Monday, July 10, 2017

12 Months Done - 1 Year Shopping Challenge.

I'M FINISHED! (like a month ago, oops).

If you don't know what I am talking about, check out 3 months here, 6 months here, 9 months here. Basically, I had a problem with needless impulse purchases, debt and nothing to show for it. This wasn't a full blown spending ban because that's not what I needed, so I set myself 'rules' that allowed for some flexibility. I knew I wouldn't finish the year if I didn't have that flexibility. To be honest, I doubted myself a teensy bit that I would make it the year at all, but here I am. Are we sure it's been a year? There is no way that I, Kristen-the-shopaholic could go a year without shopping. I could barely go a week without buying something.


So here's how I did in the final 3 months:

Month 10 - March

Books - $28 - audible, lost in a book (with gc), two $0.99 kindle deals
Shopping - $150 gc - had a gift card to express and bought 2 new pairs of jeans that I definitely needed. I also had a gift card to target and I bought this belle shirt

House - $150 gc - I got a lot of amazon and target gift cards for my birthday and for the first time in my life I actually held on to them for more than 24 hours. I bought a new rice cooker, jaffle maker, cutlery, onion chopper, toothbrush holder, pyrex and snapware, over the sink dish drainer... and I think that's about it.

Month 11 - April

Books - $0 
Shopping - $0 - nothing that wasn't house related

House - $1 million dollars - seriously though. Okay, not seriously. But so much stuff. Boring stuff like electrical, plumbing, appraisals, inspections etc etc. Fun stuff like a new washer and small bits and bobs of decor, including candles because I had none and they were $9.50 each okay.

Month 12 - May

Books - $0 
Shopping - $0 
Gifts - $0 

House - $0

April was an insane month with expenditure, things out of our control and also going a little crazy with new house things, so I really wanted to do a true no spend in May and I succeeded. Pretty funny that it was my last month of the challenge. We really needed to save money for our trip, so I didn't buy any books, clothes, shoes, makeup, nothing new for the house either. Only groceries and necessary spending like bills and petrol.

Thoughts on a year without shopping/with reduced shopping

This year was not about not shopping at all but more about overcoming the desire to shop all the time. It was also about paying off the debt that I had accrued from being so mindless with my spending. I would say I accomplished what I set out to do.

The thing is, the past 12 months have been our highest spending ever. We spruced up our last house so we could sell it, we bought a new house and did a bunch of things to it in the first month, we booked a very expensive trip, we paid off a car... we had unexpected expenses like KC changing jobs and not being paid for a month or so, insurance deductible from the accident, had to go to the ER, bought a new computer... so many things.

But you see, the fact that we were able to do all of these things makes me SO proud. Hell yeah I'm proud of myself. Because the thing is, we 100% would not have been able to do this if I was shopping like I used to. You might think shopping is not so bad. And maybe it's not. But the way I was spending? $300-$500 a month? Minimum! Are you kidding me? Do you know how much that is a year? I could go home twice a year on that! That is obscene. And on what? Clothes that stayed in their packaging or with tags on, or clothes that looked great on some random girl on pinterest but looked ridiculous on me.. such a waste of money. 

I don't think I will ever be 100% 'cured' or good with shopping, because I still feel the urge to go out of control and buy all the things. I'm just better about walking away or closing the browser now. I still want to shop, I just want to be smart about it. I want to be able to do the other things in life that I was stopping myself from before. Actually seeing the benefit of not shopping, the things we were able to do because I wasn't wasting money, that's just priceless to me. It also made it much easier to keep going!

So what now? I purposefully planned this year long challenge so that it would end right before our trip home so that I could shop to my heart's content on the trip. Well.. I bought like 2 things. A silly touristy Australia shirt and some sweatpants (only to replace mine that fell out of a bag on the flight over).

I know this wasn't a true shopping ban, but it never pretended to be. It was a shopping challenge to fit my life but also do just that - challenge me. It did, and as dorky as it may sound, I feel stronger for it and proud of myself. Also, a little lost, what do I do now?!

41 comments:

  1. Dang girl! I don't think there's anyway I'd be able to go a year without shopping but I applaud you for sticking to it. You never notice how much you spend until you step back and don't do it for awhile. Great job! <3, Pamela Sequins & Sea Breezes

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  2. that's awesome! funny how, when you get into a routine (of not spending frivolously), you get used to it and it becomes a way of life. i only shop when i need to, even though i get tempted many times but you know, i'm super cheap so that helps LOL

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  3. Look at you go! Seriously so amazing! Well done!

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  4. i am so proud of you! i really need to challenge myself and start with baby steps. bc lord knows i cant do a whole year haha. but you're def inspiring me!

    xoxo cheshire kat

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  5. That's so awesome girl and talk about maaaaajor discipline. I'm now quickly learning that being a homeowner you really have no more fun money lol.

