse going crazy - Broadway style. Enjoy.