Thursday, February 18, 2010

Shopping hiatus, take two

Last year, when Joslyn announced her shopping hiatus, I happily jumped right in. I was thinking of the money I would save more than anything else.

It turned out to be so much more. I saved money, yes. But I saved more time. I honestly had no idea how much time I spent shopping, comparing items, deciding whether or not to buy things. I felt a bit calmer, less pressured. I am not a wild spender by any means, which might make it worse, because I will agonize over purchases and it's exhausting.

saturday afternoon tea
{random relaxing picture}

I'm thrilled that Jos is leading the hiatus again this year. I'm excited to dive in, a bit wiser. D decided to join me, possibly because his graduate student loans have just entered repayment. We're doing this for 12 weeks. We started Monday, officially.

My personal guidelines:

- No non-essential items - obviously, we will still be purchasing food and toiletries.

- A small amount of used shopping is permissible - I see my thrift store purchases as neutral, because they aren't new items and they're usually things we actually need.

- Exempt purchases - we have a small list of items that will need to be purchased soon, due to our move - we've spent hours looking over our floorplan and arranging our current furniture and figuring out how to purchase the least amount of stuff possible. Currently, we're searching Craigslist for the items but if we can't find them in a month or so we'll have to buy them.

- Business purchases - I'll still be buying supplies for the shop.

- Experiences are fair game - this isn't a spending freeze for us. We'll still go out to eat on occasion, we'll still pay for movies and concerts and things we want to do.

Missed the whole thing last year? Here is my summary of my experience with links to my weekly summaries.


  1. I wish I had read this yesterday! Look at the damage I did to my wallet by reading "A Sale I Can't resist" at

    I love your guidelines!

  2. I've been trying to do this myself this year. My latest experiment is to try & see how long I can go without food shopping by using up everything in my cupboard! 'tis very difficult with a picky eater at home!

  3. so impressed with your discipline...good luck!

  4. good job - i came by this process quite naturally over last year when i was unemployed. believe me - $200 a week will make you consider what is vital or not. now i've continued it since i started working. it saves a lot of money to bring my lunch.

  5. i look forward to hearing how this goes! good luck with the craigslist purchases for the apartment; we're doing the same with a few odds and ends, and it's both fun and frustrating to be perpetually on the hunt.

  6. I need to start this! I've recently set up a strict budget of my own, but it's not so much a shopping freeze. Do you have an exemption for gifts or are you planning to craft them up yourself?

  7. I just started this in the form of no eating out, but maybe I'll try to go all in... (and by that I mean with a few exceptions, of course).

    Good luck!

  8. oh oh. I'm in! I mentioned my lack of specific resolve on a post today. I will use my weekend away to focus on my own specific guidlines.

    and, I feel D. I just started paying my loans too. major bummer, huh?


    oh, and @ashley this is REALLY where Ben and I should consider some resolve. We are bad bad bad about eating out. Maybe a once a week limit...?

  9. What kinds of things are you looking to buy for the apartment?

    We are moving within the next few weeks, and about to post some things up to CList. If there's anything we're posting that you need, maybe we can skip the CL hassle.

    Send me an email or comment to a post!

    Good luck w/ the hiatus :)

  10. Katherine - I'm lucky because there is a big lull in family birthdays and holidays during this time of the year. So gifts won't come into play much at all and for the few little things I need I'll probably do a bit of crafting or thrifting.

    Ashley and Jamie - D and I usually have a once a week limit on eating out but lately we've slipped up (a lot). So we'll be getting back to that.

    Betty, you are so sweet! Sadly, we are in need of just a few really random and specific things, which is what is making the CL hunt hard. But if you happen to have a filing cabinet that is no taller than 27.5", we'd love to have it! We're also looking for white desk tops (Ikea) for my work space.

  11. I love the idea of taking a break from "unnecessary spending" and being thoughtful about your purchases. Bravo, and good luck to you!

  12. Wow, I am truly impressed!! Good luck :) Still trying to think of what I'd like to do this year for lent!!


  13. this is so inspiring. i'm attempting to cut unneccesary spending too and it's been fun being creative in the process. i couldn't agree more with you that experiences are exempt. you still have to have fun :)

  14. I may be in as well. Taking under consideration. Hmmmm.

  15. I'm trying again this year too. I remember that feeling of calm freedom from last year's break. Somehow it slipped away towards the end of the year. It's always good to remember how all-consuming constant consumption can become!

  16. I think this is a great idea. Perhaps I should do this too! I really need to stop spending money on small things that I don't need.

  17. Good luck! I should really attempt this myself - I'm sick of impulse buys!! :)

  18. Hmmm, I should really really join in this year...

  19. i don't think i'm going in on this again this year, because i feel like i keep it up yearround with my own groundrules, which are to take the time to consider if i really need it, and if i do then i try to buy it used, if not, then i buy sustainable, or i buy to last.

    i strive to eat out once a week and eat out an expensive meal only once a month but it is very hard to stick to plans come up spontaneously...boyfriend likes to turn ordinary dinners out into expensive ones by spending big bucks on booze and so on.

  20. i am such a sucker for these kinds of personal projects- I'm excited to see how you do and what insights you have along the journey. and i totally believe its ok to have exemptions- this isn't about deprivation, its about increasing mindfulness.


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