Spending bans like mine are nothing new. A Google search will bring up loads of articles and personal blogs from people (mostly women) who've done this before me, although not everybody does it exactly the same.
Some—like the woman in my previous post—give up all discretionary spending, outlaying money only on the absolute essentials such as rent, food and bills. Others—like me—just say no to buying clothes, shoes and accessories. Some rule out buying new items, but allow themselves to purchase second-hand goods.
I'm not giving up spending money altogether because my financial situation isn't so bad that I need to throw myself into full scale fiscal austerity. I want to still enjoy the pleasures of books and music, movies, galleries, exhibitions and other outings, and dinners or drinks with friends. I certainly don't think you always need to spend money to have fun, but this strict approach cuts out many sources of great joy and comfort. I don't need more clothes and shoes, but I'll take all the joy and comfort I can get, thank you very much.
I am saying no to second-hand purchases though because it would still fuel the habit of shopping and acquiring more. I might be able to buy stuff for next to nothing, but it goes against the practice of 'enoughness'.
- No spending money at all on shoes, clothes and accessories, not even second-hand.
- Essential items like underwear and socks are OK to buy, but I'm quite sure I have more than enough essentials to last me for the rest of the year—and beyond.
- I'm also not spending money on make-up or skin care, except to replace essential products when they run out (not that I'm suggesting make-up is essential, but I'm not giving up my eyeliner, mascara or concealer).
I haven't been tempted at all so far, but I was walking along Chapel Street (one of Melbourne's most iconic shopping strips) on Friday after an appointment on my way to buy lunch and I realised just how powerfully I'm drawn to shop. I'd see a shop I like and think,"Oh, I'll just pop in for a look," before remembering my shopping ban. Over and over. "I'll just pop in—oh, no I wont. No shopping, Jayne!"
I did go into one department store because...yes, I felt like shopping, but instead I wandered around looking at homewares and bedding and stuff that's not shoes, clothes, accessories or make-up, but I am conscious of the need to avoid simply redirecting my spending into other avenues (including buying clothes for Luke!). But all I bought were some coathangers, which I did need.
I should probably just stay away from the shops and only do quick in-and-out trips when I need something to break the habit of shopping as a way to spend time.