Friday, July 1, 2016

Shopping Ban

I'm starting a shopping ban.  It'll be July for now and might turn into three months or longer.  What is a shopping ban?  "It's a period of time where you choose not to buy any of the non-essentials in life." (Cait Flanders)  

What's (non)essential changes for people at various points, and that's just dandy.  When I think of essential, I'm not going with the truest understanding of that word (food, shelter, clothing, relationships according to Leo Baubata) even though they're in the logic of it somewhat.  I'm including things that seem reasonable for the lifestyle I want within the context of my family.  I do want to be able to buy other people gifts for birthdays and Christmas even though handmade gifts are awesome (and often my preference).  I do want to have outings with my family that involve restaurants or entertainment sometimes.  We still love the simple things like a hike or a playground, but sometimes we opt to spend money.  I'll buy the girls things like comfy shoes and clothes that fit for seasons, but I will purchase them more intentionally/consciously.


Why would I do a complete ban?  Sometimes I'm very careful about what I buy.  I make a truly concerted effort to think about my relationship to things and how I would like it to be.  Still, I have habits around impulse buys: that album I've heard about, that ebook since it's cheaper than the physical book and since I can read it that instant.  Some of those purchases have been wins, and many more have been true losses.  I use buying as a problem solver more often than I'd like to admit (filling time for the girls, health trends etc.).  When I crunch the numbers at the end of a month, I notice all those things that seem rather insignificant add up to a lot of money and clutter.

I think what fluctuates for me and for plenty of people is the idea of whether or not we CAN buy something.  Just because there's cash on hand doesn't mean we can buy it (or does it?).  For example, if you're disciplined with a budget, that cash on hand will serve some purpose.  It could be savings/emergency funds, investments and retirement or something clearly delineated for this particular month or quarter.  Some of us assume since we are permitted via credit to acquire things that we can buy them.  It's all pretty murky, and I'd like to clarify this point for myself (and my family).  That might change over time obviously as we have more security built than we currently do; but for now, this idea of "can" will be more regimented at least for yours truly.

I'll get into particulars next.


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