I can’t remember when I first broadcast this experiment, but it was probably in February after I got my Chinese New Year outfits. So here’s an update of what’s happened shopping ban wise:
I have not shopped.
I have neither bought things online nor offline, except for plane tickets and hotel accommodation, WiFi router rental and travel insurance. Which sounds impressive but actually here’s why: I only had about a month on the project when I learned I was asked to leave from my job, which made it impossible for me even to consider buying clothes. Also, my renovations have started which means any free cash is going to be thrown at the cost of buying an oven rather than clothes.
I haven’t stopped wanting things.
I still regularly open Carousell and see what they have to offer, like things and then close the app, after contemplating if I have the money for it. I still look online on sites for dresses for the many weddings I’m attending this year, and I still think about getting a new pair of jeggings. I just haven’t spent any actual money.
I looked through our finances and made a nine month plan to include all the things we had to save for. This included renovation, trip to Seoul (which we’re now using for Taiwan instead), all the wedding angpows, emergency fund, mortgage (mine), insurance, gifts etc. By putting all these numbers down, I realised I don’t really have much to play with, and so not spending was a better option.
I also set myself a goal this month, which was not to spend anything more than $300. I’ve been using the free Wally app to record all my spending–the good and the bad–and so far I’ve got about $104 left for 11 days, and I need to top up my transportation card. It’s achievable if I eat most meals at home, which although I dread the monotony, is what I intend to do.
I used to be on a ton of mailing lists, including travel websites, but also shein (which had ridiculously cheap prices), Lazada, Zalora etc, which was fine for the month of December or November when I was trying to find Christmas gifts, but not so great when you want to save money the rest of the time. So I unsubscribed. Travel mailing lists were a little easier and harder to unsubscribe from–I knew I didn’t have the money to take the trip and so wouldn’t succumb as often, but I also wanted to be in the know about good deals. I’m still subscribed to a few.
- Panic is a great motivator
I first panicked when we started renovations and I was like I don’t think we have enough money for this, then I realised with some creative shifting it was possible. But I couldn’t retire as I wanted to. Then I lost my job so that took a toll too.
- Doing other things
Mainly I spend my time online, watching YouTube videos, then working out in the gym, going shopping for home things, or playing Pokémon or 2048. Not necessarily the most productive things but it helps me to stay away from adding things to cart. Also listening to the Minimalists’ podcasts and to a lesser extent Sunday messages on less materialism, more spirituality have helped. I also spend a couple hours churning out drafts of blog posts, so that helps I guess. As does researching dessert recipes without any sugar (it feels impossible to find).