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  6. Congratulations on completing your one year challenge!! You SHOULD be proud! I wish I had good advice for you on what goals or strategies to adopt now that your one year is complete, but I think that will have to come from some soul-searching on your part since you know your financial situation and yourself best! Be kind to yourself if it takes some trial and error. :) Loved this exciting update!

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  7. It sounds like you did an amazing job with your goal! The fact that you went to the other side of the world and made memories without accruing stuff is HUGE! I mean most people would buy something just to prove they were there. I think being mindful and realizing what else you can do with money is the biggest lesson. Good for you!

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  8. I think you did great. Perhaps I should implement one of these for myself. i really have the worst shopping habit and I have some big things coming up next year that I really need to be saving for. Teach me your ways Kris. This is honestly really good. Kudos!

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  9. This is awesome. I'm proud of you! I spend probably about the same per month shopping and I need to stop. I feel ashamed of myself - I spent probably $400 in the past week alone. No. Lie. I think the way you did your ban will be more sustainable for me! Way to go!

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  10. I'm so proud of you!! And I know what you can do now.... 😉

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  11. This is fantastic news! You must feel so accomplished!
    I think now you take what you learned and adapt it to real life. I'm sure you built in some good habits that will be hard to go back on. Also, I think having the remodel was distracting and took your thoughts away from "fun" shopping. I know this house did that to me.

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  12. That's seriously so awesome that you were able to go the full year of no spending and sticking to your rules! I'm also notorious for buying random things and then never using them or wearing them and I think that a no spend month or year is the perfect way to break that habit. I'm going to clean out my closet soon, and I have a feeling that I'm going to be super depressed with the amount of clothes that are sitting in there with the tags still on...

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  13. Good for you, girl! In some ways, I think this took more discipline than a true shopping ban since you had to stay accountable and track what you did purchase. I think you killed it, and even better that you now know you can exercise self-control in the shopping department!

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  14. So impressed. I cant make it through a week with a shopping limit on me. I need some sort of detox.

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  15. Congrats! That's an impressive feat. I'll have to go back and read all your posts about this from the past year...I'm a relatively new reader and wasn't aware you were doing it. I'm thinking it's definitely something I could benefit from as well! Again, way to go!!!

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  16. I think you did awesome!!! It is so hard to break the habit of constantly looking for new things. I am much like you that I regret many clothing purchases that just sit around and eventually get donated, never seeing the light of day on me. I have become much more conscience of my purchases and I try to make sure I really love something and will use it these days. It is crazy to see how much extra money adds up when you are "being good" right? Way to go!!!!

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  17. Girl you rocked this! I'm super impressed, and kind of need to do this myself :-P
    Green Fashionista

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  18. So so proud of you-- this is such a huge accomplishment! It's crazy how quickly impulse purchases can add up when you're not paying attention.

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  19. You SHOULD be proud, you did amazing! I'm very impressed with your willpower.

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  20. I need to do something like this for myself. I'm always just buying things here and there and they start to add up. Amazon is my best and worst friend. I was just thinking of items today that "needed" to be purchased. I think I need to get back to basics and reevaluate the difference between a need and a WANT and I'd be more purposeful about my spending.

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  21. This is so great!! It is definitely something I need to do in my life... seems so scary!

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  22. I seriously can't tell you how impressed I am that you accomplished this! I don't feel like I have a shopping problem, per se, but I do have a problem. I feel so overwhelmed because there's not just one area I can work on. One month it's clothes, the next it's food, then it's race fees, then it's random crap on amazon and some months it's all of the above. Everything feels like a "need" and I don't know how to break that habit/mindset. I'm so, so proud of you for doing this! I may have to go back and read your past posts on this again as well. You've definitely motivated me!

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  23. Wow girl you did an amazing job at cutting the needless spending out!! Of course we need our necessities as women but you really held yourself accountable to no-spending which I'm sure was much needed for your OZ trip and the new home!
    Emily @ Martinis & Bikinis

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  24. You did such an amazing job! Isn't it funny once you're used to not shopping so much, you don't do it even when you can? I barely shopped this year too just trying to get back to saving after surgery, and it felt so strange buying clothes this weekend (but I really needed them because I'm at that stage of pregnancy where most of my normal clothes don't fit! lol).

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  25. Way to go on doing such an amazing job with this challenge! That is so awesome - and I bet you paid off a heap of debt because you could put those extra funds straight onto that instead of buying more things.

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  26. You are amazing!! What a way to finish strong and look at all the positives of the outcome. it is not easy when you've been doing something for a long time one way to change your mentality.

