I remember when I first started blogging almost 3 years ago, a big trend (and it’s still sort of a big trend) among personal finance bloggers was to implement shopping or spending bans on themselves.
Basically, on certain days of the week, or even weeks or months at a time, they would forbid themselves to buy anything besides the bare necessities in order to aggressively save money.
Personally, I’ve always been against spending bans. Not that I don’t think they can work, I’m sure they can, but I’ve always known they would not work for me. I’m already frugal enough (I think?) and rarely splurge on anything anyways.
I feel like putting an extra restriction on myself would probably just make me want to go shopping more. I’m a bit of a rebellious teenager in that way. If I tell myself does not go shopping, I know I’ll find myself in the make-up department of Shoppers Drug Mart not an hour later.
That being said, over the past year I’ve witnessed myself developing some not so good spending habits. Honestly, I think a lot of it was me trying to cope with being homesick and unfulfilled in my job. To make myself feel better, I’d treat myself to a coffee here, a lunch there, and hey, there’s a sale at H&M, can’t pass that up!
Because I wasn’t spending big chunks of money, just little chunks spread out, I didn’t realize how much frivolous stuff I was buying and how much money I could have been saving instead.
This past weekend I was going through my finances and realized that there’s still a quarter of the year left, and I still haven’t met my one big savings goal – to replenish my Emergency Fund to $10,000. It was at $10,000 the day my HB and I stepped out of our car, ready to start our new lives in Toronto, but ever since then it’s been pretty up and down.
I also haven’t really contributed to my RRSP or TFSA all year because I didn’t exactly feel comfortable locking money away into investments when I didn’t have the most stable job situation. Truth be told, this has probably been one of my worst savings years yet.
But all that’s about to change. Inspired by Cait’s year-long spending ban, I’m going to restrict myself to buying only what’s absolutely necessary for the month of October. That means groceries, bills, my transit pass, and a tiny bit of money for social activities (there’s no way I’m locking myself in my house like a hermit for all of October).
And if I see some major results, I might even carry it over for the rest of the year. I want to finish 2014 off right. I want to reach $10,000 in my Emergency Fund (I’m only $1,000 away) and start putting more money into my investments again.
I also have a few big expenditures coming up that I need to save up for, namely my flight back home for Christmas ($1,000 roughly) and I’m going to be paying for half of my HB’s car insurance come January (about $2,000. Yes, car insurance in Toronto is ridiculous).
So, wish me luck! I’m hoping that this will not only help me curb some of my bad spending habits, but will make me realize once again that I don’t need a bunch of stuff to be content. As long as my needs are met, I know I’ll be just fine.
Have you ever done a spending ban? What was your experience like?