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  27. Kristen, this is incredible. I think you're amazing! I would have a very hard time with a shopping ban- no matter what the rules are. And you stuck with something for AN ENTIRE YEAR!! That's unheard of! You should be so, so, so proud of yourself!! Way to go!

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  28. Congratulations! This is such an accomplishment. The fact that you sold and bought a house, paid off a car and got rid of your debt in one year is impressive in itself! It's made me think more about my purchases and whether they really are necessary (no they're not). I might just do something similar!!

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  29. CONGRATS! That is no small feat. The easiest way for me to keep my shopping // spending in check is to never have websites remember by credit card info, it means I have to get up from my computer and THINK ABOUT WHAT I AM DOING. Or to just not go into a store.

    I also make a running list of things I need so when I find them I buy them guilt free. I try not to wait until I am desperate, because then I buy something I may not love. So, I currently need some new running tanks, a versatile black dress, and underwear.

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  30. Girl, you did so great with this! I'm so impressed! I love that it has changed so much of your perspective on shopping. And amazing that you guys were able to keep up with all the major financial things of this past year due to your decision to cut out shopping!

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  31. Amazing! I'm so impressed. And also very glad you managed to absorb so much extra real life stuff as a result! I am definitely an emotional shopper so I could probably do with going on a ban. Although having sorted through all our stuff for shipping gave me a bit of a scare. I threw away SO many clothes and even though I don't shop in expensive places I couldn't bear to think about how much money was in those bags. I gave myself free rein to shop on our trip and I hardly bought anything because like you my thoughts had changed. I'm hoping it sticks for me :)

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  32. You did such a great job with your shopping challenge! I've been challenging myself to cut out the mindless spending. Some months are better than others, but it's a great learning experience :)

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  33. That's amazing, way to go! I am super impressed! I definitely do the impulse shopping thing, and buy so much I don't need. Then I'm kicking myself thinking WHY did I buy all this crap I don't need??

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  34. That is so amazing!! You did so great!! I'm trying to not shop as much but it's a struggle. Staying away from stores does help! When cleaning my house, I had so much crap that I was like this is crazy, no more. Having less stuff has actually lowered my stress levels as well. Great job!!

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  35. Congrats girl, that is an amazing accomplishment! During the home buying process I definitely cut back on "fun" purchases and it's helped so much now that we are homeowners, as I'm already used to not going shopping and buying things unless I need them or can truly justify them.

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  36. I feel like it was just yesterday that you embarked on this challenge. Congrats on finishing! So proud of you. And HELL YEAH you should be proud of yourself! You were able to spend this year on exciting things like trips and a new home (and less exciting but necessary things, that were undoubtedly less stressful financially than they would have been in 2015) because of this challenge, and that's amazing and definitely worth taking note of. And the fact that you were able to see a true habit change... well that's just amazing. Good for you, friend!

    As for what to do next, check out Cait Flanders' blog (caitflanders.com). She's done a 2-year shopping ban and has a lot of interesting insights that might help you navigate the next couple months!

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  37. You go girl! I really need to get better about it too. I do way too much impulse buying!

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  38. I am so proud of you, and hope you're proud of yourself!

    If I don't watch, I will mindlessly spend. I have to talk to myself about what I need.

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  39. This is really amazing and inspiring because I struggle with this myself. I took Dave Ramsey's classes and he talks a lot about contentment which I want to have but I know by my spending habits that I don't have. I'm always wanting the next best thing and I don't really know why. I definitely need to do something similar & might consider doing something like this starting this fall. Way to go friend!

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  40. I love this. I am such an impulse shopper. A lot of that is deep deep deep rooted from childhood. Closing Kohl's on school nights? Yeah that was us. Getting locked in the mall and having to go out with the janitors? Also us. Hearing "don't tell your dad what we bought"? Mmm yeah. So I have some complex shopping issues. It always feels "bad" and "wrong" to me. I have SUCH a hard time doing it without feeling bad. I try to be more mindful recently, and I think it's mostly going ok. However, KC and I haven't been on the same budgeting page which is all kinds of icky this week. :( I'm hoping we can reign in some extraneous spending in the next few months as we round out our savings and *hopefully* start looking at houses in the fall. We'll see. I think a sort of shopping challenge may be in store for me as well. We'll see! Good luck going forward, I wouldn't know what to do next, either. XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

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  41. This is so FREAKING awesome! i remember when you started this and i was like dannnnng girl! haha, but how awesome that you stuck through it! I have to admit i really am not a shopper at all. I have friends that online shop like crazy and always have packages being delivered, and me? nope, never. I like nice things if I need them or know I'll wear them, but otherwise i just don't have that shopping desire gene.. lucky me!!! anyway, happy for you! way to go girl!

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